Bucs look to claim fourth conference title in last five years on the men's side
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 25, 2010) - For the fifth straight year, the ETSU Buccaneers will host the Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Championships, as the two-day meet kicks off this Friday on the David E. Walker Track inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The meet, which begins Friday morning at 8:45 a.m., concludes with the annual awards ceremony Saturday evening at 4:30.
On the men's side, ETSU is looking to claim its second straight title and the fourth since joining the conference five years ago. The Bucs held off conference rival Kennesaw State a year ago - defeating the Owls by 20.5 points (172-151.50). At the post-race ceremony Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) won Most Outstanding Track Performer honors after winning both the 3000m and 5000m events.
This year a new scoring platform has been added, as the top eight athletes score points in each event, compared to only six in the previous championships. ETSU enters the meet as the favorites in seven events - 60m, 200m, 3000m, 60mH, distance medley relay, triple jump and heptathlon.
Senior Duronal Monal (Belle Glade, Fla.) currently holds the league's fastest times in the 60m (6.74) and 200m (21.47); while Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) has set a NCAA Provisional Mark in the 60mH (7.90). In the distance events, senior Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) leads the A-Sun with his time of 8:25.09 in the 3000m at the Liberty Open, and the DMR has a two second lead on Lipscomb - 10:19.03 to 10:21.87. Senior Nic Chernikow (Seymour, Tenn.) looks to win his second straight heptathlon title and freshman Ryan Beaver (Virginia Beach, Va.) has the lead in the triple jump (14.53m).
The Owls will look to bag a lot of points in the 400m, 800m, shot put, and weight throw. Both the Bucs and Kennesaw State will battle strong in the pole vault, as six of the top seven athletes in the event come from both programs. Meanwhile, ETSU can lock up a plethora of points in the multis, short sprints, distance, and long and triple jump events.
On the women's side, Jacksonville is eyeing its fifth straight conference crown. Since 2006, the Dolphins have blown out the competition at the championships, with Jacksonville's closest finish coming in 2006. The Dolphins beat Florida Atlantic by 14 points - 133 to 119.
The Lady Bucs will be led by junior Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.), senior Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) and freshman Kelly Monteleone (Verona, Pa.).
Ingram and Blackburn have been the driving force behind the ETSU women's squad this season.
Ingram has won three Atlantic Sun Athlete of the Week honors and holds the conference's fastest time and school record in the 400m. The Frederick, Md. native currently ranks second in the 400m and holds ETSU's quickest time ever at 55.29. Ingram has yet to win a conference title in the 400m, but she hopes to break that trend this weekend on her home track.
Meanwhile, in the field events, Blackburn looks to redeem herself in the throws. After winning gold in the weight in 2008, Blackburn finished third in the event a year ago; while placing second in the shot put. Blackburn looks for a strong finish in her final indoor championship meet, as she enters the meet with the second farthest throw in the weight (16.96m). Fellow thrower, Lili Barboza (Oxford, Ala.) also looks to score in both events, as she ranks fifth in the weight and sixth in the shot.
In the jumps, Monteleone hopes to make a strong showing in her first conference championship meet. The Verona, Pa. native ranks seventh in the long jump (5.49m) and eighth in the triple (11.32m).
For more information on the A-Sun Championships, visit www.AtlanticSun.org or www.ETSUBucs.com.