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Two records fall at Indoor Track & Field Championships
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 02/23/2019
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Samford's Selena Popp
Courtesy: Southern Conference

LEXINGTON, Va. – Furman’s women set a pair of meet records, Samford’s Selena Popp became a three-time champion in two events and Western Carolina’s men and Samford’s women lead the team standings after Saturday’s opening day of the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the VMI Corps Physical Training Facility.

Five-time defending men’s champion Western Carolina totaled 50.5 points on day one of the championship meet to put it comfortably in front of ETSU, which won three events and totaled 33 points, and The Citadel and Furman, who had 31 apiece. Samford is just a half-point back in fifth place, with VMI (12), Wofford (four) and UNCG (three) rounding out the team scoring.

On the women’s side, three-time defending champion Samford totaled 69 points for a 16-point lead over Western Carolina (53). Furman is third with 34 points, followed by ETSU (30), Wofford (22), VMI (16), Chattanooga (eight) and The Citadel (two). Samford and Furman won two events each on the opening day.

The Paladins’ Savannah Carnahan took down the first meet record of the day, out-kicking Wofford’s Hannah Steelman to win the 3,000-meter run in 9:11.04 and take more than 16 seconds off the previous mark of 9:27.51 by Furman’s Sinead Haughey from 2015. Steelman finished in 9:11.16, also well under the previous record. The Paladins scored 24 points in the event, with five runners placing, including defending champion Emma Grace Hurley finishing third.

Furman added another meet record in the next women’s event on the track, the distance medley relay. Krissy Gear (1,200 meters), Carlen Baran (400 meters), Emma Kuntz (800 meters) and Gabbi Jennings (mile) combined to run 11:39.35, taking more than 4 seconds off the previous mark of 11:43.99 set by UNCG in 2012. The win was Furman’s third straight in the event.

Samford’s Popp became a three-time champion in both the high jump and pentathlon. She opened the day’s scoring by becoming just the second student-athlete in league history to accomplish that feat in the pentathlon, joining Georgia Southern’s Lynndsey Hyter (2009-12) in that club. Popp scored 3,558 points, bolstered by wins in the high jump and long jump and third-place finishes in the 60-meter hurdles and shot put.

After a third-place finish in the long jump final, she claimed the high jump with a mark of 1.70 meters, matching her winning mark from a year ago. She turned in a leap of 1.73 meters in the pentathlon high jump earlier in the day.

Sophomore Lesleigh Tabor won Western Carolina’s fifth straight shot put title with a toss of 14.03 meters, adding 0.73 meters to her season-best effort. ETSU freshman Khiara White won the long jump with a leap of 6.01 meters.

On the men’s side, Ben Johnson handed ETSU its first title of the day with his win in the shot put with a toss of 16.39 meters. The Bucs would win the final two men’s events of the day, as well, with Ben Varghese claiming the 3,000-meter run in 8:24.65 and Wesley Pectol, Hunter Sampson, Khayvonn Benson and Adam Bradtmueller claiming the DMR in 10:00.71.

Western Carolina blew open a tight team race with a dominant showing in the long jump. The Catamounts picked up 20 points in the in the event to turn what had been a 1.5-point edge into a 16.5-point bulge. Freshman Trini Leggett earned the leap with a facility-record jump of 7.54 meters, and teammate Dijoun Huitt joined him on the podium with a third-place finish.

The Catamounts also picked up 18 points in the shot put, with Dakota Wright (second) and Mac Bennett (third) earning podium finishes.

Hugh Duggan made it five wins in a row in the pole vault for Samford, following Tray Oates’ four-year run with a win at 5.00 meters. The Citadel claimed the other two spots on the podium, with Sam Blumer and Devin Merrick finishing second and third, respectively.

The SoCon Championships resume Sunday with the resumption of the heptathlon at 9 a.m.

Live results, daily recaps and photos can be found at SoConSports.com.


Men’s results – Day 1

1. Western Carolina – 50.5 points
2. ETSU – 33
T3. Furman – 31
T3. The Citadel – 31
5. Samford – 30.5
6. VMI – 12
7. Wofford – 4
8. UNCG – 3


Women’s results – Day 1

1. Samford – 69 points
2. Western Carolina – 53
3. Furman – 34
4. ETSU – 30
5. Wofford – 22
6. VMI – 16
7. Chattanooga – 8
8. The Citadel – 2


Day 1 champions

Men: Shot put Ben Johnson, ETSU (16.39 meters); pole vault Hugh Duggan, Samford (5.00 meters); long jump Trini Feggett, Western Carolina (7.54 meters); 3,000-meter run Ben Vargehese, ETSU (8:24.65); distance medley relay Wesley Pectol, Hunter Sampson, Khayvonn Benson, Adam Bradtmueller, ETSU, 10:00.71.

Women: Pentathlon Selena Popp, Samford (3,558 points); long jump Khiara White, ETSU (6.01 meters); shot put Lesleigh Tabor, Western Carolina (14.03 meters); high jump Selena Popp, Samford (1.70 meters); 3,000-meter run Savannah Carnahan, Furman (9:11.04*); distance medley relay Krissy Gear, Carlen Baran, Emma Kuntz, Gabbi Jennings, Furman (11:39.35*).

* meet record


Men’s All-Freshman – Day 1

Men’s long jump
Trini Feggett, Western Carolina
Justin Stuckey, Samford
Benjamin Okafor, Western Carolina

Men’s pole vault
Charles Cooley, Western Carolina
Thomas Martin, Western Carolina
Daniel Walsh, VMI

Men’s shot put
Ryan Eldridge, Western Carolina
Adam Hart, Western Carolina
Solomon Ghosh, VMI

Men’s 3,000-meter run
Cameron Belk, UNCG


Women’s All-Freshman – Day 1

Pentathlon
Ronje Williams, Western Carolina
Shakaiya Bradford, Wofford
Carolina Huff, Samford

Women’s shot put
Victoria Solheim, Western Carolina
Shakaiya Bradford, Wofford
Annika Sleenhof, Furman

Women’s high jump
Ronje Williams, Western Carolina
Megan Elliott, Samford
Mya Dollard, The Citadel

Women’s long jump
Khiara White, ETSU
Mekayla Brown, ETSU
Charnessa Reid, Western Carolina

Women’s 3,000-meter run
Lindsey Stallworth, ETSU
Shila Kapaya, ETSU
Mary Kellison Thorne, Samford

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