Tullahoma native Kris Potts-Howard and his Carson-Newman Track & Field teammate Tanner Stepp were both selected to participate in the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
This is the second-consecutive season that the Carson-Newman program will be sending multiple representatives to the Bradenton, Florida championships. The event is scheduled to take place on May 25-27.
“Kris and Tanner are excellent representatives of our team and our team’s success this year,” said Carson-Newman coach David Needs. “Just to be selected to compete on the national stage is a great privilege. They both worked hard, overcame nagging injuries and achieved national marks. I know they will represent Carson-Newman well at the championships.”
Stepp is no stranger to the national stage, as the junior has competed in the championship round every season, both indoor and outdoor, of his Eagle career. The Carson-Newman high jump record holder placed ninth (2.10 meters) as a freshman in 2015 and fourth (2.13 meters) a year ago as a sophomore.
Throughout his career, Stepp has been an All-Southeast Region performer every season which includes the Region’s Field Athlete of the Year honor of the indoor season in 2015. The junior has also reeled in four All-American plaques and will be looking to add to the total once again in the coming weeks.
During the 2017 outdoor campaign, Stepp rebounded from an injury-plagued indoor season to leap over the 2.00-meter mark in every one of his five jumps on the year. With a second-place finish at the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Championships following a 2.13-meter leap, Stepp recorded a 2.12-meter mark in the elite high jump completion at the 123rd running of the history Penn Relays on April 30.
The junior finished the 2017 regular season tied for fourth in the nation with Wingate’s Isiah Kyle, as the duo shared the Southeast Region championship in the event.
Carson-Newman’s second participant set to compete in the national showcase is Potts-Howard in the long jump. The sophomore came out of nowhere on the weekend of March 25 to record personal-bests in both the long and triple jumps at the Tennessee Rust Buster.
At the showcase, Potts-Howard tallied a second-place jump of 7.44 meters in the long jump to propel him into second-place in the Carson-Newman record books. Later in the day, the sophomore placed eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 14.56 meters. Following the impressive weekend, Potts-Howard reeled in his first-career SAC Field Athlete of the Week honor.
Known as a triple jumper coming into the season, Potts-Howard grew into a legitimate long jumping threat throughout the region while posting three marks exceeding the 7.20-meter mark on the year. The newcomer also impressed at the Penn Relays two weeks ago with a seventh-place showing of 7.20 meters.
Prior to the national announcement, Potts-Howard reeled in his first Southeast Region honor as the sophomore was named to the postseason team for both the long and triple jumps. The 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be the first national stage event of the sophomore’s career.
“I know they are both going into nationals with the mindset of becoming a national champion,” Needs concluded.