By Giorgio Montenegro
Furman’s runners are poised for a memorable outdoor season as they come off an impressive performance at the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship. Although the men’s team ended up fifth and the women claimed eighth there were many strong individual performances. Western Carolina placed first for both men and women.
Junior Tripp Hurt won two events, the first Paladin to do so since 1973, in the 3000 meter and 5000 meter. Hurt set a Furman record in the 3000 with a time of 8:20.40. The 5000 meter event saw three Paladins finish in the top four. Other notable performances included freshman Brock Baker’s second place finish in the mile and junior William Ivey’s third place finish in the 800 meter. Hurt was named Southern Conference Athlete of the Week for his performance.
On the women’s side the freshmen proved their worth with a fifth place finish by Allie Buchalski in the mile and a fourth place finish by Grace Tinkey in the 5000 meter. Both runners are only freshmen and have shown the promising future of Furman’s women’s track athletes.
Furman’s first outdoor test will be at the Raleigh Relays March 28, where these athletes will look to add to their already impressive seasons. Both the men’s and women’s teams are sure to impress this season and will bring their talents to Furman April 12 for the prestigious Blue Track Shoes Track Invitational, which includes the Blue Shoes Mile.
In other Furman track news, Flotrack.org, a national college track and field and cross country website, ranks Furman’s incoming class of cross country recruits as some of the best in the nation. Coach Robert Gary has really amped up the level of competition since taking over as the Furman cross country coach, and his class of incoming freshmen men, who are ranked as the fourth-best class in the entire nation, should only improve the quality of the program.