UTC trio earn all-conference honors at SoCon Track Championships
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (GoMocs.com)--- Three University of Tennessee at Chattanooga distance runners earned all-conference honors Saturday on Day One of the Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium.
Junior Keeley Stewart (Winchester, Tenn.), sophomore Paul Staurt (Brentwood, Tenn.) and freshman Emily Drouin (Verona, Ontario) each finished second in their respective events while sophomore Anna Kate Chance (Columbia, Tenn.) and senior John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.) each scored for Chattanooga.
“We had a good day,” Chattanooga Head Coach Bill Gautier said. “Almost everyone who was supposed to do well today did and we came away with some great performances.”
Weather delayed Day One for about 90 minutes with lightning in the area late in the day, but all events were able to be completed.
Stewart earned her first all-conference honors with a second place finish in the 10,000 meter race with a time 38:16.58 while Chance finished sixth with a time of 38:57.57.
“Keeley has come a long way,” Gautier said of his junior. “She ran an extremely good race. Anna Kate also had a good race. She was very strong today.”
Stuart, running in his final championships as a Moc, finished second in the men's 10,000 meter run, earning all-conference honors. He missed his PR with a time of 31:34.27 outpaced by Furman's Josh Bricknell.
“I couldn't be more proud of Paul,” Gautier said. “He listened to me and followed our game plan. He outkicked the guy in third and had a great race.”
Drouin took second in the women's 3000 meter Steeple Chase, earning all-conference honors in her first outdoor championships. She was just two seconds off the lead pace with a time of 11:03.34.
“Emily could have won,” Gautier said. “Her youth and enthusiasm that got her here is what nearly did her in. She was so excited and running hard, we tried to slow her down. She ran like a freshman – that's not a bad thing – and was beat out by a senior with experience in these situations.
“Hopefully she will be our next outstanding runner. She's already good.”
Gilpin scored for the Mocs with a seventh place finish in the men's 3000 meter Steeple Chase, just missing his PR with a time of 9:27.20.
“John could have finished anywhere from third to seventh,” Gautier said of his senior. “He ran trying to make the podium with this being his last race. I'm so proud of him. He's had a great year.”
Twelve athletes qualified for Sunday's finals with the most coming in the women's 800 meter prelims. Junior Rebecca Greenwall (Bogart, Ga.), sophomore Maddison Melchionna (Afton, Tenn.) and junior Hannah Chamblin (Memphis, Tenn.) will run in the Sunday finals.
“They have been our bread and butter all year,” Gautier said of the middle-distance runners. “Rebecca hasn't run for two weeks with an injury that turned out not to be as bad as first thought. She was diligent in the pool and it paid off. Maddison has been good all year and we expect that tomorrow. They are an exciting group to watch.”
Senior Amanda Cotter (Bristol, Conn.) and sophomore Jessica York (Normandy, Tenn.) will run the 1500 meter finals while junior Austin Casassa (Nashville, Tenn.) will compete in the men's 1500m.
Junior Kiaana Howard (Nashville, Tenn.) will run the women's 400 meter finals and junior Marquis Carter (Memphis, Tenn.) will be in the men's 800 meter finals.
Freshman Jacob Noorbergen (Ooltewah, Tenn.), who has battled injury this season, will be in the 200 meter finals while junior DeQuantez Sandifer (Nashville, Tenn.) was placed in the finals after a pole vault in his lane impeded his race, causing him to finish 19th overall.
In the hurdle events, junior Iman Isang (Chattanooga, Tenn.), also fighting injury, advanced to the men's 110 meter Hurdle finals and freshman Drake Watson (Gallatin, Tenn.) will be in the men's 400 meter Hurdle finals.
“We're looking forward to a good race tomorrow,” Gautier said. “Looking forward to leaving Birmingham with some more hardware and great memories.”
The Samford men and the Western Carolina women lead after one day. The Bulldogs totaled 61 points on the men's side day one with ETSU in second with 49 points and Western Carolina in third with 40 points. Western Carolina leads with 69 points on the women's side followed by Samford in second with 54 points. ETSU and VMI are tied for third with 23 points.