Track and Field Finishes Indoor Season With Three Individual Event Titles

Track athletes running race on indoor track.

Johnnie Walker ’22 (pictured), Jonathan Gray ’22, Jordin Poindexter ’22, and Trent Whittaker ’23 comprise the Southern Conference indoor champion 4x400 relay team.—Photo by Todd Drexler,

The VMI track and field teams concluded the 2021 Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships with three individual event titles Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Corps Physical Training Facility.

The VMI men’s team finished fourth overall with 66 points while the VMI women placed sixth in the team standings with 36 points.

Senior sprinter Ariana Ruffin ’21 earned the women’s 400-meter title by winning the race in 56.74 seconds. Keyandre Midgett ’24 achieved the men’s triple jump individual title by jumping a distance of 14.53 meters (47’8”), and the men’s 4×400 meter relay grouping of Jonathan Gray ’22, Trent Whittaker ’23, Jordin Poindexter ’22, and Johnnie Walker ’22 claimed the league title for the event by finishing in 3:19.18.

The men’s 4×400 title halted a streak of nine consecutive wins by Western Carolina for the event.

With his individual title in the men’s triple jump and placement in the 60-meter hurdles, Midgett was named the SoCon male Indoor Track Freshman of the Year March 3.

“I asked them to come out and compete, to leave it all on the track and they did just that,” said Darrin Webb, VMI director of track and field. “I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts. Congrats to our newest conference champions and all-conference performers. This team worked hard, faced adversity, and just kept coming back for more. Their efforts were outstanding.

“I would also like to congratulate all the teams, coaches, and their schools for doing what was necessary to have an indoor season in a safe environment to give these student-athletes this opportunity. Your work and efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

VMI nearly earned individual titles in two other events, as Poindexter placed second in the men’s 60-meter in 6.92 seconds and Walker placed second in the 400-meter with a time of 49.28 seconds.

Also earning all-conference marks were Poindexter in the 200-meter with a third-place finish in 21.95 seconds and the women’s 4×400 team of Ruffin, Autumn Parson ’22, Marissa Linkous ’22, and Ahliyah Williams ’22 placing third in 3:53.16. Jayden Napier ’23 also earned podium honors by placing third in the triple jump with a distance of 14.16 meters (46’5.50”).

Williams and Linkous competed well in the 400-meter final; Williams placed fifth in 58.05 seconds and Linkous in eighth in 59.68 seconds.

While earning titles in other events, Ruffin also placed sixth in the 200-meter in 25.36 seconds and Midgett came in eighth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.60 seconds.

Helping his squad to the 4×400 title, Gray performed well in other events by placing sixth in the 400-meter in 49.94 seconds and eighth in the 200 in 22.53 seconds.