MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Charlotte track and field teams continued their trek in the 2016 Conference USA Championships in Murfreesboro, Tenn., highlighted by four trips to the podium on Day 3, including three golds, and the men’s squad currently sitting in second place in the team scoring.
Senior All-American Trey McRae set a new league milestone, becoming the first male competitor to win both the long and high jump events in outdoor since 2008. McRae set a new personal record at 7.87m as he took gold in the long jump, and followed that up by literally leaving the podium to enter the high jump competition and take the top height of 2.17m.
McRae’s medals marks the eleventh time the 49ers have taken gold in the long jump, and just the second in the high, joining himself from 2013.
Freshman Keon Howe followed up his strong rookie indoor season, where he took third in the event at the Indoor Championships, by claiming gold in the men’s pole vault. His mark of 4.92m was an outdoor personal best as he becomes the first gold medalist in the event in Charlotte history.
Rounding out the evening’s medalists was junior Ashleigh Handchen, who grabbed silver in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, collecting a new personal best of 10:38.67. Handchen kept pace near the front of the pack the entire race, and then poured it on in the last lap to take second, as she replaces herself for third on the All-Time Performances Lists.
The Niners had six other athletes score points on Saturday, with another six moving out of preliminaries to run in the respective event finals on Sunday.
Junior Jaylon Holt narrowly missed joining his teammate on the medal stand, finishing in fourth and scoring five points in the long jump at 7.35m. Holt shattered his old PR and moved into seventh on the All-Time Performances Lists in the event.
Also scoring points for the men was junior Will Thomas, who came in seventh at a mark of 2.01m in the high jump, sophomore Sasha Dajia, who also took seventh in his event of the discus, and freshman Aaron Gebhart, who finished in eighth place in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, setting a new PR of 9:10.64 seconds. Gebhart’s time moves him to third on the All-Time Performances Lists in the event.
Scoring for the women was the distance duo of junior Carolina Casin-Silva and senior Morgan Richards, who came in sixth and seventh respectively in the steeplechase. Casin-Silva set a new PR in the event at 10:58.77, moving up to seventh on the All-Time Performances Lists.
Senior Alvonna Blakney, the champion in the event at the 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships, once again qualified for the finals in the women’s 100m hurdles. Joining her on the men’s side is freshman Brian Kendrick, who tied for the fifth-fastest qualifying time out of the prelims. Kendrick was narrowly edged out of also qualifying for the 400m hurdles, coming in ninth at 54.61, losing by a hundredth (54.60) for the final finalist spot.
A pair of distance runners and a pair of sprinters each qualified for the finals, as seniors Taylor Carcella and Michael Tamayo each advance to the finals of the women’s and men’s 800m, and sophomores Kristen Williams and Saadiq Sweezer will move on in their respective gender’s 400m dash. Tamayo recorded the second fastest time of the men’s 800m event, while Williams posted the third best as she won her heat in the 400m.
The Charlotte men trail UTSA by just one point, as the teams post scores of 58 and 59 heading into the final day of competition. The Niner women are currently in fourth with 27.5 points to third-place’s WKU at 33.
The final day of action begins at 2:30 p.m. (CT) with the women’s triple jump, with running events slated to begin at 3:30 as the women’s 4x100 relay takes to the track.
Live results and video streaming can once again be found viewing Championship Central, courtesy of Conference USA.