Western Carolina’s Lindsey Trotter finished third in the 5,000-meter run at the ETSU Invitational in her first race of 2020.

Western Carolina University senior Lindsey Trotter turned laps on the track inside East Tennessee State University’s Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center on Friday and the Virginia High graduate relished the moment.

“I always enjoy coming to this area, especially since it is close enough for my family to come watch,” Trotter said. “This time last year, I didn’t think I was going to be able to complete my senior track season due to my 600-hour school internship, so I am thankful I’m able to do it. Over my winter block of training, I was dealing with some knee injuries, so I wasn’t able to have the strongest training set-up for the opener.”

Trotter fared well in her first race of 2020, placing third in the women’s 5,000-meter run at the ETSU Invitational. She crossed the finish line in 18:35.85.

“I feel like my performance on Friday is a decent place to start and I’m going to focus on getting faster and faster these next few months,” Trotter said. “I’m excited to see how the rest of the season will play out.”

Trotter entered the indoor season with momentum, having placed 14th at the Southern Conference cross country championships in November and qualified for the NCAA Southeast Regional meet.

“I was definitely pleased with how my cross country season ended,” Trotter said. “Going into the end of the season, I was focused on enjoying my last season and on not stressing too much on my performance. Although I obviously want to see new [personal records] and get more competitive, I didn’t want my performance to beat me down if I didn’t reach a specific goal. Although I didn’t ever have a breakthrough if you look strictly at the times, I was stoked with leaving my conference meet with a medal. I feel like I definitely ended my cross country career on a high and finished strong. I’m using this energy towards the track seasons to get good results in them too.”

Western Carolina coach Jesse Norman likes what he has seen from Trotter.

“While it’s early still, I feel that Lindsey is off to a great start with her indoor season,” Norman said. “I’m excited to see how it will progress from here, but I feel that she is picking up right where she left off in cross country and will accomplish some great things this spring. … I’m the most impressed with her dedication and love of the sport.”

With just a few months left in her collegiate distance-running career, Trotter is enjoying her time competing for the Catamounts.

No matter the race and no matter the setting.

“Indoor track is probably my least favorite when I compare it to cross country and outdoor season. I’ve always enjoyed cross country because of the scenery and the challenges each course brings,” Trotter said. “I enjoy outdoor because I get to focus in on my event, which is the 10K. I seem to struggle with finding my niche during indoor track. Although I have to view it with a different mindset, I don’t rest my identity in my running career.

“I know that my identity comes from God and in my faith. Knowing this helps me realize a bad race doesn’t define me. I find peace in knowing that I was granted this opportunity to be a collegiate runner for the past four years. With that being said, I am a very determined, competitive individual so I take each season with a different goal for myself.”

Trotter was among many local athletes to compete in Johnson City this past weekend.

Wofford College’s Kassidy Morton (Tennessee High) had a third-place finish in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.09 seconds, placed fourth in the 400-meter dash (58.36 seconds) and was on the fourth-place 4x100-meter relay team.

Milligan College’s Maci Cloninger (Sullivan Central), Lincoln Memorial’s Trey Lowe (Sullivan East), Carson-Newman’s Channler Boothe (Lebanon), Milligan’s Rebecca Glover (Sullivan East) and Bryan College’s Aalliyah Worley (Virginia High) were just a few of the others to take part in the annual event.

Two wins for Willis

James Madison University senior Meredith Willis (George Wythe) sprinted her way to a pair of wins on Saturday at a women’s track and field meet in Huntington, West Virginia.

Willis won the 60-meter dash in 7.75 seconds and crossed the finish line first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.80 seconds.

Top-10 for Thiessen

Abingdon High School graduate Karl Thiessen placed eighth in the men’s 3,000-meter run on Saturday at a dual track and field meet in Bloomington, Indiana.

Competing for the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Thiessen clocked in at 8:38.07.

Crandell: NECC’s best

Garrett Crandell (Tennessee High) put up some big numbers recently for the men’s basketball team at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, and as a result was named the New England Collegiate Conference player of the week.

He had 26 points and eight rebounds on Jan. 8 in a victory over Becker and three days later went for 23 points, five rebounds and three assists in a win over Elms.

Crandell is averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Lions.

Ervin: CAA’s top freshman

Freshman Zac Ervin had the hot hand on Saturday for the men’s basketball team at Elon University.

Ervin scored a season-high 27 points in an 80-63 Colonial Athletic Association win over North Carolina-Wilmington.

The sharpshooter from Gate City High School was 9-for-14 from the field – including 7-for-12 from 3-point range – and 2-for-2 at the free throw line. He also had two rebounds and two assists.

“Every time he shoots you think it’s going in, every single time,” Elon coach Mike Schrage told the Burlington Times-News. “I knew he was ready for a performance like this. I was just waiting, to be honest, and we looked for him right away. That kind of opened up the floodgates for him.”

For his efforts, Ervin was named Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week.

He is averaging 9.2 points per game for the Phoenix.

Grubb gets it done

Gavin Grubb was the pace-setter for the men’s basketball team at Johnson University on Jan. 10.

The ex-Sullivan East High School standout finished with 23 points, nine assists, three rebounds and one steal in a 106-75 triumph over Boyce.

Hammonds: AAC’s best

Union College’s Brooke Hammonds (Lee High) was the latest recipient of the Appalachian Athletic Conference women’s basketball player of the week award.

Hammonds had a 23-point, 12-rebound, five-steal performance in a triumph over Tennessee Wesleyan and a 24-point, 15-rebound stat line as the Bulldogs prevailed over Point.

A junior, Hammonds is averaging 18.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Marosites: SAC’s best

For the second time this season, Carson-Newman University’s Kayla Marosites is the South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball player of the week.

The Elizabethton High School graduate starred in recent wins over Lenoir-Rhyne (24 points, 13 rebounds) and Queens (17 points, 11 rebounds).

Gose goes off

Kaely Gose (Gate City) had her finest performance of the season on Saturday for the Milligan College women’s basketball team, going for 30 points and 14 rebounds in an 88-75 win over Warren Wilson.

Gose had 21 of her points in the second half.

Sophomore Hannah Wyrick (Eastside) added nine points, four assists and three rebounds in the victory.

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