James, Monal, and Ronoh lead Bucs in season opener at Boone
Saturday, December 5, 2009

BOONE, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2009) - Three Buccaneer athletes kicked off the ETSU track and field season on a positive note Saturday evening at the Appalachian Invitational located inside the Holmes Center.

The ETSU men's squad, who are fresh off winning both the indoor and outdoor track and Atlantic Sun Track and Field Championships a year ago, received first-place efforts from juniors Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) along with senior Duronal Monal (Belle Glade, Fla.).

James and Monal, both are coming of NCAA Regional appearances last season and won their respective events on Saturday. James took home the title in the 55m hurdles with a time of 7.35, which just missed setting Delevantie Brown's record of 7.32 set in 1995. Meanwhile, Monal was busy making noise in the short sprints, as the Belle Glade, Fla. native took home the crown in the 55m dash. Monal won the event with a mark of 6.30.

As James and Monal were getting things done in the sprints, Ronoh and cousin Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) took care of business in the distance events. Ronoh and Rotich placed one-two in the mile, as Ronoh won the title with a top time of 4:22.41. Ronoh edged out Rotich by six-hundredths of a second, as Rotich clocked in at 4:22.47. In addition to Ronoh and Rotich, junior Manny Gonzalez (Maryville, Tenn.) also turned in a top-5 finish on Saturday (4:35.72).

Staying with the distance events, a pair of Buccaneer red-shirt seniors Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.) and J Penny (Jonesborough, Tenn.) had successful season debuts in the 3000m. Deren finished second in the event (8:50.56); while Penny turned in a mark of 9:23.37 - finishing fifth overall.

In the field events, four ETSU jumpers enjoyed strong showings in the long and triple jump.

In the men's long jump, freshman Ryan Beaver (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Dre Westfield (Cleveland, Tenn.) recorded top-10 efforts in the event. Beaver just missed clipping Western Carolina's Alex Dollard (23-06) for the top spot, as the Virginia Beach native placed second with a leap of 23-05.50 (7.15m). Westfield placed a respectable 10th after posting a mark of 21-08 (6.60m).

Beaver was also making noise in the triple jump, as he took home a third-place effort (47-08). Joining Beaver in the top-10 were newcomers Jason Johnson (Springfield, Pa.) and Max Lee (Knoxville). Johnson finished right behind Beaver in fourth with a leap of 45-09.25 (13.95m); while Lee placed seventh (45-03).

Also making a strong season debut in the field events was senior Jordan Briggs (Erwin, Tenn.). Briggs set a new personal best with a mark of 14-11 (4.55m) to finish in a tie for fourth.

In the throws, sophomore Pat Bearry (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) led all Buccaneer competitors with a fifth-place showing in the weight. Bearry came in fifth with a heave of 54-04.75 (16.58m).

On the women's side, junior Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.) led the charge for the Lady Bucs. Ingram took home first-place in the 800m after clocking in at 2:22.48. Joining Ingram in the event was fellow junior local standout Ashton Bishop (Gate City, Va.). Bishop finished fourth overall in 2:26.51.

In the jumps, freshman Bethany Lender (Altoona, Pa.) posted a successful collegiate debut. The Altoona, Pa. native placed a respective sixth (long) and eighth (triple). Lender recorded a leap of 17-08.75 (5.40m) in the long jump; while turning in a mark of 36-09 (11.20) in the triple.

Wrapping things up for the Lady Bucs were throwers Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.), Lili Barboza (Oxford, Ala.) and Jasmine Foster (Johnson City). Blackburn finished fourth in the weight (53-05.75) and seventh in the shot (38-10.50). Meanwhile, Barboza placed eighth in the weight with a toss of 47-01.50 (14.36m). Foster, a freshman out of Science Hill, turned in a top-10 effort in her collegiate debut. Foster placed 10th overall with a heave of 38-08.25 (11.79) in the shot put.

The Buccaneer track and field team won't return to action until Jan. 8-9, when ETSU competes in the Clemson Invitational.

For more information on Buccaneer track and field, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.