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Paladins To Compete At SoCon Championship Beginning Thursday

Frank Lara
Frank Lara

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman outdoor track and field teams will compete at the 2018 Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships this Thursday and Friday at Western Carolina's Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee, N.C.  The two-day meet will be the 94th annual Outdoor Track & Field Championship for the men and the 32nd for the women.

The meet will begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with the men's 10,000m, followed by the women's 10,000m.  The decathlon commences at 10 and the heptathlon begins at 10:15. A full day of events concludes with the men's 3,000m Steeplechase at 5:35 p.m. and the women's Steeple at 5:55 p.m.  In all, 12 champions will be crowned on the first day of competition.

Friday's schedule opens with the first of the final five decathlon events at 9 a.m., with the heptathlon resuming at 10 a.m.  Field events begin with the shot put at 11:15 a.m. and the men's 4x100m relay gets the track events rolling at 1 p.m.  The day concludes with the men's and women's 4x400m relays at 4:25 p.m. and 4:40 p.m., respectively, followed by the awards ceremony.  Champions will be crowned in thirty events on the final day of the meet.

Last year the Paladins placed third with 109 points in the women's meet, the highest point total ever in Furman women's track and field history, and the highest team finish since 1994 when the Paladins also finished third.  The Furman men took fifth place with 105 points, the third-highest point total in the history of the Paladin men's program. 

Furman won seven events at last year's championships, with Frank Lara taking first in the men's 10,000m on the first day of competition and the 5,000m on day two.  Jaylan Reid won the shot put on day one, and the Furman men won titles in the 800m (Ryan Adams) and 1,500m (Troy Reeder) on the second day of competition.  Anna Hayden won the title in the women's 10,000m, and Allie Buchalski took the championship in the women's 5,000m.

The Paladins lead the SoCon with top times in six events going into the championship meet.  Freshman Emma Kuntz leads the league at 2:09.91 in the women's 800m, and Buchalski holds the top time in the 1,500m at 4:17.73 and in the 5,000m at 15:39.17.  Sophomore Emma Grace Hurley's time of 10:06.35 is tops in the SoCon in the 3,000m Steeplechase.  Troy Reeder leads the league in the men's 5,000m at 14:01.46 and in the 3,000m Steeplechase at 8:51.32.

"We are very excited to enter championship season with so many NCAA first round qualifiers and another terrific chance to match program points totals at the SoCon meet," said Furman head coach Robert Gary.  "Our cross country program has established itself inside the top 30 programs in the country, and we look to do the same in outdoor track."

The event is free to the public. Live results, daily photos, and video highlights can be found on-line at http://www.soconsports.com.  Daily recaps can be found on the Southern Conference website and at http://www.furmanpaladins.com.

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information