|Title:||Associate Head Coach|
|Year:||5th Year at Upstate|
|College:||Appalachian State '05|
Carson Blackwelder enters his fifth year with the USC Upstate cross country and track & field programs for the 2013-14 season, working primarily with the distance athletes. He is in his third year as Associate Head Coach after serving as assistant coach his first year at Upstate.
Blackwelder maintained his status as the league's top distance running coach in 2012-13, leading the Spartans to their second straight A-Sun championship in men's cross country. He also coached six different Spartans who won individual A-Sun titles in cross country and track & field distance races. He was named the A-Sun Coach of the Year in cross country after leading Upstate to the team championship in 2012.
In the 2012 cross country season, Blackwelder’s men’s cross country team captured its second straight A-Sun Team Championship. Gilbert Kemboi won the individual championship for the third straight year with three other teammates, Davey Dennison, Cameron Thomas, Ross Oden, earning second team All-ASun honors. Blackwelder was named A-Sun Coach of the Year for the second straight year. The men went on to record their highest finish at the Southeast Regional meet with a 15th place finish. Kemboi was All-Southeast Region with a sixth place finish and advanced to the NCAA National meet where he finished 42nd as an individual.
In Blackwelder’s third year at Upstate both the men and women’s cross country teams recorded their highest finish at the 2011 A-Sun Conference meet with the men capturing the A-Sun Championship and the women placing fourth. On the men’s side, Gilbert Kemboi was the individual champion along with Davey Dennison and Christian Ritacco being All-Conference selections. Blackwelder was named the 2011 A-Sun Men’s Coach of the Year. The women also claimed an individual champion with Jemeli Sang, while Joan Tangwar took second-place and Carolyne Chelulei came in third.
During the 2011 season the teams recorded the highest NCAA Southeast Region finish in school history. The women finished 17th out of 32 schools with Tangwar and Sang taking home All-Southeast Region honors. The men finished 22nd out of 34 schools and Kemboi earned All-Region accolades with an 11th place finish.
The 2010 men’s team finished third on its home course with Kemboi winning the individual championship and Dennison earning second team All-A-Sun honors. Andrew Kipchumba earned a spot on the league’s All-Freshman team. The women’s team placed fourth with three women claiming spots on the All-Conference teams. Tangwar was fifth, Chelulei ninth and Sang 14th.
During the 2009 season, both the men’s and women’s school records were broken by Kemboi and Chelulei, respectively. Additionally, five of the top-nine all-time performances were recorded on the women's side of things. When all was said and done for the cross country season, Blackwelder was recognized by the Atlantic Sun Conference for coaching a pair of All-Conference women and a male A-Sun Freshman of the Year athlete.
Blackwelder arrived at Upstate after spending the 2008-09 season at Morehead State, members of the Division-I Ohio Valley Conference. At MSU, he was responsible for all facets of the program, which included recruiting, workout regiments, budget and travel and was the director of fundraising for the program.
Blackwelder’s program had two individuals named to the cross country All-Conference team as well as having his women’s track and field and cross country teams honored as All-Academic teams. He also coached the school’s 8K school record holder.
Prior to MSU, Blackwelder spent three years as an assistant coach at Appalachian State, Division-I members of the Southern Conference. His primary duties at ASU were recruiting coordinator for the cross country program, while also serving as the strength and conditioning coach for the team’s distance runners.
During his tenure at ASU, the cross country and track and field programs won five men’s conference titles, three women’s conference titles, as well as four SoCon individual track and field championships. Also during Blackwelder’s time in Boone, N.C., the Mountaineers had 12 individuals named All-Conference in track and field and 11 were named All-Conference performers in cross country. Two individuals were named All-Region in cross country and four were regional qualifiers in track and field.
A native of Concord, N.C., Blackwelder was a standout at App State as a member of the cross country and track programs. He was a two-time All-Conference selection and team MVP in cross country. He also received All-Conference accolades in indoor track. In outdoor track and field, Blackwelder helped the Mountaineers win four-straight conference championships. Blackwelder resides in Boiling Springs SC with his wife Ashley and daughter, Carter.
A-Sun Championship Finishes
- 2 Men’s A-Sun Cross Country Team Champions, 2011 & 2012
- 2 A-Sun Men’s Cross Country Coach of The Year, 2011 & 2012
- NCAA National Cross Country Individual Qualifier- Gilbert Kemboi 2012
- 4 All-Southeast Region Athletes- Cross Country
- 3 Men’s A-Sun Cross Country Individual Champion- Gilbert Kemboi, 2010, 2011 & 2012
- Women’s A-Sun Cross Country Individual Champion- Jemeli Sang, 2011
- 19 All-A-Sun Athletes- Cross Country
- 16 Track A-Sun Individual Champions
- 25 All-A-Sun Athletes- Track
- 4 NCAA Track East Prelims Qualifiers
- Men’s Cross Country 8K School Record Holder
- Women’s Cross Country 5K & 6k School Record Holder
- 40 School Records
- 5 A-Sun Indoor Records
- 2013 A-Sun Conference Athlete of the Year- Gilbert Kemboi