Chelulei, Kemboi Race to A-Sun Titles on Day One of Competition
Feb. 26, 2010
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Gilbert Kemboi and Carolyne Chelulei had superb performances for the USC Upstate Track and Field team on the first day of the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Championships. The 2010 A-Sun Championships are being held inside the MHSA Athletic Complex on the campus of ETSU.
"Gilbert and Carolyne were outstanding for us today," said head track and field coach Jimmy Stephens. "They have worked very hard over the course of this season and it paid off for them today as they won individual championships. Gilbert gave us a little bit of a scare today as he thought he was on his last lap when he actually had another lap to go. He stopped when he crossed the line and then had to basically restart and was still able to win the race."
Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kangetuny) won the 3000-meter run in record setting fashion on Friday. The freshman set an A-Sun Indoor Championship record with a time of 8:23.37. The event was also a bit of redemption for Kemboi as he defeated Kenneth Rotich of ETSU who finished with a time of 8:28.92. Rotich defeated Kemboi at the 2009 A-Sun Cross Country Championships by just under five seconds.
Three other Spartans also competed in the 3000-meter run. Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) was the second Upstate runner to cross the finish line and finished 19th overall with a time of 9:16.76. James Jackson (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) finished 22nd after posting a time of 9:18.60. Meanwhile, Matt Henderson (Inman, S.C./Dorman) recorded a time of 9:44.25 to post a 27th-place finish.
Upstate's second champion came in the women's 3000-meter run. Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya/Alliance Girls) finished with a school-record time of 10:03.02. Chelulei defeated Mackenzie Howe of Kennesaw State by less than half a second. "Carolyne, like I said, ran a great race," Stephens added. "Mackenzie Howe of Kennesaw State is a tremendous athlete and the two competitors battled it out until the very end and it was a great race to watch."
Also competing in the 3000-meter run on Friday were Jemeli Sang, Mary Alexander, Lauren Walker and Nicole Yancey. Sang (Eldoret, Kenya/Biwott Ngelel-Tarit) finished fourth after she finished the event in 10:11.97. Alexander (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg C.C.) and Walker (Columbia, S.C./Lugoff-Elgin) gave the Spartans four top-15 finishes. Alexander (10:36.25) finished 10th while Walker finished 15th after an event mark of 10:45.38. Yancey was the final Spartan to cross the finish line with a time of 12:40.10 en route to a 23rd-place finish.
In the women's 60-meter dash, Gabrielle Walker (Chattanooga, Tenn./Mars Hill) set a new school record of 7.97 as she just missed qualifying for the finals by .03. LaTerrica Blocker (Stone Mountain, Ga./Redan) and Camille Masanotti (Ladson, S.C./Stratford) also competed in the 60-meter dash on Friday. Blocker posted a time of 8.19 while Masanotti posted a mark of 8.41.
In the women's shot put Blocker recorded a school-record toss of 37-10.00/11.53 en route to a 13th-place finish. Meanwhile Gabrielle Walker posted a mark of 37-05.00/11.41m to tie for 14th overall.
In the men's shot put, Eric Chapman (Cowpens, S.C./Broome) had a toss of 12.65m as he finished ninth. In the 60-meter dash Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn./Wisconsin-River Falls) and Dominic Simon (Sumter, S.C./Sumter) finished 16th and 17th respectively. Meissner finished with a time of 7.26, while Simon finished in 7.30.
"We had a good day of competition," said Stephens. "We set some school-records and others had some personal-bests today. I expect the same to occur tomorrow as we look to score more points and win more individual conference championships." After day one of competition ETSU owns the lead in the men's team championship with 64 points. Following the Bucs is Kennesaw State (41), Campbell (21), Belmont (21), North Florida (16), Lipscomb (15) and Upstate (14).
On the women's side, Kennesaw State owns the day one lead with 68.5 overall points. Jacksonville sits in second with 62 championship points. Rounding out the field is Campbell (29.5), North Florida (25), Upstate (16), ETSU (14), Belmont (13) and Lipscomb (6).
The final day of the A-Sun Championships will begin tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. with the completion of the men's heptathlon. The day will conclude at approximately 4:00 p.m. with the men's 4x400-meter relay with the awards presentation to immediately follow.