October 15, 2010

Upstate Set To Run In The USC Upstate Invitational Saturday

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Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate will play host to a combined 21 teams in Saturday's USC Upstate Invitational meet at the Milliken Research Park in Spartanburg. The meet will not only serve as Upstate's final regular season meet, it will also be a precursor to the A-Sun Championships being held at Milliken on Oct. 30.

Upstate will be joined by A-Sun foes ETSU, Mercer and North Florida. Results will be posted on www.upstatespartans.com after the conclusion of both races.

Kemboi, Tangwar Set School Records
Not only have Gilbert Kemboi and Joan Tangwar lowered their times in each race this season, they have also managed to lower the school records with outstanding efforts in the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 2.

Kemboi ran the 8k race in a time of 23:22.28, eclipsing his own school record of 23:58.79 set while winning the Clemson Invitational. Kemboi finished third out of 323 runners at the Greater Louisville Classic, finishing ahead of the fourth-place finisher in last year's NCAA Division I Championships. The time was the lowest in the A-Sun this year.

Tangwar ran the 5k in a time of 17:25.36, eclipsing her own time of 17:38.14 set during the Clemson Invitational. She finished 13th in a strong field of 302 runners, finishing ahead of all A-Sun runners in the meet. The time was the second-lowest in the A-Sun this year.

Kemboi Featured In Sports Illustrated
Men's runner Gilbert Kemboi was featured in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of the Oct. 4 issue of Sports Illustrated for his outstanding accomplishments this season. The magazine featured him for shaving 47 seconds off of his own meet record at the Eye Opener in September and for winning the Clemson Invitational. He is the first Upstate cross country runner to ever appear in the magazine, and is the first Upstate student-athlete featured in the magazine since moving to NCAA Division I in 2007. Current freshman softball pitcher Hannah Alexander was honored in the magazine's "Face in the Crowd" section for her accomplishments last spring at North Davidson High School.

Kemboi A Top 5 Kind Of Guy
Through three races this season, Gilbert Kemboi has yet to finish out of the top five. He won the first two races of the season, the Eye Opener at Milliken and the Clemson Invitational, prior to finishing third at the Greater Louisville Classic.

Dennison Makes Huge Leap
Prior to the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 2, sophomore Davey Dennison's top time in the 8k was 25:49.00 set this year at the Eye Opener. However, he lowered that personal best by nearly 21 seconds at the Greater Louisville Classic, turning in a time of 25:28.06. It was also the second-fastest Upstate time in the meet behind Gilbert Kemboi's 23:22.28 effort.

Tangwar Proving Early Success Was No Fluke
When Joan Tangwar won the Eye Opener to start the season, she was the third different Upstate runner to win the event in the last three years. She has proven that the win in the meet was no fluke and has continued to give strong performances. She finished second at the Clemson Invitational and set a school record while finishing 13th at the Greater Louisville Classic in a strong field of 302 runners.

Spartan Women Lower Their Marks
When the women's race at the Greater Louisville Classic was finished, seven of Upstate's women's runners lowered their times on the season. Mary Alexander had the biggest improvement, lowering her season-best time by nearly 31 seconds. She ran the 5k in 19:50.27, shaving more than half a minute off of her previous top time of 20:21.00 in the Eye Opener.

In addition to Alexander, Carolyne Chelulei, Jessica Davis, Jillian Finney, Jemeli Sang, Joan Tangwar and Laura Transue each lowered their season-best times as well.

Kemboi Shines At Clemson Invitational
Gilbert Kemboi continued a strong start to the season by winning the Clemson Invitational on Sept. 17. The sophomore won the 8k event with a then-school record time of 23:58.79. It marked his second win of the season after claiming the title at the Eye Opener meet on Sept. 5.

Three Years, Three Winners At The Eye Opener
Joan Tangwar crossed the finish line with a time of 18:02.00 to win the Eye Opener meet to start the season in early September. She became the third different Upstate runner to win the championship on the women's side in the last three years. Older sister, Emily, won the meet in 2008, while Carolyne Chelulei took home the title last year. Joan Tangwar's time also established a new meet record, shaving seven seconds off of the previous record.

Spartans Sweep Eye Opener Championships
In the first meet of the season, Upstate runners Gilbert Kemboi and Joan Tangwar claimed the men's and women's championships of the Eye Opener meet at the Milliken Research Park.

Kemboi claimed the men's title in a time of 24:13,00 (8k), smashing the meet record by 47 seconds. Tangwar won the championship with a time of 18:02.00 (5k) to better the record by seven seconds.

Atlantic Sun Coaches Poll
Upstate's men's and women's cross country teams are among the A-Sun leaders in the latest A-Sun Coaches Poll released earlier this week.

The men's team is ranked second in the poll with 106 points, trailing first place Kennesaw State (12). Belmont was third with 98 points and was followed by Lipscomb (78), ETSU (71), North Florida (70), Florida Gulf Coast (55), Mercer (48), Campbell (47), Jacksonville (18) and Stetson (15).

The Upstate women's team finds itself ranked fourth in the latest poll with 95 points. Jacksonville is the top-ranked team with 117 points and is followed by North Florida (105), Lipscomb (97), Upstate, Belmont (73), Kennesaw State (60), Florida Gulf Coast (56), Campbell (46), Mercer (41), ETSU (24) and Stetson (12).