Coogs in good shape going into Saturday.
Cougar women sit sixth, men seventh after first day of competition
HOW IT HAPPENED
Samuels earned First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors with her gold medal in the women’s long jump. The sophomore claimed her first indoor title with a best leap of 20-3.0 (6.17m). Samuel’s, who claimed the outdoor championship in the event as a freshman, saw five of her six leaps travel more than six meters and was the only participant in the event to clear the 6.00m mark.
Freshman Naomi Taylor also picked up points for the Cougars in the event with a fourth place finish in 19-0.75 (5.81m) to score five points, while Justice Henderson picked up two points with a seventh place finish in 18-7.75 (5.68m).
The men’s first medal of the Championships also came in the long jump, where senior Antwan Dickerson picked up a silver medal in the event. Dickerson used his final attempt of the competition to leap 24-9.0 (7.54m) to take the runner-up finish.
Jared Kerr picked up four points for the Cougars in the long jump with a fifth place finish in 24-2.25 (7.37m).
Qualifying action began for the Cougars in the men’s and women’s 60-meter hurdles, where the Cougars saw a trio of student-athletes reach Saturday’s final. On the women’s side, freshman Naomi Taylor ran 8.44 to grab the top overall qualifying spot, while on the men’s side, Amere Lattin also qualified No. 1 overall at 8.09, while freshman Quivell Jordan ran 8.17 to qualify third.
The 60-meter dash followed, and the Cougars saw four more sprinters reach the finals of their event. Junior Mario Burke took the fastest qualifying time at 6.66, while senior Elijah Hall finished right behind his teammate at 6.67. Junior John Lewis III qualified fourth overall in 6.72, while freshman Nicholas Alexander took the sixth spot in 6.74.
Sophomore Brianne Bethel punched her ticket to the finals in each of the 60- and 200-meter dashes. Bethel qualified third overall in the straight-track race in 7.42, while running 23.93 in the 200 to also qualify third.
The Cougars put four in the final of the men’s 200 as well, with Hall taking the top qualifying mark as the only sub-21 time at 20.86. Senior Kyle Fulks qualified with the fourth-fastest mark of the prelims at 21.35, while freshman Trenton McDonald’s time of 21.51 stood sixth and John Lewis III qualified eighth in 21.54.
The Cougar men turned in another strong showing in the 400-meter dash, with three more sprinters reaching Saturday’s final. Kahmari Montgomery took the No. 1 overall spot with the fastest time of 47.30, while Lattin ran 47.74 to qualify third, and freshman Jemiyah Franklin took the seventh spot at 48.58.
In the middle distance, a pair of Cougar men booked a berth in Saturday’s final event with top-8 qualifying times on Friday. Junior Cameron Laverty turned in the fastest time in the preliminary round by running 1:51.77, while Aaron Hurd took the sixth qualifying spot at 1:53.15.
Running action was capped on the final day with the women’s and men’s distance medley relay, where each of the men’s and women’s teams took fifth place. The Cougar women crossed the line in 12:00.51, while the men ran 10:14.30.
The meet kicked off with the multi-events, where defending champion Nate Mechler sits second with 3,154 points after the first day of action in the heptathlon. Mechler ran 7.10 in the 60-meter dash to pick up 847 points, before jumping 24-5.6 (7.43m) to win the long jump and score 918 points. Mechler picked up 631 points in the shot put with a mark of 40-8.25 (12.40m) before closing out the opening day with 758 points in the high jump after clearing the bar at 6-4.75 (1.95m).
Junior Sebastian Russi sits ninth in the heptathlon after the first day with 2,713 points. The final three events will consist of the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run, on Saturday.
The Cougars just missed picking up points in each of the women’s and men’s 5,000-meter runs. On the women’s side, Madison Brown took ninth with a time of 17:16.95, while for the men, G.J. Reyna also took ninth in 14:47.96.