Track and Field

track athlete running outdoors

Jordin Poindexter ’22 at the Southern Conference Championship, where he won the 200M. He was later named the male SoCon Most Outstanding Track Performer.—Photo by Todd Drexler/

VMI competed well at the 2021 Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Catamount Athletic Complex in Cullowhee, North Carolina, May 2-3.

The men’s team finished fourth while the women were eighth.

On day one, Gavin Jenkins ’22 finished second in the men’s 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:54.41, one of the top 20 times in the NCAA East region. Teammate Walt Kitson ’21 placed fifth in the race in 9:33.54. Naomi Hahn ’24 arrived in third in the women’s steeple in 12:00.47, while Sara Belamarich ’22 placed sixth overall. Trent Whittaker ’23 placed sixth in the 800m in 1:55.50, while teammate Zach Lauster ’22 came in eighth in 1:54.03.

On day two, Jordin Poindexter ’22 won the men’s 200m and the VMI men’s 4×400 took the event title to highlight VMI’s efforts. The 4×400 relay team’s victory was the second consecutive of the 2021 season, as the group comprised of Poindexter, Jonathan Gray ’22, Trent Whittaker ’23, and Johnnie Walker ’22 also won the SoCon Indoor title for the event. VMI finished in 3:12.99 and was pursued by The Citadel in second (3:16.10) and ETSU in third (3:16.86). The men’s 4×100 grouping of Bret Trahan ’22, Gray, Keyandre Midgett ’24, and Poindexter placed third overall in 41.86 seconds for All-Conference honors.

Poindexter won the 200m in 21.32 seconds to take the individual title. Earlier in the day, he placed second in the 100m (10.60 seconds) just two-hundredths of a second off from the winner Emmanuel Tait of Samford (10.58).

The VMI women’s 4×400 group composed of Eliza Brooks ’22, Autumn Parson ’22, Ahliyah Williams ’22, and Ariana Ruffin ’21 erased a former school record by nearly six seconds as they finished second overall in the race in 3:47.91. The women’s 4×100 team composed of Nia Vaughan ’22, Ruffin, Marissa Linkous ’22, and Parson placed seventh overall in 48.25 seconds.

After placing second in the steeplechase on day one, Jenkins placed second in the 5000m run with a time of 14:21.73. Walker placed third in the 400m with a time of 48.28 seconds. In the men’s 800m, Whittaker placed fifth overall in 1:53.52, and Lauster came in eighth in 1:54.73.

Men’s 110mH athlete Midgett placed sixth overall in 14.81 seconds ahead of teammate Liam McBride ’24, who finished eighth in 15.43 seconds. In the men’s 400mH, Jack Rice ’24 arrived in seventh overall in 57.75 seconds. Midgett placed second in the triple jump at 14.63 meters to earn All-Conference honors for the event in addition to placing fourth in the long jump with 6.91 meters.

Solomon Ghosh ’22 performed well in both the shot and the discus, throwing a distance of 14.83 meters and placing second in the discus at 48.70 meters to earn All-Conference marks. In the women’s shot, Sarah Leckman ’21 also placed second with a throw of 14.00 meters to earn All-SoCon recognition. Ellie Miller ’22 finished seventh in the women’s shot with an 11.66-meter distance.
Multi-athletes Max Burke ’22 and Kevin Linko ’23 finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the decathlon, as Burke totaled 4985 points and Linko amassed 4805 points.

Ruffin placed eighth in the 100m finals in 12.14 seconds and later arrived in fifth overall in the 200m in 24.38 seconds.

“I am very pleased with both teams’ efforts, as there were some really good marks achieved this weekend,” said Darrin Webb, VMI director of track and field. “We had multiple All-Conference performances in several events, including Ariana, Sarah, Naomi, and the 4×400.

“On the men’s side, I was excited for many performances, but Jordin, Keyandre, Gavin, Trent, Solomon, and Johnnie really stand out for their efforts, all of which earned double-digit plus in scoring with Jordin leading the way with 22 points. Also, the men’s 113 team points are the highest recent point total. We do not graduate very many off either team, which makes us very excited about not only the results this weekend but also for the future.”

Editor’s Note: This article was first published at