SoCon indoor track meet set for this weekend at ETSU

Joe Avento • Updated Feb 24, 2017 at 5:50 PM

Western Carolina will be seeking its fourth consecutive men’s title when the Southern Conference indoor track and field championship is held this weekend at East Tennessee State University’s MSHA Athletics Center.

Saturday’s action begins at 8:30 a.m. with the women’s pentathlon and will be followed by the first four men’s heptathlon events at 9 a.m.

Events are scheduled through 6:35 p.m. on Saturday with action resuming on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with the men’s final three heptathlon events. The championship will conclude on Sunday with the awards ceremony slated for 4:05 p.m.

This is the 17th time ETSU has hosted the annual meet including 14 times since women’s indoor track and field was added to the SoCon in 1988.

In last year’s SoCon indoor meet, the ETSU women’s team finished in third place with 84.50 points while the men posted a fourth-place finish. The Bucs won four events and five other athletes earned medals.

Mike Williams was ETSU’s top performer, winning the 60-meter hurdles and 400-meter dash. Matt Moore won the 60 and Katrina Seymour won the women’s 400.

They’re all back to defend their titles.

Three Bucs have won athlete of the week honors this year — Kyra Atkins and Moore in the 60 hurdles and Ben Johnson, who leads all male weight throw competitors with an 18.91-meter toss.

Seymour set records two weeks ago at the Music City Challenge. The senior finished fifth in the 400 and set an ETSU program record with a 54.70 time in the event.

Samford will look to claim back-to-back women’s championships.

Western Carolina’s Jamie Brown, who competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump, claimed the Heath Whittle Award, which honors the men’s most outstanding athlete. He’s back for his sophomore season.

On the women’s side, Furman’s Allie Buchalski will look to defend her crown as the SoCon women’s most outstanding athlete, which would make her the only SoCon women’s indoor athlete to earn three career most outstanding athlete awards.

Earlier this month, Buchalski set a then-NCAA-best time in the women’s 3,000 meters with a time of 9:02.04 at the Camel City Invitational. Her time currently ranks No. 2 after Oregon’s Katie Rainsberger, a freshman, surpassed Buchalski’s mark by less than one second (9:01.21) one week later at the Husky Classic.

In the latest conference men’s power rankings, which include meets through this past weekend, Samford leads the league with 179 points, followed by Western Carolina (152) and ETSU (122). Furman checks in at No. 4 with 98 points. The Citadel (51), Wofford (44) and UNCG (3) round out the group.

The women’s power rankings are highlighted by defending champion Samford, which tallied 247 points, followed by Western Carolina with 143 points. ETSU checks in third, totaling 106 points, while Furman took 77 points. VMI is fifth in the power rankings with 46 points followed by Wofford, which notched 22 points. UNCG (5), Chattanooga (3) and The Citadel (2) close out the women’s squads.

Admission to the meet is free.

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