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Western Carolina's men won their fifth straight SoCon indoor track and field title
Photo Courtesy of Southern Conference
Western Carolina, Samford defend indoor track titles
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 02/25/2018

LEXINGTON, Va. – Western Carolina’s men won their fifth consecutive title and Samford’s women claimed their third straight as the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships came to an end Sunday at the VMI Corps Physical Training Facility. Four championship records were either matched or toppled on the day.

Both team titles were hotly contested. The Catamount men, who trailed the Bulldogs by seven points entering the day, edged Samford by just three points, 141-138. The Bulldog women returned the favor with a close win of their own, a 161-150 victory over runner-up Western Carolina.

ETSU’s men finished third with 111 points, followed by Furman (92), The Citadel (66), Wofford (62), VMI (48) and UNCG (four). On the women’s side, Furman was third with 107 points, with ETSU (103), Wofford (67), VMI (48), The Citadel (16), Chattanooga (six) and UNCG (four) rounding out the standings. 

With every event but the men’s pole vault in the books, Western Carolina led Samford 138-114. The Bulldogs made it interesting with a podium sweep – highlighted by Tray Oates becoming the only four-time indoor pole vault champion in SoCon history – but the Bulldogs’ 24 points in the event were offset by the three decisive points Western Carolina’s Corey Ginley earned with his sixth-place finish.

The Catamounts earned three men’s event wins Sunday, with Henry Keidi taking the 400-meter run in 48.29, Kevin Hires winning the triple jump with a leap of 14.94 meters and the 4x400-meter relay unit claiming the school’s seventh straight title in that event, in 3:15.77.

ETSU’s Ben Johnson broke the meet record in the weight throw twice on the day, first with his toss of 20.90 meters on his third attempt. He was over the previous mark (19.23 meters) again on his fifth throw, a heave of 20.86 meters, before resetting the record on his final throw, which went 21.99 meters to also erase his own facility record.

Furman’s Troy Reeder won his second straight title in the mile and his third overall, leading a 1-2 Paladin finish with a time of 4:13.83. Furman’s men got the podium sweep in the 5,000-meter run, with Frank Lara, Mason Coppi and Daniel Bernal going 1-2-3. Lara’s 14:19.75 was a facility record.

Wofford’s Joe Harbacevich made history with his win in the 800-meter run. The junior posted a time of 1:53.94 for the Terriers’ first indoor SoCon championship ever, in either gender.

On the women’s side, Samford opened the day with a 37-point lead but saw it shrink to two (119.5-117.5) with Western Carolina’s Ty-Leah Hampton’s win in the 200-meter dash. Camille Caldwell’s win in the weight throw gave Samford some breathing room again, and Selena Popp’s high-jump win and the Bulldogs’ runner-up finish in the 4x400-meter relay was enough to offset the Catamounts’ relay win.

Hampton won three events for the Catamounts on the day, matching the meet record with her win in the 60-meter dash (7.43 seconds) before claiming the 200-meter in 24.07. She also ran the anchor leg on Western Carolina’s 4x400-meter relay unit, which clocked 3:46.71 to set a facility record.

ETSU’s Kyra Atkins won her second straight title in the 60-meter hurdles, matching the meet record with a time of 8.29 seconds.

Furman’s Savannah Carnahan destroyed the meet record in the 5,000-meter run, posting a time of 16:24.84 to knock nearly nine seconds off of the previous mark (16:33.51) and claim her second straight title in the event. Teammate and runner-up Emma Grace Hurley also come in under the old mark in 16:30.43.

Paladin freshman Kristlin Gear was a two-time winner Sunday, as she earned gold medals in the mile (4:52) and the 800-meter run (2:10.28, facility record). Furman took podium sweeps in both events.

Samford swept the Most Outstanding Athlete honors, with Popp winning on the women’s side after wins in the pentathlon, high jump and long jump and Marquis Barnes winning the Heath Whittle Award on the men’s side after victories in the heptathlon and long jump.

The NCAA will announce the field for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships on Tuesday.

Men’s results – Final
1. Western Carolina – 141 points
2. Samford – 138
3. ETSU – 111
4. Furman – 92
5. The Citadel – 66
6. Wofford – 62
7. VMI – 48
8. UNCG – 4

Women’s results – Final
1. Samford – 161 points
2. Western Carolina – 150
3. Furman – 107
4. ETSU – 103
5. Wofford – 67
6. VMI – 48
7. The Citadel – 16
8. Chattanooga – 6
9. UNCG – 4

Heath Whittle Award (Men’s Most Outstanding Athlete)
Marquis Barnes, Samford

Women’s Most Outstanding Athlete
Selena Popp, Samford

Men’s Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on championship-winning team)
Dakota Wright, Western Carolina

Women’s Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on championship-winning team)
Rachel Dixon, Samford

Men’s All-Freshman – Day 2
Men’s weight throw
Jay Stanley, Western Carolina
Matt Cahoon, Samford
Mac Bennett, Western Carolina

Men’s mile
None

Men’s 60-meter hurdles
Isaiah Ellis, Wofford
Mike Jones, Western Carolina
Jack McHugh, Samford

Men’s 60-meter dash
Karon Delice, ETSU
Timiebi Ogobri, The Citadel
John Collins, VMI

Men’s 400-meter dash
Kofie-Safie Boateng, VMI
Tate Overbay, ETSU
Preston Gaines, UNCG

Men’s 800-meter run
Matt Scarr, ETSU
Juan Rodriguez, UNCG
Jackson Betts, VMI

Men’s 200-meter dash
Karon Delince, ETSU
Timiebi Ogobri, The Citadel
John Collins, VMI

Men’s triple jump
Drae Butts, ETSU
Matthew Mudd, Western Carolina
Isaiah Ellis, Wofford

Men’s 5,000-meter run
Daniel Bernal, Furman
Allen Clark, Furman
Trent Mandato, Furman

Men’s heptathlon
Thomas Ozburn Jr., Samford
Austin Eck, Samford
Matthew Mudd, Western Carolina

Men’s pole vault
Hugh Duggan, Samford
Griffin Kowal, VMI
Sam Blumer, The Citadel


Women’s All-Freshman – Day 2
Triple jump
Autumn James, Western Carolina
Makaila McIntyre, Western Carolina
Kendra Whitehurst, ETSU

Women’s mile
Kristlin Gear, Furman
Hannah Steelman, Wofford
Abbey Zane, Samford

Women’s 60-meter hurdles
Jaelyn Warren, Western Carolina
Kendra Whitehurst, ETSU

Women’s 60-meter dash
Makaila McIntyre, Western Carolina
Tiffany Hill, The Citadel
Tamie Burch, The Citadel

Women’s 400-meter dash
Allison Holland, Samford
Ariana Ruffin, VMI
Joie Royer, The Citadel

Women’s 800-meter run
Kristlin Gear, Furman
Emma Kuntz, Furman
Heather Feuchtenberger, ETSU

Women’s 200-meter dash
Allison Holland, Samford
Ariana Ruffin, VMI
Tiffany Hill, The Citadel

Women’s weight throw
Symphony Buxton, ETSU
Jaden Finch, ETSU
Sarah Leckman, VMI

Women’s high jump
Jaelyn Warren, Western Carolina
Autumn James, Western Carolina

Women’s 5,000-meter run
Hannah Steelman, Wofford
Reilly Caldwell, Furman
Allie Nelson, Samford

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