ETSU men in second, women in sixth following first day of competition
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 14, 2010) - A pair of Buccaneer seniors highlighted day one of the Atlantic Sun Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday as Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) won gold in the hammer, while Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) captured the 10000m title from Hodges Stadium, located on North Florida's campus.
Rotich and Blackburn made A-Sun history Friday evening as they both became the first athletes to win three conference titles during their career in the respective events.
Blackburn was the first ETSU athlete to claim the title as her heave of 160-03 (48.84m) beat out Jacksonville's Laura Phillips by nearly two feet. Rotich capped off the first day of events by clocking in a conference best time of 30:30.68, which was 32 seconds faster than his nearest competitor.
The ten points by Rotich and junior Ben Ronoh's (Sotik, Kenya) five-point effort (fourth place finish) in the event propelled the Bucs to 48 total points on day one - placing them 15 points behind Kennesaw State for second in the team standings.
The day began with the decathlon being contested - and after the first five events - senior Nic Chernikow (Seymour, Tenn.) will need to make up ground Saturday morning to earn his third conference championship in the event. Chernikow, the current A-Sun record holder, finished the day 225 points behind leader Matt Fielder (3460 points) from Belmont and 141 behind Lipscomb's Burton Elrod (3376 points).
ETSU bagged its first points of the meet when senior Jordan Briggs (Erwin, Tenn.) finished third in the pole vault - giving the Bucs six points - finishing with a mark of 14-10 (4.52m).
Following Briggs' effort in the pole vault, the Bucs continued racking up points as the ETSU throwers combined to record 24 points in both the shot put and hammer. Senior Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) fueled the surge for the Bucs as the Bastian, Va. native finished second in the shot put (53-05.50) and third in the hammer (166-00).
The Bucs saw all three of their runners advance in the 100m prelims as senior Duronal Monal (Belle Glade, Fla.) led the charge with a top time of 10.50. Joining Monal in Saturday's final are sophomores Quentin Greenlee (Morristown, Tenn.) and Jeremy Ford (Knoxville, Tenn.).
ETSU also put two athletes in the 110m hurdle finals thanks to junior Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) and (Jordan) Briggs finishing among the top nine in the event.
Like the men, Kennesaw State women's team will enter the final day of competition in the lead after scoring 73.50 points. Jacksonville, the four-time defending champions, sits second with 40 points. The Lady Bucs scored 15 points Friday - placing them sixth.
Ten of the 15 ETSU points came from Blackburn's championship effort in the hammer, while fellow Lady Buccaneer thrower Jasmine Foster (Johnson City, Tenn.) contributed to the final five points. Foster finished fourth in the shot put after posting a distance of 41-07.75 (12.69m).
Rounding out the highlights for the ETSU women was freshman and multi-sport athlete Tosha Austin's (Chattanooga, Tenn.) performance in the prelims of the 100m hurdles. Austin advanced to the finals after qualifying with a time of 15.59.
The final day of competition kicks off Saturday morning with the decathlon and heptathlon title being contested at 9 a.m.
For more information on Buccaneer track and field, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.