Photos courtesy of Brett Page
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Conference Carolinas released its 2019 outdoor track and field preseason coaches' polls today (Tuesday, Mar. 19), with the Lees-McRae College men's track and field team being picked eighth and the women's team being picked ninth.
The University of Mount Olive was picked to top both polls, after sweeping the league's indoor track and field championships back on Feb. 17. The men were slated with 80 points and eight first-place votes, while Limestone was voted second with 72 points. Barton was picked third with 60 points, followed by North Greenville in fourth with 59 points. Emmanuel (Ga.) garnered the remaining first-place vote in a fifth-place tie with King (Tenn.) with 48 points, while Southern Wesleyan was picked seventh with 40 points. Lees-McRae (36) and Belmont Abbey (25) rounded out the men's poll. Mount Olive topped the women's poll with 90 points and nine first-place votes, while Southern Wesleyan was picked second with 78 points. Limestone was picked third with 75 points, while North Greenville was slated fourth with 58 points. Converse took fifth in the poll with 53 points, while King (Tenn.) was slated sixth with 47 points. Emmanuel (Ga.) was picked seventh with 45 points, while Barton took eighth with 35 points. Lees-McRae (32) and Belmont Abbey (27) rounded out the poll.
Jason Saintizaire, Cooper Abernathy and Nolan Capps were selected as athletes to watch for Lees-McRae in the high jump, javelin throw and steeple chase respectively. Saintizaire was an All-Conference selection in the high jump at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships back on Feb. 17, while Abernathy logged top-10 finishes in both the weight throw and the shot put at the indoor championships. Capps also logged a sixth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run at the indoor championships.
Bayle Wood, Sariah Dempaire-Salomon and Jordyn Halvorsen were selected as athletes to watch for Lees-McRae on the women's side, competing in the javelin, shot put and steeple chase respectively. Wood competed in the weight throw primarily during indoor season, breaking the school's indoor record before re-breaking her own record a week later. She broke the school indoor record in the weight throw with a throw of 13.38 meters, breaking Kayla Powell's record of 13.15 meters which was set back on Feb. 28, 2016 at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships. On Feb. 7 at the JDL Fast Track Team Challenge, Wood's weight throw of 13.43 meters re-broke the record she had set previously. Dempaire-Salomon also has her name in the Lees-McRae indoor record books, breaking the school's indoor shot put record on Dec. 1 at the Appalachian State Open. Her throw of 11.63 meters broke the school's record of 11.36 meters set by Rachelle Cleveland back at the App State Open in 2012. Salomon also earned All-Conference honors in the shot put with her performance at the conference indoor championships. Halvorsen logged two top-10 finishes at the conference indoor championships, finishing sixth in the distance medley relay and also being a part of the 4x400-meter relay team that finished 10th.
The track and field teams open the outdoor season this weekend (Mar. 22-23) at the Winthrop Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C.