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DURHAM, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams continued to show consistent improvement in individual mark Saturday as the Spartans closed out the Duke Invitational, while other Spartans competed at Wofford's Terrier Relays.
In the women's 800-meter developmental race, freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko led the Spartans, clocking in at 2:20.27. She was followed by freshman Ashleigh Torres with a season-best time of 2:20.32, while her classmate Molly Bliss crossed the line in 2:22.70. Freshman Nia Payne closed out the event for Upstate with a time of 2:24.14.
Upstate sophomore Mark Rennix, posted a season-best time of 2:00.91 in the men's 800-meter development race. Junior Matt Johnson turned in a time of 1:54.18 in the 800-meter.
"Overall this weekend, we saw progression across the men's and women's teams alike," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Our distance crew was the most consistent across the entire team and they are really running consistently competitive times and that's to be commended because truthfully that is one of the key things that we look to see each week. Each week we are anxious to see how the team will compete and with only two meets left before the conference championships, we are hoping to make some movies in the league rankings over the next two weeks."
In the women's 100-meter dash, freshman Dominique Nock recorded a season-best mark of 11.98 during the prelims to qualify for the finals. Nock finished sixth in the 100-meter finals with a time of 12.21. Freshman Brenicke Johnson clocked in at 12.39, while her classmates Heaven Briggs and Semaj Tolliver finished in 12.47 and 12.70, respectively.
Senior Brandon Curry recorded a time of 11.75 in the men's 100-meter dash, while junior Joshua Powers had a season-best time of 11.93. Curry turned in a season-best time of 15.23 in the men's 110-meter hurdles, while sophomore Brittany Walls posted a time of 16.38 in the women's 100-meter hurdles.
In the women's 200-meter dash, Briggs reset her program-best mark, crossing the line in 24.85. Her previous school record was 25.12, which she set at the 49er Classic. Nock turned a time of 25.71 in the 200-meter, while Tolliver and Johnson finished in 26.27 and 26.34, respectively.
"Heaven Briggs looked exceptional in the 200-meter as she broke her own school record by a huge chunk of time," Smith said. "She is really shaping up to be a dangerous competitor."
On the men's side, freshman Carlton White recorded a season-best time of 22.68 in the men's 200-meter, while senior Danny Moore clocked in at 23.81. White went on to help the Spartans post two more season-best times in the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays. He teamed with Moore, freshman Tracy Fisher and junior Jacob McKown in the 4x100, registering a time of 43.74. White and Fisher joined forces again in the 4x400 alongside senior Cameron Thomas and junior Matt Johnson to turn in a time of 3:19.01.
The freshman foursome of Tolliver, Nock, Briggs and Brenicke Johnson recorded a time of 46.92 in the women's 4x100-meter relay. The relay team of freshman Sierra White, Walls, freshman Sarah Thomas and junior Ashley Edmond crossed the 4x100 finish line with a season-best time of 48.65. In the 4x400-meter relay, Edmond, Nock, Briggs and Tolliver recorded a time of 4:14.18.
Edmond led the way for the Spartans in the women's 400-meter, clocking in at 1:00.1. She was trailed by freshman Rebecca Elliott, who finished in 1:02.06. Sarah Thomas crossed the line in 1:02.34, while Sierra White had a time of 1:02.43. In the men's 400-meter, Fisher posted a time of 51.35.
In the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Laura Transue and sophomore Erin Gethin both turned in season-best times. Transue finished in 11:58.65, while Gethin came across in 12:13.04. On the men's side, senior Christian Ritacco crossed the line in 9:44.65.
"Our steeplechasers, including senior Christian Ritacco, looked good this weekend as well," Smith said. "This was Christian's first race back in the steeple in almost a year, so I was glad to see the senior laying it on the line to shape up before the conference meet after missing all of the indoor season."
Sarah Thomas recorded a season-best leap of 5.05-meters (16-07.00) in the women's long jump to finish 10th in the event, while sophomore Shawanda Stokes came in 12th with a jump of 5.00-meters (16-05.00). In the women's high jump, Walls cleared 1.53-meters (5-00.25).
Back in Spartanburg, freshman Taylor Crans recorded a season-best time of 1:03.84 in the women's 400-meter at Wofford's Terrier Relays. Freshman Simmie Bray crossed the 100-meter dash finish line in 13.10, while junior Meagan Bailey turned in a time of 18.79 in the 100-meter hurdles.
Upstate senior Kenny Sugishita notched two second-place finishes at the Terrier Relays. He posted a toss of 50.03-meters in the men's discus and a hurl of 57.05-meters in the men's hammer throw.
On the women's side, freshman Kierstin Williams recorded a season-best mark in the women's discus with a throw of 28.14-meters. She posted another season-best toss in the hammer throw with a distance of 34.92-meters. Freshmen Ericka West and Savannah Nichols recorded throws of 26.15-meters and 25.79-meters in the discus, respectively. Sophomore Falicya Crace had a hurl of 31.64-meters in the hammer, while Nichols turned in a throw of 28.98-meters.