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Contact: Katie Parker, email@example.com
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Senior Gilbert Kemboi won his third career conference crown in the men's 3,000-meter Friday as the USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams opened the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Championships hosted by ETSU.
Kemboi crossed the line in 8:25.95 to claim his third A-Sun title and second-straight in the 3K. His first-place finish garnered 10 points for the Spartan men. Upstate closed out the first day of competition with 22 points to take fourth in the team standings, just eight points behind North Florida with 30.
"We had quite a few PRs today across the board," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "We missed some pretty big points on both the men's and women's sides. However, everyone definitely came to compete. We were excited to see Gilbert get his first track championship of the year. He ran well and accepted his award with class like he always does.
Defending A-Sun champion Kenny Sugishita jumped on the podium again this year, taking third-place in the men's shot put with a toss of 15.54-meters (51-00.00). The bronze medal collected six points for the Spartan men as did another third-place finish for Upstate in the men's distance medley relay. Senior Cameron Thomas, junior Michael Johnson, junior Matt Johnson and junior Joey Daversa posted a season-best time of 10:20.73 in the DMR to take third.
Upstate junior Joshua Powers turned in a personal-best mark with a leap of 6.32-meters (20-09.00) in the men's long jump.
On the women's side, freshman Dominique Nock posted a school record in the 60-meter prelims with a time of 7.65, beating her previous program-best mark of 7.75. She came in sixth in the prelims and qualified for the 60-meter dash finals, which will take place Saturday. Her classmates Brenicke Johnson, Heaven Briggs, Semaj Tolliver and Simmie Bray all posted personal-best marks in the 60-meter dash as well. Brenicke Johnson came in 11th with a time of 7.75, while Briggs posted a time of 7.90. Tolliver and Bray crossed the line in 8.01 and 8.23, respectively.
Nock notched a point for the Spartan women in the long jump, coming in eighth with a leap of 5.56-meters (18-03.00), while sophomore Brittany Walls added five points for Upstate with a fourth-place finish in the pentathlon. She set a school record collecting 3176 points in the event, missing the podium by eight points. Her previous program-best mark was 2852 points. Walls came in second in both the high jump and the shot put in the pentathlon. She set an Upstate record in the high jump, clearing 1.62-meters (5-03.75), while recording a toss of 11.13-meters (36-06.25) in the shot put.
"Brittany missed getting on the podium for the ladies by just a few points and actually broke two school records in the process and had four personal bests in the pentathlon today," Smith said.
In the women's distance medley relay, the Spartan quartet of freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko, Ashley Edmond, Molly Bliss and Jasmine Polite recorded a season-best time of 12:34.48. The Spartans came in sixth in the DMR to earn three points. Upstate finished the day sixth in the team standings with nine points.
"I must say I am proud of the way things have kicked off today," Smith said. "Of course as a coach you want things to go perfect, however that's not usually what happens. Seeing our athletes compete with heart makes us proud to be Spartans."
The 2013 A-Sun Indoor Championships wrap up Saturday. Fans can follow all the action on the live results link or on Twitter at #ASunTF. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.