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CLEMSON, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field programs opened the indoor season at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Saturday as the women's team set six school records, while the Spartan men set one.
Freshman Dominique Nock (Griffin, Ga.) led the way for the Upstate women, breaking three school records on the day. She posted a program-best time in the 60-meter dash prelims with a time of 7.81. The previous record was 7.97 set by Gabby Walker at the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships in 2010. Nock qualified for the finals, where she came in seventh-place with a time of 7.84. In the long jump, she turned in another school record performance with a leap of 5.35-meters (17-06.75) to place fifth. The previous school-best mark of 4.94-meters (16-02.25) was recorded by Shawanda Stokes (Okatie, S.C.) at Clemson's Tiger Paw invitational last season.
The Spartan 4x400-meter relay team of Nock, junior Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.), freshman Semaj Tolliver (Ladson, S.C.) and freshman Sarah Thomas (Columbus, Ga.) crossed the line eighth with a school record time of 4:10.37. The previous program-best time of 4:11.40 was posted at the A-Sun Championships in 2008.
"It was a good start for us as a whole and I was glad to see how the freshmen blended with our upperclassmen," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "We really looked like a team today. Dominique Nock had a great start to her career here by breaking the record in the 60m, long jump and being a part of the 4x4 that also broke the school record."
Upstate freshman Ashleigh Torres (Roanoke, Va.) registered the fourth school record on the day for the Spartan women, finishing eighth in the 500-meter with a time of 1:20.20. The previous program-best mark of 1:23.61 was set by Edmond at last year's Orange & Purple Winter Classic. In this year's race, Edmond was close behind Torres, crossing the line ninth with a time of 1:20.19. Thomas also set a program-best time in the 300-meter, crossing the line in 42.68, while sophomore Brittany Walls (Chester, S.C.) posted a school record in the pentathlon with 2,825 points.
On the men's side, junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) rounded out the record setting performances for Upstate, taking top honors in the 500-meter dash with a program-best time of 1:05.00. He edged his previous school record mark of 1:05.08 that he posted at the 2011 edition of the Orange & Purple Winter Classic. Junior Jacob McKown (Greer, S.C.) and freshman Tracy Fisher (Lawrenceville, Ga.) followed Johnson in the 500-meter, coming in 11th and 12th, respectively with times of 1:09.75 and 1:09.88.
Senior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) turned in strong performances for the Spartan men in the throwing events. He took first-place in the weight throw with a toss of 16.47-meters (54-00.50). In the shot put, Sugishita came in third with a hurl of 15.24-meters (50-00.00). Freshman Jacob Ivester (West Union, S.C.) recorded a distance of 9.10-meters (29-10.25) in the shot put for 10th-place.
"Kenny Sugishita started his senior campaign off well and has been a great leader and trailblazer for the entire throws crew," Smith said. "What I was encouraged by the most was to hear and see that all our athletes had a hunger and desire to compete at a high level all the while realizing that we have a lot of work to put in and this was just a basic preseason opener to gauge where we are and where we want to go."
In the men's 60-meter hurdles, senior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) qualified for the finals, coming in fifth in the prelims with a time of 8.52. He earned fifth-place in the finals with a time of 8.51. Upstate freshman Zack Resop (Crawford, Ga.) finished tied for sixth in the high jump with a leap of 1.95-meters (6-04.75)