HIGH POINT — Tai Smith and Leah Hanle swept the Conference Carolinas Track Athletes of the Week honors follow outstanding performances from the two juniors at the Grand Valley State Holiday Open last Friday.
Leah Hanle in her first meet of the year secured her third consecutive trip to the NCAA DII National Championship with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the 5000m with a time of 16:23.52m. Hanle beat the automatic mark by 10 seconds finishing second in the race behind a Division I runner from Eastern Michigan. The junior beat the Division II cross country national champion from a week ago who was also competing in the race. Hanle is currently the No. 1 runner in the nation in the 5k.
Tai Smith ran a provisional qualifying time of 14:24.16 in the men’s 5000m at the GSVU Holiday Open. He finished the event 11th while setting a new UMO record beating Adam Craig’s time of 14:36.04 set during the 2017-18 season. Smith finished ahead of all the Queens runners who beat him last week and finished right behind the runner who placed 9th at the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships. Smith’s eleventh-place finish ranks him first in the conference in the 5000m run.