SportsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Women’s Track & Field Win 2024 Conference Championship

 In a fitting conclusion to a dominant season, the Charlotte women’s track and field team won the 2024 American Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship on Sunday evening in San Antonio. The Niner women had six conference champions, including school records from Joyasia Smith in the 100m and the 4x100m relay team of JaNeya Hammond, Smith, Aniya Matthews, and Ta-Halia Fairman.

The women finished with a total of 142 points, beating second-place Rice by 20. In addition, the Charlotte men’s team came in second place with 143 total points, seeing four individual champions and a school record from Jake Soorus in the shot put.

“We had a great weekend with the women winning another championship,” said Charlotte head coach Bob Olesen. “While the men were second, we outscored our point projections so pleased that we stepped up and scored additional points in some events.  We are very proud of our program’s first year in the American Athletic Conference with two championships and four runners-up in our six sports of men’s and women’s track & field and cross country.”

In total, CLT had 10 conference champions, three school records, and 22 all-conference finishers, to include those who finished top-three in their respective events. Smith was named the Women’s MVP, while Olesen and his staff were named the Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year.

Nick Scudder kicked off the action with his championship run in the men’s 10000m, finishing in 30:33.64. On the women’s side of the race, Lauren Johnston came in third with her time of 37:53.76.

In the decathlon, Connor Wetherington finished seventh in the open javelin. In the heptathlon, Sasha Gregory finished out of scoring positions but moved up to third all-time for Charlotte.

In the men’s hammer throw, Lance Penegar placed third to earn bronze with a throw of 58.76m (192′ 09″). Competing in the women’s javelin, Elizabeth Bailey finished second to earn all-conference as she posted a throw of 51.03m (167′ 05″), just centimeters shy of the school record she set earlier in her career.

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Hunter White paced the field with a championship-winning time of 8:49.36. That set a new personal best and places him fifth all-time.

Riley Felts led the way in the women’s pole vault, jumping a height of 4.33m (14′ 2.5″) to win the individual conference championship. Sarah Brown finished right behind her in second place with a vault of 4.08m (13′ 4.5″).

Wetherington had a solid showing in the men’s decathlon, finishing fifth with 6469 total points. That is good for eighth all-time in school history. He performed best in the javelin throw where he placed first (55.95m, 183′ 06″).

Sophomore Chaunesse Barringer landed at seventh in the women’s long jump with a jump of 5.95m (19′ 6.25).

The Niner throwers continued to excel on day two, with Jake Soorus breaking a school record in the men’s shot put with a mark of 18.57m (60′ 11.25″). He finished second to earn all-conference. In the women’s shot put, Patience Marshall had a throw of 15.31m (50′ 2.75″), also finishing with a silver medal in second place.

“After two fouls and risking not making the final, [Soorus] went for it on his third attempt and hit a big PR and school record so [it was] a great result for the senior,” Olesen noted.

Sunday’s schedule featured the most finals events and the teams secured numerous event champions and podium finishes.

The Niners’ relay teams dominated the afternoon. The 4x100m relay team of Hammond, Smith, Matthews, and Fairman broke a school record with their time of 43.52 to win the conference title.

On the men’s side, the quartet of Ben Montgomery, Jaylin Milton-Hall, Jayden Phillip, and Tajauni Elliott placed third clocking in at 40.35.

Later in the evening, the 4x400m relay group — consisting of Angela Alozie, Fairman, Khia Holloway, and Smith — posted the second-best time in school history at 3:35.40 to take home the championship and put an exclamation point on the team title.

The men’s 4x400m team finished second, led by Jaiden Ventour, Phillip, Donny Lee, and Jordan Polk-Webb. They clocked in at 3:07.74, nearly finishing first but still posting the third-fastest time in school history.

Fairman continued to shine in the 400m, winning the individual championship with a time of 52.69 for a new PR. In one of the most impressive performances of the weekend, Smith set a school and meet record in the 200m, clocking in at 11.15 to earn a gold medal. She also took the conference crown in the 200m, finishing in 23.05.

“Joyasia and Ta-Halia had an amazing weekend running six races each and were the foundation of our women’s sprint group’s sweep of all five sprinting event championships,” Olesen said.

In the men’s 400m, Ventour placed third with a time of 47.15, followed closely by Polk-Webb in fourth place. 

In the men’s 1500m, Muhammad won gold with a time of 3:46.10. The Niner men racked up 21 points in this event with Alec Esposito (4th), Bryce Anderson (5th) and Braden Lange (7th). For the women, Johnston had another all-conference performance with a time of 4:27.60 to place second.

Muhammad also came in second in the 800m with a personal-best time of 1:50.36. In his fifth race of the weekend, he showed his range by scoring in the 5000m. Also scoring in the 800m was Andrew Mallo and Anderson.

Scudder won another championship in the men’s 5000m, completing the race in 14:11.89. He was followed by teammates Hunter White (4th) and Muhammad. The event completed a dominance of the top of the podium for the men’s distance group that won four of the five distance races.

In the men’s triple jump, Mikai Hunt finished sixth with a top jump of 15.25m (50′ 0.5″), setting a new PR as he remains ninth all-time. He was followed by Jordan McNair in seventh place.

In the women’s discus, Marshall earned another all-conference finish by coming in second with a throw of 50.23m (164′ 09″), with Kayla Davis-Edwards contributing in seventh place. On the men’s side, Penegar and Jahnaul Ritzie placed sixth and eighth, respectively.

Makiyah Sills came in seventh in the women’s 100m hurdles, finishing in 13.72. For the men, Sydney Littlejohn placed sixth clocking in at 14.10.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Amaya Hopkins and Ariana Rivera finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

“Thank you to our student-athletes, staff and administrators for making our success in San Antonio possible,” Olesen added. “I invite fans and alumni to follow us into the post season with the NCAA Preliminaries, NCAA Finals, and US Olympic Trials over the next six weeks.”

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