GREENSBORO, N.C. — Kevin Snead (Richmond, Va.) is now statistically the fastest sprinter to ever come through the Carson-Newman outdoor track and field program after the junior concluded a school record of 10.21 seconds en route to a first-place finish in the men's 100 meter dash Sunday afternoon as the sprinter represented one of four national qualifying marks C-N athletes produced on the day at the North Carolina AT&T Aggie Last Chance Meet.
"Today was honestly one of the best days our program has ever seen," coach David Needs said following the meet. "Some of the things these guys did today was just amazing. Just a week removed from taking their final exams, they showed up and got after it in a field that was no push over. The meet had people from all over the country including teams highly ranked from both the Division I and II levels.
"The majority of our athletes who competed today had their best showings of the season. They all showed up and competed hard today and that was big for us."
Snead, along with Tanner Stepp (Jefferson City, Tenn.), Marshall Shank (Granite Quarry, N.C.), Tori Gaul (Salisbury, N.C.) and Tiana Mills (Chattanooga, Tenn.) took part in events Sunday afternoon with hopes of solidifying their chances for the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships that will take place in the coming weeks on May 26-28 in Bradenton, Fla.
To qualify for the outdoor championships, each athlete must be ranked in the top-16 in their respected events to receive an automatic bit. Additional circumstances call for athletes to make the cut and sometimes up to 20 competitors per event make the trip to the postseason play.
The Eagles certainly did their part in making the most of the last chance efforts as four of the five athletes who competed at the North Carolina AT&T Aggie Last Chance Meet concluded the day with national qualifying marks.
Snead led the way by sweeping both the preliminary and finals rounds of the men's 100 meter dash. The junior concluded the first round with a 10.34 second mark and bested the time later in the day by running a Carson-Newman record 10.21 time.
The 10.21 second mark broke a school record set by Willy Lundy back in the mid to late 1980s. Before Sunday, C-N's 100 meter best was Lundy's 10.31 second time. Snead's time on the day in the 100 meter dash is currently the second-fastest in Division II on the year.
The junior also competed in the 200 meter dash on the day where Snead already holds a national qualifying mark. Snead's showing consisted of a sixth-place 21.07 second time in the event.
Stepp had a career day in his own making as the sophomore surpassed his own outdoor school record mark in the men's high jump. The reigning Southeast Region Indoor Field Athlete of the Year leaped a career-best of 2.13 meters in the event and the mark places him fourth in Division II as of Sunday.
Carson-Newman's pole vaulters also made the voyage over to Greensboro Sunday afternoon with hopes of improving their already South Atlantic Conference best marks on the season. Gaul finished the day with a fourth-place showing of 3.65 meters on the women's side while Shank recorded a NH for the men.
Mills was the last Eagle to participate on the day as the junior set season-bests in both the women's long and triple jumps. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native's mark in the long jump was 5.59 meters, which was good enough for ninth-place overall, and the 12.13 meter mark in the triple jump broke her own school record in the fourth-place finish.
The junior's triple jump mark of 12.13 meters is 17th best in Division II as of Sunday.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that today, in terms of national significance, was the most successful day in the history of Carson-Newman track and field," assistant coach Tyler Stepp said. "All of our athletes did a great job but we had three performances from Tanner, Kevin and Tiana that really highlighted the day. What an awesome time to be an Eagle."
The 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championship qualifying lists for both men and women will be released in the coming week. Stay tuned into cneagles.com for all the information leading up into postseason play.
100m Prelims: 1st- 10.34 seconds
100m Finals: 1st- 10.21 seconds
200m Dash: 6th- 21.07 seconds
High Jump: 2nd- 2.13 meters
Pole Vault: NH
Pole Vault: 4th- 3.65 meters
Long Jump: 9th- 5.59 meters
Triple Jump: 4th- 12.13 meters