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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The USC Upstate men's and women's track & field teams closed out competition at the Hilton Garden Invitational Saturday at the JDL Fast Track with a standout performance from senior Cameron Thomas (Niceville, Fla.).
Thomas set a school record in the men's 800-meter, posting a first-place finish in the event with a time of 1:53.01. The previous Upstate record was 1:54.61 set by Matt Johnson (Elgin, S.C.) at ETSU's Niswonger Invitational last year. Thomas went on to lead the men's 4x400-meter relay team, recording one of his fastest opening legs ever. The quartet of Thomas, Jacob McKown (Greer, S.C.), Tracy Fisher (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Johnson crossed the line in 3:24.96 to take sixth.
"I was very impressed with Cameron Thomas in the 800 not only breaking the school record, but winning," said Upstate head coach Natalie Smith. "He also ran the first leg of the 4x400 and ran probably his best opening leg ever."
Johnson trail Thomas in the 800-meter, finishing eighth with a season-best time of 1:56.62. In the 200-meter, Johnson posted a time of 23.10, while Fisher registered a personal-best time of 23.63 in the event. Fisher also turned in a personal-record in the high jump, clearing 6-00.00 (1.83-meters).
Upstate sophomore Ross Oden (Salisbury, N.C.) came in 22nd in the men's 3,000-meter race, posting a time of 8:57.63. He was followed by junior Andrew Kipchumba (Eldoret, Kenya), who came in at 9:34.79. Junior Joey Daversa represented the Spartan men in the one mile run, recording a time of 4:36.88.
On the women's side, four Spartans recorded personal-best times in the 800-meter as freshman Anastasia Kolesnitchenko (Boiling Springs, S.C.) led the way with a time of 2:24.30 to finish 24th. Molly Bliss (Milford, Del.) was close behind, crossing the line in 2:24.48 for 25th-place. Ashleigh Torres (Roanoke, Va.) and Taylor Crans (Fayetteville, Ga.) rounded out the personal-record performances in the 800-meter, posting times of 2:27.19 and 2:36.28, respectively. Rebecca Elliott (Columbus, N.C.) also competed in the 800-meter for Upstate, clocking in at 2:32.86.
Upstate senior Laura Transue (Anderson, S.C.) turned in a personal-best performance in the women's 3,000-meter, crossing the line in 11:13.18. Sophomore Erin Gethin (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and junior Sarah Boyd (Dalton, Ga.) also recorded person-records in the 3K, coming in at 11:49.51 and 11:50.21, respectively.
In the shot put, sophomore Brittany Walls (Chester, S.C.) recorded a season-best toss of 37-07.75 (11.47-meters). Freshman Sarah Thomas (Columbus, Ga.) also tuned in a season-best mark with a leap of 17-00.00 (5.18-meters) in the women's long jump.
In the women's one mile run, sophomore Jasmine Polite (Goose Creek, S.C.) clocked in at 5:29.89, while freshman Danielle Horneff (Haddon Heights, N.J.) rounded out the PRs for the Spartans with a time of 5:36.05.
"We're having a lot of hits and misses, so we're hoping that in the next few weeks we'll start hitting on every cylinder," Smith said. "I'm hoping all the athletes will become more consistent."
Senior Gilbert Kemboi (Eldoret, Kenya) competed at Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational. He broke his own school record in the 3,000-meter, clocking in at 8:20.05. His previous school record was 8:20.36, which Kemboi set at Clemson's Tiger Paw Invitational last year.