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.
Camille Masanotti (Ladson, S.C./Stratford) finished first in the women's pole vault after clearing a height of 3.45m. The freshman also competed in the high jump and the long jump. She finished ninth in both events, as she recorded a mark of 1.45m in the high jump and a mark of 4.58 in the long jump. Erica Farler (Simpsonville, S.C./Greenville Charter) also competed in the long jump, finishing 13th with a jump of 3.89m.
Matt Henderson (Inman, S.C./Dorman) was the first person to have to face a strong field of competitors as well as the elements. In the 3,000-meter run, Henderson recorded a personal-best of 9:01.29 as he finished third-overall in his first 3,000-meter run of the 2010 outdoor season.
In the both the men's and women's 1,500-meter runs, Upstate received several strong performances. On the women's side, the Spartans claimed two of the top six spots and four of the top-14. Lauren Walker (Columbia, S.C./Lugoff-Elgin) led the way as she finished third with a time of 4:57.75. Mary Alexander (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg C.C.) was the next Spartan to cross the finish line as she finished in 5:02.46 for a sixth-place finish.
Minna Siponen (Piikkio, Finland/Aurajoki) and Jillian Finney (Columbia, S.C./Dutch Fork) also competed for the Spartans. Siponen finished 12th with a time of 5:33.56, while Finney finished 14th in 6:24.42. The quartet of runners all recorded personal-bests.
Both Eric Chapman (Cowpens, S.C./Broome) and Gabrielle Walker (Chattanooga, Tenn./Mars Hill) competed at the USC Upstate Invitational. The pair competed in the hammer throw on Friday at Furman. Chapman finished fourth after a toss of 44.63m and finished nearly two meters ahead of George Sharrar of Campbell. Walker recorded a mark of 39.46m en route to a fourth-place finish.
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.
On the men's side, Christian Ritacco (Niceville, Fla./Niceville) led the way as he finished 8th-overall (4:10.74). James Jackson (Aiken, S.C./Aiken) recorded a time of 4:14.53 to finish 11th and Dylan Taylor (Woodruff, S.C./Woodruff) finished 12th with a time of 4:27.18.
In the women's 5,000-meter run, Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya/Biwott Ngelel-Tarit) finished second as she posted a time of 19:16.66. Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya/Alliance Girls) and Laura Transue (Greenville, S.C./T.L. Hanna) also competed in the event. Chelulei finished fourth in 19:41.12, while Transue finished sixth (20:15.81).
In the 100-meter hurdles, Kathryn Neely (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) posted a fourth-place finish with a time of 16.09. Camille Masanotti finished in 16.75 for a fifth-place finish. LaTerrica Blocker (Stone Mountain, Ga./Redan) and Erica Farler finished 11th and 12th, respectively.
Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C./Pendleton) finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles after a time of 15.11. Curry was less than four-hundredths of a second behind Harold Sims of Campbell.
Graham Long (Easley, S.C./Riverside) was in third-place in the pole vault (3.95m) when the event was suspended due to rain. In the men's high jump, Dakota Speed (Byron, N.Y./Byron-Bergen) finished eighth after clearing a height of 1.68m.
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.