Spartan Men Sit In Fourth-Place After First Day of 2011 Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Championships
JOHNSON CITY, TENN.—USC Upstate men's and women's track teams got off to solid starts on the opening day of the 2011 Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Championships, which are being held at the MHSA Athletic complex at East Tennessee State University. After the opening day of competition, the Upstate men sit in fourth-place with 27 points, trailing Campbell for the third spot by just one point, as the Camels posted 28 points on the opening day.
A championship is still in the balance for the Spartan men, entering tomorrow's second day of competition trailing both North Florida and East Tennessee State, who are in a deadlock tie for first place, with 41 points. The Spartan women are in seventh place after the opening day, having posted five points and sitting just two points away from Belmont in sixth position.
"Overall, I am pleased with our performance on the first day of the competition. I thought the men competed really well, and the women were also solid in some events. I did kind of feel like we expected to do better in some of the events on both sides, but we have a lot of momentum heading into the final day," said head coach Jimmy Stephens.
Some superlative performances were turned in by both the men and the women on the opening day. On the men's side, Gilbert Kemboi came through with another strong performance in the 3,000-meter run, producing a silver medal finish with a time of 8:26.31 in the event.
Kenneth Sugishita continued his strong efforts in the throws events for the Spartan men, as he matched Kemboi by claiming a silver medal finish in the men's shot put, shattering his previous school record of 51-80.50, with a throw of 55-11.25. Sugishita has now set at least one school record in every event he has competed in for the Spartans, in this his first year in the program.
Perrish Goggins and Justin Crawford both placed fifth in their respective events in opening day action at the A-Sun championships. Goggins posted his fifth-place finish in the men's long jump, recording a leap of 22-08, while Crawford matched that with a fifth-place finish in the men's pole vault recording a vault height of 14-07.25.
Junior sprinter Ben Wheeler finished eighth in the men's 60-meter dash prelims, clocking a school-record time of 7.03. That time surpassed Wheeler's previous school record mark of 7.07, which he set at the Tiger Paw Invitational just last weekend.
Dominique Davis produced several solid finishes in the men's heptathlon, including a second-place finish in the men's high jump, clearing a height of 6-01.50. Davis finished fifth in the men's long-jump, recording a leap distance of 20-09.00, while registering a sixth-place finish in the men's 60-meter dash, with a time of 7.49 in the event. After the first day of competition in the men's heptathlon, Davis currently sits in fifth-place in the individual standings, with 2,552 points.
Highlighting the afternoon for the Upstate women were strong performances by LaTerrica Blocker in the women's pentathlon and Joan Tangwar in the women's 3,000-meter run. Blocker competed strong in several events on Friday and was able to produce the only first-place finish for the Spartan men or women on the opening day of the championships in Johnson City. Blocker out-distanced all 15 competitors in the women's shot-put, posting a throw of 35-08.00. Blocker also finished fifth in the women's high jump, finishing the event by setting a new school record, as she cleared a height of 4-11.50. That mark surpassed Abby Osborne's previous record of 4-10.25 in the event, which was set at the Vince Brown Invitational last year. Blocker currently sits in 12th place in the women's pentathlon, having amassed 2,308 points on the opening day.
Tangwar ran strong in the women's 3,000-meter run, as she posted a time of 10:23.03 in the event to finish sixth. The Spartan men and women return to the track bright and early tomorrow morning, as events get underway at 8:30 am.