Auburn, Ala. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track team broke seven school records in its final main tune-up prior to the A-Sun Championships in two weeks, topping four men's marks and three women's marks at the Tiger Track Classic at Auburn University Saturday afternoon.
Upstate will participate in a limited capacity next week as the team trains for the A-Sun Outdoor Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., April 15-16.
"It was a very good meet. We were using this weekend to really establish ourselves as we head into the A-Sun meet in a couple of weeks," said Upstate head coach Jimmy Stephens. "I feel pretty good where we stand right now. We had great weather and the kids responded. We didn't fold to the competition and had a great meet. We had a lot of school records and a lot of personal bests. I am proud of the team."
In a field full of SEC, ACC, Southern and A-Sun teams, Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) highlighted the action Saturday, breaking his own school records in the long jump and triple jump. He took third in the long jump, jumping 23-01.75 to break his old record by half an inch. The old mark was 23-01.25 set during the 2009 A-Sun Championships. He finished 10th in the triple jump, leaping 45-10.75 to break his old record by seven and a half inches. The old school record was 45-03.25 set at the 2009 A-Sun Outdoor Championships.
"Perrish is coming back around in the long jump," said Stephens. "He struggled a little in the indoor season. He has worked really hard and should be very strong in all three jumps in the A-Sun."
While Goggins was strong in the jumps, the Spartan runners were also up to the task in the meet. The 4x400-meter relay team, determined to compete for the A-Sun title in two weeks, shattered the old school record by 4.55 seconds. The team of Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and Mike Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn.) ran the race in 3:18.21 and finished eighth in the strong field.
"They (the 4x400-meter relay team) ran awesome," said Stephens. "I really think they have some more in them and I think they can be a real contender at the conference meet."
Michael Johnson broke the school record in the 800-meter run. He covered the distance in 1:53.97 to break the old mark of 1:55.08 held by Thomas and set last year at the Upstate Invitational. Johnson finished 10th in the race. Thomas finished 13th in the event, breaking his own personal best by three and a half seconds.
Meissner, who is the defending 400-meter champion at the A-Sun Outdoor Championships and won the 400-meter indoor title last month, turned in a season-best time of 48.80 and looks ready to for the A-Sun Championships.
On the women's side, Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) turned in the top finish in for Upstate in the meet. She finished second in the 1,500-meter run with a school record time of 4:36.54. She broke the old record, her own set earlier this season at the Shamrock Invitational, by 1.08 seconds.
"Joan ran a really good race," said Stephens. "She went out strong and pushed the pace. I think she has some more in her and she will be a contender at the A-Sun Championships."
Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) also claimed a school record, finishing with a time of 10:12.13 to finish seventh in the 3,000-meter run. She broke her own record, set earlier this year at the Shamrock Invitational, by 1.61 seconds.
Ashley Edmond (Columbia, S.C.) continued to shine in her freshman season. She broke her own school record in the 400-meter dash. She set the mark earlier this season in the Shamrock Invitational, but broke the mark Saturday with a time of 58.15, 1.84 seconds faster than the old record.
"As a freshman, Ashley is making a big impact on our program," said Stephens. "She is a really hard worker and a talented runner, and I look forward to seeing her development in the future."