By Jake Crouse Copy Editor
Though some are slowly reaching peak form, a few members of the Furman track and field squad have been picking up school records as they progress through the season.
Most notably, juniors Allie Buchalski and Troy Reeder have continued to prove their dominance as distance runners. At the Raleigh (N.C.) Relays, Buchalski set a school record in the 5,000m (16:11.71) to win her category. Reeder also set a school record in an eleventh-place finish in the 5,000m with a time of 13:59.86 at the same event. Both were named SoCon Track Athletes of the Week last week for their record-setting runs.
Buchalski also led the Paladins at the SoCon Championships Feb. 26-27 with wins in the mile, 3,000m and 5,000m runs. A number of women’s team runners also fared well in some of the same events, including second- and third-place finishes in the 5,000m by junior Laura Miller and sophomore Emma Mashburn respectively. Sophomore Jacquelyn Crow led the Paladins in the 800m with a third-place time of 2:13.88.
The standout performance by Buchalski also earned her the SoCon Women’s Track and Field Most Outstanding Athlete and SoCon Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Month titles.
In the men’s division, the Paladins placed four men in the top seven in the 5,000m, led by junior Tanner Hinkle with a second-place time of 14:20.00. Reeder headed the Paladin effort in the mile run with a third-place time of 4:11.43, followed by freshman Ryan Adams in fifth place with a 4:13.22 run.
A few other records fell before the SoCon Championships as well. At the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tenn. last month, Adams, in his rookie season, set an 800m school record with a 1:50.77 run, placing him seventh in the highly competitive field.
The men and women face off April 8 at the Appalachian State Outdoor Open in Boone, N.C.
It is not just current track athletes who are excelling, either. Furman alumnus Wilkerson Given, ’13, competed a few months ago in the Olympic marathon trials, placing 54th after running 22 miles in the top 25. Given says dehydration factored against him in the last few miles, and unusually high temperatures factored against the competitors as a whole, as more than 60 of the 168 could not finish. Given finished with a time of 2:27.50.
With a shortage of women’s short distance runners and men’s short distance success, it may be hard for the Paladins to pick up a team championship this year. But junior Jeremiah Ockunzzi says the team is beginning to find its rhythm now that the season has progressed.
“We are getting to the point where everything is starting to click and guys are putting out great performances,” he said, “and we are shooting for an all-time high points mark at the SoCon Championships.”