A select group of University of the Cumberlands (UC) track and field athletes traveled to warm and sunny Charlotte, North Carolina for their spring break on Thursday to compete in the 49er Classic. This was the Patriots opening meet for the outdoor season.
On the women's side of the competition, only one Patriot lady competed. Sophomore Danielle Hoop (Owenton, KY) competed in both the women's 1500m run and 800m run. On Friday, Hoop finished in 8th overall out of 99 competitors running a personal record of 4:39. Hoop's time in the 1500m qualifies for "A" standard for nationals. In the 800m run the next day, she ran another personal record of 2:17, placing 9th overall out of 98 other competitors.
The men's team had numerous outstanding performances. Starting out the meet on Thursday for the Patriots, James Bullock (Hudson, FL) and Seth Stoffle (Seymour, TN) competed in the decathlon. Bullock placed 11th overall while Stoffle placed 13th. Bullock ended his decathlon performance on Friday totaling 5195 points while Stoffle scored 5105 points. In the men's 3000m steeplechase, Donnie Whyte (Miamisburg, OH) ran faster than a year ago going 9:46, placing 5th of 14 competitors.
In the men's 5000m run, Jonathan Gears (Andover, OH) and Sam Meredith (Louisville, KY) each ran very well. Gears captured a 4th place finish running a personal record by nearly two minutes of 14:49, hitting the "B" standard for this event to qualify for nationals. Meredith placed 36th running a 15:21. There were 88 runners in this race.
Competing in the Men's 100m dash was Albert Huntley (Atlanta, GA). Friday in the preliminaries, Huntley won his heat running a 10.705 which qualified him for finals the next day. On Saturday in the finals, from lane one Huntley finished 4th running a 10.63. This time hit "A" standard automatically qualifying Huntley for nationals. Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY) competed and ran extremely well in the men's 800m run. Kelly finished in 6th place overall with a time of 1:53.70. There were a total of 97 men who competed in this event as Kelly hit the "B" standard to qualify for nationals.
From the field, the throwers participated in each the shot, hammer, and discus throw but the shot put was where the Patriots excelled. Finishing 20th overall of 43 competitors was Corey Chaffin (Pataskala, OH) who threw 12.53m while Christian Brislenn (Franklin, OH) threw closely behind Chaffin placing 22nd throwing a distance of 12.34m.
Opening up the outdoor season with a bang, the Patriots will have many more chances to improve and qualify for outdoor nationals in May. The Patriots that competed in the 49er classic will have a week off before traveling to Georgia to compete in the Emory Classic on March 29th and 30th. Patriots who did not get the chance to participate in this meet will get to compete in Berea, KY next weekend on March 23rd.
For more information on the UC track teams as well as other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article Provided by Danielle Hoop, UC Multimedia & Athletic Services Student Assistant