Delsin Burkhart competing at the JDL Flat in Fast Invitational. Image/UNCP Athletics

By: Nicole Cook, Reporter

The Conference Carolinas Championships are only a month away on Feb. 20-21 at the JDL Fast Track in Winston Salem.

As the two squads prepare, both the men’s and women’s teams look promising this year after they were predicted to be second in the conference according to preseason polls.

The women’s team will be defending a championship title after they were crowned the 2021 Conference Champions last spring. Meanwhile, the men’s squad also has a legacy to defend after their successful season placing second in the conference.

This past Sunday the UNCP Track and Field teams competed at the JDL Flat is Fast Invitational. Both squads combined boasted a total of 12 top-five finishers.

From the men’s team, Jaidin Thomas won first place running the 60-meter dash in 6.97 seconds, Preston Cokes placed first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.65 and Delsin Burkhart won the 800-meter race with a time of

1:57.88. Walker Mabe placed second running a 50.95 in the 400-meter dash with Chris Spellman coming in third at 51.58 then Wyatt Kuhnemann following right behind him at 52.02.

On the field, Orlandus Gamble was the runner-up in the high jump with a mark of 2.03 meters, and Cole Thomas came in fifth in the pole vault having reached 4.20 meters.

This is top mark in the conference this season, helping Gamble earn Conference Carolinas’ men’s track and field athlete of the week for the week ending on Jan. 23.

On the women’s team, Jaela Thomas and Quanterra Harrison look to be ones to beat this season after Thomas won the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.04 and Harrison placed second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.84.

Thomas and Harrison both competed in the 4×400-meter relay with Azariah Stewart and Reece Hicks and the group took home second place with a time of 4:16.12. On the field, Raigan Evans placed fourth in the weight throw with a mark of 15.50 meters.

Both squads also received impressive results

from the “Visit Winston-Salem College Kick-Off Classic,” during which Joshua Chepkesir set a new meet record and NCAA D2 Provisional time running the 5000-meter run with a time of 14:38.16.

Tavyon Callahan also ran at the season opener and won fourth place in the 60-meter hurdles for his time of 8.40, and redshirt junior Chris Spellman finished in the top-five yet again as the runner-up for the 600-meter dash with a personal-record of 1:23.50.

For the women’s events, Jaela Thomas finished fifth in the 200-meter dash with a personal-best time of 26.00.

Thomas, a redshirt junior, was only 1.95 seconds behind FSU’s Kaneya Johnson who came in first and set a meet record.

Redshirt junior Raigan Evans also won seventh place in the Weight Throw scoring 15.47 meters which was right behind all the Division I athletes who competed.

The UNCP Women’s and Men’s Track and Field return for their next meets on Jan. 28-29 in Lexington, VA for the VMI Winter Relays.