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July 24, 2024 9:00 am

Johnson, Smith-Fort’e win titles

WINSTON-SALEM – Highlighted by event wins by junior Kamden Johnson and sophomore Alex Smith-Fort’e, the University of Mount Olive men’s track and field team held the top position following the opening day of the Conference Carolinas Indoor Championships Feb. 19.

The Trojans totaled 62 points in the team standings at the league championships with five events scored on day one. UMO scored in all events in the opening session receiving a majority of its points in the weight throw, high jump and long jump. North Greenville was second with 30.5 points, while UNC-Pembroke rounded out the top three with 24 points.

In the weight throw, Mount Olive featured four individuals among the top eight scoring positions to capture 24 of a possible 39 points in the event. Smith-Fort’e claimed the league crown for the first time in his career following a toss of 57 feet, six inches to earn maximum points for UMO. He held the top distance the entire season in the weight throw and delivered at the league meet to earn individual medalist honors. Additionally, sophomore Israel Long finished on the podium for the initial time in his career after registering a personal record of 53 feet, two inches. Senior Dorian Tolbert placed just behind in fourth with a personal-best distance of 53 feet, one inch, while fellow senior Joshua Faison finished sixth overall following a toss of 50 feet, two inches.

Johnson earned individual medalist honors in the high jump for the first time in his career after clearing six feet, eight inches. He has previously finished on the podium three separate times, including being runner-up in the event last season. Sophomore Demonte Lavender finished second overall in the high jump after recording a mark of six feet, six inches to reach the podium for the initial time in his career during the indoor season.

In the long jump, UMO placed a pair of individuals on the podium while two other athletes finished among the top eight scoring slots. Johnson placed second overall in the event following a mark 22 feet, eight inches, while sophomore Jeremiah Kimbrough posted a personal record of 22 feet, three inches to reach the podium for the first time in his career with a third-place finish. Additionally, sophomore Jaleal Hamlett at 21 feet, seven inches and freshman Josh Manning at 21 feet, three inches placed seventh and eighth, respectively in the event.

Senior Justen Burnette registered for the finals in the 60-meter dash and 200 meters on Sunday. He recorded the top time in the 200 meters in the preliminaries after crossing the line in 21.86 seconds while posting the second-best mark in the 60 meters with a time of 6.89 seconds.

Additionally, freshman Jason Hart qualified for the finals of 200 meters after registering the fourth-fastest time of the prelims with a mark of 22.35 seconds. Senior Jordan Martin will compete in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles after posting the third-best time in the preliminaries at 8.47 seconds.

Sophomore Aman Tsegay scored in the 5,000-meter run after crossing the line at 15:29.33 to place seventh overall. The men’s distance medley relay team of junior Nathanael Bierly, junior Jontavus Walker, sophomore Richard Villafranco and sophomore Mattia Marci scored following an eighth-place finish with a time of 11:09.51.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics