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October 3, 2023 10:24 am

UMO women’s track is preseason conference favorite

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive, the reigning Conference Carolinas women’s indoor track and field champions, was tabbed as the favorite in the preseason league poll.

Last season, the Trojans regained their position at the top of Conference Carolinas by winning the conference title after earning seven straight championships from 2014-20. UMO featured eight Southeast All-Region recipients and 12 all-conference honorees during the indoor campaign.

Senior Mary Brigid Keck was a national qualifier in the weight throw and set a new conference record in the event. Earl Graves returns at the helm of the track and field programs after being named Women’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

Athletes to watch for UMO this season include Keck, from Newark, Ohio. She is the 2022 shot put and weight throw Conference Carolinas champion, a weight throw national qualifier, U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region in weight throw and shot put; the 2021 Conference Carolinas Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, weight throw Conference Carolinas Champion, shot put Conference Carolinas Third Team, USTFCCCA All-Region in weight throw.

Also, senior Jaiden Moody from Vacaville, Calif. She is 2022 4x400m Relay All-Conference Carolinas Second Team, Conference Carolinas Scholar-Athlete of the Year, USTFCCCA All-Region in the 4x400m Relay; 2019 4x400m Relay All-Conference Carolinas Third Team.

In addition, senior Jaylin Reeves from Indianola, Miss. She is 2022 60m All-Conference Carolinas Second Team and USTFCCCA All-Region in the 60m.

Mount Olive collected six first-place votes in the poll to claim the top spot. UNC Pembroke earned four first-place nods and was a close second in the rankings, while Southern Wesleyan received the final first-place vote to take the third position. Converse and Belmont Abbey were slotted in the last two slots in the poll to round out the top five.

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