PITTSBURG, K.S.—Carson-Newman sprinter Kevin Snead (Richmond, Va.) received All-American Honors from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association following his 10th-place finish in the men's 60m dash, as he and teammate Tori Gaul (Salisbury, N.C.) took part in day one of the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday afternoon.
"One of the things I love about Kevin and Tori is that they are the kind of people that want to win and are not satisfied when they don't," coach David Needs said. "What I love equally about them is that they will use this experience to make themselves better athletes. It's part of the experience. In this experience with track being indoor and outdoor, you have to get better and correct the mistakes or you will go backwards fast.
"They both learned a lot today about technique that they will build on towards the outdoor season and they will be better for it. They were both frustrated, but for the sake of their character, they will be bigger and better for the future. No doubt about it,"
Having posted a program's-best 6.77 second time in the event on Feb. 20 at the UCS Invitational, Snead was the Eagles' first automatic qualifier in school history. The junior college transfer from Eastern Michigan competed Friday in a field of 16 runners that were split up into two heats in the event.
The two winners from each heat automatically moved on to the finals round and then the next eight-best times would follow suit. Snead's 6.81 second time missed out on the cut by one hundredth of a second as the eighth-place runner, Limestone's Marquett Simmons Jr., moved on after posting a 6.80 second time.
Mobolade Ajomule from the Academy of Art ran the fastest time of 6.61 seconds in the event on Friday and will lead the group into the finals sector Saturday afternoon.
Snead's first season in a Carson-Newman track and field uniform ends with All-American honors as the 10th-place finish secured the postseason accolade for the 60m runner.
Carson-Newman's other athlete who competed in the Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships on Friday was Gaul in the women's pole vault.
After extending her own school record to 3.90m in the event at the UCS Invitational, Gaul positioned herself into the nation's top-10 in the event and earned the qualification to compete for the individual national championship.
The C-N athlete received a DNS in the event after failing to surpass the first bar positioned at 3.61m Friday afternoon.
The pole vaulter ends her second indoor season as the Carson-Newman record holder and an All-Southeast Region selectee.
"At nationals, it is so different because of the speed and everything else that goes into this competition," Needs said. "You have to be careful because you have such a great collection of athletes in going up against the best in the nation. Most of the people here didn't run or perform to their personal-best they might have set earlier in the year because the settings and atmosphere is just so different. The competition is great and very few records are broken in a setting like this because of the pressure and nerves these athletes are going up against."
The Eagles will have one more shot at making the podium when competition resumes Saturday as Tanner Stepp (Jefferson City, Tenn.) will try and best his 2015 nationals' mark of 2.07m in the men's high jump.
The sophomore's competition will begin at approximately 2:15 p.m. Central Standard Time.
"For tanner tomorrow, he will be everything that we want him to be," Needs said. "He will compete hard and we are excited about it. Tanner had a great workout yesterday and got a feel for the track and surface. He is ready to go."
A full recap following Saturday's action at the 2016 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Nationals can be found at cneagles.com and live updates can also be seen on twitter at @CN_Track.