February 9, 2012

Upstate Track & Field Teams Set to Participate in Tiger Paw Invitational

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track and field teams travel to Clemson to compete in the Tiger Paw Invitational Feb. 10-11.  

Last week at the Kent Taylor Invitational, 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. Sophomore Joey Daversa (Chesapeake, Va.), freshman Mark Rennix (Beaufort, S.C.) and freshman Matt Caputa (Haddon Heights, N.J.) will be representing Upstate in the men's one mile run this weekend.

The Spartans earned a fifth-place finish in the men's 4x400 relay at the Kent Taylor Invite with a time of 3:25.69. Competing for Upstate in the team relay this week will be freshman Evan Woodruff (Sebastian, Fla.), sophomore Michael Johnson (Elgin, S.C.), sophomore Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) and freshman Thomas Perkins (Lugoff, S.C.). Junior Brandon Curry (Anderson, S.C.) will return to participate in the men's 60-meter hurdles at the Tiger Paw Invite. Last weekend, he came in fifth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.43. Curry will also compete in the men's 60-meter dash.

At the Kent Taylor Invite, senior 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. These performances earned him Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Field Athlete of the Week honors.

Other Spartan men returning to action this weekend include juniors Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) and Kenneth Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif.). Kemboi earned A-Sun Athlete of the Week accolades Feb. 1 after setting a school record at the Niswonger Invitational in the men's 5,000-meter with a top-place finish, crossing the line in 14:23.19. He will race in the 3,000-meter this weekend. Upstate records continued to fall at the Niswonger Invite in the men's weight throw as Sugishita 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). He will compete in both events this weekend.

"This meet at Clemson we are using not only to fine tune, but also to look at some individuals in other events to see what the best plan of action is for the conference meet next week," said head coach Natalie Smith. "No one will be taking on a full load we are just looking to better marks and stay in the mindset of competition. This meet is normally a large one so I am really glad that we are close in travel because I would rather our athletes be able to be home and sleeping in their own beds. We are looking to drop times in our relays specifically this weekend and also to continue to mature as we have a fairly young team especially on the women's side. Being that we have only been back from break for a month and our season is continual for another three months, we still have work to do."

On the women's side, senior Jemeli Sang (Eldoret, Kenya) returns this weekend to compete in the women's distance medley relay (DMR) alongside senior Carolyne Chelulei (Eldoret, Kenya), senior Joan Tangwar (Eldoret, Kenya) and sophomore Ashley Edmond (Hopkins, S.C.). At the Kent Taylor Invite, Sang earned a fourth-place finish in the one mile run, crossing the line in 5:06.81, while Chelulei came in seventh in that same event with a time of 5:14.71. Tangwar is also slated to run in the one mile, while Edmond will also compete in the 200-meter.

Upstate junior Velegar Mark (Spartanburg, S.C.) posted a school record in the women's high jump last weekend with a score of 1.55m (5-01.00), while 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). Both Mark and Kwasnik return to action this weekend in their respective events.

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