The Tennessee track and field athletes, following a successful performance in the Tennessee Relays, which featured wins in five events for Tennessee, parted ways to participate in their own respective events over the weekend.
Tennessee’s sprinters flew out west to participate in the Mt. SAC Relays held in Walnut, California, while its long-distance runners and jumpers went north to Charlottesville, Virginia for the Virginia Challenge.
The Vols kept the positive momentum rolling, and Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan was very happy with both squad’s performances.
“All of us are climbing the ladder, and that’s what it takes,” Alford-Sullivan said. “This was a week to take steps forward and see the progress. They came in and competed hard.
“I was very proud of them.”
The Vols got things started off right at the Mt. SAC Relays. The men had an incredibly strong showing, winning two out of three of the events they were slotted to participate in and placing second in the other.
In the 100-meter open, Kwantrey McConio took second with a time 10.30 (+1.2). The second Vol in that particular event Elijah Miller finished 31st overall, posting a 10.73 (+0.3) mark.
Three Vols participated in the 200-meter open, including McConio and Miller. McConio stayed hot, racing to first place to claim his second top-three finish and breaking the line at 20.91 (+0.1) seconds. Nathan Strother was not far behind, giving Tennessee another top-ten finish at sixth place.
Miller had another shaky showing in the 200-meter, coming in at 43rd with a 22.08 (-0.6) mark.
Only one Tennessee sprinter in Strother participated in the 400-meter open, giving Tennessee another event win with a strong first-place time of 45.88 seconds.
The Tennessee women claimed five top-five performances, including two more event wins on the Mt. SAC Relays. Maia McCoy took fifth in the 100-meter open at 11.56 (-0.3) seconds.
She followed that up with another fifth-place finish in the 200-meter open. In the same event, Shania Collins placed second, finishing at 23.36 (-0.2) seconds.
The Tennessee women’s two event wins came in the 400-meter open and the 100-meter hurdles. In the 400-meter, two athletes finished back to back, with Felecia Majors nabbing first at 53.30 seconds. Lenysse Dyer finished just .02 seconds behind to take second place.
The lone Vol in the 100-meter hurdles Alexis Duncan walked away a winner with a first-place time of 13.24 (+1.5). Duncan’s victory was Tennessee’s first of the day, and her time was fourth best in Tennessee history.
The runners and jumpers at the Virginia Challenge had perhaps an even more impressive showing.
To kick off competition on Friday, Tennessee won two of the pole vaulting contests. Hannah Jefcoat won her first ever for the women, clearing 3.86-meters for a season-best.
The men, paced by Tristan Slater, followed it up with a victory of their own. He matched his season best of 5.06-meters to nab first. Behind him was another Vol in Nate Harper, who vaulted 4.66-meters for his own collegiate-best.
In the triple jump, LaChyna Roe took fourth for Tennessee, recording her best wind-legal jump of the season at 12.94 meters.
The second day was arguably one of the best days that Tennessee has had in the track and field circuit this season. The Vols set 20 season bests on Saturday.
“The Virginia Challenge went extremely well for us across the board,” Alford-Sullivan said. “We had a large distance contingent and had some breakthroughs in the 1500s and 800s.”
Both the men and women won in their respective 800-meter races. Sarah Reeves took first for the women in 2:13.10, with fellow freshman Nicole Adams not far behind in second at 2:13.67.
On the men’s side, Scott Cousino won the 800-meter at 1:53.11.
Tennessee’s third and final event win on Saturday came from Darryl Sullivan, who put forth a collegiate-best 2.16-meter leap in the high jump.
Tennessee will next travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas from April 27 through April 28 for the National Relay Championships.