Men’s track and field wins SoCon, women’s places second

Andrew Clausen

Men’s track beats Western Carolina and Samford to clinch SoCon title while women’s falls to Western Carolina

Men’s Track

It came down to the final 4×400, but the Appalachian State men’s track and field won its 19th Southern Conference indoor title Sunday.

The Mountaineers finished the weekend at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem with 183.5 points. Two of App State’s biggest rivals, Samford and Western Carolina, came in second and third with 179 and 161.5 points, respectively.

“Our goal at the beginning is to win the SoCon, and we’ve been doing that pretty frequently,” said John Weaver, director of cross-country and track and field. “But this year we were feeling a bit like an underdog and as it turned out, the men performed well.”

Sophomore Stanley Broaden had a good showing, finishing first in the 60-meter hurdles with a 7.90. Broaden broke the SoCon and App State record for this event in the preliminary round.

“Everyone did their part as a team, and that’s why we were successful,” Broaden said. “It makes it so much better when everyone knows their role in the team and everyone does their job well.”

Broaden wasn’t the only Mountaineer who came in first. Senior Jared Stalling won the weight throw title and tossed for 18.83-meters, giving him his second title alongside his one for shot put he received the first day.

“This could be one of the biggest wins for our team,” Stalling said. “We lost indoor last year and we lost some great runners last year. We came in as an underdog team, which we haven’t really done before – we’re usually the favorite – and we came in and won it.”

Stalling said the competition was tough and the win easily could have gone to Samford or Western Carolina.

“It’s a pretty big win,” Stalling said. “It came down to the end, the last race. It means a lot to me that I could end my career year with a chance for the Triple Crown.”

A college team wins the Triple Crown when they sweep the cross-country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field championships in the same year.

Broaden acknowledged it will be a challenge, but thinks the team will find the motivation.

“I think with us having the opportunity to win a Triple Crown, we’ll have the motivation,” Broaden said. “This chance doesn’t come around very often and I think that will push us.”

The men will be back Saturday, March 2 as several athletes are traveling to the Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet to try to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The meet is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. 

Women’s Track

The Appalachian State women’s track team fell short in the Southern Conference indoor track championship this weekend.

App State finished the weekend in second place with 143.5 points, while Western Carolina took the championship with 149 points. Samford came in third with 139.

John Weaver, director of cross-country and track and field, said they just couldn’t quite get the points they needed to seal the deal.

“They were ranked third in power rankings, and once again, we had a few women come through,” Weaver said. “Unfortunately, they fell a little short. They too had a chance going into the 4×400, but it didn’t work out.”

Junior Breanna Alston led the Mountaineers by being the only individual champion for the women. She won both the 200-meter dash (24.38 seconds) for the second year in a row and the 400-meter dash (56.70).

“It was a pretty good fight to the end,” Alston said. “As the season progressed, everyone was competing well and then the championship got here and we had a lot of people not ranked in the top-8. Overall, it wasn’t the win that we wanted, but we were happy to come out ranked second.”

Alston said the support was the biggest thing the team did well during the championship.

“We were a little nervous going in, we didn’t know what to expect as far as the outcome,” Alston said.

She said despite the loss, she’s still confident in the team’s abilities but thought the lack of depth hurt them.

“I think what’s going to help us is we need to train harder and make sure that we’re ready for SoCon and have the motivation so that everyone competes to their best ability so we can have people in the top 8,” Alston said.

The women will be back Saturday, March 2 as several athletes are traveling to the Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet to try to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The meet is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Story: ANDREW CLAUSEN, Sports Editor