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RALEIGH, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out competition Saturday at N.C. State's Raleigh Relays en route to setting five school records, while posting several other season-best marks.
Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi turned in a school record performance at the nightcap race Friday evening, crossing the 10,000-meter finish line third with a time of 29:22.96. He negative split the race, running the first half in 15:00 and the second in 14:22 to shave 29 seconds off of his personal-best. Kemboi broke his previous program record time of 29:51.99, which he recorded at last year's Raleigh Relays.
"The last two days have been a true Spartan effort for both the men's and women's teams," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Of course we had several personal-bests and in each and every event our athletes really stepped up and competed at a high level. We produced some pretty good numbers for this part of the season, however it is what you cannot see in the results that makes us very proud of how all of our athletes are stepping up."
The school records continued to fall in the men's 800-meter as senior Cameron Thomas claimed eighth-place, clocking in at 1:50.86, breaking the program record time of 1:51.31 he set at last weekend's Catamount Classic. Thomas has improved his time in the 800-meter in all three outdoor meets this season and leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in the event. He was followed in the event by junior Matt Johnson, crossing the line 10th with a personal-best time of 1:51.68. Johnson has also consistently improved his time in the 800-meter this season.
Freshman Rebecca Elliott put herself in the Spartan record books with a time of 1:10.93 in the women's 400-meter hurdles. The previous school record time was 1:13.91 set by Kathryn Neely at the 2011 A-Sun Championships.
On the men's side, all three Spartan hurdlers registered season-best times in the 400-meter hurdles. Junior Joshua Powers led the way for Upstate with a time of 56.42, while classmate Jacob McKown came in at 56.52 and senior Danny Moore crossed the line in 58.11.
The Spartan women broke two more school records in the relays as the freshmen continued to be a solid force. The Freshman foursome of Molly Bliss, Nia Payne, Anastasia Kolesnitchenko and Ashleigh Torres posted a program-best time of 9:31.64 in the 4x800-meter relay. The previous Upstate record was 10:12.02 set earlier this season at the 49er Classic by Kolesnitchenko, Taylor Crans, Elliott and Bliss. In the women's 4x400-meter, junior Ashley Edmond joined the freshmen trio of Dominique Nock, Heaven Briggs and Semaj Tolliver to shatter another Spartan record, finishing in 3:56.42. Earlier this season at the 49er Classic, Edmond, Nock, Briggs and Torres teamed up in the 4x400 set the previous school record time of 4:02.69.
Freshman Tracy Fisher, Thomas, freshman Carlton White and Johnson joined forces in the men's 4x400-meter relay to turn in season-best time for Upstate, coming in at 3:19.87. Earlier this season at the 49er Classic, Fisher, McKown, White and Moore posted a time of 3:27.75 in the 4x400. In the men's 4x100-meter relay, Moore, Fisher, Powers and White teamed up to record a time of 44.23.
In the women's 4x100-meter relay, Tolliver, Nock, Briggs and freshman Brenicke Johnson combined for a time of 46.76. The freshman quartet was followed by freshman Sierra White, sophomore Brittany Walls, freshman Sarah Thomas and Edmond, crossing the 4x100 line in 48.71.
Upstate senior Kenny Sugishita notched sixth-place in the men's hammer throw with a toss of 185-02 (56.43-meters). On the women's side, freshman Savannah Nichols recorded a hurl of 97-07 (29.75-meters) in the hammer throw.