by Benny Benton
CENTRAL, S.C. – Led by Sharon Kiptoo and its throwers, the Barton College women's track team produced a fourth-place finish among 10 programs at the 2017 Conference Carolinas Track and Field Championships this weekend.
Kiptoo, a junior from Eldoret, Kenya, placed second in the 1500-meter run (4:47.15) and third in the 800-meter run (2:18.70) at the meet, which was hosted for the first time by the league's newest full member, Southern Wesleyan University.
In doing so, Kiptoo earned a team-high 14 individual points and added two more all-conference awards to her collection, increasing that total in indoor and outdoor competition combined to 11.
Whitley, a resident of Hampton, Va., was a First Team honoree after winning the shot put for Barton's only event victory. She took first place in a field of 20 competitors following a school record toss of 12.10 meters.
Cunningham, a resident of Hubert, N.C., took third place out of 23 participants in the discus with a toss of 36.41 meters to gain all-conference recognition for the first time.
Both throwers had teammates among those collecting points in their respective events. Freshman Kelsey Poole finished fourth behind Whitley in the shot put (11.27 meters) and Cunningham placed seventh (10.97 meters) to combine for seven team points. Poole was two spots behind Cunningham in the discus in fifth (34.86 meters), and Whitley was eighth (32.95 meters) to collect five combined team points.
Whitley's discus toss was a personal record, one of three posted by the Lady Bulldogs. Freshmen Tyneshia Cowell and Meghan Araldi had the others, Cowell in the 100-meter dash (13.62) and Araldi in the 3000-meter steeplechase (13:44.73).
Senior Heather Cuddington narrowly missed joining Kiptoo, Whitley and Cunningham as all-conference honorees, missing the podium by one spot after placing fourth out of 18 in the 5000-meter run with a mark of 19:37.83.
Cuddington collected five team points for the finish, part of 54 earned by the team in the fourth-place showing. Contributing two points towards that total was senior Jamicia Jones, who placed seventh in the 800-meter run.
Jones also joined Kiptoo, Cowell and Jayvona McDaniel in claiming a fifth-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay race, good for four team points.
Barton's 54 points were three better than two other programs, Lees-McRae College and North Greenville University, who tied for fifth with 51 points each.
University of Mount Olive won its fourth straight outdoor track championship with a total of 238.5 points. Host Southern Wesleyan University was second with 178.5 points, followed by Limestone College in third with 95.5 and Barton. The fourth-place finish is Barton's second in a row.
The Lady Bulldogs will continue to compete for NCAA marks over the next two weeks, beginning with the NC State Last Chance Meet on May 6 in Raleigh.