JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 20, 2003) - The Southern Conference Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place this weekend, Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 in the Memorial Center on the campus of East Tennessee State University. The SoCon will crown its 16th women's and 67th men's team champions.
Appalachian State did a complete sweep of the indoor team titles last year. Both teams edged out Western Carolina by 28 points to take home the 2002 crown.
Six student-athletes return from the 2002 meet to defend their titles on the men's side. ASU junior Jason Green won the 55-meter dash last year but will have to fight off some tough competition as WCU Tee Alford and fellow Mountaineer Ernest Wiggins are all tied with Green for the top spot in the conference rankings. Western Carolina senior Caleb Bailey returns to defend his title in the 800-meter and also looks for his third consecutive crown in the mile. Bailey is currently the conference leader in the 800-meter but will have to contest ETSU's Brad Yewer (Newbury, England) for the mile title. Also returning in the track events is ETSU sophomore James Grufferty (Glanmire, Ireland), who won the 5,000-meter in 2002 and is currently second in the conference rankings behind WCU's Ben Watkins.
Five Appalachian State women return to defend their titles. Sophomore Jennifer Claud won the 55-meter in 2002 and leads the conference rankings in the event, but Buccaneer sophomore Chantelle Vernon (Markham, Ontario) ranks second in the conference rankings. Vernon is coming off a victory in the 55 meters at the Niswonger Foundation Track and Field Invitational that was held at ETSU Jan. 31 - Feb. 1. Junior Katie Sujkowski, the conference leader in the mile, returns to defend her title in the event from 2002 while juniors Ronda and Tondra White go after their second title in the Long Jump and Triple Jump respectively. Senior LaShana Poole returns as the defending champion in two events. Poole won the Shot Put in 2002 and is going for her third straight title in the Weight Throw.
The action for the 2002 Southern Conference Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships kicks off at 2:30 pm on Friday, Feb. 21 and will culminate with the presentation of awards at 4:00 pm on Saturday, Feb. 22 in Johnson City, TN.
Complete results will be available on www.etsubucs.com and on the Southern Conference track and field page at www.SoConSports.com.