HICKORY, N.C. – The Anderson University men's and women's track and field teams combined to win a pair of events, set nine career-best marks and qualified three runners for Saturday's finals on Thursday's opening day of the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Outdoor Championships.
Following Thursday's events, the AU women's squad is fourth in the standings, while the Trojan men are fifth. The championships are being hosted by Lenoir-Rhyne on the Irwin Belk Track at the Moretz Sports Athletics Complex.
In the women's heptathlon, freshman Katharine Landry stands fourth after four events. The Ashland, Mass., native decisively won the shot put by more than a meter with a career-best toss of 11.45 meters. She claimed fourth place in the 100 meter hurdles in a personal-best time of 16.82 and tied for 11th in the high jump with a height of 1.34 meters. Landry finished fifth in the 200 meters in a time of 28.15.
Landry also claimed fourth place in the women's javelin throw with a distance of 35.73 meters.
Sophomore Olivia Rish (4:50.80) posted the best time of the day in the women's 1,500 meter prelims, while classmate Lydia Gambrell claimed the final spot in Saturday's finals by finishing 12th in a time of 5:04.10. Senior Maddie Buddenberg (5:39.90) and sophomore Natalie Ardis (5:43.52) finished 19th and 21st, respectively.
Gambrell finished 15th in the women's 800 meter prelims in a time of 2:30.17, with Ardis claiming 26th place in a time of 2:49.67.
Senior Madison Seay qualified for Saturday's finals by finishing fourth in the women's 400 meter hurdle prelims in a time of 1:05.63, while senior JoLyn Copeland captured seventh place in the women's hammer throw with a personal-record toss of 42.22 meters.
Freshman Melea Sangl claimed fifth place in the women's 3000 meter steeplechase in a time of 12:09.69, which was less than two seconds off her personal best.
Sophomore Olivia Evans was third in the finals of the 10,000 meter run in a personal-best time of 39:01.68, while sophomore Hannah Beach finished sixth in a time of 39:45.00. Junior Emily Olson finished 17th in the in a career-best time of 44:31.98.
On the men's side, junior Robert Jones was eighth following three events in the decathlon after finishing fifth in the shot put with a toss of 9.46 meters and seventh in the 100 meters with a personal-best time of 11.94. He also finished seventh in the long jump with a personal-best distance of 5.85 meters, but was unable to capture points in the high jump and did not compete in the 400 meters.
Jones claimed 11th place in the men's 400 meter hurdle prelims in a time of 57.94.
Sophomore Philip Quillen won the men's 3000 meter steeplechase in a career-best time of 9:34.80, with fellow sophomore Joey Teachout taking fourth place in a personal-best time of 9:52.67.
In men's hammer throw, senior Anthony Aleruchi finished 16th with a toss of 38.48 meters, with sophomore Connor Wheatley claiming 19th place with a distance of 34.44 meters. Freshman Evan Francis (23.80 meters) finished 24th.
Sophomores David Rolon (4.27.32) and Hayden Tuten (4:31.97) finished 19th and 22nd in the 1,500 meter prelims, but neither were able to advance to Saturday's finals.
Freshman Scott Sanford claimed sixth place in the men's javelin throw with a distance of 48.15 meters, while Jones captured 20th place with a toss of 37.68 meters.
Junior Jordan Anderson narrowly missed out on qualifying for the men's 400 meter finals after finishing 10th in a time of 49.58, while freshman Matthew Hobbs (52.79) finished 27th. Hobbs also claimed 31st place in the men's 200 meter prelims in a time of 24.02.
Sophomore Matthew Burgess claimed 10th place in the men's 800 meter prelims in a time of 1:59.21, with Rolon taking 28th place in a time of 2:13.80.
Freshman Noah McLain led three Trojans in the men's 10,000 meter run by finishing 12th in a personal-best time of 33.19.09, with sophomore Weston Hutto finished 14th in a time of 33:50.86 and freshman Brandon Wilson was 18th after crossing the finish line in a time of 34:48.62.
With inclement weather in the forecast for the entire region on Friday, the SAC Championships have been shortened to two days and will wrap up on Saturday. The men's decathlon is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m., with the women's heptathlon starting at 10 a.m.