Last updated 7/14/13



Spartan Duo Wraps up Day One of NCAA East Prelims
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May 23, 2013

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seniors Gilbert Kemboi and Cameron Thomas of the USC Upstate men's track & field team closed out the opening day of the NCAA East Preliminary Championships Thursday hosted by North Carolina A&T State University, competing in a pair of evening races.

The Upstate seniors wrapped up their successful careers as Spartans as Thomas competed in the 800-meter and Kemboi participated in the 10,000-meter nightcap race. This marked the first trip to the NCAA East Prelims for Thomas and second-straight appearance for Kemboi.

Thomas crossed the line 37th overall in the 800-meter, clocking in at 1:51.94, while finishing sixth in the third heat. He set the program record in the event at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships this season with an A-Sun meet record time of 1:49.29.

"Both Cameron and Gilbert competed well tonight," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "These qualifying races can be very tactical and tough. They did a great job of mixing it up and racing with the best on the east coast. This was a great way to cap off two great careers as Spartans."

In his second trip to the East Prelims in as many years, Kemboi posted a time of 30:15.18 in the 10K to finish in 17th-place. He improved on his time from last year's preliminary round, where he clocked in at 30:43.24 for 15th. Kemboi concludes his storied career at Upstate, owning multiple conference and school records, including posting a program-best time of 29:15.69 in the 10K at Stanford's Payton Jordan Invite April 28.

The Spartans will close out the NCAA Prelims Saturday, when senior Kenny Sugishita will compete in the hammer throw beginning at 10 a.m.


Three Spartans Qualify for NCAA East Prelims
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INDIANAPOLIS – The USC Upstate men's track & field team landed three Spartans on the participant list for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor East Preliminary Championships May 23-25 in the senior trio of Gilbert Kemboi, Cameron Thomas and Kenny Sugishita as announced by the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee Thursday afternoon.

This marks the program's second time sending athletes to the NCAA Regionals and second-straight appearance for both Kemboi and Sugishita.

"Getting to this level in our sport is quite honestly the ultimate goal that we have with our athletes," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Once you get to the first round there is a lot that can happen from here and this gives our program an opportunity to be noticed and that is key, not only for our current student-athletes, but also for prospective student-athletes as well."

Kemboi once again qualified for the East Prelims in the 10,000-meter, crossing the line this season with a school record time of 29:15.69, which he recorded at Stanford's Payton Jordan Invite April 28. He enters the first round seeded ninth.

Sugishita also returns to the NCAA East Prelims in the same event as last season, qualifying in the hammer throw. The Spartan hurler turned in a program-best toss of 197-11.00 (60.34-meters) at the Charlotte Invitational April 19, which ranks him 30th entering the preliminary round.

This will be Thomas' first trip to the East Regional as the senior snagged a spot on the qualifiers list with his performance in the 800-meter last weekend at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. He picked-up the gold medal in the event with an A-Sun meet record of 1:49.29. The time was also a school record for the Spartans, beating his previous program-best mark of 1:50.57. Thomas has the 24th-best qualifying time entering the East Primary round.

"The men that we have representing us next week are all seniors and I know they will do a phenomenal job because they are all competitors and believe in what they have done to get this far," Smith said. "We have been fortunate over the last two seasons to embark upon a lot of 'firsts' for the our program and hopefully that will be continued if we have any of our men if not all three in the top 12 next week needless to say we will come back excited and ready to ravel to Oregon."


Spartans Post Strong Marks at Final Day of A-Sun Championships
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May 11, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championships hosted by the University of North Florida Saturday with six medal-winning performances.

Upstate finished first and second in the men's 800-meter as senior Cameron Thomas snagged the gold medal with an A-Sun Championship record time of 1:49.29. The time was also a school record for the Spartans, beating his previous program-best mark of 1:50.57. Junior Matt Johnson picked up the silver with a personal-best mark of 1:50.98. The 1:49.29 time was good enough to qualify Thomas for the NCAA East Regionals.

Senior Kenny Sugishita collected his third medal of the A-Sun Championships Saturday, taking second-place in the men's discus with a toss of 155-04 (47.35-meters). He tallied eight points in the discus to give him 26 on the weekend, the most of any Spartan. His classmate Gilbert Kemboi added 10 points for a total of 20 on the weekend, claiming his second gold medal at the conference meet. Kemboi defended his A-Sun title in the 5,000-meter, clocking in at 14:58.29.

"I'm extremely proud of our team," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "From top to bottom everyone did exceptionally well. Not only were our upperclassmen great our freshmen really made some huge strides as both our men and women scored our programs most points yet and for that I am really excited about our future. We were ready to go on all cylinders and had quite a few personal-bests across the board. It was a great weekend to be a Spartan, not only for what our track & field teams did, but with our softball team winning the A-Sun Championship title as well."...

The Spartan men got on the podium again in the final event of the day, claiming third in the 4x400-meter relay to collect six points. Upstate finished the day fourth in the team standings, tallying 100 points. The Spartan relay team of freshman Tracy Fisher, Thomas, freshman Carlton White and Matt Johnson crossed the line in 3:18.48...


Kemboi and Thomas Post Strong Times at Payton Jordan Invite
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April 29, 2013

STANFORD, Calif. – Seniors Gilbert Kemboi and Cameron Thomas of the USC Upstate men's track & field team headed out West over the weekend, turning in strong times Sunday evening at Stanford University's Payton Jordan Invitational.

The Payton Jordan Invite is one of the strongest meets in the country as some of the best athletes in the NCAA compete alongside many professional athletes. In the men's 10,000-meter race, Kemboi crossed the line ninth in a school record fashion of 29:15.69. The Eldoret, Kenya native crushed his previous program-best mark of 29:22.96, which he set at N.C. State's Raleigh Relays March 29.

Thomas held his own in the men's 800-meter run, earning a 12th-place finish with a solid time of 1:52.17. He was two seconds shy of his season-best and school record time of 1:50.57, which he recorded at the Charlotte Invitational April 18.

"I was pleased with how Gilbert and Cameron performance this weekend," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "Overall, it was good racing and competing against other athletes at this high level will prepare them for championship racing."

Upstate returns to action May 10-11, traveling to the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted by the University of North Florida. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


Spartans Set for Weekend Stint in the Queen City
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April 11, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – With just two meets left until the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championships, the USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams seek to improve their marks this weekend as they travel to Charlotte, N.C., for the Johnson C. Smith Invitational hosted by Johnson C. Smith University at the Irwin Belk Complex.

On the men's side, senior Cameron Thomas and junior Matt Johnson return to action this weekend in the 800-meter. Cameron Thomas leads the A-Sun in the event this season with an Upstate record time of 1:50.86, while Matt Johnson is second in the league with a time of 1:51.68. Matt Johnson is also slated to compete in the 400-meter alongside freshman Tracy Fisher. Matt Johnson paces the team in the event this season with a time of 48.88, while Fisher is second on the squad with a time of 50.99.

Upstate senior Christian Ritacco is entered in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. He recorded a time of 9:44.65 in the event last weekend at the Duke Invite.


Spartans Record Strong Marks at Duke Invite and Terrier Relays
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April 6, 2013

DURHAM, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams continued to show consistent improvement in individual mark Saturday as the Spartans closed out the Duke Invitational, while other Spartans competed at Wofford's Terrier Relays...

"Overall this weekend, we saw progression across the men's and women's teams alike," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Our distance crew was the most consistent across the entire team and they are really running consistently competitive times and that's to be commended because truthfully that is one of the key things that we look to see each week. Each week we are anxious to see how the team will compete and with only two meets left before the conference championships, we are hoping to make some movies in the league rankings over the next two weeks..."

On the men's side, freshman Carlton White recorded a season-best time of 22.68 in the men's 200-meter, while senior Danny Moore clocked in at 23.81. White went on to help the Spartans post two more season-best times in the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays. He teamed with Moore, freshman Tracy Fisher and junior Jacob McKown in the 4x100, registering a time of 43.74. White and Fisher joined forces again in the 4x400 alongside senior Cameron Thomas and junior Matt Johnson to turn in a time of 3:19.01...


Spartans Post Season-Best Times at Day One of Duke Invite
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April 5, 2013

DURHAM, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams opened the Duke Invitational Friday, recording multiple season-best times and breaking two school records.

Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi shattered his previous school record in the men's 5,000-meter, claiming sixth in section A with a time of 14:09.86. Earlier this season, he set a program record in the 5K with a time of 14:14.34 at Charlotte's 49er Classic.

Freshman Rebecca Elliott improved on her school record time in the women's 400-meter hurdles, clocking in at 1:10.73. Last weekend at the Raleigh Relays, she broke the Upstate record with a time of 1:10.93.

In the men's 1,500-meter race, senior Cameron Thomas nearly set another Spartan record, crossing the line in 3:55.04 for a season-best mark. Davey Dennison currently holds the school record in the event with a time of 3:55.02.

The season-best times continued to roll for the Spartans in the 5,000-meter. Junior Andrew Kipchumba posted a season-best time of 15:33.55 in section C of the men's 5K, while sophomore Jasmine Polite registered a season-best time of 18:11.91 in section B of the women's 5K. Junior Ross Oden clocked in at 15:18.49 in section B of the men's 5K, while sophomore Riley Doherty came in at 16:08.84 in race D. In the women's C race, senior Hannah Chaney crossed the line fourth, while freshman Danielle Horneff was eighth with times of 19:26.35 and 19:47.57, respectively. Freshman Sarah Boyd followed with a time of 20:47.81...


Spartans Seek Strong Marks at Duke Invite and Terrier Relays
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April 4, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams are set to travel to Durham, N.C., this weekend for the Duke Invitational, while the Spartan throwers will stay in town to compete in the Terrier Relays Saturday.

Reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Track Athlete of the week Gilbert Kemboi is slated to return to action this weekend at the Duke Invite in the men's 10,000-mter run. Last weekend at the Raleigh Relays he turned in a school record performance, crossing the finish line third with a time of 29:22.96, breaking his previous program record time of 29:51.99. Kemboi currently leads the A-Sun in the 10,000-meter and ranks 17th nationally in the event...

Senior Cameron Thomas and junior Matt Johnson are set to compete in the 800-meter at the Duke Invite. Both Thomas and Johnson have steadily improved their times in event in each meet this season. Last weekend, Thomas posted a school record time of 1:50.86 to break the program record time of 1:51.31 he set at the Catamount Classic. He leads the A-Sun in the event and ranks 14th in the NCAA East qualifying list. Johnson is second in the A-Sun in the 800-meter after recording a personal-best time of 1:51.68...

On the men's distance side, Kemboi will be joined in the 10K by junior Ross Oden and sophomore Riley Doherty. Last week at the Raleigh Relays, Oden turned in a season-best time of 31:33.80, while Doherty clocked in at 33:21.29. Juniors Andrew Kipchumba and Joey Daversa are slated to compete in the 5,000-meter. Both posted season-best marks in the 5K last weekend as Kipchumba came in at 15:43.44 and Daversa at 17:03.07. Daversa is also entered in the 1,500-meter alongside junior Mark Rennix and senior Christian Ritacco. Rennix recorded a season-best time in the event at the Raleigh Relays, crossing the line in 4:11.37...


March 30, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out competition Saturday at N.C. State's Raleigh Relays en route to setting five school records, while posting several other season-best marks.

Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi turned in a school record performance at the nightcap race Friday evening, crossing the 10,000-meter finish line third with a time of 29:22.96. He negative split the race, running the first half in 15:00 and the second in 14:22 to shave 29 seconds off of his personal-best. Kemboi broke his previous program record time of 29:51.99, which he recorded at last year's Raleigh Relays.

"The last two days have been a true Spartan effort for both the men's and women's teams," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Of course we had several personal-bests and in each and every event our athletes really stepped up and competed at a high level. We produced some pretty good numbers for this part of the season, however it is what you cannot see in the results that makes us very proud of how all of our athletes are stepping up."

The school records continued to fall in the men's 800-meter as senior Cameron Thomas claimed eighth-place, clocking in at 1:50.86, breaking the program record time of 1:51.31 he set at last weekend's Catamount Classic. Thomas has improved his time in the 800-meter in all three outdoor meets this season and leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in the event. He was followed in the event by junior Matt Johnson, crossing the line 10th with a personal-best time of 1:51.68. Johnson has also consistently improved his time in the 800-meter this season...

The Spartan women broke two more school records in the relays as the freshmen continued to be a solid force. The Freshman foursome of Molly Bliss, Nia Payne, Anastasia Kolesnitchenko and Ashleigh Torres posted a program-best time of 9:31.64 in the 4x800-meter relay. The previous Upstate record was 10:12.02 set earlier this season at the 49er Classic by Kolesnitchenko, Taylor Crans, Elliott and Bliss. In the women's 4x400-meter, junior Ashley Edmond joined the freshmen trio of Dominique Nock, Heaven Briggs and Semaj Tolliver to shatter another Spartan record, finishing in 3:56.42. Earlier this season at the 49er Classic, Edmond, Nock, Briggs and Torres teamed up in the 4x400 set the previous school record time of 4:02.69.

Freshman Tracy Fisher, Thomas, freshman Carlton White and Johnson joined forces in the men's 4x400-meter relay to turn in season-best time for Upstate, coming in at 3:19.87. Earlier this season at the 49er Classic, Fisher, McKown, White and Moore posted a time of 3:27.75 in the 4x400. In the men's 4x100-meter relay, Moore, Fisher, Powers and White teamed up to record a time of 44.23...

Spartan Trio Snags A-Sun Track & Field Weekly Honors
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March 28, 2013

MACON, Ga. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams snagged three of the four Atlantic Sun Conference weekly awards as sophomore Brittany Walls was named the Women's Field Athlete of the Week, senior Cameron Thomas earned Men's Track Athlete of the Week nods and senior Kenny Sugishita garnered Men's Field Athlete of the Week accolades as announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon.

Walls' first career A-Sun weekly honor comes after a third-place finish in the heptathlon at last weekend's Beynon Sports Catamount Classic. She tallied a school record 3870 points in the event and currently ranks first in the A-Sun this season. The previous school record was 3224 points recorded by Camille Masanotti in 2010. Walls also set a school record during the high jump portion of the heptathlon last weekend, clearing 1.60-meters (5-03.00). The previous Upstate record in the high jump was 1.57-meters (5-01.75) set by Velegar Mark at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships last year.

"I'm really glad we were able to win three of the four awards this week," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "All three of these athletes are very deserving of this honor. I'm especially proud of Brittany getting this award with this being just the first time she has ever competed in the heptathlon. We are looking forward to Brittany, Cameron and Kenny having success and recording even better marks as the season progresses."

This marks the first career weekly conference award for Thomas as well. At the Catamount Classic last weekend, he earned first-place in the men's 800-meter with a school record time of 1:51.31, beating the previous program-best mark of 1:51.39 set by teammate Matt Johnson at last year's Clemson Tiger Qualifier. Thomas currently holds the best time in the A-Sun in the 800-meter this season and ranks 19th nationally.

Sugishita collected his third career A-Sun Field Athlete of the Week honor and first this outdoor season after winning the discus and hammer throws at the Catamount Classic. He recorded a season-best hurl of 50.31-meters (165-01) in the discus last weekend. In the hammer throw, Sugishita topped the pack with a season-best toss of 57.33-meters (188-01). Both marks rank second in the league this season.

Upstate returns to action March 29-30, traveling to N.C. State for the Raleigh Relays. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Spartan Trio Snags A-Sun Track & Field Weekly Honors
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March 27, 2013

MACON, Ga. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams snagged three of the four Atlantic Sun Conference weekly awards as sophomore Brittany Walls was named the Women's Field Athlete of the Week, senior Cameron Thomas earned Men's Track Athlete of the Week nods and senior Kenny Sugishita garnered Men's Field Athlete of the Week accolades as announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon.

Walls' first career A-Sun weekly honor comes after a third-place finish in the heptathlon at last weekend's Beynon Sports Catamount Classic. She tallied a school record 3870 points in the event and currently ranks first in the A-Sun this season. The previous school record was 3224 points recorded by Camille Masanotti in 2010. Walls also set a school record during the high jump portion of the heptathlon last weekend, clearing 1.60-meters (5-03.00). The previous Upstate record in the high jump was 1.57-meters (5-01.75) set by Velegar Mark at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships last year.

"I'm really glad we were able to win three of the four awards this week," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "All three of these athletes are very deserving of this honor. I'm especially proud of Brittany getting this award with this being just the first time she has ever competed in the heptathlon. We are looking forward to Brittany, Cameron and Kenny having success and recording even better marks as the season progresses."

This marks the first career weekly conference award for Thomas as well. At the Catamount Classic last weekend, he earned first-place in the men's 800-meter with a school record time of 1:51.31, beating the previous program-best mark of 1:51.39 set by teammate Matt Johnson at last year's Clemson Tiger Qualifier. Thomas currently holds the best time in the A-Sun in the 800-meter this season and ranks 19th nationally.

Sugishita collected his third career A-Sun Field Athlete of the Week honor and first this outdoor season after winning the discus and hammer throws at the Catamount Classic. He recorded a season-best hurl of 50.31-meters (165-01) in the discus last weekend. In the hammer throw, Sugishita topped the pack with a season-best toss of 57.33-meters (188-01). Both marks rank second in the league this season.

Upstate returns to action March 29-30, traveling to N.C. State for the Raleigh Relays. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Spartans Post Four First-Place Finishes at Day Two of Catamount Classic
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March 23, 2013

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams wrapped up the 2013 Beynon Sports Surface Catamount Classic hosted by Western Carolina Saturday, picking up four first-place finishes.

Freshman Dominique Nock took top honors in the women's long jump with a leap of 5.21-meters (17-01.25). She then joined classmates Semaj Tolliver, Heaven Briggs and Brenicke Johnson in the 4x100-meter relay to claim first-place with a time of 47.35. The freshman foursome also turned in strong times in the 100-meter dash as Nock led the way, coming in third with a time of 12.17. Tolliver took eighth, clocking in at 12.51, while Briggs and Johnson closed out the top-10 with times of 12.52 and 12.64, respectively.

"Despite the cool weather, this weekend was pretty productive," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "Our sprints crew did well on the women's side after winning the 4x100 and then Nock running her best time in the 100m today. The jumps were not great across the board; however we still got three in the top six of the long jump. I was glad to see us still be competitive although our marks left a lot to be desired."

Finishing behind Nock in the women's long jump were freshman Sarah Thomas and sophomore Shawanda Stokes. Thomas came in third-place with a mark of 4.99-meters (16-04.50), while Stokes earned sixth with a jump of 4.91-meters (16-01.50).

In the women's 200-meter, Briggs crossed the line fifth with a time of 25.25, while Nock trailed in sixth with a time of 25.37. Tolliver earned 10th in the event, finishing in 25.87, while Johnson followed in 11th with a time of 26.92.

On the men's side, seniors Cameron Thomas and Kenny Sugishita rounded out the gold medal performances for the Spartans on the day. Cameron Thomas crossed the line first in the men's 800-meter with a school record time of 1:51.31, beating the previous program-best mark of 1:51.39 set by teammate Matt Johnson at last year's Clemson Tiger Qualifier.


"Cameron again ran a respectable time in the 800-meter and is becoming very consistent with his race and we know it is only a matter of time before he hits a really big mark in the 800m," Smith said. "Consistency in your events is usually the sign right before you see a really big mark or time. It was also really great to see both Kenny and our two women hammer throwers have a good day. We go into each meet looking for progressions and across the board today we saw that in several areas..."

Spartans Travel to Western Carolina’s Catamount Classic
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March 21, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams travel to Cullowhee, N.C., Friday and Saturday for Western Carolina's Beynon Sports Catamount Classic.

The Upstate women's team opened the 2013 outdoor season last weekend at Charlotte's 49er Classic, breaking five school records. The freshman trio of Brenicke Johnson, Heaven Briggs and Dominique Nock led the way for the Spartans as Johnson posted a program-best time of 12.09 in the 100-meter dash, Briggs clocked in with a school record time of 25.12 in the 200-meter dash and Nock had an Upstate record leap of 5.55-meters (18-02.50) in the long jump.

Johnson, Briggs and Nock then joined classmate Semaj Tolliver to set a program record in the 4x100-meter relay, crossing the line in 46.62. Later that afternoon, Briggs and Nock teamed with junior Ashley Edmond and freshman Ashleigh Torres in the 4x400-meter relay, turning in a school record of 4:02.69.

This weekend, Briggs, Johnson and Nock are slated to compete in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and the 4x100m relay, while Nock will also participate in the long jump. Sophomore Brittany Walls is entered in the heptathlon; she set the school record in the pentathlon during the indoor season with 3176 points.

On the distance side, freshmen Anastasia Kolesnitchenko, Torres and Molly Bliss will run in the 800-meter. Kolesnitchenko turned in the best time for the Spartans last weekend in the event, clocking in at 2:20.06, while Torres finished in 2:22.03 and Bliss in 2:23.89. Sophomore Jasmine Polite will compete in the 1,500-meter run, after crossing the 3,000-meter finish line in 10:56.49 last weekend.

For the Spartan men, senior Cameron Thomas will return to action this weekend at the Catamount Classic. He is slated to race in the 800-meter run, after claiming second-place in the event at the 49er Classic with a personal-best time of 1:51.76. Thomas will be joined in the 800-meter by junior Ross Oden, who posted a time of 15:05.43 in the 5,000-meter last weekend. Oden will also compete in the 1,500-meter alongside classmate Andrew Kipchumba, who clocked in at 4:08.21 in the event last weekend.

Upstate senior hurdler Brandon Curry is scheduled to participate in his signature event this weekend. He took 12th-place in the 110-meter hurdles at the 49er Classic, crossing the line in 15.51.

Senior Kenny Sugishita also returns to the field at Western Carolina this weekend with entries in the hammer and discus. The Spartan thrower came in seventh in the men's discus finals at the 49er Classic with a toss of 50.02-meters (164-01). Sugishita turned in another sixth-place finish in the hammer throw at Charlotte with a hurl of 55.27-meters (181-04).

Spartans Set Relay Records at 49er Classic
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March 16, 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out the Charlotte 49er Classic Saturday for a solid opening weekend of the outdoor season as the Spartan women set two school records in relays.

The Upstate women's team opened the day, breaking the program record in the 4x100-meter relay as both sets of Spartan relay teams crossed the line before the previous school record time of 50.47 set at the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships. The freshman foursome of Semaj Tolliver, Dominique Nock, Heaven Briggs and Brenicke Johnson clocked in at 46.62, taking fourth-place. Freshman Sierra White, sophomore Brittany Walls, freshman Sarah Thomas and junior Ashley Edmond finished in 49.85 to finish 12th.

Later in the afternoon, Edmond, Nock and Briggs joined freshman Rebecca Elliott in the 4x400-meter relay to turn in an Upstate record time of 4:02.69, garnering 10th-place. The previous program-best time of 4:13.22 was set in 2011 at the Furman Invitational. In the men's 4x400, freshman Tracy Fisher, freshman Carlton White, senior Danny Moore and junior Jake McKown teamed up to cross the line in 3:27.75 for a solid opening weekend time.

In the men's 800-meter, senior Cameron Thomas claimed second-place with a personal-best time of 1:51.76. He was followed by junior Matt Johnson in fifth, clocking in at 1:53.66. Juniors Andrew Kipchumba and Michael Johnson also competed in the 800-meter, posting times of 1:59.05 and 2:04.48, respectively, while junior Joey Daversa finished in 2:10.89.

On the women's side, freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko crossed the 800-meter line first for the Spartans with a strong time of 2:20.06. Her classmates Ashleigh Torres and Molly Bliss trailed her in the event, posting times of 2:22.03 and 2:23.89.

Upstate senior Kenny Sugishita came in seventh in the men's discus finals with a toss of 50.02-meters (164-01). In the women's shot put, Walls recorded a throw of 11.37-meters (37-03.75). She followed that performance, clearing 1.55-meters (5-01.00) in the high jump for ninth-place, while Fisher recorded a leap of 1.83-meters (6-00.00) in the men's high jump.

In the women's 3,000-meter run, sophomore Jasmine Polite recorded a time of 10:56.49 to finish 13th.

Upstate returns to action March 22, traveling to Cullowhee, N.C., for Western Carolina's Catamount Classic. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Spartans Open Outdoor Season Smashing Four School Records
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March 15, 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams kicked-off the 2012 outdoor season, setting four school records at the Charlotte 49er Classic Friday.

The young Spartan women's team started things off, breaking records in the 100-meter dash as freshman Brenicke Johnson crossed the line in 12.09 for 14th-place. The previous school record was 12.72 set by Gabby Walker at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships in 2010. Johnson was followed in the 100-meter by classmates Heaven Briggs at 12.48, Semaj Tolliver at 12.52 and Dominique Nock at 12.62, all finishing under the old program record time.

Upstate kept the record-setting day going in the women's long jump as Nock set a new program-best mark with a sixth-place leap of 5.55-meters (18-02.50). The previous school record jump was 5.08-meters (16-08.00), which Shawanda Stokes recorded at last year's A-Sun Championships. Nock was joined in the long jump finals by Stokes, who finished ninth with a personal-best leap of 5.38-meters (17-08.00).

Briggs turned in the third school record performance for the Spartan women on the day in the 200-meter, crossing the line in 25.12 to finish 17th. The previous program-best mark was 25.48 set by Ashley Edmond at the 2011 A-Sun Championships.

Senior Gilbert Kemboi rounded out the Upstate record-setting performances, taking second-place in the men's 5,000-meter with a time of 14:14.34. He beat his previous school record time of 14:16.66, which he recorded at the Duke Invite last season.

Upstate junior Matt Johnson opened the 2012 outdoor campaign with a strong outing in the 400-meter, clocking in at 49.06 to take fourth in the prelims and qualify for the finals on Saturday. Senior Kenny Sugishita turned in a sixth-place finish in the men's hammer throw with a toss of 55.27-meters (181-04).

In the men's 1,500-meter, senior Cameron Thomas crossed the line 12th with a time of 3:57.37, while his classmate Brandon Curry also garnered 12th-place in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.51.

The Charlotte 49er Classic concludes Saturday, opening competition with the women's and men's 4x100-meter relays. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Spartans Open Outdoor Season in the Queen City
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March 14, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams open the 2012 outdoor season this weekend, traveling to Charlotte, N.C., for the Charlotte 49er Classic, which begins Friday.

"We are anxious to get started this weekend and are looking forward to a good opener," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "This meet should turn out to be a highly competitive one and we believe our athletes are ready to have a great start. Seeing that it will be almost three weeks since we have competed, we are hoping that our team will be fired up and ready to go."

Senior Gilbert Kemboi earned his second-straight Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Most Outstanding Track Athlete of the Year honor after his performance at the A-Sun Indoor Championships Feb. 22-23. He claimed his fourth conference championship title in the 5,000-meter and his third gold medal in the 3,000-meter. Kemboi crossed the 5K finish line with an A-Sun record time of 14:41.09, while clocking in at 8:25.95 in the 3K. He also made the podium in the men's one mile run, coming in second with a time of 4:18.06.

The other Spartan champion at the A-Sun Indoor Championships was senior Cameron Thomas. He took top honors in the 800-meter, turning in a time of 1:51.78 to beat his previous school record of 1:52.94 and the previous A-Sun record of 1:53.43. Both Thomas and Kemboi return to action this weekend in Charlotte as Thomas is slated to compete in the 800-meter and the 1,500-meter, while Kemboi will race in the 5,000-meter...

"With our indoor season ending so well for some of our athletes it will be very interesting to see how their outdoor times and marks begin to line up early in the season," Smith said. "We are looking to qualify a couple of athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships this year so every meet has the potential to pan out to be something really great for some of our athletes. These last few weeks have given us some time to get some training under our belts as well as rest some of those that were injured during the indoor season. We will travel almost a complete roster this weekend on both the men's and women's sides and after this weekend the season is going to be in full gear."

Kemboi Wins Third 3K Title as Spartans Open A-Sun Indoor Championships
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February 22, 2013

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Senior Gilbert Kemboi won his third career conference crown in the men's 3,000-meter Friday as the USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams opened the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Championships hosted by ETSU.

Kemboi crossed the line in 8:25.95 to claim his third A-Sun title and second-straight in the 3K. His first-place finish garnered 10 points for the Spartan men. Upstate closed out the first day of competition with 22 points to take fourth in the team standings, just eight points behind North Florida with 30.

"We had quite a few PRs today across the board," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "We missed some pretty big points on both the men's and women's sides. However, everyone definitely came to compete. We were excited to see Gilbert get his first track championship of the year. He ran well and accepted his award with class like he always does.

Defending A-Sun champion Kenny Sugishita jumped on the podium again this year, taking third-place in the men's shot put with a toss of 15.54-meters (51-00.00). The bronze medal collected six points for the Spartan men as did another third-place finish for Upstate in the men's distance medley relay. Senior Cameron Thomas, junior Michael Johnson, junior Matt Johnson and junior Joey Daversa posted a season-best time of 10:20.73 in the DMR to take third.

Upstate junior Joshua Powers turned in a personal-best mark with a leap of 6.32-meters (20-09.00) in the men's long jump...

Spartans Set to Chase Hardware at A-Sun Indoor Championships
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Feb 21, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams are set to compete this weekend at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by ETSU Feb. 22-23 in Johnson City, Tenn.

The Spartans have set 10 program records so far during the indoor season, including seven on the women's side and three on the men's. Both men's and women's teams will look to improve on their team finishes from last year's A-Sun Indoor Championships as well as individual marks from this season.

"We are simply ready to go for this weekend," said Upstate Head Coach Natalie Smith. "At this point in the year we are ready to see some major progressions in our level of competition and some maturity in how to race and compete. We have had a pretty good indoor season thus far and are hoping to end it off with everyone doing their very best."

The Upstate men's team has finished in the top-four three times at the conference championships in the last four years, including a program-best third-place in 2012. The Spartans collected a team-high 95 points at last year's indoor championships. In 2012, the Upstate women's team recorded its best finish in school history, while tallying its highest point total as well, taking fifth with 51 points.

"On the men's side, we have several men that the conference will have their eyes on going into the championships," Smith said. "Leading the way for our men in their respective individual events are Gilbert Kemboi, Kenny Sugishita, Cameron Thomas, Brandon Curry and Matthew Johnson. As far as the team rankings it will be a fight until the end to see where our men finish. We are proud of where we have progressed from since the beginning of the indoor season back in December and look forward to a great and fun weekend."

Other Spartan men to watch for at the A-Sun Championships this weekend are seniors Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) and junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.). Thomas returns to action in the 800-meter, an event he earned A-Sun Second Team All-Conference honors for in 2012. This season he posted a school record time of 1:51.35 for the fastest time in the A-Sun. Thomas was trailed in the 800-meter by Johnson with the league's second-best time of 1:51.60...


Upstate Opens Competition at Tiger Paw Invitational
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February 8, 2013

CLEMSON, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams opened competition at the annual Tiger Paw Invitational Friday with a school record performance by senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.).

Thomas took second-place honors in the men's 800-meter, resetting his school record mark with a time of 1:52.94. He clocked in at 1:53.01 last weekend at the Hilton Garden Invitational.
Junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) trailed Thomas in third-place with a personal record time of 1:53.19.

"Cameron ran a great race and executed perfectly," said associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "He had great positioning going through 500-meters and then had an amazing last lap to win the heat."

Johnson teamed with freshman Tracy Fisher (Lawrenceville, Ga.), junior Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) and Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) in the men's distance medley relay. The quartet crossed the line fifth with a season-best time for the Spartans of 10:25.17. The time is the second-fastest in school history with the Upstate record sitting at 10:06.88.

Upstate senior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) came in 11th in the men's weight throw, recording a toss of 15.75-meters.

In the men's 60-meter hurdles senior Brandon Curry, finished 14th with a time of 8.45. Junior Joshua Powers (Spartanburg, S.C.) recorded a season-best mark in the men's long jump with a leap of 5.91-meters.

On the women's side, junior Sarah Boyd (Dalton, Ga.) posted a personal-best time of 20:55.92 in the 5,000-meter, coming in 25th. She continues to improve for the Spartans as the junior turned in a PR in the 3,000-meter last weekend at the Hilton Garden Invite with a time of 11:50.21.

Upstate sophomore Shawanda Stokes (Okatie, S.C.) turned in a leap of 4.68-meters in the long jump to finish 25th. Sophomore Brittany Walls (Chester, S.C.) cleared 1.50-meters in the women's high jump to finish tied for 19th. Sophomore Falicya Crace (Findlay, Ohio) posted a season-best toss of 11.24-meters in the women's weight throw, while freshman Savannah Nichols (Belton, S.C.) recorded a toss of 10.38-meters in the event.

The Tiger Paw Invitational concludes Saturday. Live results from the meet can be found here. Follow the Spartans this season on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

February 7, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams will make the short trek to Clemson, S.C., this weekend to compete in the annual Tiger Paw Invitational, marking the second meet for the Spartans this season at Clemson.

Upstate opened the indoor season at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Dec. 1, turning in strong performances and setting several school records. The Spartans return to Clemson this weekend, participating in the annual Tiger Paw Invitational Friday and Saturday. The event gets underway at 2 p.m. Friday with multiple field events and the qualifying rounds of the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles.

Senior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) is slated to compete in both the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles for the Spartan men, while junior Josh Powers (Spartanburg, S.C.) and freshman Carlton White (Greenwood, S.C.) will also race in the 60-meter. Powers recorded the best time in the 60-meter this season for Upstate at the Organ & Purple Winter Classic, crossing the line in 7.35. Curry recorded a season-best time of 8.51 in the 60-meter hurdles at Clemson Dec. 1.

Upstate senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) returns to action in the men's 800-meter. At the Hilton Garden Invitational last weekend, he set a school record in the event, posting a first-place finish with a time of 1:53.01. Junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) joins Thomas in the 800-meter, after finishing eighth in the event last weekend with a season-best time of 1:56.62. Johnson is scheduled to run in the 200-meter as well. He turned in a time of 23.10 in the 200-meter last weekend. Johnson and Thomas will join forces in both the 4x400-meter and the distance medley relays.

After setting a school record in the men's 3,000-meter last week at Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational with a time of 8:20.05, senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) returns to action this weekend, competing in the one mile run. Senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) and junior Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) will so participate in the one mile. Dennison is the school record holder in the event with a time of 4:13.80 set at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Championships last year...

Spartans Set for Hilton Garden Invitational
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January 31, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field programs head to Winston-Salem, N.C., to participate in the Hilton Garden Invitational Feb. 1-2 at the JDL Fast Track.

Sophomore Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) returns to action for the Spartan men this weekend, competing in the 3,000-meter. Last time out, he posted a 12-place finish with a time of 15:24.41 in the 5K at ETSU's Niswonger Invitational Jan. 18.

Upstate senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) is slated to make his 2013 track debut this weekend in the one mile run. He was an Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection for cross country this past fall and earned Second Team All-Conference honors for the mile and distance medley relay at the 2012 A-Sun Indoor Championships.

The men's 800-meter race will feature junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and junior Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.). Matt Jonson crossed the line fifth in the 800-meter finals at the Niswonger Invite, clocking in at 1:56.85. He was followed by Thomas in eighth with a time of 1:57.52. Thomas claimed third in the one mile run at the Niswonger Invite Jan. 19, turning in a time of 4:28.00.

Both Johnson brothers are scheduled to compete in the 400-meter as well. At the Niswonger Invite, Matt Johnson finished 10th in the 400-meter with a preliminary time of 50.30, while Michael Jonson posted a time of 52.07 in the event. Matt Jonson will also participate in the 200-meter race. He holds the Upstate record in the 200-meter with a time of 22.48.

Senior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) will compete in both the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles. He came in ninth in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles at the Niswonger Invite Jan. 19, clocking in at 8.80, while recording a time of 8.00 in the men's 60-meter dash prelims Jan. 18...

Spartans Break Two School Records at Final Day of Niswonger Invitational
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January 19, 2013

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field programs wrapped up competition Saturday at the Niswonger Invitational as the women's team broke two program records.

Freshman Dominique Nock (Griffin, Ga.) took first-place in the women's long jump with a leap of 5.77-meters (18-11.25), eclipsing her previous school record mark of 5.35-meters (17-06.75) set at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Dec. 1.

The rookie teamed with junior Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.), freshman Ashleigh Torres (Roanoke, Va.) and freshman Semaj Tolliver (Ladson, S.C.) in the 4x400-meter relay to post a program-best time of 4:06.83. The previous Upstate record was 4:10.37 set at the Orange & Purple Winter Classic. The freshman quartet of Rebecca Elliott (Columbus, N.C.), Sarah Thomas (Columbus, Ga.), Heaven Briggs (Columbus, Ga.), Molly Bliss (Milford, Del.) also beat the previous school record, turning in a time of 4:09.32 in the 4x400 relay.

On the men's side, senior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) claimed second-place honors in the shot put with a toss of 15.40-meters (50-06.25). His classmate, Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.), came in ninth in the finals of the men's 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 8.80. He qualified for the finals after finishing 10th in the prelims Friday with a time of 8.73.

Upstate senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), crossed the line third in the men's one mile run with a time of 4:28.00. Junior Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) followed Thomas in 13th place, turning in a time of 4:34.49. Daversa teamed with junior Jacob McKown (Greer, S.C.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and sophomore Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.) in the distance medley relay to finish sixth with a time of 10:49.97.

Johnson and McKown joined forces again in the men's 4x400 relay, adding junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and freshman Tracy Fisher (Lawrenceville, Ga.) to complete the foursome. The quartet clocked in at 3:24.19 to take seventh-place.

Freshman Nia Payne (Conway, S.C.) and Bliss rounded out the top-ten finishes for the Spartan women on the day. In the 800-meter, Payne claimed fifth-place with a time of 2:24.54, while Bliss trailed in 10th with a time of 2:25.42.

In the women's 5,000-meter senior Laura Transue (Anderson, S.C.) crossed the line in 13th with a time of 20:23.77. She was followed by sophomore Erin Gethin (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and junior Sarah Boyd (Dalton, Ga.), finishing in 20:56.34 and 21:00.70, respectively. Freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) recorded a time of 2:27.73 to finish 16th in the women's 800-meter. She also turned in a time of 5:31.93 in the women's one mile run to claim 17th.


Upstate Competes at First Day of Niswonger Invitational
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January 18, 2013

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field programs competed at Day One of ETSU's 35th annual Niswonger Invitational Friday.

This marked the first meet for the Spartans since opening the indoor season at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Dec. 1 and the first meet for Upstate's distance athletes. The opening day of the Niswonger Invite was highlighted by Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) taking top honors in the men's 5,000-meter with a winning time of 14:39.31. Junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) trailed Kemboi in the 5K, earning 12th-place with a time of 15:24.41.

On the women's side, junior Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.) posted a time of 62.75 in the 400-meter. Three other Spartans joined her in the 400-meter as freshmen Rebecca Elliott (Columbus, N.C.) came in at 63.15, Ashleigh Torres (Roanoke, Va.) in 63.88 and Molly Bliss (Milford, Del.) in 64.01.

Junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) crossed the line fifth in the men's 800-meter finals, clocking in at 1:56.85. Upstate senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) followed in eighth-place with a time of 1:57.52. Johnson went on to finish 10th in the men's 400-meter with a preliminary time of 50.30. His brother Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) posted a time of 52.07 in the event.

In the men's 60-meter hurdles, senior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) clocked in at 8.73 to finish 10th in the prelims. He qualified for the finals, which will take place Saturday. He had a time of 8.00 in the men's 60-meter dash prelims. Sophomore Brittany Walls (Chester, S.C.) recorded a time of 10.43 in the prelims of the women's 60-meter hurdles. She also competed in the women's shot put, coming in 16th with a toss of 11.33-meters (37-02.25).

Freshman Dominique Nock (Griffin, Ga.) turned in strong times for the Spartan women on the first day of the Niswonger Invite. She recorded a time of 26.26 in the 200-meter, just missing the Upstate record of 26.24 set by Edmond at last year's A-Sun Indoor Championships. Her classmate Semaj Tolliver (Ladson, S.C.) crossed the 200-meter finish line with a time of 26.40.

In the women's 60-meter dash, Nock paced the Spartans alongside freshman Brenicke Johnson (Loris, S.C.) as both recorded times of 7.98 in the prelims. Nock set the program record in the 60-meter dash at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Dec. 1, clocking in at 7.81.


Spartans Ready for Annual Niswonger Invitational
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January 17, 2013

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field programs are set to continue their indoor season this weekend at ETSU's 35th annual Niswonger Invitational with action beginning Friday in Johnson City, Tenn.

This will be the Spartans' first meet since opening the indoor season at Clemson's Orange & Purple Winter Classic Dec. 1.

"We are looking for this meet to have some really good competition," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "There will be teams from several different states and regions represented at the Niswonger Invitational so we should see some good competition across the board. Of course with our student-athletes being off for the last month for the holidays, it is going to be interesting to see how we pan-out..."

This will be the first meet for Upstate's men's and women's distance athletes to compete in, seeing as they did not run at the Orange & Purple Winter Classic.

"This will be our first competition where we will take most of our team so it will give us as a coaching staff a good gauge on where we are and where we need to go in order to prepare our athletes for success," Smith said. "As we move into this indoor season it is going to be bitter-sweet to see a lot of our men's team competing in their last seasons as quite a few of them are seniors and it will also be intriguing to see how our women's team comes together when over 60-percent of them are newcomers."

Three seniors from the Spartan men's team will be competing in the distance events this weekend. Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) will participate in the 5,000-meter, while Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C.) will run in the mile and 800-meter races. Thomas is also slated to compete in the distance medley relay. Juniors Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) and Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) are scheduled to join Kemboi in the 5K.

"Although we have totally different goals on the men's and women's teams overall, we are looking forward to a great season on both sides and believe that it is going to be a very rewarding season...


Spartans Ready for Regional Action
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November 8, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete at the 2012 NCAA Southeast Regionals Friday hosted by UNC Charlotte at McAlpine Park with the women's 6K scheduled for noon and the men's 10K following at 1:15 p.m.

The back-to-back Atlantic Sun Championship men's team will compete in the 10K Friday at the region meet. Upstate will be led by three-time A-Sun individual champion Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya), who was an All-Southeast Region selection in 2011. Last year, the senior finished 11th at the region meet with a time of 30:21.60, helping the Spartans finish 22nd overall. His time ranks at the best 10K mark in program history.

At the 2012 A-Sun Championships, Kemboi crossed the line in 24:16.70, while seniors Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) and Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) followed in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Dennison and Thomas both turned in career-best 8K times at conference meet Oct. 27, coming in at 25:05.40 and 25:07.10. Junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) was the fourth All-Conference honoree for the Spartans at the A-Sun meet, taking 12th-place with a personal-record time of 25:25.80.

"This will be a good test for our men's team," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "It will give them a chance to see where they stack up in the region and how far we have come in the last year."

On the women's side, sophomore Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) helped the Spartans to a 17th-place finish at last year's Southeast Regionals, crossing the line with a time of 23:23.90. She was the first Upstate finisher at the A-Sun Championships Oct. 27, recording a career-best time of 18:49.50 to come in 24th-place. Earlier this season, Polite recorded a personal record in the 6K at the Paul Short Invitational Sept. 28, clocking in at 19:07.28.

"Regionals will be a great learning experience for our women's team and a great opportunity to get some 6K PR's," Blackwelder said.

In the Upstate women's last outing, seven athletes recorded personal-best times at the A-Sun meet including Polite. Freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) was the second finisher for the Spartans, posting a personal-best time of 19:15.10 and placing 35th. Upstate's third finisher at the A-Sun Championships was senior Hannah Chaney (Brunswick, Ohio), crossing the finish line with a career-best mark of 19:45.70. Her classmate Laura Transue (Anderson, S.C.) was close behind, also turning in a personal-record with a time of 19:59.00, beating her 2010 mark of 19:59.68.


Spartans Repeat A-Sun Team Championship; Kemboi Three-Peats
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October 27, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. – USC Upstate men's cross country team defended its Atlantic Sun Conference Championship crown Saturday as Gilbert Kemboi won his third-straight individual title at the 2012 A-Sun Championships hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Spartans bring home their second-straight A-Sun team trophy, edging ETSU Saturday by only four points. With five runners in the top 20, Upstate beat the Buccaneers 49 points to 53 points, while Kennesaw State took third-place with 85 points.

"Our guys followed the race plan pretty well," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "Ross (Oden) and Christian (Ritacco) moved up really well in the last mile and half and put us in a position to win. It really came down to our fourth and fifth runners, just out-kicking people in the end. Our goal was to have four athletes make All-Conference and they achieved that..."

The Spartans landed four athletes on the All-Atlantic Sun First and Second Teams. Kemboi was named the 2012 A-Sun Runner of the Year and collected First Team All-Conference honors, while senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.), senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) were All-A-Sun Second Team selections. Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder picked-up his second-straight A-Sun Coach of the Year honor.

"It's a great honor, but I don't really do the running; the guys do the running," Blackwelder said. "I give all the credit to them. Being Coach of the Year is really just a product of them winning."

Thomas kept Dennison in his sight during most of the race, but closed the gap towards the end as the two worked together to finish strong with Dennison earning eighth-place and Thomas in ninth. The senior duo finish with personal-best times as Dennison crossed the line in 25:05.40 and Thomas in 25:07.10. Oden came across the line shortly after, taking 12th-place with a personal-record time of 25:25.80.

Upstate senior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) sneaked into the top 20 for the Spartans, coming in 19th with a season-best mark of 25:55.70. Sophomore Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.) was the sixth finisher for Upstate, taking 34th-place with a career-best time of 26:27.70...

Upstate returns to action Nov. 9, traveling to Charlotte, N.C., for the NCAA Southeast Regionals.

Spartans Chase Hardware at A-Sun Cross Country Championships
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October 26, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete at the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships as the Spartan men look to defend their team title and senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Keyna) races for a three-peat Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University.

The 2012 A-Sun Championships will be held at FGCU's Buckingham Cross Country Course. The women's 5K race is scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by the men's 8K at 9:30 a.m.

The Upstate men's team picked-up the program's first A-Sun team championship last season at the conference meet in Nashville, Tenn. With seven of the nine members of the championship squad back to compete, the 2012 Spartans look to bring home their second-straight A-Sun team trophy.

"The men's team has been looking forward to this race all season," said Upstate associate head coach Carson Blackwelder, the 2011 A-Sun Coach of the Year. "They are ready to compete and do everything they can to defend their title."

Kemboi has won two-straight individual Atlantic Sun Championships, claiming last year's title with a time of 24:27.01 and being named the A-Sun Runner of the Year. He was joined on the All-Conference Team by fell Spartans Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) and Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.). Dennison earned All-Atlantic Sun First Team honors, crossing the finish line sixth with a time of 25:18.35, while Ritacco was a second team selection, coming in 10th-place with a time of 25:41.64...

Kemboi is looking to become the third athlete in conference history to win three A-Sun individual cross country championship titles and the only one from the current member institutions as Michael Green (1998-200) from Troy and Andrew Letherby (1994, 1996-97) from Georgia State comprise the three-peat list. Kemboi also holds the second and third fastest times in A-Sun history (24:00.81 in 2010 and 24:27.01 in 2011). His fastest time this season came at the Paul Short Invitational Sept. 28, crossing the line in 23:59.

The Spartan men remain strong throughout their roster as Dennison has proved to be a solid performer for Upstate during his senior campaign, posting his best time of the year at the Paul Short Invite with a time of 25:51. Junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) has stepped up for the Spartan men this season, being the third Upstate finisher in three of four meets this season. Senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) has also been a strong performer for the Spartans, finishing as one of the team's top five runners in every meet this season. Oden clocked in with a season-best mark of 26:11 at the Paul Short Invite, but was edged by Thomas with a season-best time of 26:06...

This race will also help develop some of our freshmen by giving them experience at the conference championship level," Blackwelder said.

Official results for the 2012 A-Sun Cross Country Championships will be available at UpstateSpartans.com and at AtlanticSun.org following the conclusion of both the women's 5K and the men's 8K races.


Spartan Men and Women Win Upstate Invitational
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October 13, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams hosted the Upstate Invitational at Milliken Research Park Saturday, placing first in both the men's and women's team standings.

The Spartan men took top honors with 15 points in the men's 8K as senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) crossed the line first with a time of 25:32 followed by senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) at 26:06. In the women's 5K, Upstate won with 18 points as sophomore Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) came in first-place with a personal-best time of 19:06.25. Freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) was the second Spartan finisher, but came in fourth overall with a time of 20:03.55 as second and third places went to unattached runners.

"It was a small meet, but a good one," said Upstate Associate Head Coach Carson Blackwelder. "We really just worked on packing up and running as a group on both the men's and women's sides. They did a good job of going out there and running hard and working with each other."

Presbyterian came in second-place in the men's 8K with 56 points, while Piedmont took third with 78 points. Erskine finished fourth in the team standings with 91 points. On the women's side, Erskine claimed second with 50 points, while Presbyterian took third with 79 points. Piedmont came in fourth with 104 points.

On the men's side, the Spartans claimed the top 10 positions. Junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) came in third-place with a time of 26:23.46, while senior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) finished fourth with a time of 26:27.44. Senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) took the No. 5 spot, crossing the line in 26:35.30, while junior Andrew Kipchuma (Eldoret, Kenya) was sixth with a time of 26:56.15. Upstate sophomore Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.) came in seventh and junior Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) was eighth with times of 27:08.54 and 27:18.07, respectively. Senior Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C.) took ninth with a time of 28:09.93, while junior Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) closed out the top 10 with a time of 29:25.35...

Spartan Cross Country Set to Host Upstate Invitational
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October 12, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams return home Saturday, hosting the Upstate Invitational at Milliken Research Park.

The women's 5k race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. with the men's 8K beginning at 10:45 a.m. This meet will be smaller than the Spartans' last outing at the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh Sept. 28. The Upstate Invite will feature four teams including the Spartans, Piedmont, Erskine and cross-town Wofford. The meet will serve as a final tune-up for Upstate before heading to the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Championships Oct. 27 in Fort Myers, Fla...

The Spartans have continued to improve their individual times in each meet this season. Six Upstate men registered season-best times Sept. 28, including Kemboi, who has recorded the best time in the A-Sun this year. Senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) posted a time of 25:51, while classmate Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) finished in 26:06. Upstate junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) crossed the line with a time of 26:11, while junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) and senior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) recorded times of 26:30 and 26:44, respectively.

In the women's 6K race, 40 teams and 360 athletes competed in the Paul Short Invite. The Spartan women were paced by sophomore Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.), posting a personal-best time in the 6K of 22:54, beating her previous mark of 23:23.90. Senior Hannah Chaney (Brunswick, Ohio) was the second Upstate finisher, crossing the line in 23:59, while freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) followed with a time of 24:13. Sophomore Erin Gethin (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) also recorded an individual-record in the 6K with a time of 24:44, surpassing her pervious time of 25:47.35...


Kemboi Places Second at Paul Short Invitational
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September 28, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams turned in strong times against stiff competition Friday at the Paul Short Invitational hosted by Lehigh as senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) claimed an impressive second-place finish in the men's 8K.

Both Spartan teams competed in the Gold race, which was the fastest of the three college race categories at the Paul Short Invite. In the men's 8K, the top three finishers were separated by a total of three seconds. Mark Dennin of No. 15 Georgetown took top honors with a time of 23:57, followed by Kemboi two seconds later, clocking in at 23:59. Kemboi edged Duquesne's Jim Spisak, who crossed the line third in 24:00.

"Gilbert did a really good job getting second-place today," said Upstate associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "With 400-meters to go, it was a really tight race between the top three."

In the 37 team field there were 332 runners, who participated in Lehigh's Paul Short Invitational men's 8K race. Among the squads were three nationally ranked teams, including the 15th-ranked Hoyas. The No. 22 Villanova Wildcats and members of the No. 17 Princeton club also competed Friday.

The Spartans have continued to improve their individual times in each meet this season. Six Upstate men registered season-best times Friday, including Kemboi, who has recorded the best time in the Atlantic Sun Conference this year. Senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) posted a time of 25:51, while classmate Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) finished in 26:06. Upstate junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) crossed the line with a time of 26:11, while junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) and senior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) recorded times of 26:30 and 26:44, respectively.

"We got 25th overall for the men's team, which is about what I was expecting," Blackwelder said. "Our times are gradually getting faster, so I'm pleased. It rained a lot overnight so it was a muddy and sloppy course. Plus, it was a really big field and that is a major factor in how a race plays out..."

Spartans Migrate North to Face Nationally Ranked Teams
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September 27, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams travel to Bethlehem, Pa., this week to compete in the Paul Short Invitational Friday hosted by Lehigh.

Both Spartan teams will be competing in the Gold race, which is the fastest of the three college race categories at the Paul Short Invite. Upstate will begin with the men's 8K at 11 a.m. Friday followed by the women's 6K at 11:45 a.m.

There are 38 men's teams scheduled to compete at the meet, including three nationally ranked teams. In the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll released Thursday, the Big East Conference's Georgetown was 15th, the Ivy League's Princeton came in No. 17 and the Big East's Villanova took the 22nd spot. The Wildcats defeated the Hoyas in the 2011 Big East Championship.

On the women's side, 40 teams are slated to participate in the Paul Short Invite Friday with three clubs making the most recent USTFCCCA national poll. Georgetown, the 2011 NCCAA Champion, is ranked fourth in the nation, while Providence and Villanova are No. 7 and No. 9, respectively. The Wildcats edged the Friars and the Hoyas for the 2011 Big East team title.

In the Spartans last outing Sept. 15 at the Winthrop Invitational, the Upstate men finished sixth overall in the team standing, but came in first among South Carolina schools to win the 2012 state championship title. Senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) took second-place honors with a time of 24:14.75. He was named the South Carolina Intercollegiate Individual Champion. Kemboi went to claim Atlantic Sun Conference Runner of the Week accolades for his efforts, marking his ninth career weekly conference award.

Senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) was the second finisher for the Spartan men at the Winthrop Invite, crossing the line in 25:58.31. For the second-straight meet this season, junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) was the third Upstate finisher, coming in 26:26.53, while senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) posted a time of 26:31.03.

The Upstate women came in 16th out of 31 teams at Winthrop, tallying 419 points, while seven Spartans posted personal-bests, climbing the school's all-time records list. Sophomore Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) crossed the line first for the Spartan women, recording an individual-best time of 19:07.28. She ranks sixth in the Upstate record books.

Freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) crossed the line in19:59.39 for Upstate, while classmate Molly Bliss (Milford, Del.) had a time of 20:09.53, both marks were personal records. Kolesnitchenko climbed to 10th all-time in school history. Senior Hannah Chaney (Brunswick, Ohio) registered a personal-best time of 20:29.88, while freshman Ashleigh Torres (Roanoke, Va.) followed closely with a time of 20:30.49

Upstate Men Earn State Bragging Rights at Winthrop; Spartan Women Post Solid Times
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September 15, 2012

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams competed Saturday in the 26th annual adidas/Winthrop Invitational, which also served as the South Carolina Intercollegiate Championship.

The Spartan men finished sixth overall in the team standings, but came in first among the South Carolina schools, winning the 2012 state championship title. Upstate senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) took second-place honors with a time of 24:14.75. He was named the South Carolina Intercollegiate Individual Champion.

In the overall race standings, Kemboi was edged by Louisville's Ernest Kibet with a time of 24:13.17. The Cardinals are ranked No. 7 in the Southeast Region and topped the team standings Saturday with three finishers in the top eight. High Point, who is ranked No. 12 in the Southeast Region, came in fifth in the men's 8K with160 points, while Upstate trailed in sixth with 182 points.

Senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) was the second finisher for the Spartan men, crossing the line in 25:58.31. For the second-straight meet this season, junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) was the third Upstate finisher, coming in 26:26.53, while senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) posted a time of 26:31.03. Junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) and sophomore Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.) followed close behind, coming in at 26:36.20 and 26:40.85, respectively. The mark was a personal-best for Rennix, who cracked the program's all-time best list at No. 24.

"We had a great overall race today," said Upstate associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "The guys went out there and tested themselves. It was exciting to see them mix it up with some very good teams..."

Kemboi Wins Eye Opener; Upstate Teams Open Season with Strong Marks
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August 31, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) of the USC Upstate men's cross country team won the 29th annual Eye Opener Invitational Friday at Milliken Research Park as the Upstate men claimed second in the team standings, while the women took fourth.

This was the first meet of the 2012 campaign for the both Spartan men and women. Davidson took top honors in the men's team standings with 29 points, while Upstate earned second with 42 points. The Wildcats are ranked 11th in the Southeast Regional Rankings and had five runners finish in the top 10. Mars Hill collected third-place with 102 points, edging Spartanburg Methodist with 106. Furman came in fifth with 112 points.

The Spartan men had three runners in the top 10 as Kemboi crossed the line well ahead of the pack with a time of 25:31.48. Davidson's Andrew Lantz took second-place with a time of 25:56.65, edging Furman's Wilkerson Given, who claimed third with a time of 25:57.46.

"We just started the season; I think as we go on things will get better," Kemboi said. "We'll see what will happen as the season unfolds. I think the heat was one of the factors to consider today. It was humid. A race is just a race; anything can happen. You just have to go out there and set the pace and keep yours too. When no one is running with you, you have a lot to do."

Upstate senior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) finished fifth with a time of 26:39.64, while junior Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) crossed in 27:05.68 to earn eighth-place. Senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) was the fourth Spartan finisher, coming in 13th with a time of 27:23.23. Junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) followed Thomas in 15th with a time of 27:30.13.

"On the guys' side, we got second, which was our plan to get in the top three," said Upstate associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "Davidson and Furman are always very strong. Davidson looked very good from halfway into the race and really picked it up, but Davey (Dennison) was able to get right back in it for us and he was able to finish fifth. Ross Oden was eighth and Gilbert (Kemboi) was first. Actually Gilbert stopped probably about 800-meters into the race and tied his shoe, so his time was little bit slower, but he did a good job in the middle of the race just going after it and dropping everybody. I'm really pleased with where we're at. Christian Ritacco didn't run today, which he's normally one of our top five guys. He had some sinus issues going on so we had to hold him out, but we're excited to get to Winthrop and see what we can do there. It should be some good competition..."

Johnson Earns Final A-Sun Track Athlete of the Week Honor
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May 16, 2012

MACON, Ga. – Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) of the USC Upstate men's track & field team was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Male Track Athlete of the Week as announced by the conference office today.

This marked Johnson's first-career A-Sun Athlete of the Week honor, coming after a school-best performance at the Clemson Tiger Qualifier May 11.

The sophomore posted a program record time of 1:51.39 in the men's 800-meter run to claim third-place last weekend. He beat the previous record of 1:53.13 set by junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) at the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Championship.


Upstate Track & Field Hurdles after Hardware at A-Sun Championships This Weekend
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April 19, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams head to the Sunshine State this weekend for the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships April 20-21 hosted by North Florida.

The Spartan men seek a top-three team finish, returning the A-Sun Most Outstanding Indoor Track Performer and the A-Sun Most Outstanding Indoor Field Performer in juniors Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.), respectively. The junior duo each won two individual titles at the conference indoor meet in February. Kemboi currently ranks first in the league in the outdoor season with his school record performance in the 5,000-meter at the Duke Invitational April 6 with a time of 14:16.66. He also leads the A-Sun in the 10,000-meter with an Upstate record time of 29:51.99 set at N.C. State's Raleigh Relays March 29...

"We are really excited about this weekend's meet," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "We believe that we have the student athletes ready to compete at their best. Looking at this weekend's events, there are going to be some really close races and some great competition in the field events..."

Junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) will participate in the 800-meter and the 4x400-meter relay for the Spartan men. He ranks seventh in the A-Sun in the 800-meter, just behind Johnson with a time of 1:53.31, which he recorded at the Charlotte 49er Classic March 15. The Upstate 4x400-meter relay team of Thomas, Matt Johnson, Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.) is third in the conference, turning in a time of 3:16.67 March 29 at the Winthrop Invitational...

"We are looking to add to our list of individual conference champions and hoping that we can have a couple of our athletes win more than one event," Smith said. "We have been extremely proud of the consistency and progression of our student-athletes this season. It has been a really fun season and we are hoping that this weekend will be the best meet we have had. The Univeristy of North Florida has a great facility so there should be a great atmosphere for success there. We are looking to see lots of green and black in the top three spots of events."

Spartans Sprint to Two Track & Field Meets This Weekend
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April 5, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams are scheduled to participate in two meets this weekend as members of each team head to the Duke Invitational April 6-7, while others compete at Wofford's Terrier Relays April 7.

The reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Men's Track Athlete of the Week, Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya), returns to action this weekend. The junior will compete in the men's 5,000-meter run at the Duke Invite. Last week, he took top honors in the men's 10,000-meter at the Raleigh Relays with a school record time of 29:51.99, ranking first in the A-Sun and fourth nationally.

Also at the Raleigh Relays last week, junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) posted an Upstate record in the men's 1,500-meter with a time of 3:57.12, while classmate Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) posted a time of 9:52.86 in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Both athletes will compete in the same respective events in Durham, N.C., this weekend.

At the Winthrop Invitational last week, junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) posted a time of 14.70 in the men's 110-meter hurdles finals, while sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) won the men's 800-meter, crossing the line in 1:53.78. Johnson was closely followed by junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) in the 800-meter, finishing second with a time of 1:54.44. This weekend, Curry is scheduled to compete in the men's 100-meter and 110-meter hurdles, while Johnson will run in the 400-meter and 200-meter. Thomas will return to action in the men's 800-meter at the Duke Invite...

Spartan Track & Field Post Strong Finishes at Winthrop Invitational
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March 31, 2012

ROCK HILL, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams recorded nine top-five finishes at the final day of the Winthrop Invitational today, including three first-place finishes and three second-place marks.

Freshman Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) took top honors in the women's 1,500-meter with a time of 4:49.14. The Spartan men earned first-place finishes in the 110-meter hurdles and the 800-meter. Junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) posted a time of 14.70 in the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, which was slightly better than his qualifying time of 19.94 yesterday. Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) won the men's 800-meter, crossing the line in 1:53.78.

Johnson was closely followed by junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) in the 800-meter, finishing second with a time of 1:54.44. Thomas helped the Spartans to another second-place finish in the men's 4x400-meter relay. He was joined by teammates Matt Johnson, sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.) to posted a relay time of 3:16.67.

Freshman Breana Kwasnik (Greenville, S.C.) earned second-place for the Upstate women the pole vault with mark of 3.35-meters (10-11.75). She competed yesterday, but the event was halted due to weather conditions and concluded today...

Track & Field Programs Break Five Upstate Records at Catamount Classic
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March 24, 2012

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams set five school records today at the Beynon Sports Surface Catamount Classic hosted by Western Carolina, breaking thee records on the men's side and two on the women's...

The Spartan records continued to fall on the track as senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) and sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) registered program-bests. Goggins came in eighth in the men's 100-meter dash with a time of 10.97, while Johnson crossed the 800-meter line in 1:53.31 for second-place.

On the women's side, senior Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya) and freshman Shawanda Stokes (Okatie, S.C.) each broke Upstate records today. Chelulei won the women's 3K steeplechase with a time of 11:25.67, while Stokes earned seventh in the long jump with a leap of 4.97-meters (16-03.75).

Sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) also posted a top-10 finish in the men's 800-meter, coming in fifth with a time of 1:55.05. Freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.) and sophomore Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) crossed the 800-meter finish-line in seventh and eighth, respectively, with times of 1:57.53 and 1:58.92.

Junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) recorded a time of 4:03.08 in the men's 1,500-meter, earning third. The junior helped the Spartan men's 4x400-meter relay team to another third-place finish with a time of 3:22.83 alongside Woodruff and the Johnson brothers.

Goggins came in fourth in the men's long jump with a leap of 6.79-meters (22-03.50), while freshman Isaiah Lyles (Inman, S.C.) earned fourth in the men's shot put with a toss of 14.83-meters (48-08.00)...

Upstate Track & Field Set to Compete at Western Carolina
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March 23, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams travel to Western Carolina tomorrow for to the Beynon Sports Catamount Classic.

Junior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) will return to action this weekend, after setting three school records last weekend at the Charlotte 49er Classic. He earned fourth-place in the discus throw with a toss of 49.17 meters (161-04). The junior came in ninth in the shot put with a throw of 15.08 meters (49-05.75), while also finishing eighth in the hammer throw with a toss of 53.44 meters (75-04). Sugishita will compete in the hammer and discus throws at the Catamount Classic.

Upstate records continued to fall in the men's 800-meter run last weekend as junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) set a program-best time of 1:53.32, breaking the previous record of 1:53.97 set by sophomore Michael Johnson (Eglin, S.C.) last season. Thomas returns to the track tomorrow, participating the 1,5000-meter run and the men's 4x400-meter relay.

Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) is scheduled to race in the men's 800-meter and the 4x400-meter relay. Last weekend, Matt Johnson competed in the 400-meter dash finals, after qualifying with a preliminary time of 48.07. In the finals, he posted a fourth-place finish with a time of 48.18.

On the women's side, senior Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya) and freshman Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) return to the track this week after posting strong times at last week's Charlotte 49er Classic. Chelulei crossed the line in 17:30.80 last week in the 5,000-meter for second-place, while Polite registered a personal-best time of 2:17.56 in the 800-meter. She was just 0.08 off of the school record. The freshman has significantly improved this semester, dropping a full eight seconds on her time in just two and half months.

At the Catamount Classic, Chelulei is slated to compete in the 3,000-meter and the steeplechase for the first time in her career. Polite will participate in the women's 800-meter run again and the 4x400-meter relay.

Spartan Track & Field Wraps-Up Charlotte 49er Classic
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March 17, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams wrapped up their opening weekend of the 2012 outdoor season at the Charlotte 49er Classic today.

Junior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) set two school records today for the Spartan men. He earned fourth-place in the discus throw with a toss of 49.17 meters (161-04). The junior came in ninth in the shot put with throw of 15.08 meters (49-05.75). The previous Upstate record in the discus was 41.63 meters (136-07) set by Eric Chapman in 2011, while the previous shot put record was 13.99 meters (45-10.75) set by James Miles in 2008.

Upstate records continued to fall in the men's 800 meter run as junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) set a program-best time of 1:53.32, breaking the previous record of 1:53.97 set by sophomore Michael Johnson (Eglin, S.C.) last season.

Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) competed in the men's 400-meter dash finals, after qualifying yesterday with a preliminary time of 48.07. In the finals today, he posted a fourth-place finish with a time of 48.18.

On the women's side, freshman Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) registered a personal-best time of 2:17.56 in the 800-meter. She was just 0.08 off of the school record.

The Spartan men came in ninth in the men's 4x100-meter relay as sophomore Joshua Powers (Spartanburg, S.C.), junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.), freshman Thomas Perkins (Lugoff, S.C.) and senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) recorded a time of 43.60. The Upstate women finished 13th in the 4x100-meter relay as freshman Shawanda Stokes (Okatie, S.C.), freshman Brittany Walls, junior Velegar Mark (Spartanburg, S.C.) and sophomore Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.) posted a time of 52.02...

Spartan Track & Field Programs Open Outdoor Season at Charlotte
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March 15, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams are set to open the 2012 outdoor season at Charlotte's 49er Classic March 16-17.

Both programs closed out the indoor season, tallying the most points and highest team finishes in school history at the Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships. The Upstate men's team earned a third-place finish, totaling 95 points, while the women came in fifth-place with 51 points.

Seven Spartan men snagged A-Sun All-Conference team honors after turning in strong performance in their respective events. Juniors Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) and Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) were both double champions at the A-Sun meet. Sugishita claimed titles in the weight throw and the shot put, while Kemboi won the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter events. This weekend, Sugishita returns to action, competing in the hammer throw, discus throw and the shot put. Kemboi will run the 5,000-meter at Charlotte, alongside classmate Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.), who earned all-conference accolades in the mile and distance medley relay (DMR).

Junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) was an All-A-Sun selection for Upstate in the men's 800-meter and DMR last month. He is slated to compete in 1,500-meter and 800-meter events at the 49er Classic. Sophomores Matt and Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) are also running the 800-meter as well as the 200-meter and 400-meter events. Matt Johnson earned second team all-conference nods at the A-Sun Indoor Championship for his performances in the 400-meter and DMR, while Michael Johnson was also a second teamer in the DMR.

Sophomore Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) grabbed All-Atlantic Sun Third Team accolades with his effort in the 60-meter hurdles event at the conference indoor meet last month. He will represent the Spartan men in the 100-meter, 110-meter hurdles and the men's 4x100 relay...

Spartan Track & Field Picks Up Three Individual Titles at Final Day of A-Sun Indoor Championships
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February 18, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Juniors Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) of the USC Upstate men's track & field team earned their second individual titles today at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, while senior Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) won gold for the Spartan women.

Sugishita won his second throwing title in as many days with his top toss of 17.12m in the weight throw en route to claiming the Most Outstanding Field Performer. Kemboi won the men's 5,000-meter run with a record-setting time of 14:41.56. He passed his previous A-Sun record of 14:43.81 set at last year's championship. He was named the 2012 Indoor Most Outstanding Track Performer. Sugishita and Kemboi helped the Upstate men's team to a third-place finish, tallying 95 points for the best finished in program history...

Upstate junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) earned a second-place finish in the men's one mile run with a time of 4:13.80. Junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) claimed third-place with a time of 8.26 in the men's 60-meter hurdles. The Spartan men snagged third in 4x400 relay as the quartet of freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.), junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) posted a time of 3:20.04.

"Matt J., Cameron and Davey all had runner-up finishes in their respective events and really came through in the 'clutch' for our team," Smith said. "All three of these young men are the type that they are never to be underestimated. They race until the finish and believe that they can line up against anyone and compete and that's exactly what they did. I was so proud of Brandon Curry and his first top-three finish in the 60-meter hurdles. He is really becoming a premier hurdler and will be someone to watch in the outdoor season. Brandon has started to consistently drop his time and has found a fire and passion in this season that I believe will 'slingshot' him into lots of success."

"There are so many people that I could point out so I will just say it was a fun weekend to be a Spartan," Smith said. "We had great support from our families and our Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Jim Griffis was on the side with the coaches cheering for the green and we appreciate that."

Kemboi, Sugishita Earn Individual Titles at First Day of A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships
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February 17, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Juniors Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) of the USC Upstate men's track & field team picked up gold medals at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships today in the 3,000-meter run and shot put, respectively.

Kemboi and Sugishita's top-place marks helped the Spartan men rank second in the team standings at the end of the first day of competition, collecting 33 points. Kennesaw State leads all teams with 57 points, while North Florida is third with 32 points and ETSU is fourth with 31 points.

In the men's 3,000-meter run Kemboi posted a winning time of 8:25.63, just shy of the conference record that he set in 2010 of 8:23.37. Sugishita claimed the conference shot put crown with a toss of 15.86-meters. The Spartan quartet of junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) recorded a second-place finish in the men's distance medley relay with a time of 10.06.88.

"Kenny did what it took to win today," said head coach Natalie Smith. "We were really excited to see him get his first win as an A-Sun champion in front of his teammates and family, who came in all the way from California. Gilbert was exceptional to watch as always; as he adds to his list of championships, we are hoping that he and Kenny both have a double championship performance after tomorrow. Lastly, our men's DMR consisting of Cameron, Mike Johnson, Matt Johnson and Davey was in high performance mode as they finished as the 2012 runner up by cutting almost 36 seconds off of last year's time..."


Spartan Track & Field Programs Seek Hardware at A-Sun Indoor Championships
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February 16, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams are set to compete at the Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships Feb. 17-18 in Johnson City, Tenn., hosted by ETSU.

Both squads look to improve on their marks from last year's championship meet. In 2011, the Spartan women finished seventh in the team standings, earning 15 points. The men's team posted a fourth-place finish, tallying 90 points. The Upstate men have an opportunity record a school-best finish as the Spartans have come in fourth twice (2011 and 2009), returning six all-conference selections from last year, including two two-event All-A-Sun honorees.

On the men's side, there should be many first-time A-Sun champions as only six of the 17 events feature past winners at the indoor championship. One of those six is Upstate junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya), who vies for his third individual event title in the 5,000-meter run. If successful, he would become only the third student-athlete to be a three-time event winner. Kemboi will also compete in the 3,000-meter run. He currently leads the A-Sun in both events, posting a time of 14:23.19 in the 5,000-meter and 8.23.37 in the 3,000-meter during the regular season.

Junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) is slated to compete in the men's one mile run. He currently leads the conference in that even with a winning time of 4:15.77 at North Carolina's Kent Taylor Invitational Feb. 4. Dennison will also participate in the men's distance medley relay alongside sophomore Matthew Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.). The Johnson brothers and Thomas are also scheduled to take part in the men's 4x400 relay with freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.) rounding out the quartet. The veteran trio earned All-Conference Second Team honors for their performance in the 4x400 at last year's A-Sun Championship.

Senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) earned All-A-Sun Second Team accolades at last year's indoor conference meet for his efforts in the men's high jump. He currently leads the Atlantic Sun in the men's high jump with a leap of 6-8.75 (2.05-meters) at Appalachian State's Mountaineer Split Indoor Open Jan. 19. Goggins is also slated to compete in the men's long jump and men's triple jump.

At the 2011 Indoor A-Sun Championships, Upstate junior Kenny Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) claimed All-Conference Second Team marks in the men's shot put and All-A-Sun Third Team honors in the men's weight throw. He currently leads the A-Sun in both events during the regular season. Sugishita recorded a toss of 52-3.75 (15.94-meters) in the shot put at the Niswonger Invitational Feb. 27-28. At the same meet, he posted a mark of 55-8.5 (16.98-meters) in the weight throw.

Other Spartan men expected to record strong individual finishes include Thomas, junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) and sophomore Isaiah Lyles (Inman, S.C.). Thomas will compete in the men's 800-meter run, while Curry should place well in the 60-meter hurdles. Lyles is slated to participate in the men's weight throw and shot put...

Spartan Track & Field Teams Competed at UNC’s Kent Taylor Invitational
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February 4, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams competed in the Kent Taylor Invitational hosted by North Carolina today.

Junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) led the Spartan men with a first-place finish in the one mile run, setting a school record time of 4:15.77. His time beat the previous school-best of 4:20.30 set by junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) at North Carolina's Gene Anderson Invite in 2010.

"Our distance and mid-distance athletes continue to put up great marks each week in the season," said head coach Natalie Smith. "Jemeli Sang, Davey Dennison and Cameron Thomas looked great today."

Upstate junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) recorded strong performances in the men's 4x400 relay and the men's 800-meter. He helped the Spartans to a fifth-place finish in the team relay with a time of 3:25.69 with freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.). Thomas earned a second-place finish in the 800-meter with a time of 1:55.85, while junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) came in fifth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.43.

Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) posted strong marks for the Spartan men in three events. He came in second in the high jump with a mark of 2.01m (6-07.00). In the long jump, Goggins claimed fourth with a mark of 6.76m (22-02.25). He also qualified for the finals in the 60-meter dash, finishing eighth with a time of 7.19.

On the women's side, senior Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) continued to turn in strong performances. She earned a fourth-place finish in the one mile run, crossing the line in 5:06.81. Her classmate Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya) came in seventh in that same event with a time of 5:14.71.

"Our athletes seem to be coming along and progressing well as each week someone different is putting up better marks," Smith said. "We hope that all of our athletes will put it together at the same time, when we compete at the conference championships in two weeks."

Upstate junior Velegar Mark (Spartanburg, S.C.) posted a school record in the women's high jump with a score of 1.55m (5-01.00). She passed her previous school-best mark of 1.51m (4-11.50) set at the Appalachian Open Jan. 19. Freshman Breana Kwasnik (Greenville, S.C.) recorded a second-place performance in the women's pole vault with a mark of 3.25m, (10-08.00).


Upstate Track & Field Teams Set for Kent Taylor Invitational
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February 3, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Kent Taylor Invitational tomorrow.

The Upstate programs return to action after a successful outing last weekend at the Niswonger Invitational hosted by ETSU Jan. 28, setting six school records. Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) led the Spartan men last week, recording three school-best times. He posted Upstate records in the men's 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter events, while claiming first in the 800-meter with a time of 1:54.61. Johnson earned a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter with a time of 48.88, while taking 27th in the 200-meter with a time of 22.58.

The Spartans claimed the Atlantic Sun Conference Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Week and A-Sun Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Week awards this last week as junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and senior Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) picked up those respective honors. Kemobi set a school record at ETSU in the men's 5,000-meter with a top-place finish, crossing the line in 14:23.19. His time ranks as the best in the A-Sun and 18th in the nation in the men's 5,000-meter. Sang set a school record in the women's 3,000-meter at the Niswonger Invite with a winning time of 9:51.61. Her time broke the previous school record by 12 seconds and her performance ranks first in the conference.

Spartan records continued to fall last weekend in the men's weight throw as junior Kenneth Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) posted a mark of 16.98-meters (55-08.50) to claim sixth. He came in second in the shot put with a performance of 15.94-meters (52-03.75). His performance in both events ranks first in the conference.

At the Kent Taylor Invite, Johnson will return to compete in the men's 200-meter again, while also participating in the men's 4x400 relay. He will be joined in the relay by his brother Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) and freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.). At the Niswonger Invite, Michael Johnson came in second in the 800-meter, clocking in at 1:57.25, while Woodruff was fifth with a time of 2.00.23.

Junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) will complete the mile this weekend for the Spartan men. Last week in the men's 5,000-meter he came in ninth-place with a time of 15:08.16. Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.), another Spartan junior, is scheduled to participate in the men's 60-meter and men's 60-meter hurdles at North Carolina. At ETSU, he collected a ninth-place finish with a time of 8.43 in the 60-meter hurdles.

Senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) is slated to compete in the men's high jump, long jump and 60-meter dash. Last weekend, he posted strong scores for Upstate in the jump department for the men. He tallied a sixth-place finish in the high jump with a mark of 6-04.75 and an eighth-place finish in the long jump with a mark of 22-09.75.


Upstate Track & Field Teams Post Strong Results at Appalachian State
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January 20, 2011

BOONE, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams recorded strong results at the Mountaineer Split Indoor Open Track Meet today hosted by Appalachian State.

For the Spartan men, junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) set a school record in the 55-meter hurdles with a third-place time of 7.89, passing his previous mark of 8.00 set at the Vince Brown Invite in 2010. Senior Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) took top honors in the men's high jump with mark of 2.05-meters, while junior Kenneth Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) claimed second in the shot put and third in the weight throw. Sugishita registered scores of 15.61-meters in the shot put and 15.67-meters in the weight throw.

Upstate posted the top-four finishes in the men's one mile run as junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) led the way with a time of 4:22.63. Junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) earned second-place honors with a time of 4:28.14, while sophomore Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya) took third with a time of 4:24.37. Sophomore Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) claimed fourth, crossing the line in 4:35.00.

"It was really good to see our upperclassmen lead the way with Goggins, Kemboi, Sang, Curry, Tangwar, Chelulei and Sugishita leading the way for our team," Smith said. "They are all really fun to watch and all of them carry a lot of pride for themselves and the Spartan Green. I believe they represent us well."

Dennison won the men's 800-meter run with a time of 2:01.74, while Kipchumba earned second-place, finishing in 2:01.78. The high-finishes continued to roll in for the Spartans as junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) tallied a first-place finish in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:44.29, while freshman Matt Caputa (Haddon Heights, N.J.) came in third with a time of 2:58.84. Sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) recorded a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line in 23.03.

"We are building in quite a few events and hoping to put some of our athletes in position to win an A-Sun championship and help us move up in the team rankings this season," Smith said.


Tis the Season for Upstate Track & Field
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December 3, 2011

CLEMSON, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams opened the indoor track season at Clemson today as six Spartans set school records.

On the women's side freshman Breana Kwasnik (Greenville, S.C.), freshman Shawanda Stokes (Okatie, S.C.), sophomore Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.) and senior Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya) all recorded school records today in their respective events for Upstate. In the pole vault, Kwasnik posted a score of 10-11.75, while Stokes registered a score of 15-11.75 in the long jump. Edmond recorded a time of 1:23.61 in the 500-meter, while Chelulei crossed finished first in the 1,000-meter with a time of 3:02.38.

For the Spartan men, sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) posted school-best times in the 500-meter and 1,000-meter events, respectively. Johnson finished sixth in 1:05.08, while Thomas crossed the line in third-place with a time of 2:36.91.

"We were pleased with the start, however I believe this gave our athletes an awareness of the work that we still have to do," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "Also this was great experience for our freshmen and those who have never been involved in an indoor season before. In these early meets one of your goals is to come out of this part of the season injury free and I do believe, for the most part, we have a very healthy team and are looking forward to being back in competition in January."

Two members of the Upstate men's squad advanced into the finals of the 60-meter hurdles today. Junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) qualified for the finals with a time of 8.54 in the preliminaries, while freshman Thomas Perkins (Lugoff, S.C.) recorded a qualifying time of 8.95. In the finals, Curry finished 11th with a time of 8.60 and Perkins finished 15th with a time of 9.10.


Spartan Women Finish 17th at NCAA Cross Country Regionals, Men Finish 22nd
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November 12, 2011

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams posted strong finishes at the NCAA Southeast Region Championships hosted by Louisville today as the Spartan women took home an impressive 17th-place finish, while the Spartan men were a solid 22nd in the team standings.

Upstate tallied 468 points in the women's 6K for a strong 17th-place finish as the team was led by the senior duo of Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) and Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya). Tangwar came in 15th and Sang claimed 16th with times of 20:45.7 and 20:46.9, respectively. The pair earned Southeast All-Region honors.

In the men's 10K, the Spartans collected 590 points for a 22nd-place team finish.

"The men had a great meet," Blackwelder said. "Finishing 22nd in the Southeast Region is a solid performance. It is a strong region and a great performance for Upstate's first-ever post season competition."

Junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) led the squad, crossing the line in 30:21.6 to snag an 11th-place finish. He picked up All-Region accolades for his performance.

Junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) was the second-top finisher for the Spartan men today with a time of 32:58.5 to take the 117th slot. He was followed by sophomore Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.), who came in 220th-place with a time of 33.37.4.

"I'm really proud of how our guys handled the pressure and the 10k distance," Blackwelder said. "Cameron Thomas stepped up and ran a great race to be our number-two man on the team."

Junior Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) came in 156th-place with a time of 33:57.3, while classmate Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) crossed the line in 34:15.4 for the 162nd spot. Senior James Jackson (Aiken, S.C.) posted a 165th-place finish and sophomore Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.) claimed 195th with times of 34:26.4 and 35.39.7, respectively.

"This meet was a great building block for our program," Blackwelder said. "With six of our top seven returning for next year, we have a great bright future."


Northwest Florida Daily News
11/6/11 Page C3
     
Ex-Niceville runners part of Atlantic Sun title
By TRAVIS DOWNEY
Northwest Florida Daily News
315-4476 | tdowney@nwfdailynews.com
     Former Niceville standouts Christian Ritacco and Cameron Thomas are used to winning. They each did so with regularity while at Niceville, which helped both of them land coveted cross country scholarships at Division-I South Carolina-Upstate following their high school careers.
     But even given all that firsthand experience, the duo’s latest feat came, quite honestly, as “a shock.”
     Ritacco and Thomas, now juniors at USC-Upstate, turned in stellar runs during last weekend’s Atlantic Sun Conference Cross Country Champion-ships, helping the Spartans captured their first-ever conference title.
     It was a feat that caught seemingly everyone by surprise.
     “It came of out left field, really,” Thomas said. “… none of the other coaches really expected it out of us.”
     Thomas finished 17th on the day with a time of 25:57.73, a personal record for the junior. Ritacco, the Daily News’ Runner of the Year in 2008, led the way, finished 10th overall in a time of 25:41.64.
     “I really haven’t had a run all year long that I haven’t been happy with,” Ritacco said.
     Prior to this season, each had already etched their names in the program’s record books.
     Thomas’ 26:11.62 turned in at the 2010 Upstate Invitational currently ranks ranks 13th all-time in school history, while Ritacco’s 25:50.59 at the 2010 conference championships is the fourth-best time by a men’s runner at USC-Upstate.
     Both pointed to the team’s strong showing at the Clemson Invite earlier this season as a possible turning point. It was there that the Spartans finished eighth in a field loaded with the proverbial “big boys” of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference. Ritacco turned in a season-best time of 25:33.55, a time that currently stands as the third-fastest in school history. Thomas ran a 26:07.44, helping the Spartans to its top 10 finish.
The following week, USCUpstate finished sixth at the UNCC invite before winning its own Upstate Invite. In that race, Ritacco finished fourth (26:55).
     Now, the former Niceville teammates will help lead USC-Upstate into next week’s NCAA Southeastern Regional in Louisville, Ky.
     Said Ritacco of the Spartans’ first NCAA regional appearance, “It’s goingto be a great experience.”

   Follow Travis Downey on Twitter at
@TravisNWFDN
USC-Upstate media relations
Cameron Thomas finished 17th in the Atlantic Sun meet.


Spartans Snag Pair of Individual Titles and Men’s Team Crown at A-Sun Cross Country Championships
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October 29, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams put on a great show in Music City this morning for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference Cross Country Championships as the men's team took home the team crown and the Spartans collected individual titles in both the men's and women's races courtesy of junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya). The event was hosted by Belmont at Percy Warner Park on the Vaughn's Gap Course.

This marks the first Atlantic Sun team title for Upstate as the men's team posted a score of 69 to defeat two-time defending champions, Kennesaw State. Kemboi crossed the finish line first in a time of 24:27.01, the fourth-fastest time in A-Sun history, to win his second-straight individual title. The junior became the sixth A-Sun student-athlete to win back-to-back individual meet titles.

"We're thrilled to bring home a team championship and I'm very proud of our guys," said associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "We've finished third the last two years, so we knew we could do well, but we had few guys that when it was time to step up, they did."

The Spartan men had three individuals post top-10 finishes as junior Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) came in sixth with a time of 25:18.35 and classmate Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) crossed the line in 10th with a time of 25:41.64. Junior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) snagged a clutch 17th-place finish for Upstate with a time of 25:57.73. Kemboi and Dennison earned first team all-conference marks, while Ritacco was a second team all-conference selection. Kemboi was named the A-Sun men's Runner of the Year, while Blackwelder was chosen as the A-Sun Coach of the Year.

The Spartan men claimed the championship crown with a total of 69 points, edging Kennesaw State (79 points) by 10 points. Championship host Belmont came in third-place with 84 points.


Upstate Sweeps Upstate Invitational Races
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October 15, 2011

Spartanburg, S.C. - Led by a pair of dominant performances by Gilbert Kemboi and Joan Tangwar, the USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams swept the races at the Upstate Invitational Saturday morning at Milliken Research Park.

Upstate used the races as a tune-up for the A-Sun Championships in two weeks in Nashville, Tenn., and did so in strong fashion. Both teams had the top five runners that counted in the team scores in each race to give the Spartans 15 points to run away with the team titles. Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) dominated the field and covered the 8k distance in a time of 25:33 to win the race by 1:02 over Daniel Smoak, who ran unattached. Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) also turned in a dominant performance, finishing the 5k race in 17:32 to finish eight seconds ahead of teammate and second-place finisher Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya).

In the women's race, Tangwar set the tone for the Spartans with her race win as Upstate sprinted off the line and took control of the race...

Upstate claimed the team title with 15 points and was followed by Wofford (85), Carson-Newman (87), Darton (97), Presbyterian College (113), Piedmont (145), Newberry (167) and Claflin (220).

On the men's side, Kemboi was the star of the show. His time of of 25:33 was his slowest of the season, but it was more than enough to win the race by a large 1:02 margin. It was his second win of the season. The Spartans also swept the first five positions in times which counted for the team scores.

Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) ran his second-fastest time of the season in finishing second in team scoring and third overall with a time of 26:48. Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.) ran a time of 26:55 to finish third in the team scoring and fourth overall. Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) finished fourth in the team scoring and fifth overall with a time of 27:01. Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) was the fifth Spartan to finish, turning in a time of 27:12 to give the Spartans the top five finishers in the race.

Upstate claimed the championship with 15 points and was followed by Darton (49), Newberry (112), Piedmont (119), Presbyterian College (128), Carson-Newman (133) and Claflin (195)...


The Polls Are Open: Vote Now for the Top Division I Moments
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July 1, 2011

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In 2007-08, USC Upstate embarked on a new journey for its athletics program, transitioning its sports team from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I as members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. After four years of competing as a transitional member of Division I, Upstate is poised to receive full certification by the NCAA with all teams eligible for postseason play in NCAA and A-Sun championships.

Two Spartan programs, men’s soccer and softball, were eligible in their third season of D-I play after being selected as the institution’s fast-tracked sports. Men’s soccer fell just short of an A-Sun Tournament berth in 2009, while softball appeared in the conference tournament in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the softball team came out of the loser’s bracket and advanced to the championship game before falling to Lipscomb. In 2011, Upstate was the number three seed and the host institution for the championship event.

“We are thrilled to have nearly completed the transitional process to full Division I membership,” said Mike Hall, Director of Athletics. “It has been difficult on our coaches, staff and most of all our student-athletes who did not have postseason opportunities. This will definitely aid in our recruiting of prospective student-athletes and generate more excitement for all of our fans that can now attend conference tournaments and, hopefully, NCAA Championships. Many people contributed to our move to D-I and we will always be thankful for the involvement of our administration, faculty/staff, student body, alumni, donors and sponsors.”


School-Records Fall on Final Day of A-Sun Championships
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April 16, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On the final day of the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, USC Upstate had six top-three finishes on Saturday afternoon at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.

The men's squad finished fifth after totaling 84 points and the 84 combined points are the most ever for the Spartans. Meanwhile, the women's team finished eighth with 23 combined points.

"We have a really tough and hard working team," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "We may not have finished with the most points, but I guarantee you that we are the team that does the most with what we are given. I am so proud of these men and women. Our team posted personal bests and school records this weekend. As a coach that is all you can ask of them and I cannot say enough about the effort these men and women gave..."

Upstate had a pair of runners take the medal stand after strong performances in the 800-meter run. Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) finished second with a time of 1:54.62, while Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.) finished third (1:54.72).

The men's 4x400 relay team of Cameron Thomas, Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), Matt Johnson and Meissner finished second with a school-record time of 3:15.57. The Spartan relay team finished just half-of-a-second behind ETSU's relay team...

"Moving forward we need to build on what we have done," Stephens stated. "To be a program that is only four years old and has 13 conference championships is very exciting. I would have never thought that this group of athletes would have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. We have a great foundation for the program moving forward. The A-Sun continues to get strong and stronger. We have to step up and continue to move our program forward. We have a lot of work ahead of us in order to push Upstate Track & Field forward."


Upstate Set for 2011 A-Sun Outdoor Track & Field Championships
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April 15, 2011

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field team will look to build on its past success when it takes to the track in the 2011 A-Sun Outdoor Championships which start Friday at North Florida in Jacksonville.

The men's team finished sixth a year ago with Mike Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn.) highlighting the way with his conference championship in the 400-meter dash. The Spartans are coming off of an impressive outing at the 2011 A-Sun Indoor Championships and have had successful outdoor meets over the last month. The women's team finished fifth at last year's outdoor championships and has had impressive results so far this season.

The men's team boasts four individuals who are returning conference champions, highlighted by two-time champion Perrish Goggins (Columbia, S.C.) Goggins, who redshirted last year, won conference championships in the high jump and long jump as a freshman in the 2009 A-Sun Outdoor Championships. He has had a strong spring and looks to be a contender in those events, as well as the triple jump, in this year's meet...

One event that has been a focus of the men's team is its performance in the 4x400-meter relay. The Spartans have traditionally not been strong in the event, but have made great strides this season. They finished second at the A-Sun Indoor Championships and have posted school records throughout the spring. The addition of brothers Matt and Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) to the unit has bolstered the lineup which also includes Meissner and Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.).

Other Spartans to look for in the championships are runners Ben Wheeler (Spartanburg, S.C.; 110-meter hurdles), Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.; 110-meter hurdles) Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla.; 3,000-meter steeplechase) and Josh Powers (Spartanburg, S.C.; 400-meter hurdles). Eric Chapman (Cowpens, S.C.) should also prove to be a factor in the discus and hammer throw.


Spartans Break Seven School Records at Tiger Track Classic
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April 2, 2011

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."

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...


Spartans to Face Strong Competition at Tiger Track Classic
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March 31, 2011

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track teams will hit this road the weekend to participate in the Tiger Track Classic Saturday at Auburn in Auburn, Ala.

Upstate will not only compete against teams from the ACC, SEC, Big South, Southern and the Atlantic 10 conferences, the Spartans will also battle A-Sun foes Kennesaw State and Lipscomb. The Spartans have turned in two strong performances in the first two meets of the season and will look to continue to improve with the A-Sun Outdoor Championships just two weeks away.

"This is our last quality meet before the A-Sun Championships and we are looking to improve on our previous performances," said Upstate associate head coach Carson Blackwelder. "This should be a great meet with good competitions and quality athletes. It should be a good meet for all of the athletes and this is the time of the season where their hard work starts to pay off."

Upstate opened the season by breaking five school records on the men's side and four on the women's side at the Shamrock Invitational March 18-19. Despite competing in heavy rain, the 4x400-meter relay team of Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.), Josh Powers (Spartanburg, S.C.), Mike Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and Mike Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn.) set a school record at last week's Catamount Classic, turning in a time of 3:22.76...


Spartans Commence Indoor Track And Field Season At Orange And Purple Winter Classic Saturday
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December 4, 2010

SPARTANBURG, S.C.—Head track and field coach Jimmy Stephens will begin his fourth season at USC Upstate, as he looks to elevate a young Spartans track and field program to even greater heights in 2010-11.

According to Stephens, for a program still in its infancy in just its fourth season of existence at Upstate, the biggest challenge for getting the program up and running has been establishing depth on both the men's and women's side.

"One of the biggest challenges in starting a program from the ground and building a foundation for success is being able to get the depth you need to compete with the Kennessaw State's and the East Tennessee State's of the Atlantic Sun," said Stephens.

"I really expect the women to see improvement in sprints and our relay teams...

The Spartans will commence the 2010-11 indoor season on Saturday, making the short trip to Clemson University to compete in the Orange and Purple Winter Classic. The Spartans will be one of several regional teams competing at the one-day meet, which will include a nationally-acclaimed Clemson track and field team that is steeped in tradition.

Upstate's strength on both the men's and women's side this season should once again its distance runners. On the men's side, junior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and sophomores Cameron Thomas (Niceville, FL./Niceville HS) and Christian Ritacco (Niceville, FL.) will be the leaders among a strong core of runners in distance events.

As a freshman last season, Kemboi was sensational in his inaugural campaign as a Spartan, highlighted by his record-setting performance in the 5,000-meter run at the Niswonger Invitational...


Kemboi, Tangwar Win Upstate Invitational; Spartan Men & Women Second
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October 16, 2010

Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate cross country runners Gilbert Kemboi and Joan Tangwar each turned in standout performances en route to winning their respective races at the USC Upstate Invitational Saturday morning at the Milliken Research Park. Their efforts helped the men's and women's team take second place in the meet.

"We are doing well and are heading in the right direction with our performances," said Upstate assistant coach Carson Blackwelder. "Today was a pretty good day for us. Our top three runners on the men's side are pretty strong, we just need to have our four and five guys come together if we want to compete...

Despite Kemboi's dominant performance, Upstate finished second to North Florida. The Ospreys claimed positions 3-6 in the race to finish first. Upstate's Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Rift Valley, Kenya) finished eighth in a time of 26:07.72, nearly 17 seconds better than he ran on the same course in the Eye Opener meet in September. Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa.) led a group of three Upstate runners who finished 11th, 12th and 13th. Dennison ran the race in 26:11.15. He was followed by Carmeron Thomas (Niceville, Fla., 26:11.52) and James Jackson (Aiken, S.C., 26:12.28).

Four Spartans who finished in the top 40 ran personal best times in the race Saturday. Thomas and Jackson each ran their fastest times in the 8k to finish in the top 15, while Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla., 26:52.62) knocked 18 seconds off of his top time to finish 25th. Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) also ran a personal best with a time of 27:28.53.

Upstate will take to the Milliken course for the third time this year when it plays host to the 2010 A-Sun Championships in two weeks...


Men Tabbed Second, Women Third in Preseason Cross Country Polls
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August 18, 2010

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's cross country teams each were predicted to finish in the top three for the first time ever. The men's team was predicted to finish second, while the women's team earned a tie for third.

"To go from being a new team and finishing at the bottom of the conference in 2007, to being ranked as one of the top programs is very exciting," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "Our staff and teams have put in a ton of work to get to this point. I am very excited for our program and the direction we are headed!"

At last season's Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championships, Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya/Kangetuny) and Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) led the Spartans to a tie for third-place. Kemboi finished second-overall at the championship event, earning First-Team All-A-Sun honors and Freshman of the Year accolades after earning a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

Ritacco, finished 15th-overall, also earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team. Both Kemboi and Ritacco are back for their sophomore campaigns and are joined by two other strong sophomore performers Davey Dennison (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) and Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville).


Meissner Races to Gold on Final Day of A-Sun Championships
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May 15, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The highlight of the day for the USC Upstate track and field team was a come from behind victory by junior sprinter Michael Meissner. Meissner claimed the individual championship in the men's 400-meter ...

Cameron Thomas led a trio of Spartans in the 800-meter dash. Thomas finished in ninth after recording a time of 1:56.55. David Dennison finished 16th with a time of 1:59.71, while Dustin Thomas (Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge) finished 20th after a time of 2:04.48.

The season comes to a close for the Spartans as Upstate still remains in its transitional phase from Division II to Division I. The 2010-11 track and field season will be the final one of provisional status and beginning in 2011-12, Upstate will be eligible to compete at the NCAA Regional and National Championships.


April 24, 2010

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - For the first time in history, the City of Spartanburg was host to its first ever invitational meet on Saturday. The USC Upstate track and field team hosted the USC Upstate Invitational, which was held at Spartanburg High School.

"Having a facility like this is at Spartanburg High is going to help the community host events like this again," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "We had some really good teams come to the first invitational meet ever held in Spartanburg. From here we hope that the event will continue to grow and hopefully less rain in the future."

For most of the meet, the skies alternated between sunny and overcast, until the latter stages of the event. A steady rainstorm arrived and refused to let up as the final few events were run on Saturday.

Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn./UW-River Falls) and Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) paced the Spartans at Saturday's meet. Meissner raced to victory in the men's 400-meter dash. His mark of 49.14 was both a personal-best as well as a new school record.

The junior also competed in the 200-meter dash, where he finished 11th with a time of 22.54. Also competing in the event were Spartans Reggie Garnett (Columbia, S.C./Robert G. Cole) and Dominic Simon (Sumter, S.C./Sumter). Garnett (23.84) finished 23rd and was immediately followed by Simon (23.86).

Meanwhile, Thomas won the 800-meter run as he edged out Manny Gonzales of ETSU. The freshman posted a time of 1:55.08 which is a new school record, surpassing the old mark of 1:57.28 that was set by David Dennison (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) two weeks ago at the Furman Invitational.

"Michael and Cameron ran great races today," added Stephens. "I was proud of our entire team, everyone did really well today. I am also proud of the direction that our program is heading."

Dennison and Dustin Thomas (Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge) also competed in the event. Dennison finished fourth with a personal-best time of 1:56.39, while Thomas finished 11th as he also recorded a personal-best time (2:04.25).

Meissner and Thomas along with Dennison and Danny Moore (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) nearly set a new school mark in the 4x400-meter relay. With the afternoon rains beginning to increase in force, the quartet posted a time of 3:28.16 to win the event. That time was just about a second away from the school record that was recorded at the 2010 Duke Invitational.

On Saturday, Chapman finished sixth in the discus (36.97m) and sixth in the shot put with a mark of 10.76m. Walker, meanwhile, finished third in the shot put after a mark of 11.26 and eighth in the discus throw with a mark 27.46m.

Upstate will break from competition as they prepare for exams. The Spartans will return to the track when they compete at the Orange & Purple Classic in Clemson, S.C. on May 7th.


Spartans Shine at Furman Invitational
Eight different Spartans won events on Saturday.
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April 10, 2010

GREENVILLE, S.C. - The USC Upstate track and field team had several quality performances on Saturday afternoon at the Furman Invitational. This was the first meet of the outdoor season for the Spartans in the state of South Carolina and they did not disappoint.

"Today was a day that we really tried to focus on our sprinters as well as field performers," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "Most of our distance guys had an easy day as most of them ran in just one event. We are beginning to enter crunch time as the conference championships are coming up in just about a month. I was really proud of the effort our team gave today and I am looking forward to our home meet that we are hosting on April 24th."

Michael Meissner (Cottage Grove, Minn./UW-River Falls) recorded a time of 50.26 as he won the 400-meter dash. Meissner also had a strong showing the 200-meter dash as he finished 2nd (22.63) and just missed out on another victory as Elias Conits finished in 22.62. Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) also competed in the 400-meter dash and finished third with a time of 53.63.

"Michael had a solid day," added Stephens. "He is training very hard and as he is working toward the Atlantic Sun championships, having days like this, is good for Michael as well as the entire team."

In the 400-meter hurdles, Danny Moore (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) claimed the victory as he recorded a time of 57.72. Meanwhile, Dominic Simon (Sumter, S.C./Sumter) had two strong performances on Saturday. In the 100-meter dash, Simon finished fourth with a time of 11.64. In the 200-meter dash, the freshman finished in 24.30 as he finished sixth.

In the 800-meter run, Upstate claimed three of the top 11 spots. David Dennison (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) led the charge as he finished third with a school record of 1:57.28. It is the second consecutive week that Dennison has broken the record in the event. Dustin Thomas (Harrisburg, N.C./Hickory Ridge) finished 10th (2:09.09), while Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C./Woodruff) finished 11th after a time of 2:14.55.

The track and field team will return to action next weekend as they travel to Charlotte, N.C. for the second time this season. The Spartans will compete in the Charlotte Invitational on Saturday, April 17, 2010.


Track and Field Set to Double-up this Weekend
Upstate looks to add to the seven outdoor school records that were set last weekend
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March 25, 2010

Cameron Thomas set two school records at last weekend's 49er Classic.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - After strong performances at last weekend's 49er Classic in Charlotte, N.C. led to a clean sweep of Atlantic Sun weekly awards, the USC Upstate track and field team looks to duplicate those results as it heads back to the state of North Carolina. The Spartans will compete in the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C. and the Benyon Sports Surface Catamount Classic in Cullowhee, N.C.

"We had a great start to the outdoor season last weekend," said head coach Jimmy Stephens. "We had several quality performances as several school records fell and others set personal-bests. I expect our team to continue to improve each and every week and I am really excited to see what we can accomplish between now and the A-Sun Championships in May."

Eric Chapman (Cowpens, S.C./Broome), Gabrielle Walker (Chattanooga, Tenn./Mars Hill), Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya/Biwott Ngelel-Tarit) and Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C./Pendleton) became the first group in program history to sweep the A-Sun weekly awards. It was the first outdoor award for each athlete and it was the first outdoor award for Upstate since Emily Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya/Lareto) won the award on April 29, 2009.

Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) set two new records at last weekend's 49er Classic. In the 800-meter run, Thomas became the first Spartan to ever complete the event in less than two minutes (1:59.42). In the 1,500-meter run, he finished with a time of 4:09.43, which eclipsed Matt Henderson's (Inman, S.C./Dorman) record of 4:13.56 that was set at last season's Winthrop Invitational.

The Raleigh Relays will kickoff on Friday morning as the field events will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the men's discus throw. The track events will begin at 10:15 a.m. with the men's 10,000-meter run.

Upstate will face off against A-Sun members ETSU and Kennesaw State at the Catamount Classic. Host institution Western Carolina and Big South Conference member UNC-Asheville are also part of the 12 team field.