JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2019) – The final home meet of the indoor season was a successful one for the ETSU track and field team Saturday, as the Bucs recorded 14 podium finishes to cap off senior day inside the MSHA/ESTU Athletics center.
Eleven ETSU seniors were honored midway through the second day, many of which competed in their last indoor event inside the Dome. The senior recognition highlighted the achievements of the athletes, who were accompanied by family, friends and teammates.
Additionally, ETSU swept the men’s track and field Athlete of the Meet awards. Redshirt senior Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) won the men’s field award, while sophomore Ben Varghese (Kingsport, Tenn.) hoisted the plaque on the men’s track side.
After all events were completed, world record holding Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper spoke to the team and shared an inspiring story. Leeper competed unattached in the men’s 800 meter run in the Dome, winning the event with a time of 1:54.70.
With only one indoor meet remaining before the Southern Conference Indoor Championships, ETSU Director of Track and Field George Watts said he believes today was an overall success.
“We had another very strong day with competitive efforts throughout the team,” Watts said. “We had a lot of our young kids do well, and it's good for them to get used to winning events and getting on the podium. We had 10 podium finishes, not including our winners. That was a very strong meet for our teams.”
Track Highlights from Day Two
Field Highlights from Day Two
Thoughts from Coach George Watts
On Johnson and Varghese: " Ben Johnson and Ben Varghese topped off a great meet by winning the Athlete of the Meet awards for the field and track. Ben Varghese continues to shine (today) with a victory and meet record in the mile run. Very impressive.”
On Brown sweeping the horizontal jumps: “Mekayla Brown became a double winner by winning the triple jump in a personal best performance. That is fantastic.”
On Simmons’ streak of hurdles wins: “Lamisha Simmons won the 60m hurdles, and I believe she is about to see a significant drop in that event over the next couple of weeks.”
On sprint standouts: “We had some hidden performances that bode well for the conference meet. Two in particular were Fanta Sanoe and Kashif Warren in the 60m dashes.”
On the 4x400 win: “We had a lot of fun in the last event where Franse, Honorable, Lord and Eliscar won the 4x400m relay. That's how you're supposed to finish off a meet.”
On the seniors: “I want to congratulate and say ‘thank you’ to our seniors. It was great to have their families as part of our senior day recognition. I can't say enough about the effort they put forth to represent ETSU in the classroom and in the track and field arena.”
On the officials: “Finally, I want to give a huge shout out to our officials — especially Buc alum Larry Manis for his hard work in organizing a great group of dedicated and loyal track and field officials. We can't do it without them.”
The Bucs have one more meet scheduled before the Southern Conference Indoor Championships, as the team heads to Nashville, Tenn. to compete in Vanderbilt’s Music City Challenge Feb. 8-9.
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For more information on ETSU track and field, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field pages. Also, follow the program on Twitter @ETSU_TF_XC and on Instagram at the handle @etsuxctf.