Johnson Highlights Strong Opening Day For Upstate Track And Field Teams At Tiger Paw Invitational

Johnson Highlights Strong Opening Day For Upstate Track And Field Teams At Tiger Paw Invitational

Johnson's Record-Setting Triumph Highlights More Superlatives For Upstate's Track and Field Teams

CLEMSON, S.C.-Freshman mid-distance runner Matt Johnson highlighted a solid opening day of the Tiger Paw Invitational for the USC Upstate track and field teams at the Tiger Paw Invitational held at the Clemson Indoor Track and field complex.

Johnson, a freshman from Elgin, S.C., won the 500-meter dash,  posting a time of 1:05.22 to shatter the previous school mark of 1:07.33, which he recorded back indoor season lid-lifter in  December at the Orange and Purple Classic, which was also held at Clemson's Indoor Track and Field venue. Dustin Thomas also posted a solid time in the men's 500-meter dash, finishing 22nd with a time of 1:55.78.

It was also another record-setting day for Coastal Carolina junior transfer Ben Wheeler, who posted a strong performance in the men's 60-meter hurdles, clocking a time of 8.18 en route to a seventh-place finish in the semifinals. That mark bested Wheeler's previous school-standard achievement of 8.30 in the event set just a couple of weeks ago at the JRF Combined Events Invitational on the Clemson University campus. Wheeler also kept his record-setting streak intact, having now set school marks in each of the four meets he has competed in as a Spartan.

Junior Perrish Goggins put forth a couple more strong efforts in the field events for the Spartans, posting solid performances in both the men's high jump and long jump. In the high jump, the Columbia, S.C., native cleared a  height of 6-04.75 to finish 16th overall in the event. In the long-jump, Goggins posted a top-10 finish, as he finished ninth in the competition by recording a leap distance of 22-02.75.

In the men's weight throw, senior Cowpens, S.C., native Eric Chapman tied Kenny Sugishita's school-record of 51-08.50 set just last week at the Niswonger Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn. Chapman's effort was good enough to ensure him of a top-10 finish in the weight throw, as he finished 10th in the event.

There were also solid performances on the women's side, as Gabby Walker posted a solid 8.19 time in the 60-meter dash prelims, while teammates Laterrica Blocker and Ashley Edmond weren't all that far behind in the same event, registering times of 8.22 and 8.41, respectively.

Rounding out the performances of note on the long afternoon at Clemson was Overland Park, KS., native Emily Minoofar. The freshman posted a 13th-place finish in the women's pole vault, posting an impressive mark of 9-10.00.

Both teams will be back in action tomorrow to conclude the Tiger Paw Invitational, as the team's continue to prepare for the Atlantic Sun Track and Field Championships next week at the MHSA Center on the campus of East Tennessee State University.