SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Western Carolina claimed four of the Southern Conference outdoor track and field individual awards between its men’s and women’s programs in a vote of the league’s head coaches following the SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships last week.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.
Western Carolina’s Scott Peretin was named the male Most Outstanding Field Performer, while fellow Catamount Dasha Arnaut was named the female Most Outstanding Track Performer for the second straight year. WCU coach Cale McDaniel earned men’s and women’s Coach of the Year honors.
The Citadel’s Malik Diggs was named the men’s Most Outstanding Track Performer, while ETSU’s Karon Delince was named the men’s Freshman of the Year. Samford’s Selena Popp earned her second straight Most Outstanding Field Performer honor and Wofford’s Hannah Steelman was voted the female Freshman of the Year.
Peretin earned three podium finishes in as many events, as the senior from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, won the hammer throw and finished second in the shot put and discus, one year after finishing third in all three events. Peretin was also named the meet’s male Most Outstanding Athlete after pacing the field with 26 total points scored.
Arnaut earned four podium finishes, including a pair of wins. The junior from Asheville, North Carolina, successfully defended her titles in the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles and added a third-place showing in the 100-meter hurdles and a runner-up finish as part of the Catamounts’ 4x100-meter relay unit, which was just 0.04 seconds off of ETSU’s pace. Arnaut also scored in the 200-meter dash, finishing eighth.
McDaniel, in his second year at the helm, earned his second straight SoCon Coach of the Year honor on the men’s side and first on the women’s side after leading the Catamount men to third consecutive title and the women to their third in four seasons. McDaniel is also the two-time defending indoor Coach of the Year on the men’s side.
The Citadel’s Diggs broke a 41-year-old meet record and earned three wins and a runner-up finish for the Bulldogs. A graduate student from Laurinburg, North Carolina, Diggs earned his second consecutive titles in the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles. His time of 14.09 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles erased the meet record of 14.1 that was set in 1977 and matched in 1979 and 1980. Diggs also ran the third leg on The Citadel’s victorious 4x100-meter relay and the anchor leg on the Bulldogs’ 4x400-meter relay, which took second silver.
Samford’s Popp claimed her second straight Most Outstanding Field Performer award and earned Most Outstanding Athlete honors after scoring in five events with a pair of wins. The junior from Hixon, Tennessee, who pulled off the same double during the indoor season, defending her title in the heptathlon and added a win in the high jump. She finished second in the long jump and was eighth in the javelin. Popp also ran the third leg on the Bulldogs’ fifth-place 4x400-meter relay.
ETSU’s Karon Delince was named the male Freshman of the Year after scoring in five events, including a win in the 200-meter dash. Also the league’s indoor Freshman of the Year, the rookie from Phenix City, Alabama, took third in the 100-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay and finished eighth in the long jump. Delince ran the opening leg on both relays.
Wofford’s Hannah Steelman earned a pair of podium finishes to become Wofford’s first-ever female winner of one of the individual superlatives. The distance runner from Orono, Maine, turned in a dominant effort in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, winning by nearly 16 seconds in a school-record 10:09.39 to become just the Terriers’ third-ever female winner of an outdoor event at the SoCon meet. Steelman also finished third in the 1,500-meter run, again in school-record time (4:23.69) and just 0.03 seconds out of second place.
Male Most Outstanding Track Performer
Malik Diggs, The Citadel
Female Most Outstanding Track Performer
Dasha Arnaut, Western Carolina
Male Most Outstanding Field Performer
Scott Peretin, Western Carolina
Female Most Outstanding Field Performer
Selena Popp, Samford
Male Freshman of the Year
Karon Delince, ETSU
Female Freshman of the Year
Hannah Steelman, Wofford
Men’s Coach of the Year
Cale McDaniel, Western Carolina
Women’s Coach of the Year
Cale McDaniel, Western Carolina