By Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. – The Capital Athletic Conference today announced the men's and women's track & field All-CAC teams, featuring Southern Virginia University's individual champions Derek Blasko and Mesi Havea on the first team. The Knights' Clarissa Barton earned All-CAC Second Team honors during the indoor season.
Blasko became the first Southern Virginia men's track & field athlete to be named to an All-CAC team after winning the conference's javelin title. The sophomore heaved a personal-best 56.65-meter throw to clinch the championship by over seven feet. This year's throw topped last season's long of 47.43 meters.
On Saturday of the Championships, Mesi Havea earned her spot on the All-CAC first team by setting a CAC Championships-meet record with a first-place discus throw of 41.49 meters. The rookie became the first freshman to win the event in four years, and the first Southern Virginia women's track & field member in program history to win an individual title.
In addition to their first-place performances, both athletes placed in their respecting shot put events with Blasko taking third with a throw of 14.05 meters, and Havea finishing fifth on the women's side with a throw of 11.21 meters.
It seemed that in each meet during the 2017-18 track & field season, athletes were able to cut times, set program records, and turn heads.
"This was a fun season to see the growth in size and talent from our first season," commented first-year head coach Elizabeth Wilson. "Anyone can look at results and see that we scored more points at conference, had more outright winners during the season, and two conference champions, but what people don't see is that our team showed greater dedication to practice and supported one another on many cold days, early mornings, and late nights."
"The last two seasons are night and day," Wilson continued. "I'm proud of both of our teams this year, but the women blew me away. After not scoring in last year's championships, the women had multiple scorers this year, a conference champion, and two All-CAC athletes spanning indoor and outdoor."
In April, Clarissa Barton became the first female in program history to break the five-minute mark in the women's 1500-meter run. During that same meet, Michael Myers set school records for the 1500 and 5000-meter races with times of 4:03 and 15:27.
Six different Knights claimed individual titles during the first weekend meet in April including Havea (discus and shot put), Blasko (javelin), Barton (3000-meter run), Myers (5K), and Alexi Speas, who won the women's pole vault after clearing 3.2 meters (10' 6").
All in all, things are looking up for both the men's and women's track & field teams who look to keep this momentum going and continue to push deeper into the conference.
"My favorite moments as a coach aren't necessarily when someone wins a big meet, but when any given athlete has a personal best," concluded Wilson. "I love seeing the excitement that comes from achieving something they've never done before. Those are special moments, and there are many more to come."