CHARLOTTE, N.C. – King College began its Outdoor Track and Field season with promising marks, falling personal records and one Junior National qualifier at this weekend's 49er Classic, hosted by the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. Jordan Noe flew past the 2,000-meter steeplechase qualifying mark to top all King performances in the season pace-setting meet at Irwin Belk Track.
Noe, a freshman from Morristown, Tenn., became the first King Track and Field athlete to qualify for the U.S. Junior National team, flying by the qualifying mark of 6:25 by nearly 17 seconds. He finished the event with an official time of 6:08.05, granting him a second place finish in the event over three Charlotte and one Clemson (Division I) runner.
Of Noe's performance, Head Coach Peter Dalton said, "Jordan [Noe]'s finish is a huge accomplishment for himself and we are really proud of him for the work he put into making this happen. It is a really good precursor for him for this season as well as a real testament to the growth and development of our program."
Both teams finished where it had left off from the indoor season, making a statement in multiple events with personal records and personal growth being seen across the field.
Naseem Haje (Hagerstown, Md.) and Taylor Dix (Memphis, Tenn.) excelled in the men's 5k. Haje set a new school and personal record with a time of 15:07.51. He finished 12th in a field of 90 runners and topped performers from Division I schools Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Sophomore Spencer Frantom (Morristown, Tenn.) finished inside the top-30 while Taylor Dix showed great promise with his first sub-16 minute run, crossing the line at 15:46.
Continuing the distance runners success, Hannah Witt (Mountain City, Tenn.) and Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) both set personal records in the women's 5k race by substantial margins. The teammates finished 10th and 12th overall, respectively, each with times 18:16 or better. Witt earned a top-10 finish crossing the line at 18:01.70 while Sokol finished right behind her in their flight with an 18:15.96 finish time. Each beat their previous personal bests by more than 20 seconds.
The King throwers had a stellar day at the Classic, backing one another up and setting multiple PRs. Topping the field of throwers was Maegan Henry (Bluefield, Va.), who set a new personal and school record in the discus throw. Henry hit 40.00 meters in the event to set new marks and take away an eighth place overall finish. Miranda Broesche (Cleveland, Tenn.) set a new personal best in the hammer throw, eclipsing her previous mark by seven meters with a 35.98-meter toss.
Casey Stallard (Abingdon, Va.) toppled his previous best in the javelin throw by more than 11 meters, taking top placement in the event on Saturday with a personal-best 52.89 meters. He separated himself from the field by nearly four meters with his first throw of the day.
Freshman Rickey Bell finished second overall in the men's hammer throw, saving his best throw for last. The Advance, N.C., native improved each throw by nearly a meter, finishing with a new PR 41.61-meter toss. Jonathen Outen (Maynardville, Tenn.) finished sixth in the event after improving 4.12 meters between his second and third throws.
Continuing in the field events, current indoor record holder Shelbie Burchfield (Morristown, Tenn.) began her outdoor season on a positive note with a top-10 finish in the women's high jump. Burchfield topped out at 1.60 meters in the event.
Forrest Stuart (Appalachia, Va.) began his outdoor season well in the 110-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line at 15.43, a time that is likely to place him inside the top-3 in Conference Carolinas.
Carly Griffith (Charlotte, N.C.) set a new personal and lifetime best in the 800 meters. The freshman finished with a time of 2:22.98 in the event.
Also showing promise for the Tornado were Reggie Warren, Justin Newring, and Jordan Tippens. Warren and Newring showed considerable improvement from their training in the 400 meters with times of 22.43 and 22.38, respectively. Jordan Tippens set a season-best time of 50.3 in the 200 meters.
"This is a great start to our outdoor season," said Dalton. "Our throwers and sprint groups really came out of the gates strongly and we are really encouraged by their performances this weekend. The season is still early, so we just have to keep working with three more meets to go before the Conference Championships."
The Tornado will next compete in the Beyon Sports Catamount Classic in Cullowhee, N.C. on March 24.