GOING THE DISTANCE

Women’s team wins its seventh indoor SoCon track and field championship

By BRYAN POWELL

The Western Carolina women’s track and field team won its seventh-ever women’s Southern Conference Indoor Championship in February at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem while the men finished third overall. WCU’s women held a four-and-a-half point lead over rival Appalachian State going into the final event, the women’s 4×400-meter relay.

SoCon Champions

The women’s track and field team celebrates its Southern Conference indoor championship. Photo courtesy of the Southern Conference

The Western Carolina women then did what they have done for the last six years by winning the relay event, finishing close to seven seconds ahead of second-place Appalachian State. The Catamounts – consisting of Genevieve Emrick, Corina Archie-McMillan, Jocelyn Keen and Tayla Carter – ran a 3:47.95, the fastest time the women have posted this season by three seconds. The team picked up a total of four wins to go with a multitude of top-eight finishes to earn the SoCon title.

“It was a total team effort and a great job of preparation by the ladies and all of our coaches,” said Coach Danny Williamson ’84 MAEd ’86. “I am very proud of all the effort. Our men did an outstanding job of fighting and battling until the very end. They fought as hard as any other team in the past has. Again, the effort that all of our kids gave was special, especially for our women, topping it off with the SoCon Indoor Championship.”

For their efforts during the weekend of events, Williamson and several of his student-athletes earned individual awards. Williamson – who won his 24th overall Southern Conference title, which includes outdoor championships – was named the Women’s Southern Conference Coach of the Year. It is the 30th time that Williamson has received a Southern Conference Coach of the Year honor. This year marks the 11th time that he has been named the SoCon Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year.

Senior Brandon Hairston also came away with big honors, as he was named the Men’s Most Outstanding Athlete and Most Outstanding Track Performer. On the women’s side, Alisha Bradshaw was named Most Outstanding Field Performer while Tayla Carter was named the Freshman of the Year.