Track Cats Break Records, Find Disappointment at SoCon Championships

The Southern Conference Indoor Championships held last Friday and Saturday at Johnson City, TN, proved to be a rewarding yet disappointing experience for the Catamounts. Though numerous school and personal records fell, it just wasn’t enough to claim the title.

The women stared victory in the face through out the whole meet, leading the first day with 58 points to Appalachian States 42. The end result proved disheartening as Appalachian squeaked past 130 to 128. UT-Chattanooga was third with 101 points.

Several individuals placed in the top three, which gave them all conference titles. Sophomore Ronetta Burgess finished second in both the 200-meter dash and the 55-meter hurdles and broke both school records in the process. She ran 24.73 and 8.07, respectively, to get her name in the WCU record book. Junior, Virginia La Combe, took victory in the women’s high jump with a school record breaking height of 5’07.75

In the women’s pole vault senior Valerie Jalajas, out distanced the field with a 11’11.75, first place showing. Teammate freshman Michelle Velez was close behind in second place with a height of 11’05.75, which was also a personal record.

In the triple jump freshman Kamata Potts and sophomore Ceda Bowden bounded their way to personal bests with a 35’30.25 and a 38’02.25 effort. In the shot put junior Ashley Herendon out throw the competition with a personal best, 44’09.75 first place heave. Freshman Barbara Lee Palmer was not far behind in third place with a 41’05.00 personal record. In the weight throw sophomores Quiletta Dunston and Kineta Williams both set personal records of 48’08.00 and 46’06.25, respectively. Freshman Kiley Wright also threw her best with a 39’05.75.

In the 400-meter dash sophomore Roslyn Bingley and freshman Benetta Boyd, both attained personal best in the preliminary round Friday night. They ran 58.32 and 58.62 to finish second and first in their respective heats.

In the mile junior Holly Bright raced her way through the pack to get third place and a personal best of 5:09.11. Sophomore Melanie Cooper and freshman Alissa Short both ran to personal best in the 3000 meter run with a 10.33.67 and a 10.53.53 clocking. Sophomore Whitney Woods scored a personal best in the 5000 meter run with a 17.58.96, fourth place finish.

The men scored a total of 74 points which resulted in a third place finish, behind V.M.I. (146 points) and Appalachian State (130 points). Sophomore Derrick High blazed to a school record and a first place finish in the 400-meter dash, clocking 47.53. High also finished second in the 200- meter dash with a personal best time of 21.93.

High and senior Akaba Galaspie both sprinted to personal best in the 55-meter dash. Galaspie finished seconded in the finals with a time of 6.50 and High was third in his preliminary heat with a 6.55 clocking.

In the 400-meter dash, freshman Bola Oyegunwa, won his preliminary heat with a personal best of 48.89. Sophomore Caleb Bailey claimed victory in the mile run crossing the finish line in a personal best of 4:15.59.

Senior Jeff Chambers launched a personal best in the shot put with a mark of 47’03.00.

“Obviously we would have liked to win both championships, but it just didn’t happen,” said head coach Danny Williamson. “Our women were very close, but we needed a few more people to step it up. On the men’s side, it was obvious that out youthfulness showed. Physically we were ready, but mentally we were not.”

“For the most part, we are very proud of out athletes for the effort they have put forth. Also, now we can be the hunter instead of the one being hunted. Our promise to those who support us is that we will be back.”