Kemboi, Sugishita Earn Individual Titles at First Day of A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Juniors Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) of the USC Upstate men's track & field team picked up gold medals at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships today in the 3,000-meter run and shot put, respectively.
Kemboi and Sugishita's top-place marks helped the Spartan men rank second in the team standings at the end of the first day of competition, collecting 33 points. Kennesaw State leads all teams with 57 points, while North Florida is third with 32 points and ETSU is fourth with 31 points.
In the men's 3,000-meter run Kemboi posted a winning time of 8:25.63, just shy of the conference record that he set in 2010 of 8:23.37. Sugishita claimed the conference shot put crown with a toss of 15.86-meters. The Spartan quartet of junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) recorded a second-place finish in the men's distance medley relay with a time of 10.06.88.
"Kenny did what it took to win today," said head coach Natalie Smith. "We were really excited to see him get his first win as an A-Sun champion in front of his teammates and family, who came in all the way from California. Gilbert was exceptional to watch as always; as he adds to his list of championships, we are hoping that he and Kenny both have a double championship performance after tomorrow. Lastly, our men's DMR consisting of Cameron, Mike Johnson, Matt Johnson and Davey was in high performance mode as they finished as the 2012 runner up by cutting almost 36 seconds off of last year's time."
Junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) qualified for the final men's 60-meter hurdles with a preliminary time of 8.30 today. The 60-meter hurdles final will be ran tomorrow afternoon along with the men's 5,000-meter run, which will feature Kemboi. Sugishita will also compete in the men's weight throw tomorrow.
On the women's side, the Spartans were led by seniors Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) and Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya), earning second and third places in the 3,000-meter run, respectively. Sang crossed the line in 9:54.12, while Chelulei clocked in at 9:55.73. Both were personal-best times. Senior Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) finished the women's 3,000-meter in a close fourth-place with a time of 9:56.83. The senior trio is slated to compete in the women's 5,000-meter run tomorrow. The Upstate women's team sits fifth in the standings with 21 points.
"Jemeli, Carolyne and Joan scored 19 points in one event and have put us in reach of possibly scoring the most points as a women's team in school history if all goes as planned tomorrow," Smith said. "These young ladies competed fiercely for the 'green.' Lastly, we want to thank our athletic director for coming out to support our teams today. It meant a lot to our athletes and staff."