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App State Hurdlers, middle distance runners and multis prepare for the start of the track season.
Courtesy: Sun Belt Conference
Track Preview: Hurdles, Long Sprints and Multis
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Monday 11/21/2016 (ET)
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Leading up the start of the indoor track season, appstatesports.com will preview each coach and their athletes. Today, we take an inside look into the Mountaineer hurdlers, long sprinters and multis.

 Coach Weaver’s Notes

“Right now we have some strong individuals that will help us out a lot for the indoor and outdoor season,” said head coach John Weaver. “I feel good about how the men and women look as a team and the mixture of upperclassmen and newcomers that create a nice balance in each event to score points. Since entering into the Sun Belt Conference, recruiting has been a lot harder now that we are in a more competitive conference, but we have learned from the women’s championship that we are capable and that we have to raise our levels of competitiveness.”

Preparing for the Season

Coach Weaver began the offseason focusing on strength and conditioning to get his athletes’  bodies into top shape for the track season. Starting in November and continuing into the weeks leading up to the first track meet, Weaver turned the dial down on strength and conditioning and moved his group’s focus to maximizing speed and endurance during running workouts.

The Hurdle Crew

App State returns sophomores Brandon Smith, Andrew Spear and Imani Chapman for the 2016-17 campaign in hurdles. Smith and Spear look to fill the void left by Mountaineer graduate Stanley Broaden who was a six-time conference champion (three Sun Belt titles, three SoCon crowns). Last year at the indoor championships, Smith finished 16th in the 60-meter hurdles running a PR of 8.49 and Spear’s best performance came at the Chipotle Marshall Invitational where he set a PR in the 60H of 8.52. On the women’s squad, Chapman finished tenth in the 60H at the indoor conference championship and placed inside the top-10 ten times throughout the indoor season.

Helping out the hurdlers this year will be freshmen Elliott Graves from Reidsville, N.C and Sydni Fields from Clayton, N.C. Graves was an eight-time North Carolina 2A State Champion, holds three North Carolina 2A state records and was rewarded All-American honors in the 400-meter hurdles. Fields won the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles at the North Carolina 3A State Championships, was the first female athlete to go to the state meet from her high school and was awarded the 2016 Conference Female Track Athlete of the Year Award and the 2016 Sportsmanship Award.

Quarter and Half-Milers

Leading the charge in the 400 and 800-meters are upperclassman Ryan Hastings, Josh Hanna, Will Henderson, Brooke Brekke and Sarah Hoffert. Hastings is coming off of a phenomenal indoor season where he snagged the 800-meter crown with a time of 1:52.01. The North Carolina native ran the fastest 400m, 500m and 800m times last year and posted eight first-place finishes in eight meets. Alongside Hastings will be Hanna and Henderson who look to strengthen the depth App State has in the long sprints. 

On the women’s side,  the long sprinters will be led by Brekke and Hoffert. Brekke landed in the top-10 four times during the indoor season and produced her best performance at the Buccaneer Invitational where she won the 300 meters and led the DMR team to first place. Coming off of a great cross country season, Hoffert ran a leg on the second-place DMR quartet and placed ninth in the 800 meters at last year’s indoor conference championships.

The Mountaineers welcome newcomers Michael Sean Doyle, Jaxon Roberts and Grace Brooks to the 400/800-meter crew. Doyle led his high school’s 4x800-meter relay team to three state championships and guided his team to a second-place finish at the indoor state championships. Roberts was a back-to-back regional conference champion and finished fourth in the 400 meters twice at the NCHSAA 1A Championships. Lastly, Brooks earned All-region and All-conference honors for four straight years in high school.


For the 2016-17 track season, the Mountaineers will feature Jackson Powers, Benjamin Brunson and Makaila Roberts in the multi-events. Powers finished 11th in the heptathlon at the 2016 indoor championships accumulating 4,217 points, which ranks seventh on the Mountaineer all-times list in the multi-events. His best performance came in the 1,000 meters where he ran a time of 2:49.11. Brunson collected 3,382 points to place 14th at the indoor championships. His best performance was also in the 1,000 meters where he finished ninth clocking a time of 3:02.15. 

This track season will mark the first time Roberts will compete for the Black and Gold in the pentathlon. Last year the North Carolina native produced her fastest 60-meter hurdle time of 9.66 at the Buccaneer Invitational and took first place in the high jump at the Appalachian Indoor Open Split Track Meet.

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