Upstate Prepares for this Weekend’s A-Sun Outdoor Championships

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate track and field team travels to Jacksonville, Fla. this weekend, May 16-17, for the 2014 Atlantic Sun Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by North Florida at Hodges Stadium.

The meet begins at 9 a.m. Friday morning with the women's heptathlon and the last event starts at 8:55 p.m. in the men's 10,000-meter run. The men's decathlon kicks off the schedule of events on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., with the final event coming at 8:45 p.m. in the women's 4x400-meter relay. The championship presentation follows at 9 p.m.

The Spartans are back in action for the second time in less than a week after taking part in the Aggie Last Chance this past Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. Upstate saw one school record fall as Essence Jackson broke her own mark in the 800-meter run with a time 2:15.23. The personal-best time set by Jackson was one of 14 broken by the Spartans on Sunday with the women recording nine and the men five.

Matt Johnson and Theodore Kountourogiannis paced Upstate with 2nd place finishes in the 800-meter and 1500-meter runs, respectively. Jasmine Polite led the Spartan women with a 3rd place performance in the 1500-meter run as she posted a time of 4:47.58. The women's 4x100-meter relay team of Semaj Tolliver, Dominique Nock, Heaven Briggs and Brenicke Johnson also finished in 3rd place with a time of 46.43.

Kountourogiannis was awarded for his performance Wednesday as he was named the Atlantic Sun Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week for the first time in his career.

Upstate took home 12 All-Conference honors last season as the men recorded 11 and the women one. Former Spartans Gilbert Kemboi and Kenny Sugishita led Upstate in All-Conference selections as Sugishita collected three and Kemboi two. Sugishita was named First Team All-Conference in the shot put, and Second Team All-Conference in the discus and hammer throws; Kemboi received First Team All-Conference accolades in the 5000-meter and 10,000-meter runs. Former Spartan Cameron Thomas teamed up with Matt Johnson to take home First Team and Second Team All-Conference honors in the 800-meter run, as Thomas finished 1st and Johnson 2nd. Thomas and Johnson were also part of the 4x400-meter relay team, along with Tracy Fisher and Carlton White, that earned Third Team All-Conference recognition. Brittany Walls took home Third Team All-Conference honors in the heptathlon.

The men finished 4th in the overall team standings last year with 100 points, while the women were 6th with 36.50 points.

So far this season, Upstate has 19 athletes ranked 10th or better in the Atlantic Sun for their individual event. Walls and Alexis Jacobs top the Spartans individually as each are ranked in the top 10 in three events. Walls leads the conference for the heptathlon after recording 4,223 points at the Charlotte Invitational en route to a 1st place finish. Johnson also ranks 1st in the 800-meter run after posting a time of 1:52.18 on Sunday at the Aggie Last Chance.

Live results for the Atlantic Sun Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be available all weekend long. To follow the event, click here.

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