Top Three Transitional Moments: Men’s & Women’s Track & Field
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Four years ago, USC Upstate began a journey to join the NCAA Division I ranks and after approval by the NCAA Board of Governors, Upstate will become an active member of D-I on Sept. 1, 2011. With the transitional phase nearly complete, the media relations office takes a look back at some of the top moments of the transitional phase, today's spotlight, men's and women's track & field.
On July 1, the top 10 moments of the transition were compiled into an online web poll and thanks to the votes of Spartan fans, the final tally is in. Without any further ado, here are the top three moments of the transitional phase for Upstate track & field.
Moment No. 3
Kemboi breaks A-Sun record in 5,000-meter championship effort
Feb. 19, 2011
Sophomore Gilbert Kemboi, fresh off of winning the A-Sun cross country championship in October, continued to dominate the distance events in league competition by breaking the meet record in winning the 5,000-meter championship at the 2011 A-Sun Indoor Championships.
Kemboi, from Eldoret, Kenya, was dominant in the 5,000-meter run. He traveled the distance in a time of 14:43.81 to break the conference record by 34 hundredths of a second. The previous meet record was set by ETSU's Kenneth Rotich in 2008 when he won the title with a time of 14:44.15. Kemboi won the 2011 title by nearly 13 seconds over his closest competitor.
Winning the 5,000-meter A-Sun Championship was nothing new to Kemboi. He claimed the title as a freshman in 2010, while also claiming the 3,000-meter championship and earning Most Outstanding Freshman Performer honors along the way.
Kemboi has had a widely successful career at Upstate. He will enter 2011-12 as the defending champion in cross country and the 5,000-meter run in track. He has four conference championships to his name, three in indoor track and one in cross country. He will also begin to compete in outdoor track this year.
Moment No. 2
Meissner wins first sprint title for Upstate at 2010 A-Sun Outdoor Championships
May 15, 2010
In fourth place rounding the final turn, junior Mike Meissner turned on the afterburners and made his final kick. In what was a breathtaking performance, Meissner came from behind to win the 400-meter dash at the 2010 A-Sun Outdoor Track & Field Championships, giving Upstate its first-ever sprint championship in track.
Meissner, from Cottage Grove, Minn., had turned in solid performances in the 400 meters throughout the season, but was not the favorite heading into the league championships in May. He started the race well and was in fourth place rounding the final turn, looking to secure a spot on the medal stand for the Spartans. But, he closed on his competition and crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 48.51 to win the championship. He finished ahead of Kennesaw State's David Tansey (48.61) and ETSU's Tim O'Dell (48.62) to win the title.
Meissner left his mark on the 400-meter program at Upstate. He went on to win the championship at the 2011 A-Sun Indoor Championships and helped lift the Upstate 400-meter relay team from the bottom of the pack in 2010 to second-place finishes at the 2011 A-Sun Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Moment No. 1
Tangwar turns in dominant performance, wins three A-Sun track titles
March 1, 2008
In what has gone down as the most dominant individual performance in school history, freshman Emily Tangwar won three conference titles at the 2008 A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships, giving the program its first conference champion in school history.
Tangwar, from Eldoret, Kenya, had been a dominant cross country runner and finished second at the 2008 A-Sun Cross Country Championships a few months earlier. However, she made her mark in the A-Sun Indoor Track Championships, claiming the titles in the 1-mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs.
Tangwar began the competition by winning the 3,000 meters with a time of 10:10.31 on Feb. 29. She was trailing with 200 meters to go, but made a final kick to win the championship over North Florida's Amanda Davey. The next day, Tangwar was even more impressive, winning a pair of distance titles.
Tangwar turned in a time of 5:16.60 to win the 1-mile run championship by 35-hundredths of a second over Belmont's Brittany Thune. Later in the day, she ran the 5,000 meters with a time of 17:43.38 to win the championship by more than two seconds over Davey.
In winning three conference championships, Tangwar was named both the Most Outstanding Track Performer and the Most Outstanding Freshman Performer at the A-Sun Championships. She currently stands as the only track & field athlete to win three championships in one meet in the history of the women's and men's programs.
The media relations office will continue to release the top three moments from each sport leading up to the first athletic competition of the 2011-12 academic year, a women's soccer exhibition match against Spartanburg Methodist College on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Men's & Women's Track and Field
Volleyball (Aug. 16)