Track & Field wins AAC Championship

On Friday, February 16th, the Koalas' indoor track & field team competed in the inaugural Appalachian Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. The event was held at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Columbia College came out on top scoring an impressive 146 points to win the women's title by 33 points over Milligan, who finished second with 113 points. Teams rounding out the top 5 were Union with 112.5 points,  Tennessee Wesleyan with 106 points, and Brenau 85.5 points.

Three Koalas were crowded conference champions in their respective events. 13 Koalas earned All-Conference Team status, along with 7 school records being broken, and first-year Kelsey White-Kennedy, earning Freshman of the Year honors.

Junior Lauren Glencross, led the team in scoring with 22 points across 3 events. Lauren finished 2nd in the 1000m with a time of 3:04.54, just barely missing the national qualifying standard of 3:03:50. Glencross would later finish 2nd in the 800 meters and third in the 600 meters.

Senior Yasmine Keeley, won the long jump event, making her the first Koala to ever win a conference title in outdoor and indoor track & field. Yasmine also finished 7th in the triple jump, and tied for 5th place in the high jump.

First-year Kelsey White-Kennedy, won the 60m hurdles, breaking her own school record by running a time of 8.93 seconds. That finish currently ranks her as 12th in the national NAIA rankings. Kelsey would later break her own school record in the 200m dash with a time of 27.02 seconds, good for a 5th place finish. Kelsey would finish the day leading off the 4x400 meter relay team, with her teammates Averi Goss, Courtney Lambert, and Katie Kopp. That 4x400m team would finish 2nd to earn All-Conference Team honors in a time of 4:32.84.

First-year Alexandria Williams, won the 60 meter dash in a school record time of 8.00 seconds. Alexandria would later finish 7th in the 200m dash, and 6th in the long jump.

Senior and co-team captain Katie Kopp, had a very busy day competing in 6 events, and scoring in 4 of them. She was the anchor leg in the previously mentioned 4x400m relay, along with an 8th place finish in the 60 meter hurdles, 5th place in the high jump, and 3rd place in the long jump.

Senior Irene Requena, scored in all 3 of her events as well. She and her 4x800 meter relay teammates, Alyssa Waibel, Helen Taylor, and Annika Wicht, started the day off right with a 2nd place finish, earning that team All-Conference honors. Irene later finished 4th in the Mile, and 6th in the 1000 meter run. Annika Wicht would also finish 8th place in the Mile run. Sophomore Alyssa Waibel would later finish 5th in the Mile, and 7th in the 800 meters.

First-year Amber Boyd, would break her own school record in the high jump with a leap of 1.55 meters (5 feet 1 inch) to earn 2nd place honors. Amber would also finish 7th place in the 60 meter dash.

In the throwing events, sophomore Iris Duke and senior Amber Waynick, both made the finals of the shot put to finish 6th and 7th, respectively. Amber would also make the finals of the weight throw and break the school record with a throw of 12.29 meters (40 feet 4 inches). Amber would finish 6th place and junior Kaela Hill would finish in 7th place.

Junior Bailey Dawkins had a phenomenal comeback performance in the pole vault. Having been side-lined last year for shoulder surgery, Bailey came right out of the gate and finished 3rd in the pole vault just missing her own school record by 2 inches. Her teammate, sophomore Aleah Haltiwanger, would finish 6th in pole vault and 8th in triple jump.

Other point scoring performances were turned in by first-year Julisa Echeverria, who finished 5th in the 400 meter dash, and 7th in the 600 meter run. First-year Averi Goss was right behind Julisa in the 400 meter dash, finishing in 6th place.

The Koalas scored points in every event that was contested with the exception of the 3000 meter run. The Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship for Outdoor Track & Field will be held April 27th-28th at Montreat College.

by. Justin Bishop