GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University men's and women's outdoor track & field teams will compete at the South Atlantic Conference Championships Thursday and Saturday at the Irwin Belk Track in Hickory, North Carolina.
The meet was shortened from three days to two due to the likelihood of poor weather on Friday. Athletes in track events at distances of 1500 meters and less will run preliminaries on Thursday and finals on Saturday.
The Pioneer women finished fourth at the SAC Indoor Championships in February and the men were sixth in the field of 11 schools. Last April, Tusculum competed in the SAC Outdoor Championships for the first time and finished ninth in the women's competition and 10th in the men's.
Sophomore Widchard Guervil will be a favorite in the 100 and 200 meters after posting top five times in Division II at last week's Gamecock Invitational of 10.31 in the 100 and 20.86 in the 200. Sophomore Kedar Ashford will also contend for a spot in Saturday's 100 finals after ranking 12th in the SAC in the regular season with a time of 10.82 seconds.
Tusculum could also score in both the 110 high hurdles and 400 intermediate hurdles, with freshman Jamire Thompson seeded 11th in the 110 at 15.74 seconds. In the 400 hurdles, junior Malek Folston is seeded sixth at 57.02 followed by Jaydon Johnson in seventh at 57.36 seconds.
In the 5000 meters, sophomore Will Cronin had the 10th-best time of the season of 15:14.84 set on the same track two weeks earlier. Cronin, who was fifth in the 5000 meters in the Indoor Championship, will also run in the 10,000 meters on Thursday night after placing seventh in the event a year ago. Freshman Kyler Hodges is seeded sixth in the steeplechase with a time of 10:07.90 set at Lenoir-Rhyne.
In field events, junior Guillaume Devries is the top seed in Saturday's high jump at 2.08 meters, which he set last week at the Gamecock Invitational. Freshman Nick Jackson will contend for a medal as he is tied for fifth on the performance list at 1.90 meters. Devries is also entered in the long jump which will be held on Thursday.
Freshman Luis Morris is seeded third in the pole vault at 4.20 meters (13 feet, 9 1/4 inches), after finishing second at the SAC Indoor Championship with a height of 4.25 meters.
In throws, the Pioneers will look to top performances from senior Christian Sisto in the shot put, junior Michael Peppin in the discus, sophomore Evan Grooms in the hammer throw and sophomore Nicholas Sisto in the javelin.
Senior Nicole McMillen is entered in three distance events for the Pioneers, as she is scheduled to compete in the 1500 preliminaries and the 3000 steeplechase finals on Thursday, then run the 1500 finals and the 5000 meters on Saturday. McMillen is the top seed in both the 1500 and the steeplechase, and is seeded second in the 5000 meters. McMillen, who has an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 10:51.34 in the steeplechase, won the mile run and was second in the 3000 meters at the SAC Indoor Championship.
Sophomore I'Keriah Day is seeded fourth in the 200 meters with a time of 25.12 seconds, while in the 400 meters freshman Earthaiza Watkins is seeded fourth in 57.44 seconds and freshman Ke'Lah McMiller is seventh at 58.80 seconds. Sophomore Yoland Boyce is ranked ninth in the 800 meters at 2:21.39.
In distance events, junior Alissa Furches will run in the 10,000 meters Thursday night and in the 5000 meters on Saturday.
In jumps, freshman Destini Wilson is one of seven competitors tied for second on the SAC performance list at 1.60 meters (5 feet, 3 inches). Contenders in throws for the Pioneers include freshman Alyssa Farmer and sophomore Dynah Dunn in the shot put, along with Farmer in the discus.