Banner Elk, N.C.--The Lees-McRae College men's track and field team finished out their season in grand fashion at the second annual Tri-Conference Championship/Bobcat Open. Altogether, the men's team finished with four overall event winners and placed first among Conference Carolinas teams and fourth place overall. This year's event featured 383 athletes representing 20 colleges and three conferences at the Arthur-Lauritsen-Sanders Track & Field Complex on the campus of Lees-McRae College.
The Bobcats wasted no time putting points on the board against
the other Conference Carolinas schools. Despite battling an injury
that threatened to end his season, sophomore Danny Hogbin
(Hedgesville, WV) placed second in the conference in the men's high
jump. Fellow sophomore Joe Daher (Mt. Dora, Fla.) completed his
dominance in the men's discus by placing first among all conference
competitors in that event.
"It was a good first day for the men." said head coach Scott Myers. "We had some other guys raise their game and snatch some points away from other conference teams and put us in a good position right from the beginning."
The second day brought some rain, wind, cold overcast conditions. Nevertheless, the Bobcats were ready for elements and continued their march to the conference crown. "Most people don't realize that we train in less than ideal conditions from time to time throughout the season, so a little rain or wind will never hold us back," said Coach Myers.
The men's team began the second day even better than they finished the first day. Pole vaulters, Jonathan Arthur (Pine Level, N.C.) and Ryan Oakes (Maysville, N.C.) battled down to the wire for the event title. When the rest of the competition finished their day at just over 12 feet, Arthur and Oakes were just getting started. They both cleared 15 feet and then took aim at 4.80 meters (15ft-9in) to place their names on the NCAA Division II national championship list. Both vaulters took great attempts at the height, but to no avail. Oakes won the competition with fewer misses and the men's team began the second day with a powerful 1-2 punch in the men's pole vault.
Alan Bachman (Nanjemoy, Md.) continued his dominance in the men's 400m dash. Despite stiff competition, Bachman prevailed down the stretch to set a new school record and a provisional national qualifying time in the process.
Senior Lewis Martin (Charlottesville, Va.) won the men's 1,500m run in one of the most thrilling races of the day. Fellow senior Josh Blanc (Hope Mills, N.C.) set a new personal best in the men's 3,000m steeplechase to cap a strong final season at LMC.
The performance of the meet belonged to sophomore hurdler Brad Tanis (Midland Park, N.J.) in the men's 400m hurdles. Despite coming into the competition ranked fourth in the event, Tanis fought off all challengers to win the men's intermediate hurdles in a personal best time of 58.00 seconds.
Final results for the Tri-Conference Championship/Bobcat Open can be found at www.bigkahunatiming.com
The men's track and field team will be back in action at the 114th running of the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, April 24th.
Pictured: Brad Tanis