Upstate Concludes Record Setting Weekend At JRF Invitational

Lauren Walker
Lauren Walker

CLEMSON, S.C.—The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams provided an encore for yesterday's strong start to the JRF Combined Events Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Clemson Indoor Track and Field Complex.  In total, the men and women would combine to set a total of seven records at the JRF Invitational on the weekend, with four of those marks set on Saturday.

Additionally, it was another strong day for the Spartan men and it would be the first action of the 2010-11 Indoor campaign for reigning Atlantic Sun Distance Runner of the Year Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kangetuny).  Kemboi was able to pick up right where he left off his freshman campaign, as he posted a second-place finish for the Spartans in the 3000-meter run, posting a time of 8:26.78 in that second-place finish.

"Gilbert and the distance runners put in a great effort with a lot of personal records and solid overall  performances for their first meet of the season,"said assistant head coach Carson Blackwelder.

Cameron Thomas (Niceville, FL./ Niceville HS) was also strong in the distance events for the men, posting a 12th-place finish in the one-mile run, posting a time of 4:29.12.

The Spartan men also established a new standard in the 4x400m relay on Saturday, as Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C./Spring Valley HS), Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn./UW-River Falls), Kalib Law (Moncks Corner, S.C./Berkeley HS) and Thomas were responsible for setting the new school mark with a time of 3:28.80 in the event. That superlative effort surpassed the previous effort of 3:29.46 set at the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championships. That record mark helped the Spartan men post a seventh-place finish in the finals of the event.

Newcomer Kenneth Sugishita set his second school mark in as many days, as he was able to post a new school-mark in the 35-lb weight throw. His toss of 51-08.50m (15.76 ft) bested Eric Champman's previous mark of 50-11.00 (15.52m) at the Gene Anderson Invitational last season. Yesterday, Sugishita was able to set a new standard in the shot put, with a toss of 49-11.25m (15.22 ft). Sugishita's toss in the weight throw was good enough for a sixth-place finish.

Meissner finished off the record-setting weekend for the Spartan men, as he once again anchored the men's sprint team. In the 200 meters, Meissner posted a time of 23.06 in the 200-meter dash to post a 10th-place finish in the event.  The time in the event helped Meissner usurp his previous standard of 23.32 set at the Niswonger Invitational last season.

The Spartan women's sprint team also got into the record-setting act on Saturday, as freshman Ashley Edmond (Columbia, S.C./Lower Richland HS)posted a time of 26.54 in the 200-meter dash, which was good enough for an 18th-place finish. Her mark in the 200-meter dash overcame Kiah White's previously established standard of 27.57 set at the Clemson Invitational back in 2009.

The indoor season will continue for both teams in Johnson City, Tenn., next weekend as the Upstate track and field teams take part in the Niswonger Invitational on the campus of East Tennessee State University.