FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Seniors Gilbert Kemboi, Kenny Sugishita and Cameron Thomas of the USC Upstate men's track & field team head to Greensboro, N.C., Thursday for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor East Preliminary Championships May 23-25 hosted by North Carolina A&T State University.
This will be the second time in program history Upstate athletes have qualified for the NCAA Regionals and second-straight appearance for both Kemboi and Sugishita.
Kemboi once again qualified for the East Prelims in the 10,000-meter, crossing the line this season with a school record time of 29:15.69, which he recorded at Stanford's Payton Jordan Invite April 28. He enters the first round seeded ninth and will compete in the 10K Thursday in the night cap race, scheduled for 9:40 p.m. Kemboi finished 15th with a time of 30:43.24 at the East Prelims last season after qualifying in the 43rd spot.
Sugishita also returns to the NCAA East Prelims, qualifying in the hammer throw. The Spartan hurler turned in a program-best toss of 197-11.00 (60.34-meters) at the Charlotte Invitational April 19, which ranks him 30th entering the preliminary round. He will compete in the hammer throw this Saturday at 10 a.m. Last year in the NCAA first round competition, Sugishita recorded a throw of 172-11 (52.72-meters) for 46th-place.
This will be Thomas' first trip to the East Regional as the senior snagged a spot on the qualifiers list with his performance in the 800-meter May 11 at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. He picked up the gold medal in the event with an A-Sun meet 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. Thomas has the 24th-best qualifying time entering the East Primary round this weekend.
The first round of the men's 800-meter race at the East Prelim is slated for 8:35 p.m. Thursday. Thomas will have to qualify for the quarterfinals of the event, which will be Friday at 7:15 p.m.