The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men and Women's track and field teams traveled this week to SPIRE Institute Track and Field Sports Complex in Geneva, OH to compete in the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. With only select athletes for UC qualifying for the meet, the Patriots wanted to go in and make a big impact on the events and they did just that.
UC had an outstanding meet leaving with eleven different All-Americans with a total of fourteen All-American performances. This is the largest number of All-Americans the track team has ever had at a NAIA National Championship meet.
On the men's side, receiving All-American status was senior Aundreas Lopez (Fort Lee, VA) finishing in 3rd with a time of 2:28.41 in the men's 1,000m run, only placing 3rd by less than a second from the winning time. Lopez led nearly the entire race and was barely outkicked to the finish. Lopez placed the highest of all participating Patriots at the National meet.
The Men's Distance Medley Relay team consisting of Erik Willis (Richmond, VA), Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY), Donnie Whyte (Miamisburg, OH), and Aundreas Lopez finished in 5th place overall with a time of 10:04.22, also earning All-American honors. Competing in the men's 5000 meter run was senior Landon Hamilton (Andover, OH). Hamilton finished the preliminaries with a time of 15:25:58 placing 15th overall. Senior Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY) placed 9th overall in the men's 800 meter run with a time of 1:54.45.
Also looking further into distance on the men's team, Donnie Whyte (Miamisburg, OH) ran in the men's mile where he ran a time of 4:25.70 placing 25th. Jonathan Gears (Andover, OH) and Sam Meredith (Louisville, KY) participated in the men's 3,000 meter run. As they were both in the same heat in the preliminaries, Meredith placed 17th overall running a time of 8:42.91, while Gears advanced on to finals where he earned All-American honors running a personal best time of 8:27.00 placing 8th, capturing the last All-American spot in the last 300 meters of the race as he moved from 9th to 8th.
Representing sprints for the Patriots was Albert Huntley (Atlanta, GA). Huntley made it through preliminaries running 6.80, and semi-finals running 6.78, to advance to finals where he placed 6th overall in the men's 60 meter dash running a time of 6.88. Huntley earned All-American honors. Wrapping up the men's team, freshman James Bullock (Hudson, FL) had numerous outstanding performances as he also took All American Honors, placing 6th in the heptathlon. Bullock made a personal best time or jump in almost every event. Bullock scored 4,813 total points.
On the women's side, senior Darcy Mascotti (Bellbrook, OH) and sophomore Danielle Hoop (Owenton, KY) received All-American status in the 1000 meter run. Mascotti placed 4th with a personal record and school record of 2:53.34. Mascotti won her heat in the preliminaries to advance on to the finals. Not even a second behind in the finals was Hoop who took 5th place running a new personal record of 2:53.56. Mascotti ran nearly two entire seconds faster, while Hoop ran nearly six seconds faster this year than a year ago at Nationals.
Also competing for the women was freshman Charnay Ryland (Germantown, MD) in the triple jump event jumping 10.87 meters to place 16th in the preliminaries. The women's team also participated in the Distance Medley Relay where they took third in the preliminaries to advance to the finals where they placed 4th all earning All-American Honors, and setting a new school record of 12:03.36. The team consisted of freshman Samantha Proffitt (London, KY), seniors Natasha Sydnor (Elizabethtown, KY) and Darcy Mascotti (Bellbrook, OH), and sophomore Danielle Hoop (Owenton, KY).
With the 14 athletes that represented the University of the Cumberlands this weekend at the Indoor Track and Field National Championships, the men's team placed 16th of 50 teams scoring 17 points, while the women's team took 21st of 51 teams scoring 14 points.
Assistant Coach BJ Temple commented, "I could not be more proud of each of these athletes, and what they came here to accomplish."
The Patriots look to take this drive into a great outdoor season. The outdoor season will begin on Friday March 15thas the Patriots will travel to participate in the UNC-Charlotte 49er Classic.
For more information on the Patriots Track and Field programs along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article provided by Danielle Hoop, UC Multimedia and Athletic Services Student Assistant