Spartans Shine at Furman Invitational
April 10, 2010
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The USC Upstate track and field team had several quality performances on Saturday afternoon at the Furman Invitational. This was the first meet of the outdoor season for the Spartans in the state of South Carolina and they did not disappoint.
"Today was a day that we really tried to focus on our sprinters as well as field performers," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "Most of our distance guys had an easy day as most of them ran in just one event. We are beginning to enter crunch time as the conference championships are coming up in just about a month. I was really proud of the effort our team gave today and I am looking forward to our home meet that we are hosting on April 24th."
Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn./UW-River Falls) recorded a time of 50.26 as he won the 400-meter dash. Meissner also had a strong showing the 200-meter dash as he finished 2nd (22.63) and just missed out on another victory as Elias Conits finished in 22.62. Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) also competed in the 400-meter dash and finished third with a time of 53.63.
"Michael had a solid day," added Stephens. "He is training very hard and as he is working toward the Atlantic Sun championships, having days like this, is good for Michael as well as the entire team."
In the 400-meter hurdles, Danny Moore (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) claimed the victory as he recorded a time of 57.72. Meanwhile, Dominic Simon (Sumter, S.C./Sumter) had two strong performances on Saturday. In the 100-meter dash, Simon finished fourth with a time of 11.64. In the 200-meter dash, the freshman finished in 24.30 as he finished sixth.
In the women's 100-meter dash, Upstate claimed three of the top-four spots. LaTerrica Blocker (Stone Mountain, Ga./Redan) claimed the top spot as she posted a new school record. The junior recorded a time of 12.79, which surpasses the old mark of 12.87 that was set by Gabrielle Walker (Chattanooga, Tenn./Mars Hill) at the 2009 Orange & Purple Classic. Kathryn Neely (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) finished second in 13.79 and Erica Farler (Simpsonville, S.C./Greenville Charter) posted a time of 15.00 as she finished fourth.
Junior Eric Chapman (Cowpens, S.C./Broome) recorded a trio of top-three finishes on Saturday. In the hammer throw, Chapman claimed the top spot after recording a toss of 44.63. In the discus, Chapman recorded a mark of 39.25m as he finished second, which was followed by a third-place finish in the shot put (11.47m).
"I know Eric was disappointed that he wasn't able to get some of the distances that he had hoped for," said Stephens. "With the format of today's meet, it was tough on Eric as all of the throwing events were so close to each other. Anytime you can record three top-three finishes, it is a very special day."
In the 800-meter run, Upstate claimed three of the top 11 spots. David Dennison (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) led the charge as he finished third with a school record of 1:57.28. It is the second consecutive week that Dennison has broken the record in the event. Dustin Thomas (Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge) finished 10th (2:09.09), while Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C./Woodruff) finished 11th after a time of 2:14.55.
In the pole vault, Justin Crawford (Elgin, S.C./Lugoff-Elgin) finished first after clearing a height of 4.57m. Fellow teammate Graham Long (Easley, S.C./Riverside) finished fourth after he recorded a mark of 3.40.
The Spartans recorded two top-10 marks in the men's 1,500-meter run. Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) recorded a time of 4:13.09 as he finished sixth. Dylan Taylor finished 10th after a time of 4:35.99.
Christian Gamble (Columbia, S.C./Lower Richland) recorded two second-place finishes at the Furman Invitational. In the high jump, Gamble recorded a mark of 5-00.00 and followed that up with a mark of 14-00.00 in the long jump. Meanwhile, Abigail Osborne (Abbeville, S.C./Abbeville) finished third in the high jump (4-10.00), while Erica Farler finished third in the long jump (12-07.00). Gamble and Farler became the first two Spartans to compete in the long jump this season.
Minna Siponen (Piikkio, Finland/Aurajoki) finished fourth in the 200-meter dash and 11th in the 800-meter run. In the 200-meter dash the freshman posted a time of 31.29, while recording a time of 2:38.68 in the 800-meter run.
Upstate's final two victories of the day came in the hammer throw and the pole vault. Gabrielle Walker recorded a mark of 29.91m to claim the victory. In the pole vault, Camille Masanotti tied her own school-record of 10-06.00 as she finished first. Abigail Osborne finished second after clearing a height of 9-00.00.
"Camille competed well today for us," said Stephens. "Camille fell in the hurdles and was a little banged up when she competed in the pole vault. She was able to still do really well as she tied a school-record and she even had a few good looks as she tried to clear 11 feet."
The track and field team will return to action next weekend as they travel to Charlotte, N.C. for the second time this season. The Spartans will compete in the Charlotte Invitational on Saturday, April 17, 2010.