CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s and women’s Indoor Track and Field teams are headed to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Southern Conference championships Saturday and Sunday at the JDL Fast Track. This will be the 79th annual Indoor Track and Field Championship for the men and the 27th for the women.
Chattanooga will head to the championships with a very young and inexperienced women’s team. The majority of the expectations are riding on sophomore Cross Country All-American Teghan Henderson (Pickering, Ontario) who third in the SoCon standings in both the Mile and the 3000 meter run. However, she is battling injury late this season and may only run the 3000m.
The other veteran distance runner, Rebecca Greenwall (Bogart, Ga.) will be in the prelims for the 800 meter and the Mile runs. Senior Gabby Cader (Cleveland, Tenn.), running her final indoor championship meet, suffered an ankle injury earlier this season and be limited to the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) and the 4x400 meter. Junior Keeley Stewart (Winchester, Tenn.) will run the 3000m and the 5000 meter events for the Mocs.
“Our best chance to reach the podium this year will be the women’s DMR,” UTC Head Coach Bill Gautier said.
Freshman Jessica York (Normandy, Tenn.), running in her first-ever track and field meet, will lead off the event with Cader taking the baton for the 400 meter portion. Kiaana Howard (Nashville, Tenn.), who rolled her ankle in practice on Sunday, is covering the 800 meter third leg. Freshman Hannah Chamblin (Memphis, Tenn.) will anchor the event in her first collegiate indoor track and field championships.
The men will be without senior Lucas Cotter (Collierville, Tenn.) who has not competed all season due to injury. Fellow senior Mark Cole (McKenzie, Tenn.) missed all of last season with injury will just compete in the 5000 meter this year.
“That leaves Nathan Wanuch to lead the group,” Gautier said. “He is more than capable of that. He is a senior with a great career and has done some special things for our program.”
Wanuch, a senior out of Mississauga, Ontario, will run the 3000 and 5000 meter runs. Senior Harry Smithers (Melbourne, Australia) is ranked eighth among all runners this season in the 3000 meter with Wanuch 11th in the standings.
Last season sophomore Marquis Carter (Memphis, Tenn.) and Trevor Janssen (Jordan Station, Ontario) finished second and fourth in the 800 meter run, respectively. Currently Janssen has the seventh best time in the league standings while Carter’s 1:55.80 at the Samford Multi and Invitational is ninth in the conference.
“Call it a sophomore jinx, but they have struggled somewhat this year,” Gautier said. “But we’re counting on them to step up and hopefully duplicate what they did last year.”
Sophomore Iman Isang (Atlanta, Ga.) runs the 60 meter hurdles. He is currently running seventh in the league standings, identical to where he finished last season in the event. Geoff Nelson (Brentwood, Tenn.) will run in the DMR and 4x400 meter relays for Chattanooga. UTC is also counting on James Stovall (Cleveland, Tenn.). He has spent the spring in football workouts and, despite not being properly rested for his jumping events, has done an impressive job.
“He hasn’t been able to practice because of football,” Gautier said. “But this time he will be a day fresh and will be a good plus for us.”
The championships will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with the women’s pentathlon events, followed by the men’s heptathlon events at 10:15 a.m. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday at 4:40 p.m. The event is free to the public. Live results, daily recaps, daily photos and video highlights can be found on the Southern Conference website and GoMocs.com.