JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 22, 2005) - The second day of competition at the third annual Niswonger Track and Field Invitational began today with the morning distance runs at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning in the Memorial Center at East Tennessee State University.
In the women's 5,000-meter run, ETSU was represented by sophomore Maggie Hunter (Roanoke, Va.) and junior Christine Ward (Candler, N.C.). Both women finished strong in the race. Hunter placed ninth with a time of 18:52.41, while Ward finished 12th with a time of 19:00.70.
Hunter's time of 18:52.41 set a Niswonger Invitational record for ETSU student-athletes. The previous record was 19:29.36 set by Ward in 2004.
Freshman MacKenzie LaBonte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) competed in the women's 3,000-meter unseeded run. She placed 11th with a time of 11:02.
The Niswonger Track and Field Invitational action continues this afternoon beginning at 3:30 p.m. and features six elite invitational events.
Some of the world-class athletes participating in this year's meet include ETSU alumni Catherine Berry, a native of Surrey, England. Berry will compete in the 3000 meter invitational. Last year Berry competed at the IAAF Grand Prix II meet in Heusden, Belgium and reached the Olympic ‘B' Standard (15:20.45) in the 5000 meters with a time of 15:19.72 a new personal best. During her career at ETSU from 1997-2000, Berry earned All-American honors in the 5000 meters and made six trips to NCAA meets, three for cross country and three for track and field. Berry holds the Buccaneer record in the outdoor 3000 meters with a time of 9:29.91 set in 1999. Berry is also a volunteer assistant coach for the women's distance runners at ETSU and coaches Hunter, Ward, and LaBonte.
USA Track and Field's Miguel Pate, sponsored by Nike, will compete in the long jump. Pate was the 2002 and 2003 USA Indoor champion and placed third at the 2003 World Indoor Championships. In 2002 Pate claimed the NCAA Indoor Championship and in 2001, he was the World University Games champion and placed fourth at the World Outdoor Championships. He holds personal bests of 8.59m in the long jump and 16.62m in the triple jump.
Ladji Doucouré, who recently finished eighth in the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympics in Athens, Greece for the French National team, will compete in the 60-meter hurdle finals tomorrow. He finished Friday's preliminaries with a time of 7.54 to advance.
Tickets are available for purchase at the door. The cost is $10 for adults and $4 for students and youth. Each adult ticket purchased enters the individual in a drawing to win a framed autographed picture of NASCAR legend Dale Eanrhardt and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. The drawing will be held on Saturday and individuals must be present to win.
For more information on the Niswonger Track and Field Invitational including a detailed schedule, list of entrants, and results from the meet please visit www.flashresults.com/etsu.