Spartans Seek Strong Marks at Duke Invite and Terrier Relays

Spartans Seek Strong Marks at Duke Invite and Terrier Relays

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams are set to travel to Durham, N.C., this weekend for the Duke Invitational, while the Spartan throwers will stay in town to compete in the Terrier Relays Saturday.

Reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Track Athlete of the week Gilbert Kemboi is slated to return to action this weekend at the Duke Invite in the men's 10,000-mter run. Last weekend at the Raleigh Relays he turned in a school record performance, crossing the finish line third with a time of 29:22.96, breaking his previous program record time of 29:51.99. Kemboi currently leads the A-Sun in the 10,000-meter and ranks 17th nationally in the event.

"This weekend's meet should be pretty competitive meet," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "We are looking forward to seeing our athletes compete this weekend after having a productive meet last week. It seems like our outdoor season really just kicked off, however we are already at the mid-point of our season so this is the time that our athletes should be starting to run, jump and throw more consistently each week as we progress toward our conference championships in five weeks."

Senior Cameron Thomas and junior Matt Johnson are set to compete in the 800-meter at the Duke Invite. Both Thomas and Johnson have steadily improved their times in event in each meet this season. Last weekend, Thomas posted a school record time of 1:50.86 to break the program record time of 1:51.31 he set at the Catamount Classic. He leads the A-Sun in the event and ranks 14th in the NCAA East qualifying list. Johnson is second in the A-Sun in the 800-meter after recording a personal-best time of 1:51.68.

"Many of our events are starting to take shape and across the conference we are starting to see where everyone is starting to lineup and it is obvious that this season is shaping up to be a very competitive one that will produce some great track and field in the month of May," Smith said.

Johnson is also entered in the men's 400-meter dash alongside freshman Tracy Fisher. Johnson turned in a season-best time of 48.88 in the event at the Raleigh Relays, while Fisher crossed the finish line in 50.99. Senior Brandon Curry will participate in the 110-meter hurdles. He recorded a season-best time of 15.51 in the event at the 49er Classic.

On the men's distance side, Kemboi will be joined in the 10K by junior Ross Oden and sophomore Riley Doherty. Last week at the Raleigh Relays, Oden turned in a season-best time of 31:33.80, while Doherty clocked in at 33:21.29. Juniors Andrew Kipchumba and Joey Daversa are slated to compete in the 5,000-meter. Both posted season-best marks in the 5K last weekend as Kipchumba came in at 15:43.44 and Daversa at 17:03.07. Daversa is also entered in the 1,500-meter alongside junior Mark Rennix and senior Christian Ritacco. Rennix recorded a season-best time in the event at the Raleigh Relays, crossing the line in 4:11.37.

The Spartan women set four school records last weekend at the Raleigh Relays in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4x400-meter relay and the 4x800-meter relay. Freshman Brenicke Johnson paced Upstate in the 100-meter last weekend with program-best time of 11.95, beating her previous school record time of 12.09. She will return to action in the event alongside fellow freshmen Heaven Briggs, Dominique Nock and Semaj Tolliver. The freshman foursome will also compete in the 200-meter dash. Briggs set the school record in the 200-meter earlier this season at the 49er Classic, clocking in at 25.12.

Upstate freshman Rebecca Elliott put herself in the Spartan record books last weekend 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. Elliott is slated to compete in the 400-meter hurdles again this weekend at the Duke Invite.

In the women's jumps, two Upstate record holders are slated to participate this weekend in Durham. Sophomore Brittany Walls set a school record in the high jump earlier this season, clearing 5-03.00 (1.60-meters) at the Catamount Classic. In the long jump, Nock holds the program-best leap of 18-02.50 (5.55-meters), which she recorded at the 49er Classic. Sophomore Shawanda Stokes and freshman Sarah Thomas will join Nock in the long jump. Stokes notched a season-best mark of 17-08.00 at the 49er Classic, while Sarah Thomas recorded a leap of 16-04.50 at the Catamount Classic.

Upstate senior Kenny Sugishita will represent the Spartan men at Wofford's Terrier Relays Saturday. He will compete in the hammer, discus and shot put. Sugishita posted a season-best mark in the hammer of 188-01 at the Catamount Classic, while also recording a season-best toss of 165-01 in the discus at that same meet.

On the women's side, sophomore Falicya Crace, freshman Savannah Nichols, freshman Ericka West and freshman Kierstin Williams are entered in the discus throw at the Terrier Relays. Williams leads the Spartans this season in the event with a toss of 91-10. Crace, Nichols and Williams will so compete in the hammer throw, while junior Meagan Bailey will participate in the shot put. Williams and Nichols have posted throws of 114-01 and 109-00 in the hammer. Bailey registered a hurl of 29-00.00 in the shot put at the 49er Classic.   

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