BANNER ELK, N.C. – Maegan Henry took her talents to Banner Elk, N.C. and was recognized for her season-long efforts of breaking personal and school records when she was named the Conference Carolinas Women's Freshman of the Year. She helped her team to a third place team finish in their first Conference Carolinas Track and Field Championships that completed Saturday evening.
Maegan Henry (Bluefield, Va.), Tia Keitt (Dallas, Ga.) and Shelbie Burchfield (Morristown, Tenn.) led the way in the field events bringing home three event victories between them. Henry stole gold while breaking a school record in the women's shot put, hitting a mark of 13.33 meters. In the same event, Cheyenne Thornsberry (Bristol, Tenn.) placed fifth with a toss to 10.72m, setting a new personal record.
Shelbie Burchfield hit the National Championship qualifying height of 1.68 meters in the women's high jump for the second time this season. Her jump gave her a first place finish in the field and since her finish was on day one, made her King's first individual Conference Carolinas champion. The accomplishment didn't end there. Her jump also broke a Conference Carolinas Championship record.
Tia Keitt placed first in the women's long jump and just missed the National Championship qualifying mark by as little as two inches. Her jump of 5.46m scored 10 points for the team and crowned her a conference champion. Keitt returned to compete in the women's triple jump no more than an hour after the long jump and took second with an 11.29m leap.
Other notable field finishes include Henry's third place finish in the javelin throw (31.10m) that also set a new PR for the freshman.
King's distance runners also triumphed at the Track and Field Championships. Led by junior Hannah Witt (Mountain City, Tenn.), the Lady Tornado had three top-5 finishes. Witt won the women's 10,000 (10k) race, defeating the competition by more than two minutes from the next best time. She finished under the 40:00 mark with a time of 39:03.22. Witt and Kendra Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) both took to the track in the women's 5,000 meters and held down the second and third spots in the race standings. Witt finished five seconds behind the race winner, Rosa Young (Queens), with a time of 18:18.57 while Sokol finished third (18:37.69). Evan Farrell and Danielle Beauvais also finished inside the top-10 in the event, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
In the women's 400m dash, three Lady Tornado athletes finished inside the top-6 to put on a strong showing in the event. Freshman Atlanta Westbrook (Spring Hill, Tenn.) led the pack, finishing third overall with a 58.94 time while teammates Ashley Ruth (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Lanneickia Brewton (Inman, S.C.) followed behind with times of 59.45 and 1:01.10. Ruth set a new PR in the event.
Success also followed Shelbie Burchfield onto the track as she participated in the 400m hurdles. She finished third overall, crossing the finish line at 1:08.40.
The Lady Tornado finished third overall as a team in their first ever Conference Carolinas Track and Field Championships. The team notched 108 points and held a wide margin over fourth place team and host, Lees-McRae (69). Mount Olive took first place overall with 166 points and Limestone followed behind with 129 points.
Head Coach Peter Dalton was pleased with the outcome and said, "We're still rebuilding the women's team here but this is a very promising finish for us. We do not have any graduating seniors and continue to recruit to bring in the one or two pieces that will help us return for the title next year."
King will take a select group of athletes with hopes to reach National Qualifier marks to one last qualifying meet before the National Championships, May 24-26.