The relays are always one of the most exciting races in track and field. Four individuals, joined together by a round metal stick seek to outsmart and outlast the competition. The Clemson relays, held on Saturday March 24, proved to be an exciting and record-breaking experience for WCU.
Junior Virginia LaCombe broke the school’s record in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 10.5 inches, which provisionally qualifies her for the NCAA championships.
Junior Ashley Herendon broke her own record in the javelin by more than three with a launch of 143 feet and six inches.
The women’s 4×1500 team, comprised by Whitney Woods, Megan Thacker, Melanie Cooper, and Holly Bright, placed second in the relays and broke the WCU record with a time of 19:30.36.
“We are real proud of all the young ladies who broke school records and Virginia, who qualified provisional for nationals,” head coach Danny Williamson said. “It was a big accomplishment.”
The women’s 4×200 meter relay had a strong third place showing with a time of 1:43.85. The 1,600 meter sprint medley came up victorious, running 4:08.94, beating fourth-place Morgan State by 9 seconds. The women’s distance medley relay finished a respectable fourth, with a time of 12:53.26.
In the field events, Val Jalajas finished second in pole vault with a height of 12’01.50. Teammate Michelle Velez was right behind in fourth place, jumping 10’10.00.
The Cats demonstrated their strength in the shot put by placing five girls in the top eight. Herendon finished second with a toss of 41’03.75. Kiley Wright and Barbara Lee Palmer finished third and fourth, throwing 39’01.00 and 37’08.50, respectively.
Quiletta Dunston and Kineta threw for distances of 35’01.75 and 35’01.00, which earned them the seventh and eighth positions, respectively.
On the men’s side, the 4×400 team won the meet with a time of 3:17.98. WCU’s Doug Petway tied for fourth in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet and one inch. Petway also placed seventh in the triple jump with a distance of 44 feet, one inch. In the men’s 110 meter high hurdles, Johnny Bomar ran to a fifth-place finish, crossing the line in 15.40.
“If we can take what we did this weekend and build off of it we’ll be in good position down the road,” Williamson said.
Western Carolina will travel to Gainesville, FL, this weekend, March 29-31, as the University of Florida hosts the Florida Relays.