Track Heads to SoCon Outdoor Championships

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga outdoor track and field teams will take a short break from final exams over the weekend to head to Spartanburg, S.C., for the Southern Conference Championships. The year-end meet will be held at the Viking Athletic Complex on the Spartanburg High School campus Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27.

Seniors Mark Cole (McKenzie, Tenn.), Harry Smithers (Melbourne, Australia) and redshirt freshman Paul Stuart (Brentwood, Tenn.) will start things off with the men’s 10,000 meter finals at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“Mark is the ultimate Moc,” UTC head coach Bill Gautier said of his fifth-year senior. “It will be hard to see him go. He should run a strong race and I’m hoping he’ll finish his career on a strong note.”

Furman freshman Tanner Hinkle holds the league’s top time in the event when he posted a time of 29:38.11 at the Raleigh Relays on March 28.

Fellow senior Nathan Wanuch (Mississauga, Ontario) will run the 3000 meter Steeplechase. He is currently ranked fifth in the SoCon standings in the event with a time of 9:24.89 at the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Relays on March 28. Junior John Gilpin (Nashville, Tenn.) is ranked eighth in the event after running the race for the first time in his career with a time of 9:40.31.

“Nathan and Mark have been steady throughout their careers,” Gautier said. “They have always been scorers at the conference [championships] and we expect them to do well this weekend.

“Paul is a redshirt who has had success in cross country and we’re looking for that in track.”

Senior Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.) will run this weekend in his final meet of his career despite being injury plagued throughout the spring.

“Lucas has been a conference champ,” Gautier said. “He’ll give a really good effort and we’re hoping for something special, but he’s missed too much.”

Sophomore Trevor Janssen (Jordan Station, Ontario) who scored last year in the 1500 meter run will compete in that event as well as the 800 meter along with Stuart.

“We’ll let Teghan do her thing,” Gautier said of his star runner.

Redshirt freshman and cross country All-American Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) will run the women’s 10,000 meter and depending on how she feels, is an option for the 5000 meter Sunday evening. She holds the league’s top time and the Chattanooga school record in the event after running a 16:13.03 at the Stanford Invitational on April 4.

Senior Gabby Cader (Cleveland, Tenn.) will close out her career this weekend. Normally a 400 meter runner, she will compete with obstacles in the 400 meter hurdles, an unfamiliar event that she has only run in once earlier this season. She is ranked 14th in the league with a time of 1:06.58 posted in the season opening USF Invitational.

“We’re hoping she ends on a good note,” Gautier said of his lone senior on the women’s squad. “She had a good career and has always been a solid runner. We’re hoping she has a good day.”

Sophomore Rebecca Greenwall (Bogart, Ga.), normally a distance runner, will also be running an uncharacteristic race. She will compete in the 3000 meter Steeplechase.

“While she’s not as good as she needs to be technique-wise,” Gautier said. “She is a strong runner and will give us an opportunity to score this weekend.”

Freshmen Jessica York (Normandy, Tenn.) and Maddison Melchionna (Afton, Tenn.) are expected to have a better than expected season after a strong outdoor season. Melchionna ran a strong 800 meter in the season opener while the pair posted good times at the Georgia Tech Relays. Melchionna is ranked 13th in the 800 meter and 20th in the 1500 meter while York is 15th in the longer race after posting a time of 4:43.08.

“They have gone to a whole other level from where they were,” Gautier said. “It’s still not the level they need to be, but they should be able to compete this weekend.”

Junior Kiaana Howard (Nashville, Tenn.) will anchor the women’s 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays.

The top eight individuals in each event score, while the top 3 individuals in each event are awarded All-Conference honors. 

The Western Carolina men and women took home the 2013 team titles. The Catamount men's team totaled 222.5 points, followed by Samford with 209 points. The Western Carolina women's team tallied 197.5 points, followed by Appalachian State with 159.5 points.

Live scoring will be available on the track schedule page at with complete results available following the event.

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