Virginia Union University’s men's track & field finished in 3rd place for the third straight year with 61 points in the 2019 CIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at JDL Fast Track, which concluded on Monday, February 11, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Panthers ended the first day of the Championships tied for second with Saint Augustine with 34 points. However SAU scored 160 points on Monday to capture their 22nd straight men's crown. All 61 of the Panther points were scored by underclassmen. Even brighter, the freshmen class of 2022 contributed 49 of the 61 point total, pointing to an exceptional future for the Panther program.
Individually, freshman Alphonso Lawrence captured his first CIAA title in the Pole Vault, with a height of 3.55 meters (11’7.75”). Lawrence also contested his first heptathlon ever, placing seventh, where he also notched the highest vault mark.
The men’s distance medley relay team earned redemption from 2018 when they won a hotly contested race but were later disqualified, storming back to win the championship title in 2019 by almost three seconds. The team of freshman Enos Rotich, freshman John Porter, junior Charles Whitehead-Tillery, and freshman Micah Kipruto posted a first place time of 10:53.26.
Rotich and Kipruto also notched top finishes in the mile and 5,000 meter races. In the mile Rotich placed second with a time of 4:33.08, and in the 5,000m placed third with a time of 16:50. Kipruto placed second in the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:44, and fourth in the mile with a time of 4:35.24. In a strong distance showing for the Panthers, Whitehead-Tillery also notched points in both events. He placed seventh in the 5k, and eighth in the mile, each with a lifetime best.
In the field junior Darius Whitehurst placed fifth with a throw of 13.75m (45’1.5”). And concluding the night was the second fastest time in school history run by the 4x400 meter relay team of Porter, freshman Zorion Wiley, sophomore Rich Lytle, and sophomore Jordan Jones in a time of 3:25.90.
The Panthers now will begin preparations for the 2019 outdoor season, with their first meet in March at VCU in Richmond, VA.