CULLOWHEE, N.C. (May 11, 2018) – Four victories, a slew of new personal-best performances, a three-peat, and a re-writing of the record book highlighted ETSU’s showing on Friday, at the final day of the Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Cullowhee, N.C.
Both Buc teams finished 3rd in the team standings. The women scored 129 points and the men 122. Western Carolina, the host school, swept the team titles.
ETSU made history in the final event of the weekend, the women’s 4 x 400 meter relay. The team of Aliyah Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.), Lamisha Simmons (Hollywood, Fla.), Vicki Franse (Clinton, Tenn.), and Jessica Lord (Morristown, Tenn.) not only won by 3.12 seconds, they set a new school record of 3:45.67. The quartet broke the Bucs’ old mark of 3:46.14, set in 2009.
ETSU got its first win of the day earlier Friday from the women’s 4 x 100 meter relay team – Simmons, Kiana Davis (Ooltewah, Tenn.), Kyra Atkins (Greer, S.C.), and Starr Graham (Alpharetta, Ga.) -- which set a season-best time of :45.65 and clipped Western Carolina at the tape by .04 of a second. The men’s team also set a season-best of :42.14 in finishing 3rd.
Atkins claimed her third consecutive SoCon title in the women’s 100 meter hurdles, crossing the line in :13.42, nearly a half-second better than runner-up Sarah Sanford of Samford. The junior was denied in her bid for a three-peat in the 100 meter dash, where she was 8th, but Davis set a new PR in finishing runner-up at :11.67. Timia Easley (Columbus, Ohio) was 5th in the 100 hurdles at :14.43m) and would later be 6th in the triple jump at 38’ 8 ¼” (11.79m).
Davis set another personal best in the 200 meters, where she was runner-up at :23.87. Atkins was 4th at :24.92 and Simmons was 6th in a time of :25.19.
Karon Delince (Phenix City, Ala.) gave the Bucs a nail-biting victory in the men’s 200 meters, breaking the tape in a career-best time of :21.25, a narrow .01 ahead of Josiah Johnson of The Citadel. Earlier Friday, Delince set a PR in the 100 meter dash; his time of:10.51 put him on the podium in 3rd place.
ETSU’s deepest showing came in the women’s 800 meters. Four Bucs finished in the top six, paced by Emily Williams-McElroy’s (Bristol, Tenn.) runner-up performance at 2:10.98. Lord was 4th at 2:13.17, Heather Feuchtenberger (Elizabethton, Tenn.) was 5th at 2:13.80, and Kaitlyn Lay (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 6th at 2:14.56. For Lord, Friday was a new PR; Feuchtenberger set a new outdoor personal best.
Symphony Buxton (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 2nd in the women’s shot put with a throw of 43’ 6” (13.26m). Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) was 8th in the men’s event with a throw of 46’ 10 ¾” (14.29m). Johnson would later finish 3rd in the discus at 160’ 11” (49.05m), Buxton was 8th on the women’s side at 127’ 9” (38.93m).
Hill gave the Bucs a podium spot with her 3rd-place run in the women’s 400 meters at :56.76.
Malick Gemechu (Johnson City, Tenn.), who won the men’s 10000 meters on Thursday, was 3rd in the 5000 on Friday, in a time of 14:39.63. Noah Charles (Johnson City, Tenn.) was 8th in a PR time of 15:14.25.
Freshman Ben Varghese (Kingsport, Tenn.) and senior Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) were respectively 3rd and 4th in the men’s 1500 meters. Varghese put up a new personal best at 3:53.28. So did Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the women’s event; her time of 4:39.70 was good for 7th place.
The Bucs got another 3-4 finish in the men’s 800. Matt Scarr (Wamberal, NSW, Australia) reached the podium at 1:54.33, with Haydn Borghetti-Metz (Rogersville, Tenn.) right behind at 1:54.61, setting a new PR in the process.
The men’s 4 x 400 team of Delince, Hunter Sampson (Salem, Va.), Tate Overbay (Johnson City, Tenn.), and Borghetti-Metz finished 3rd in 3:19.10.
Nicki Smith (Urbandale, Iowa) was 5th in the women’s 400 meter hurdles at 1:03.7s
Kendra Whitehurst (Atlanta, Ga.) led the Bucs’ contingent in the heptathlon with 3858 points, good for 8th place.
Buxton, Delince, Hill, and Scarr would earn SoCon All-Freshman honors in multiple events. Feuchtenberger, Lord, Overbay, Stallworth, Varghese, and Whitehurst were also named to the all-rookie team.
For more information on Buccaneer Track and field, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field page.