Western Carolina track and field was among 37 schools that gathered at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum Friday and Saturday to compete in the Tiger Classic. The unscored, two-day event proved to be another steppingstone for the Catamounts as they continue to strive toward winning the Southern Conference Indoor Championship.
Several individuals proved that hard work and determination pays off by setting personal best and improving on season performances. On the men’s side, senior Johnny Bomar glided over the 55-meter hurdles to run 8.05 and place 23. In the 400-meter dash, junior Jared Maliska blazed to 51.81 to take 27 place with Bomar right behind with a time of 52.43. Maliska also had a good showing in the 200 with at 23.59 just 0.16 behind sophomore teammate Bryan Dobbins who ran a 23.43.
In the 800, junior Michael Simmons ran a 1:58.58 to take 12 place. Sophomore Caleb Bailey continued to a better season performance in the mile by running a 4:22.68 to finish 7.
In the field events, freshman Nick McNeil had a commendable day in the 35-pound weight throw by placing sixth with a toss of 48’04.00. Senior Jeff Chambers was close behind in eighth place with a 47’02.50 effort.
On the women’s side, junior Holly Bright had a major breakthrough in the mile placing eighth with a personal best of 5:15.15. Freshman Megan Thacker took 13 place with a 5:22.07. In the 800, Thacker raced to an eleventh place finish with a time of 2:23.74. Sophomore Melanie Cooper had a season-best in the 3000 with a 10:36.67, which was good for third place.
In the women’s 400, freshman Benetta Boyd and sophomore Roslyn Bingly captured seventh and eighth with times of 59.75 and 1:00.27 respectively. Sophomore Ashelyn Little was on their heels with a 1:01.00, which earned her 12 place.
In the field events, sophomore Ronetta Burgess finished seventh in the long jump with a leap of 16’07.25. In the triple jump, junior Virginia LaCombe was victorious with a first place showing, bounding to a mark of 39’03.75. LaCombe also placed third in the high jump with a height of 5’05.75.
A select few will travel to Iowa this weekend to compete at Iowa State.
“It’s going to be another level of competition,” said head coach Danny Williamson. “It’s a great opportunity for some of our athletes to compete against some of the best in the country.”
The Cats will leave on Thursday and return to Cullowhee on Sunday.