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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championships hosted by the University of North Florida Saturday with six medal-winning performances.
Upstate finished first and second in the men's 800-meter as senior Cameron Thomas snagged the gold medal with an A-Sun Championship record time of 1:49.29. The time was also a school record for the Spartans, beating his previous program-best mark of 1:50.57. Junior Matt Johnson picked up the silver with a personal-best mark of 1:50.98. The 1:49.29 time was good enough to qualify Thomas for the NCAA East Regionals.
Senior Kenny Sugishita collected his third medal of the A-Sun Championships Saturday, taking second-place in the men's discus with a toss of 155-04 (47.35-meters). He tallied eight points in the discus to give him 26 on the weekend, the most of any Spartan. His classmate Gilbert Kemboi added 10 points for a total of 20 on the weekend, claiming his second gold medal at the conference meet. Kemboi defended his A-Sun title in the 5,000-meter, clocking in at 14:58.29.
"I'm extremely proud of our team," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "From top to bottom everyone did exceptionally well. Not only were our upperclassmen great our freshmen really made some huge strides as both our men and women scored our programs most points yet and for that I am really excited about our future. We were ready to go on all cylinders and had quite a few personal-bests across the board. It was a great weekend to be a Spartan, not only for what our track & field teams did, but with our softball team winning the A-Sun Championship title as well."
Junior Andrew Kipchumba crossed the line seventh in the men's 5K to grab two points for the Spartans, turning in a time of 15:38.12.
The Spartan women opened the day with the conclusion of the heptathlon as sophomore Brittany Walls earned a spot on the podium, taking the bronze with a school record 4,318 points. She scored six points for the Upstate women's team, while junior Meagan Bailey notched three points with a sixth-place finish with a personal-best 3,730 points in the heptathlon.
Later in the day, Walls tied for seventh-place in the women's open high jump. She cleared 5-03.75 (1.62-meters) to add 1.50 points to the Upstate women's team total. Walls finished the meet with 7.50 points.
After qualifying for the women's 100-meter dash finals during the prelims Friday, freshmen Dominique Nock and Brenicke Johnson, picked up a combined seven points for the Spartan women's team. Brenicke Jonson took fifth-place with a time of 11.85, while Nock followed in sixth with a time of 12.05. Nock collected three more points for Upstate in the women's 200-meter, finishing sixth with a school record time of 24.32.
Sophomore Jasmine Polite notched two points for the Spartan women in the 5,000-meter run, finishing seventh with a time of 18:05.24. Upstate picked up five more points in the women's 4x400-meter relay, finishing sixth in the team standings with 36.50 points. The Spartan relay team of junior Ashley Edmond, Nock, freshman Heaven Briggs and freshman Semaj Tolliver claimed fourth with a school record time of 3:53.52. The previous program-best time was 3:56.423 set at the Raleigh Relays earlier this season.
In the men's 1,500-meter sophomore Mark Rennix finished seventh, clocking in at 4:08.25 to garner two points for the Spartans. Upstate earned 10 more points in the men's 400-meter hurdles as junior Jacob McKown accounted for five points with a fourth-place finish, clocking in with a personal-best time of 56.29. Senior Danny Moore took sixth with a personal-best time of 56.63, while junior Joshua Powers claimed seventh-place with a time of 57.09.
The Spartan men got on the podium again in the final event of the day, claiming third in the 4x400-meter relay to collect six points. Upstate finished the day fourth in the team standings, tallying 100 points. The Spartan relay team of freshman Tracy Fisher, Thomas, freshman Carlton White and Matt Johnson crossed the line in 3:18.48.
Freshman Rebecca Elliott reset her program record in the women's 400-meter hurdles, clocking in at 1:08.74. Her previous school record was 1:10.44, which she set at the Johnson C. Smith Invite earlier this season. In the men's high jump, freshman Tracy Fisher cleared a personal-best 6-01.25 (1.86-meters) to claim seventh-place and secure two points for the Spartans.