JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 21, 2004) - East Tennessee State University head track and field coach David E. Walker and staff are in the final preparations for the Niswonger Foundation Track and Field Invitational, that will be held in ETSU's Memorial Center Jan. 23rd and 24th. This year's meet will be the second year that the Niswonger Foundation will be sponsoring the meet and the 26th meet overall.
The meet will showcase some of the world's top collegiate, post collegiate, and professional athletes. 41 men's and women's teams have entered this year's competition. Included in these teams are host team ETSU, Appalachian State the defending SoCon indoor and outdoor champions, ACC powerhouse UNC Chapel Hill, and SEC member Alabama will bring a contingent of athletes to participate in the event.
This year's meet features the following five elite invitational events: men's 3000-meter, women's and men's 60-meter dash, and women's and men's 60-meter hurdles. The invitational men's 3000-meter race is set for Friday evening at 8:20 p.m., while the remaining four elite events are scheduled for the second day of competition.
The elite field for these events includes Alan Webb sponsored by Nike broke Jim Ryun's prep mile record with a time of 3:53.43 while in high school, making him the first American high school miler ever to run under four minutes indoor, Yolanda McCray a U.S. hurdler sponsored by Holyfield Track Club, Ian Connor a U.S. distance runner sponsored by Nike with a personal best mile of 3:58.24, Karl Savage a U.S. distance runner for Zap Fitness with a personal best of 13:48.61 in the 5000m, Tom Parlapiano a U.S. distance runner from Villanova with a personal best of 3:42.69 in the 1500m, Karl Jennings a Canadian sprinter, Andrew Reyes a sprinter from Liberia, and Evan Hawkins an ETSU alumni.
Additionally, the elite field will showcase six French Olympic athletes. Linda Ferga-Khodadid, one of three female hurdlers from France, placed seventh in Sydney and seventh in Edmonton and won the European Indoor Champion title in the 60-meter hurdles in 2000 and 2002. Ferga-Khodadid's personal best times are 7.88 for the 60-meter hurdles and 12.67 for the 100-meter hurdles. Fanny Gerance and Reina-Flor Okori are the other two female hurdlers and have personal bests of 8.15 and 8.20 respectively. Ladji Doucoure and Philipe Lamine are also premier French hurdlers with personal bests of 7.58 and 7.62 in the 60-meter hurdles respectively. The final French athlete is sprinter Yves Ndavian. His personal best in the 200 meters is 21.10.
Tickets for the meet are available by calling the ETSU Ticket Office at (423) 439-5371. The ticket price is $10 for adults and $4 for students that will get you in for both days of competition. The meet begins Friday at noon and the final event of the evening is set to begin at 9:00 p.m. Saturday's events begin at 8:00 a.m. and run all day. A detailed scheduled, list of entrants, and results from the meet will be posted on www.flashresults.com/etsu.