JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 21, 2005) - The first day of competition for the third annual Niswonger Track and Field Invitational wrapped up on Friday evening in the Memorial Center at East Tennessee State University. Over 80 teams are scheduled to compete during the two-day event. Friday's competition saw meet records being broken in the women's weight throw and the men's triple jump.
Amber Campbell of the Mjolnir throws Club threw 22.52m in the women's weight throw setting new Niswonger Invitational and Memorial Center records. Campbell broke the previous record of 20.83m, which was set by Dawn Ellerbe of South Carolina on Jan. 24, 1997.
In the men's triple jump, Brandon Via of North Carolina A& T set a new Niswonger Invitational record with a mark of 15.95m. The previous record was 15.35m set in last year's meet by Ukiwe Maduekwe of Florida A&M.
East Tennessee State University also set new standards for the Niswonger Meet as senior Chantelle Vernon (Markham, Ontario) set a new Niswonger Invitational record for ETSU women student-athletes in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.53 in the preliminaries breaking her own record of 25.61 set at last year's meet.
"Chantelle is capable of running better in the 200, but she didn't see a lot of competition in her heat today and that made it a difficult race to run," said ETSU assistant coach Michelle Byrne.
Vernon also saw success in the 60-meter dash earlier on Friday and has qualified for Saturday's finals. Her time of 7.54, which placed her sixth overall in today's competition ties the ETSU school indoor record in the event.
"She had difficulty at the start of the 60, but made the adjustments to make a solid finish," commented Byrne. "I look forward to seeing an even better performance from her in tomorrow's race."
On the men's side, sophomore Joshua Hicks (Riceville, Tenn.) represented the Buccaneers in the men's 800-meter run finishing with a time of 1:57.86.
"Joshua is putting the 800 meters together. It's a race where you can get pushed around," said Byrne. "He has put together two back-to-back 1:57 races now, and we believe he is capable of achieving 1:55."
The Niswonger Track and Field Invitational action continues tomorrow with the unseeded distance races at 8:00 a.m. The afternoon session, which features six elite invitational events, is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. and run until 6:30 p.m.
Some of the world-class athletes participating in this year's meet include ETSU alumni Catherine Berry, a native of Surrey, England. Last year Berry competed at the IAAF Grand Prix II meet in Heusden, Belgium and reached the Olympic ‘B' Standard (15:20.45) in the 5000 meters with a time of 15:19.72 a new personal best. During her career at ETSU from 1997-2000, Berry earned All-American honors in the 5000 meters and made six trips to NCAA meets, three for cross country and three for track and field. Berry holds the Buccaneer record in the outdoor 3000 meters with a time of 9:29.91 set in 1999. Berry will compete in the 3000 meter invitational.
USA Track and Field's Miguel Pate, sponsored by Nike, will compete in the long jump. Pate was the 2002 and 2003 USA Indoor champion and placed third at the 2003 World Indoor Championships. In 2002 Pate claimed the NCAA Indoor Championship and in 2001, he was the World University Games champion and placed fourth at the World Outdoor Championships. He holds personal bests of 8.59m in the long jump and 16.62m in the triple jump.
Ladji Doucouré, who recently finished eighth in the 110-meter hurdles at the Olympics in Athens, Greece for the French National team, will compete in the 60-meter hurdle finals tomorrow. He finished today's preliminaries with a time of 7.54 to advance.
Tickets are available for purchase at the door. The cost is $10 for adults and $4 for students and youth. Each adult ticket purchased enters the individual in a drawing to win a framed autographed picture of NASCAR legend Dale Eanrhardt and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. The drawing will be held on Saturday and individuals must be present to win.
For more information on the Niswonger Track and Field Invitational including a detailed schedule, list of entrants, and results from the meet please visit www.flashresults.com/etsu.