CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Gardner-Webb men's and women's outdoor track and field teams earned three first-place finishes on Thursday afternoon to propel the men's team to third place in the standings and the women's team to fourth place in the overall standings.
Marcus Abraham took home the men's shot put title for the second straight year with a toss of 16.87 meters. A.J. White placed third with a mark of 15.63 meters. Alex Bouwmans followed in fourth with a distance of 15.05 meters and Clay Hamilton finished in seventh place with a toss of 13.68 meters.
Natasha Akbarizadeh won the women's hammer throw title with a mark of 60.26 meters, setting a new personal best and new school record for the event. Akbarizadeh had the previous school record at 59.65 meters, set at the 2016 Mountaineer Open. Petra Jakeljic earned a third place finish with a throw of 57.14 meters. Cailen Blaire placed eighth with a distance of 47.74 meters, a new PR.
Elise Moffatt finished in first place in the women's pole vault with a height of 3.80 meters. Karin Sastre took home a seventh-place finish with a mark of 3.35 meters, a new personal best. Moffatt placed first in the pole vault at the 2015 Big South Championships before redshirting in 2016.
Jalin Lawson placed first in the men's 100-meter dash preliminaries, clocking in at 10.96 seconds. He will move on to the finals on Friday afternoon.
Action concluded with the women's heptathlon, in which Merideth Byl earned a third-place finish with a total of 4,745 points. Ashleigh Cleveland finished in eleventh with 4,058 points, Taylor Hotchkiss finished in thirteenth with 3,954 points, and Amanda Hall finished fourteenth with 3,778 points. Highlights from today's events included Hotchkiss placing fourth in the long jump with a mark of 5.16 meters, Byl finishing second in the javelin at 35.76 meters, Hall placing fourth in the javelin at 32.40 meters, and Byl taking first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.03.
Jenna Ford placed tenth in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking in at 13:06.85.
Liberty remains the front-runner for both the men's and women's championships.