Trojan men, women claim track crowns
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 18, 2011 2:25 PM
MOC Sports Information
BANNER ELK -- Mount Olive College claimed the school's first-ever Conference Carolinas men's and women's track and field championships on Saturday at Lees-McRae College.
Trojans head coach Matt van Lierop was the named league's male and female coach-of-the-year, making him the first head coach in MOC history to earn such honors in two sports in the same year.
Dalton Souza received the men's track athlete-of-the-year and freshman-of-the-year accolades, while Joey Murphy was selected the men's field athlete-of-the-year.
MOC's Alaytra Carswell was named the conference women's track athlete-of-the-year and freshman-of-the-year.
The Trojan men compiled 212 points to easily out-distance runner-up Limestone, which had 137 points. Lees-McRae finished third, followed by Belmont Abbey, Queens and Barton.
Mount Olive had four event champions -- Souza in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9 minutes, 50.95 seconds), Murphy in the hammer throw (37.52 meters), Ryan Henderson in the 800 meters (2:00.41), and Caleb Henderson in the high jump (1.98 meters).
All four earned all-Conference Carolinas recognition.
The Trojans recorded nine individual runner-up finishes -- for which they were designated all-Conference Carolinas second team -- a second-place showing by the 400-meter relay team. The group included Souza in the 5,000 meters (16:14.42), and Murphy in both the discus (34.78 meters) and the shot put (12.62 meters). Paul Hoffman also claimed a pair of runner-up finishes in the 10,000 meters (33:18.84) and the steeplechase 9:55.25).
The others finishing second in an event were: Decardo Cole, 200 meters (22.18); David Wilson, 400-meter hurdles (58.57); Alejandro Swinson, hammer throw (36.83 meters), and Cort McCombs, javelin (44.25 meters).
Hoffman and Murphy earned all-Conference Carolinas honors for the second straight season. Hoffman won the steeplechase last year, and Murphy placed second in the hammer throw.
They were also two of seven Trojans to place third in events this weekend. Cole did so twice (100 meters and high jump). Caleb Henderson added a third-place showing in the triple jump to his win in the high jump. Others finishing third were: Jamar Davis (800 meters), James "Bear" Maloney (1,500 meters) and Ryan Campbell (shot put).
Mount Olive's women scored 200 points compared to second-place Limestone's 151. Lees-McRae was third with 104, followed by Queens with 68, Belmont Abbey with 54 and Barton with 22.
Carswell won the 100 meters in a time of 12.45 seconds and the 400 meters in a time of 58.12 seconds. She missed completing the sprint trifecta by the closest possible margin, coming in second in the 200 meters by one one-thousandth of a second. She rounded out her stellar showing with a third-place showing in the long jump (5.13 meters).
Chelsea Long and Kierra Butler were both two-time all-conference selections. Long won the 10,000 meters with a time of 40:24.80, and finished second in the 5,000 meters with a time of 20:29.90. Butler won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.83, and placed second in the triple jump with an effort of 10.52 meters. The jump was just one one-hundredth of a meter short of first place.
Long's runner-up finish in the 5,000 was part of an extremely close 1-2-3 sweep by the Trojans. Jessica McKinnis won the event with a time of 20:29.81 (.09 ahead of Long) and Courtney Siefert placed third with a time of 29:29.93 (.03 behind Long).
For the second year in a row, Denise Harrison became an all-conference honoree. Last year, she finished on the second team after a runner-up finish in the shot put. This year, she was a first-team member after winning the event with a toss of 10.99 meters.
Mount Olive brought home two other first-place finishes in the meet. Amber Thompson won the steeplechase in a time of 12:26.39, and the 1,600-meter relay squad claimed first with a time of 4:03.65.
The 400-meter relay team placed second with a time of 49.05. Other second-place finishes included Chelyn McCain in the 100-meter hurdles (15.57) and Shea Garner in the hammer throw (36.17 meters).
McCain also had a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (1:08.14). So did Terri Bluebird, who completed the steeplechase in a time of 13:27.70.
The Trojans return to action April 28-30 at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.