ETSU track and field begins season Saturday at Appalachian State
Friday, December 4, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 4, 2009) - After months of rigorous training and practice, the ETSU men's and women's track and field team is set to hit the road and begin its 2009-10 season, when the Buccaneers compete at the Appalachian Invitational on Saturday afternoon inside the Holmes Center.

The Bucs are one of 19 teams making the trip to North Carolina on Saturday, as Appalachian State hosts Charlotte, Charleston Southern, Davidson, UNC Asheville and Western Carolina. In addition, ETSU will also face conference rival Kennesaw State and former conference foe Gardner-Webb.

ETSU is sending 43 athletes to Boone on Saturday, with 20 of them making their Buccaneer debut.

Scheduled to make the trip are Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) - the A-Sun's Most Outstanding Track Performer, two-time A-Sun Cross Country Runner of the Year Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya), 60m A-Sun champion Duronal Monal (Belle Glade, Fla.), and reigning heptathlon conference champion Nic Chernikow (Seymour, Tenn.).

Chernikow is expected to compete in the pole vault and 55m hurdles, while Monal will showcase his speed in the 55m dash. Ronoh is slated to run the 800m and mile, and Rotich will join Ronoh in the mile and run the 3000m. 

On the women's side, senior Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) and junior Ashton Bishop (Gate City, Va.) look to be the key returners in 2009-10. Blackburn is scheduled to appear in both the weight and shot put on Saturday, while Bishop will be running the 800m.

Saturday marks the first of six road meets ETSU will appear in during the indoor season, as the Bucs are scheduled to make trips to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Kentucky in 2010. ETSU travels to Clemson the weekends of Jan. 8-9, Jan. 29-30, and Feb. 12-13; while going to Virginia Tech on Jan. 15-16. The Bucs also head to Lexington for a meet at Kentucky the weekend of Feb. 5-6.

Meanwhile, the Bucs will host two meets in 2009-10, which include the 32nd Niswonger Invitational and the 2010 Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships. The Niswonger Invitational will take place the weekend of Jan. 22-23; while the A-Sun champions will be crowned on Feb. 26-27.

In the spring, ETSU will open the season in Charlotte at the 49er Classic on March 18-20. From there, the Bucs compete at the Milligan Relays on Thursday, March 25, before heading to the Florida Relays the first weekend in April (2nd and 3rd).

After spending time in Gainesville, ETSU returns to the Volunteer State to see action at the Sea Relays in Knoxville (April 8-10). Following the Relays, the Bucs compete in a pair of one-day meets - at Furman (April 11) and at Charlotte (April 17). ETSU closes out the month of April with a weekend trip to Liberty for the Twilight Meet on April 29-30.

In May, the Bucs get one final tune-up before the conference championships, when ETSU heads to Clemson for the first time in the outdoor campaign. ETSU spends time in South Carolina from May 7-8.

The 2010 Atlantic Sun Outdoor Championships will once again be held at North Florida during the weekend of May 14-15.

For more information on Buccaneer track and field, visit