Track Tunes Up for Conference Championships

A select group of the Western Carolina men and women’s track team traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee Friday for the final tune up before the Southern Conference Championships this weekend in Johnson City.

The Tennessee Indoor Classic, proved to be the site of numerous personal and seasonal bests for WCU, indicating that the Cats are ready to make another run at the conference title.

In the women’s pole vault, senior Valerie Jalajas, soared over the competition with a winning height of 12 feet, 2.50 inches. Freshman teammate Michelle Velez finished fourth overall with personal best of 11′ 2.50″

In the weight throw, freshman Barbara-Lee Palmer had a big personal best of 52-10, which was good enough to claim first place. Palmer also had a all time personal best in the shot put with a heave of 39-9.25.

Junior Ashley Herendon produced a personal best in the weight throw with a mark of 48 feet-2-inches. Sophomores Quileta Dunston and Kineta Williams also achieved a personal best with throws of 47-09.25 and 43-05.25, respectively. The pair placed seventh and tenth with freshman Kiley Wright close behind in eleventh with a personal best of 39-0.25. Wright also threw an all time best in the shot with a 39-11.50, which was good for seventh place.

In the running events, sophomore Shavon Neely sprinted to seasonal bests in the 55 and the 400-meter dashes. Neely won her heat in the 55, clocking a 7.47. Her 59.82 in the 400 eared her ninth place out of the 27 competitors.

On the mens’ side, Donnie Bryant ran to a fifth place finish and an all-time personal best in the 55-meter hurdles, with a time of 7.77. Teammate Johnny Bomar was close behind with a season best of 7.91 In the 55-meter dash Bryan Dobbins blazed to a seasonal best, clocking a time of 6.72

In the long jump sophomore Doug Petway leaped to a season best of 22-.75. Karl Willis flew to new heights in the high jump with a personal best of 6 feet, 4.25 inches.

Charles Rice ascended above the field with 15-05.75, victory height. Teammate Seajae Hartness was close behind with a season best vault of 14-0.

The Catamounts will travel to the campus of East Tennessee State and the Memorial Center for the Southern Conference Indoor Championships. WCU will look to defend their women’s title from a year ago. Appalachian State took the men’s 2000 Indoor crown, but the Cats look poised to make a run at the title after the second-place finish of a year ago.

Action kicks off Friday with preliminaries of sprints and concludes with the finals on Saturday.