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Appalachian State Track And Field Wrap Up Sun Belt Tournament
Taylor Smith finished 26th in the long jump at the NCAA East Preliminaries.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Track and Field Wrap Up Sun Belt Tournament

The App State men’s and women’s track and field team closed out the final day of action at the Sun Belt Championships in Lafayette, La. on Saturday, totaling eight medals on the weekend. After a second weather delay, the Mountaineers finished sixth with 58 points in the men’s team standings. The women’s team tied for seventh with ULM, earning 51 points.

Junior Jada Branch secured second with a leap of 12.78m (41′ 11.25″) in the women’s triple jump. Branch’s mark surpassed the women’s triple jump facility record of 12.75m (41′ 10″), previously set by Suzette Lee in 1999. ULM’s Eunice Ilunga Mbuyi, who placed first in Saturday’s final, now holds the record with a mark of 12.82m (42′ 0.75″). Following Branch, senior Hassani Burris took fifth with a leap of 12.19m (40′ 0″). Graduate student Macki Walsh also earned silver with a time of 4:36.36 to place second in the women’s 1500 meters. Following Walsh in the 1500 meters, was sophomore Jasmine Donohue, who placed fifth overall with a time of 4:38.97.

In the men’s 100 meters, senior De’Shawn Ballard earned his spot on the podium after posting a time of 10.33 to place third. Ballard’s time places him fourth in the App State all-time list.

Junior Eric Haddock Jr. placed fourth in the men’s triple jump, recording a leap of 15.25m (50′ 0.5″). Haddock had earned bronze in the men’s long jump on Friday, posting a mark of 7.52m (24′ 8.25″) to place third on the podium. Fellow junior Patrick Freeman also notched a fourth-place finish, clearing a personal-best 4.98m (16′ 4″) in the men’s pole vault. Freeman remains fourth in the App State all-time list in the men’s pole vault after Saturday’s performance.

In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, senior Dylan Blankenship clocked a time of 53.10 to place fifth in the final. Freshman Alexis Svoboda also posted a fifth-place finish, leading the Mountaineers in the women’s 5000 meters and stopping the clock at 18:04.35.

Friday’s action saw five Mountaineers reach the podium with junior Taylor Smith and senior Ryan Brown securing sliver medals for their performances in the women’s long jump (6.11m (20′ 0.5″), PR) and men’s 3000-meter steeplechase (9:06.55), respectively. Smith’s jump is tied for fifth all-time in the App State records. Sophomore Calbert Guest and freshman Karsyn Kane earned bronze medals in the men’s men’s 3000-meter steeplechase (9:11.71, PR) and women’s 3000-meter steeplechase (10:56.39), respectively.

The NCAA East Preliminary Round will be held May 25-28 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. The top-48 declared student-athletes will be accepted for each individual event and the top-24 declared relay teams will be accepted for the relay events. Accepted competitors will be announced on the week prior to competition.

Several Mountaineers are projected to advance to the NCAA East Prelim at the close of the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. Currently, Branch and Burris are ranked 23rd and 36th in the women’s triple jump and Brown is ranked 28th in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase. Smith shifted to 42nd in the women’s long jump after her performance on Friday. Ballard, Haddock, and junior Djamila Petersen are also in the running to participate in the preliminary meet in the men’s long jump and women’s triple jump, respectively.

All regional qualifiers will be finalized after all NCAA conference meets conclude.