MOUNT OLIVE – The Mount Olive Trojans, the six-time reigning Conference Carolinas indoor men’s track and field champions, were selected as the favorite in the preseason conference poll.
Last year, UMO captured its eighth conference championship and sixth in a row after featuring 14 all-conference recipients and five individual champions during the indoor campaign. Sophomore Jaleal Hamlett had a standout year in 2021-22 after garnering two major awards at the league meet with Field Athlete of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. Under the leadership of three-time Coach of the Year Earl Graves, the Trojans had nine Southeast All-Region selections.
Athletes to watch for UMO this season include senior Justen Burnett from Winston-Salem, who will compete in sprints. He is the 2022 200m Conference Carolinas champion, 60m All-Conference Carolinas Second Team, U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region 60m and 200m; 2021 60m, 200m Conference Carolinas Champion, USTFCCCA All-Region 60m and 200m.
Also, junior Joshua Faison from Raleigh, who will compete in throwing events. He is the 2022 shot put Conference Carolinas champion, USTFCCCA All-Region Shot Put; 2021 Shot Put Conference Carolinas Champion, USTFCCCA All-Region Shot Put; 2020 Shot Put All-Conference Carolinas Second Team, USTFCCCA All-Region Shot Put.
In addition, sophomore Hamlett from Lynchburg, Va., who will compete in jumping events. He is the 2022 Conference Carolinas Men’s Freshman of the Year, Long Jump All-Conference Carolinas Second Team, Triple Jump All-Conference Carolinas Third Team, USTFCCCA All-Region Triple Jump.
The Trojans received eight first-place votes to rank as the preseason favorite after claiming their sixth straight indoor title last season. League runner-up UNC Pembroke claimed the final three-first places votes to be slotted second in the poll. North Greenville and Emmanuel were positioned third and fourth while Belmont Abbey and Southern Wesleyan tied for fifth to round out the top five in the rankings.
The Conference Carolinas Championships will be held on Feb. 19-20, at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics