SPARTANS TRACK AND FIELD TEAMS CONTINUE STRONG PERFORMANCE ON FINAL DAY AT NISWONGER INVITATIONAL
JOHNSON CITY, TENN.-USC Upstate senior distance runner Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya/St. Joseph's Girls) highlighted another strong day of competition for the Spartan women's track and field team, while junior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C./C.A. Johnson Prep) and sophomore distance runner Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kangetuny HS) turned in a pair of top-three finishes in the men's 5,000-meter run and the high-jump to highlight another strong comprehensive effort for the Spartan men's and women's track and field teams Saturday to close out the 33rd Niswonger Invitational.
"Overall I feel we had a solid meet. There was some good and some not so good. We have been battling the weather for training time and had a lot of people sick so getting our athletes where they need to be has been difficult," said Spartans head track and field coach Jimmy Stephens.
Tangwar notched a top-five finish in the women's 5,000-meter race, posting a time of 18:06.02 to finish fifth-place. Goggins posted his second-straight week with a top-three finish in the high jump, as he finished third by clearing a height of 6-08.00 (2.03m). Goggins just missed his school-record which he set in the event back in the 2009 Appalachian Limited Invitational when he cleared a height of 6-09.00 (2.06m).
Tangwar's time continued a strong performance started by the Spartan women that began yesterday with freshman Ashley Edmonds' school-record breaking performance in the 400-meter dash, as she posted a time of 60.62 to finish 46th in the even en route to setting a new school mark. Edmond's time in the event surpassed the previous standard set by Kiah White's time of 60.82 set back in the 2008 season at the Atlantic Sun Championships.
Kemboi has posted some his strongest performances as a Spartan at the MHSA Athletic Complex on the campus of East Tennessee State University and Saturday's second-place finish in the 5,000-meter run was no different. Kemboi was able to post a time of 14:36.46, nearly surpassing his previous record of 14:35.19 set as a freshman in the 32nd Niswonger Invitational, which was also held at the same venue.
Twin brothers Matt and Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C./Spring Valley HS) both turned in strong performances in the 800-meter run, as Matt produced a fifth-place finish in the event, with a time of 1:56.59, while Michael completed the race with a time of 1:59.76 to finish 29th. Matt's time was one of two school records set by the Upstate men on Saturday, as his time of 1:56.59 surpassed the previous record of 1:57.51 set by teammate Cameron Thomas at the 2010 A-Sun Championships.
Junior Kenneth Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, CA./Arroyo Grande HS) added another superlative, record-breaking performance to keep his streak alive of setting a new mark in every indoor he has competed in so far for the Spartan men's field performers. In the shot put, Sugishita shattered his previous record in the event, as he recorded a toss of 52-11.50 (16.14m) to finish fifth in the event. His mark set at the Niswonger on Saturday bested his previous record-setting performance by over three feet, which he set just last weekend at the JRF Combined Events Invitational.
Fellow junior pole vaulter Justin Crawford (Elgin, S.C./Lugoff-Elgin HS) placed ninth, recording a vault of 14-09.00 (4.50m) to round out another sterling effort by the Spartan men. Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan HS) also ran strong in the men's 3,000-meter run, registering a time of 9:29.44 to finish 22nd in the event.
"We have to do the best we can to prepare for the A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championship in 2 weeks. Normally we do not like to compete the week before a conference championship but we will take a few people to Clemson next weekend for a final tune-up and to try to his some better times for seeding in the meet," Stephens said.