The USC Upstate track and field team finishes its indoor campaign this weekend as it returns to the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. for the 2015 A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Upstate is heading to the JDL Fast Track for the third time this season after participating in the UNCG Six-Way Meet (Dec. 1) and Hilton Garden Invitational (Jan. 30-31).
Both days of competition are slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. as the women’s pentathlon starts the meet on Saturday while the men’s heptathlon begins Sunday’s schedule of events. The final event on Saturday will commence at 6:40 p.m. with the women’s distance medley relay. On Sunday, the women’s 4×400-meter relay will conclude the two-day meet at 4 p.m.
“We are looking forward to a successful weekend,” said head coach Natalie Smith. “I believe our student-athletes are ready to compete this weekend and have become very familiar with the JDL facility. We are looking forward to everyone putting up their best marks of the season thus far and hoping to use that momentum as we move into the outdoor season in two weeks.”
The Spartans won seven events last Friday at the App State Indoor Open while KeAndrea Ladson broke her own school record in the 55-meter hurdles. Ladson achieved the school record time in the preliminary race before finishing 1st in the finals after running a time of 8.41.
The Upstate women took home a total of six victories (five individual, one team) during the App State Indoor Open while the men collected one team win. Along with the seven wins, the Spartans saw a total of 16 personal-bests fall with the men leading the way at nine and the women turning in seven.
“I believe our seniors Jasmine Polite, Alexis Jacobs and Brittany Walls on the women’s side will lead us in their individual events while some of our newcomers on the men’s side in Griffin Eubanks, Patrick Jamison and Kyle Drollette will have an opportunity to score some points for the team,” added Smith.
Walls, who was named Third Team All-Conference last season in the indoor pentathlon, is currently ranked in the top 10 for the A-Sun in the high jump (3rd), pentathlon (4th) and shot put (7th). She is one of eight Upstate women ranked 10th or better in the conference for their respective event. Jacobs sits 2nd in the shot put and 6th in the weight throw, while Draneisha Griffin is 3rd in the long jump and 7th in the triple jump. Also ranked on the women’s side are Ladson (6th, 60-meter hurdles), Polite (7th, 5000-meter run), Destinie Sykes (6th, triple jump), Brenicke Johnson (7th, 60-meter dash) and Essence Jackson (7th, 800-meter run).
On the men’s side, Eubanks and Blake Hayes both are ranked inside the top 10 in two events. Hayes is positioned 6th in the weight throw and 7th in the shot put as he prepares to finish his first indoor season as a Spartan. Eubanks has two individual victories this season to lead the Upstate men, and ranks 8th for the conference in the 5000-meter run while sitting 10th in the 3000-meter run. Patrick Jamison is also 6th in the 60-meter dash. Other Spartans ranked in the top 10 for their event are Drollette (9th, 60-meter hurdles), Donnie Hutchinson (8th, triple jump), Darius Marshall (8th, long jump) and Ronald Collins, Jr. (10th, 60-meter hurdles).
At last season’s A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships, both squads finished in 6th place with the women collecting a program-best 55 points while the men had 19. Along with Walls, the women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Jackson, Heaven Briggs, Dominique Nock and Ashley Edmond took home First Team All-Conference accolades, the first in program history.
Upstate begin its outdoor season Mar. 13-14 at the CCU Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.C.