BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- As the Samford track and field team prepares to start competition in the Southern Conference Indoor Championships Thursday, the league office has named sophomore pole vaulter Michael Seaman the Field Athlete of the Week for the second time this season.
The SoCon announced Wednesday that the Bardstown, Ky., native received the honor for his incredible performance at the Tiger Tuneup last weekend. Seaman won the pole vault last weekend at the Clemson meet with a school record and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17-00.25. He is the first Bulldog male in Samford history to complete such an accomplishment. He continues to lead the league in the event.
Seaman will join the rest of the Bulldog track and field squad Thursday and Friday in competing in Samford's second Southern Conference Indoor Championships. The Bulldogs will make their third consecutive trip to Clemson, S.C., for the two-day meet. This year is the fifth consecutive year the championships will be held at the 1,800-seat Indoor Track and Field Complex.
It is the 75th year of the men's championships and 23rd for the women. The meet starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday with the women's pentathlon followed by four men's heptathlon events at 9:15 a.m. Awards will be handed out in a ceremony tentatively set for 4:40 p.m., on Friday.
The Bulldog men and women finished fourth last year in their first appearance at the Championships, but are currently ranked third on both sides in the SoCon power rankings leading up to this week. Defending champions Appalachian State lead the power rankings on the men's side and are second for the women while Western Carolina leads on the women's side and is second in the men's.
The Bulldogs have had an exceptional indoor season, breaking 15 school records, numerous personal bests and capturing at least one individual event win in each of its indoor meets.
The Samford men and women also rank high up in the individual event standings for the conference.
For the women Hillary Neal, who won the mile at least year's championships, leads the conference in the event standings while also leading in the 800 meters. Freshmen Lauren D'Alessio and Holly Benson rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 800 meters and D'Alessio also ranks second in the mile, just ahead of Jessica Van Ausdall in third. Van Ausdall also ranks seventh in the 800 meters. Samford represents four of the top ten in the 800 meters.
Ina Ables ranks third in the 5000 meters and fourth in the 3000 meters while in the field events, freshman Chenelle Terry ranks third in the high jump and junior Morgan Tyler ranks four in the triple jump. Mary Barron, Laura Bedsole and Mackenzie Wills rank fourth, fifth and sixth in the pole vault and the women's distance medley relay team currently ranks first.
For the men, Samford represents seven of the top 20 in the pole vault. Seaman leads with Patrick Wells in second and Ryan Cook in fourth. Zac Epperson ranked sixth while Chas Keithan is 12th, Brandon Bassett is 13th and Donald Cooper is 17th.
Cooper also ranks fifth in the 400 meters while Will Denton and Scott Cope are fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 800 meters. Cameron Bean leads the 5000 meters with his school record mark from the Tiger Paw Invitational and ranks second in the 3000 meters with his school record mark from the Niswonger Invitational.
The Bulldog men's distance medley team is also first in the rankings.