Kruger makes history at SoCon Championship
Kruger makes history at SoCon Championship
Monday, May 8, 2023

Buccaneer freshman becomes ETSU’s first ever female athlete to win conference title in steeplechase

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (May 8, 2023)Chanelle Kruger (Johannesburg, South Africa) made a splash at her first Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The freshman distance runner won the women’s steeplechase on day one of the conference championship on Monday at the Catamount Athletic Complex, located on the campus of Western Carolina University.

Kruger, who set the school record in the event earlier this season, posted the top time on Monday – finishing with a mark of 10:53.54 – becoming ETSU’s first-ever female student-athlete to win gold in the steeplechase at a conference championship.

In an already intense race, there was a critical moment where the reigning champion – Furman’s Nicole Matysik – went down in the pit. Kruger was right behind Matysik when the incident occurred but did a great job dodging the Paladin runner despite blowing out her shoe. Kruger was in third-place at the fifth lap checkpoint with a time of 6:35.57, but she made her move on lap six where she jumped into first and never relinquished the lead. Kruger ended up winning the race by over six seconds as Samford’s Harper McGowan was runner-up at 11:00.02.


First Place – Chanelle Kruger (Steeplechase)

Second Place – Mary Brown (Women’s Hammer); Diana Romero-Barba (Pole Vault); Evan Guzman (10000m)

Third Place Myles Stoots (Steeplechase)


Following day one, ETSU’s women sit in second-place with 35 points, while Samford holds the lead with 81.5 points. Wofford is third with 32 points.

On the men’s side, the Bucs recorded 23 points, putting them in sixth-place. Samford also holds the team lead as they registered 67 points. Furman has 40 points and host Western Carolina had 33 points.


With her gold, Kruger collected all 10 points in the steeplechase

The Bucs started the day totaling 15 points in the women’s hammer throw thanks to Mary Brown (Radford, Va.) earning silver with a personal best mark of 51.30m. Joining Brown in the scoring were teammates Anna Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Alyssa Ceja-Pena (Salinas, Calif.). Moore earned four points with a mark of 44.95, placing fifth. Ceja-Pena received three points with her sixth-place finish as she had a distance of 44.29m.

Diana Romero-Barba (Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco, Mexico) secured her first career podium at the conference meet with her second-place nod in the pole vault, clearing 3.76m on her first attempt.

Making his debut in the 10000m, Evan Guzman (Franklin, Tenn.) was edged out for gold by reigning champion Dylan Christopher of UNCG. The result came down to the wire as Guzman finished in 31:36.30; however, Christopher fell at the end but clocked in at 31:36.09. The Franklin, Tenn. native was in first with 400m remaining, but Christopher ran the closing stretch in 57.84, compared to Guzman running 58.16.

The Bucs took home 11 points in the men’s 10000m as William Hartig (Radford, Va.) finished sixth at 32:14.65.

ETSU’s men totaled 10 points in the steeplechase as Myles Stoots (Mobile, Ala.) bagged six points after finishing third in 9:08.56 and Nate Hillis (Knoxville, Tenn.) – making his collegiate debut in the event – collected four points with his fifth-place finish (9:23.36).

Tya Blake (Lynchburg, Va.) and Ethan Fulford (Knoxville, Tenn.) each scored in their respective events on Monday. Blake placed seventh in the long jump with a leap of 5.48m and Fulford registered a seventh-place nod in the pole vault after clearing 4.18m.


Freshman Ethan Fulford is making his SoCon debut in the decathlon and sits in sixth-place through the first five events with 3045 points. Fulford totaled his points in the 400m as he generated 724 points with a time of 52.02, while collecting 685 points in the 100m (11.83).


The Blue & Gold sent 10 athletes into the finals of Tuesday’s events. Below are all the Bucs who qualified for the finals in their respective events.

Men’s 100m (1)

D’Shawn Fletcher – 10.93

Men’s 110m Hurdles (1)

Treven McGhee – 14.89

Women’s 800m (4)

Genevieve Schwarz – 2:10.71

Jessica Lord – 2:13.13

Julia Karsten – 2:15.39

Rebekah Howard – 2:15.51

Men’s 800m (2)

Miguel Parrilla – 1:50.74

Phelani Maduwa – 1:51.36

Women’s 400m Hurdles (1)

Ansley Archuleta – 1:06.54

Men’s 400m Hurdles (1)

Treven McGhee – 1:06.54


Sophie Beach – 10000m

Ethan Fulford – Pole Vault

Nate Hillis – Steeplechase

Abdul-Rahman Jaber – Steeplechase

Ben Kenner – Steeplechase

Chanelle Kruger – Steeplechase

Izelle Kruger – Steeplechase

Anaya Young – Long Jump


Tuesday’s final day of competition gets underway with the decathlon at noon, while field events start at 2:15 p.m. Track events get started at 4 p.m.

Fans can watch the action live on ESPN+ starting at 3:30 p.m., while live results can be accessed via

For more information on Buccaneer men’s and women’s track and field, visit