The USC Upstate track & field team starts its 2014-15 indoor season Monday evening at the UNCG Six-Way Meet from the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The meet gets underway at 5 p.m. with both the running and field events. The Spartans are one of six teams competing in the event along with host UNC Greensboro, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, North Carolina Central and Savannah State.
The UNCG Six-Way Meet is one of three events that Upstate will compete in at the JDL Fast Track during the indoor campaign. The Spartans return to Winston-Salem for the Hilton Garden Invitational (Jan. 30-31) and A-Sun Indoor Championships (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) later this season.
“We are looking forward just to compete at this point in the year,” said head coach Natalie Smith. “Most of our freshmen do not have any indoor experience, so this will give them an opportunity to get a meet under their belt before leaving for the holidays.”
Upstate returns a total of 32 athletes from last year’s team while it welcomes 18 newcomers to the roster. The men will consist of a mixture of veterans and rookies as 14 competitors are coming back to go with 11 newcomers. The women feature a veteran and experienced squad as they return 18 athletes while adding seven newcomers.
The Spartan men, who finished sixth at the A-Sun Indoor Championships last season, saw two school records broken by Jonathan Jackson (55-meter dash) and Brandon Goodman (high jump). Jackson set the school record in the 55-meter dash during his first collegiate meet at the Appalachian Invitational, and Goodman followed by breaking the high jump mark the following meet at the Niswonger Invitational. Theodore Kountourogiannis also took home his first career individual title after finishing first in the mile run at the Mountaineer Open.
On the women’s side, Upstate recorded a program-best 55 points at last year’s A-Sun Indoor Championships en route to a sixth-place performance. The Spartans had three returners pick up All-Conference accolades in Brittany Walls, Heaven Briggs and Essence Jackson. Walls became the first Upstate athlete in program history to receive All-Conference honors in the pentathlon, while Briggs and Jackson were part of the first 4×400-meter relay team to win the event.
“We have quite a few individuals this year that will have some opportunities to do extremely well,” Smith added. “We are ready to suit up on Monday and I am looking forward to just having an indicator of where we are after preseason.”
The Spartans are back in action Jan. 16-17, 2015 at the ETSU Indoor Classic in Johnson City, Tenn.