by Benny Benton
ELON, N.C. – Barton College freshman Janae Cunningham had a day to remember Saturday at the Phoenix Invitational, breaking the school record in all four of the throws – shot put, discus, hammer and javelin.
The Hubert, N.C., resident already topped the Conference Carolinas performance list as well as the BC record book in the discus entering the meet at 39.34 meters, but added to her league-leading mark with a toss of 39.77.
Cunningham made her biggest improvement in the hammer. While she already held that BC record as well, she did so with a mark of 30.78 meters that ranked just 13th in the conference. However, she added more than seven whole meters to that score on Saturday after uncorking a toss of 38.05 meters that helped her jump to fourth in the league standings.
In the shot put, Cunningham became the third different Lady Bulldog this season to hold the Barton record, joining teammates Kelsey Poole and Desiree Whitley. Poole sat in the top spot entering Saturday's meet with a mark of 11.38 meters, but Cunningham surpassed that mark with an effort of 11.67.
Her final record came in the javelin, an event in which she was competing for the first time collegiately. She launched a throw of 30.48 meters to place fourth in the meet and easily erase Barton's previous record of 24.52 meters set by Amber Wilson in 2014.
Cunningham was the top finisher among NCAA Division II participants in two of the four events, and was the second DII finisher in the other two. She placed fourth overall in the javelin, fifth in the shot put, sixth in the discus and eighth in the hammer.
Barton missed a fifth school record by the slimmest of margins. Junior Sharon Kiptoo recorded a time of 4:45.68 in the 1500-meter run, just .01 off the BC standard of 4:45.67 set by Ericka Skinner back in 2011.
Kiptoo did, however, earn a personal record with the fourth-place finish, one of 10 posted by the Lady Bulldogs in addition to the school records. Poole set a PR in all four throws, and Whitley claimed PRs in the discus and javelin. Pelumi Adesina and Anaiya Harris added PRs in the shot put, and Jamicia Jones recorded one in the 400-meter run.
Jones joined Kiptoo and Cunningham in gaining a top-five individual finish in the meet. She also teamed with Kiptoo, Jayvona McDaniel and Jamina Morris to earn BC's 4x400-meter relay squad a third-place showing in that event.
Barton will return to action on Saturday when it competes in the USC Open, hosted by the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.