Tuesday, January 07, 2003JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 7, 2003) - East Tennessee State University head track and field coach Dave Walker held a press conference today to discuss the upcoming Niswonger Foundation Track and Field Invitational that is to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at ETSU's Memorial Center. This marks the 25th year that Walker has held the track meet and after a one year absence the meet is off and running again with the Niswonger Foundation as the lead sponsor. "We have 83 teams coming so far and that is pretty good considering the ACC is holding their pre-conference meet on the same weekend," Walker said. "That keeps eight or nine schools who usually attend from being able to come." Oliver Thomas, director of the Niswonger Foundation, was in attendance at today's press conference. "We are honored to join East Tennessee State as the lead sponsor for the nation's premiere track and field event," Thomas said. The event will also feature 25-30 Olympic athletes, including former ETSU Buccaneer Catherine Berry who graduated in 2000. Berry earned NCAA All-American status in her senior season at East Tennessee State and holds the school record in the 1500 meters (4:21). She finished fifth at the British Olympic trials in the 5000 meters and is currently competing for Asics. Other Athletes who will be in attendance: LaKeisha Backus USA Sprints 1998 NCAA Indoor 200 meter national champion running for the University of Texas and nine-time All-American Ramon Clay USA 200 meters Current United States outdoor champion in the 200 meters (20.05) Rohsaan Griffin USA 200 meters Former American record holder in the 200 meters with at time of 20.32. Finished second at the 1999 U.S. Outdoor Championships behind Maurice Green and was the 1996 NCAA 200 meter national champion. Anthony Kabara Kenya 800 meters Earned multiple NAIA national titles and most recently won the 2002 NAIA Indoor 100 meter title that was held at ETSU's Memorial Center Roland McGhee USA Long Jump 1998 U.S. indoor and outdoor long jump champion. Personal best is 27'11". Philip Rotich Kenya Mile First ever three time All-American at Milligan College. Finished runner up in the indoors mile and outdoors 800 meters at the NAIA National Championships in 2002.
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