Upstate Women Win Team Title, Men Finish Third at Carolina’s Cup

April 22, 2015 at 11:50 am

Rock Hill, S.C. – The USC Upstate women’s track and field team combined for 155 points to win the team competition, while the men finished in third place at the Carolina’s Cup Wednesday hosted by Winthrop University at Irwin Belk Track.

The women took home five first place finishes and held off host Winthrop by 18 points. South Carolina State finished third with 115 points followed by Davidson in fourth at 77 points. Gardner-Webb rounded out the women’s competition in fifth place with 37 points.

The Upstate men compiled 96 points and finished ahead of Gardner-Webb (4th, 43 points) and Davidson (5th, 19 points). Winthrop won the men’s competition with 239 points and South Carolina State placed second after finishing with 107 points.

Brittany Walls, Draneisha Griffin, Destinie Sykes, Alexis Jacobs and Essence Jackson each finished first on Wednesday in their respective event.

Walls picked up her first career victory in the high jump with a leap of 1.61-meters, tying her for the fifth-best mark in the A-Sun this season. Griffin also recorded her first career victory in the long jump after holding off Carmen Rollizo of Winthrop with a mark of 5.33-meters. Sykes joined Walls and Griffin by collecting the first win of her career in the triple jump after tallying an 11.54-meter jump. Jacobs won her third career event, and second this season, in the shot put as she tied South Carolina State’s Deja Jackson with a throw of 13.62-meters. Jackson secured her second win of the season in the 800-meter run after crossing the finish line in 2:14.08, finishing over a second faster than Sarah Sears of Davidson.

The Spartan women logged 24 top-five finishes led by the five individual victories. Upstate received second place performances from Brenicke Johnson in the 100-meter dash and Jasmine Polite in the 3000-meter run. Polite broke her own school record in the 3000-meters, set at last year’s Carolina’s Cup, with a personal-best time of 9:59.72.

Jake McKown, competing in the javelin throw for the first time in his career, broke a six-year old school record in the event as he finished third following a throw of 49.03-meters. His mark surpassed the old record of 44.20-meters set by Kyle Wentzel at the 2009 Wofford Dual Meet. McKown now owns the top throw in the A-Sun this season.

Donnie Hutchinson, Theodore Kountourogiannis, Calin Schumacher and Griffin Eubanks each led the Spartan men with second place showings in their final tune-up before the A-Sun Championships in a few weeks. Hutchinson began the day by registering a jump of 12.66-meters in the triple jump, marking his best overall finish of the season. Kountourogiannis finished with a time of 4:13.90 in the 1500-meter run while Schumacher ran a 2:00.51 in the 800-meters. Eubanks concluded the day for Upstate with the best time by a collegiate runner in the 3000-meter run of 8:54.55.

The quartet helped the Spartan men total 18 top-five finishes on the day. McKown, who also placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, was one of three athletes to record multiple top-five finishes along with Cameron Pratt and Jaleel Williams. Pratt added a fourth place finish in the 400-meter hurdles and was fifth in the triple jump, while Williams contributed two fifth place finishes in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.

Overall, Upstate attained 13 personal-best performances with the women collecting nine and the men four. Along with Polite, the women’s side received personal-best marks from Griffin (triple jump), Walls (400-meter dash), Meagan Bailey (100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles), KeAndrea Ladson (shot put), Kennedy Holton (100-meter hurdles), Courtney Bradley (400-meter dash) and Semaj Tolliver (100-meter dash). On the men’s side, Hutchinson (discus throw), Williams (100-meter dash), Cody Ellison (3000-meter run) and Jacob Collins (3000-meter run) all set new personal-bests.

The Spartans are off until May 15-16 when they travel south to Jacksonville, Fla. for the A-Sun Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by North Florida at Hodges Stadium.

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