JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At the end of first day at the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the USC Upstate men's team ranks third with 42 points, while the women are sixth with 20 points as the Spartans grabbed a combined four individual crowns.
The Spartan men were led today by a trio of individual titles as junior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) claimed two and classmate Gilbert Kemboi (Eloret, Kenya) won one, while senior Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) snagged gold for the women's squad.
Sugishita started the day with a school record performance in the shot put with a winning throw of 16.47-meters (54-00.50). He followed that with a first-place toss of 56.67-meters (185-11) in the hammer throw. The junior returns to action tomorrow in the discus throw, seeking his third title of the weekend.
Kemboi and Sang both took first-place in the men's and women's 10,000-meter, respectively tonight. Kemboi posted an A-Sun meet record in the event with a time of 30.16.81, beating the previous record set in 2010 by about 14 seconds. On the women's side, Sang crossed the line in 35:44.15, picking up 10 points for the Spartans. Both Kemboi and Sang will seek additional championships tomorrow in the men's and women's 5,000-meter races.
The Upstate women collected six points from senior Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya) and four via freshman Breana Kwasnik (Greenville, S.C.) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the pole vault, respectively. Chelulei registered a school record in the steeplechase with a third-place time of 10:58.24, passing her previous record of 11:22.64 set at the Duke Invitational April 6. Kwasnik claimed fifth in the pole vault, clearing 3.26-meters (10-08.25).
In the men's long jump finals, senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) tied for second with a program-best mark of 7.09-meters (23-03.25). He also competed in the men's 100-meter dash preliminaries, posting an Upstate record with a qualifying time of 10.77. He will participate in the finals tomorrow afternoon.
Following Kemboi in the men's 10,000-meter was sophomore Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) and senior James Jackson (Aiken, S.C.). Oden claimed seventh, while Jackson took eighth for a combined three points for the Spartan men. Oden crossed the line in 32:45.49, while Jackson recorded a time of 32:49.04.
Junior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) posted two points for the Spartan men, grabbing seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He crossed the line in 9:48.42, while classmate Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) put himself in position to score points tomorrow in the men's 110-meter hurdle finals. In tonight's prelims, Curry turned in a qualifying time of 15.03.
Upstate returns to action tomorrow, wrapping up the final day of the A-Sun Outdoor Championships. Due to possible weather conditions in the forecast tomorrow afternoon, events will start several hours earlier. The afternoon session will begin at 1 p.m. with relay events. Follow the Spartans this season on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.