Upstate Men's Track and Field Team Fashioned A Strong Opening Day At JRF Invitational

Reggie Thompson
Reggie Thompson

Spartans Complete First Day Of JRF Invitational In Fine Fashion

CLEMSON, S.C.—The USC Upstate men's and women's track teams completed the first day of the JRF Invitational on Friday evening at Clemson, with both teams acquitting themselves in very well on the opening day of competition. The Spartan men would set three school records on the opening day of the JRF Invitational

On the men's side, junior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C., C.A. Johnson Prep) didn't appear to have suffered any rust after taking a redshirt year in 2010. Goggins took second-place behind Auburn's D.J Smith in the high jump, producing a leap of 2.00m. Goggins' leap, which produced a second-place finish, was the high-water mark for the Spartan men or women teams on the opening day of the two-day event. Sophomore Dominique Davis (Spartanburg, S.C./Boling Springs HS) also fashioned a strong performance, finishing seventh in the men's high jump with a leap that measured 1.85m.

Not to be outdone, Coastal Carolina transfer and Hub City product Benjamin Wheeler (Spartanbirg, S.C./Coastal Carolina) would post his second-straight record-setting performance in the 60-meter hurdles. After opening his indoor campaign by setting a new mark in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.34 in the Orange and Purple Classic a little less than two months ago on the Clemson campus, Wheeler would establish a new mark atop the school's ledger on Friday, completing the race a time of 8.30. That school-record time was good enough to garner the former All-Big South hurdler a fifth-place finish.

Joining Wheeler's record-setting performance for the men on Friday afternoon was senior Justin Crawford (Elgin, S.C./Lugoff-Elgin HS), who finished fourth in the men's pole vault with a vault of 4.65m. That vault broke his previous record vault of 4.60m set at the Orange and Purple Classic in early December.

 Sophomore Brandon Curry  (Anderson, S.C./Pendleton HS) was also solid in the 60-meter hurdles, as he posted a time of 8.36 to finish seventh and shatter his previous personal standard of 8.52 set at the Orange and Purple Classic.

Newcomer and freshman Kenneth Sugishita would set the third and final school-record of the afternoon for the Spartan men, as he did so with a toss of 15.22m in the shot put. That was good enough to overcome James Miles' previous school record toss of 14.50 set at the Appalachian Invitational way back in 2008.  

Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, MN/UW-River Falls) and Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C./Spring Valley HS)  would complete the day of top-10 finishes for the Spartan men by finishing fifth and eighth, respectively, in the men's 400-meter dash. Meissner fashioned a time of 50.88, while Johnson produced a time of 51.57. The 50.88 time by Meissner was just 74-tenths of a second off his school-record mark of 50.14 set at the Atlantic Sun Championships last year.  

On the women's side, junior Kathryn Neely (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern HS) and freshman Ashley Edmond (Columbia, S.C./Lower Richland HS) put forth a couple strong performances for the Spartan women on Friday. In the 60-meter hurdles, Neely produced a 20th-place finishing with a time of 9.69, while Edmond finished 16th in the women's 400-meter dash with a time of 1:01.29.