App State breaks records and wins gold at Duke Invitational


Courtesy of Andy McLean, App State Athletics

Junior distance runner Claire Mason passes an opponent during the steeplechase event April 4, 2022.

Drew Bailey, Reporter

The men’s and women’s Mountaineer track teams earned a combined 14 top-10 finishes at the Duke Invitational Friday and Saturday. This included a new program record and three medals.

Senior Ryan Brown rewrote history when he ran 8:51.28 minutes in the 3000-meter steeplechase to set a new school record. Brown’s fourth place finish in the event broke the App State record from 1996, and he earned Sun Belt Track Athlete of the Week honors. 

In the triple jump, junior Jada Branch leaped for first place with her personal best of 12.86 meters. Senior Hassani Burris also made her mark in the triple jump with a 12.44 meter jump and a third place finish. 

Teamwork proved to be paramount in the men’s and women’s relays. In the men’s 4×400 meter relay, sophomore Cole Krehnbrink, graduate student De’Shawn Ballard, sophomore Jabari Dalton and senior Dylan Blankenship collected the silver medal with a 3:14.84 minutes. 

The women’s team of senior Jelonnie Smith, graduate student LaBria King, junior Taylor Smith and junior Mariah Atwater took fourth in the 4×100 meter relay after finishing with a 45.70 second time. This came a week after they broke the 4×100 meter relay record at the VertKlasse Meeting. 

Blankenship finished fifth in the 400-meter hurdles after vaulting to 53.62 meters. 

In the pole vault, junior Celia Agee soared 3.55 meters to finish sixth and post the school’s best time of the season. 

Seven was the Mountaineer’s magic number Saturday as four track athletes finished in seventh place. In the men’s 4×100 meter relay, freshman Miles Stephens, freshman Chandler McClendon and Dalton ran a 41.43 second time. King notched an 11.84 second time in the 100 meters. In the high jump, senior Kayla Carson’s 1.60 meter jump earned her the last seventh-place finish. 

App State is going to attempt changing more pages in its record books when it heads to Auburn University for the War Eagle Invitational April 15-16.