Track and field to host 7th annual A-Sun Men’s and Women’s Indoor Championships

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Men’s team looks for fifth title while women look to dethrone Jacksonville

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2012) – The ETSU men’s and women’s track and field teams will host the 2012 Atlantic Sun Indoor Championships this Friday and Saturday at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.

The women’s championship gets underway with the pentathlon on Friday at 8:30 a.m., while the men’s starts at 8:45 a.m. with the heptathlon. All six men’s and seven women’s teams from the Atlantic Sun Conference will be competing through 17 respective events, with the meet coming to a close following the awards presentations on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

The ETSU men and women have enjoyed much success during the 2011-12 indoor season, especially on the field side of the events. The Bucs have combined to earn five Atlantic Sun Field Athlete of the Week honorees, with three of the five competing as freshman. Through the first three weeks of the indoor season, freshmen Katerina Vodova (Humpolec, Czech Republic), Jadon Short (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) and K’vonte Scott (Virginia Beach, Va.) all earned the weekly honor.

Last year, the men’s team took home its conference-leading fourth A-Sun Championship by scoring a combined 152 points to beat runner-up Kennesaw State by 15 points. The Bucs and Owls have dominated the men’s side of the competition in its six-year history, with ETSU claiming the title in 2006, ’07, ’09 and ’11, and Kennesaw State winning the remaining two in 2008 and ’10.

ETSU took first place in four different events on its way to last year’s men’s title. Then-senior Michael James (Palm Bay, Fla.) won the 60m hurdles by setting an A-Sun Indoor Championship record time of 8.02, while a second former Buc Jarrod Burton (Bastian Va.) also set a meet record with a 17.47m shot put. Burton’s toss bested the previous A-Sun Championship mark, set by Burton in 2009, by one foot, 10 inches.

The Bucs’ two other victories came in the men’s 800m, with Desmond Pierce (Morristown, Tenn.) edging by Kennesaw State’s Gianni Catalano to win with a time of 1:54.89, and the heptathlon. Jesse Aliaga-Jacob (Nice, France) captured the points for ETSU in the heptathlon with 4,750 points, placing him at No. 3 in the meet’s record books. The Bucs have controlled the event since the first A-Sun meet in 2006, having won five of six heptathlons and holding the No. 1-4 spots in the championship meet record books.

Scott can add to ETSU’s dominance in the heptathlon if he can repeat his performance from earlier in the year at the CNU Captains Invitational and Multis, when he scored 4,834 points to break Nic Chernikow’s (Seymour, Tenn.) previous school record of 4,820, which currently sits atop the A-Sun Indoor Championship record books. Fellow freshman Filip Jalovy (Modrice, Czech Republic) has also shown he could set a new A-Sun meet record, having already outrun the 800m record with a 1:53.15 showing earlier in the year. Junior Tim O’Dell (Palm Coast, Fla.) would break the 400m record if he can repeat his 48.30 mark he set three weeks ago on the very same track during the Niswonger Invitational.

The women’s team will look to put an end to Jacksonville’s six-consecutive A-Sun Indoor Championship titles. The Dolphins have owned the meet since its inauguration in 2006, with their average margin of victory over the last six years coming by 56.83 points. The closest JU came to losing was in ’06, when they snuck past Florida Atlantic by 14 points (133-119). Since then, JU’s smallest margin of victory came in 2010, when it took home the title by 57 points over Kennesaw State (211-154).

Last year, the ETSU women finished fourth by totaling 72 points over the two-day event. ETSU’s best A-Sun Indoor finish came in 2007, when it totaled 81 points to tie for second place with Belmont. The Dolphins won the meet with 150 points.

The Bucs return five student-athletes on the women’s side that scored well last year. Sophomores Lexie Burley (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Bethany Lender (Altoona, Pa.) combined to finish second and third in the triple jump, as Burley posted a jump of 38 feet, 10 inches while Lender had a jump of 38 feet, eight inches. Burley has since eclipsed that mark by leaping 12.22m (40 feet, 1.1 inches) at this year’s Virginia Tech Invitational. If Burley posts the same distance at the A-Sun meet, it would place her second all-time in the meet’s record books.

Sophomore Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.) came up just short in last year’s women's 60m dash, as she tallied a lifetime best time of 7.62 but could not edge out Jacksonville's Louise Kiernan who finished with a time of 7.59.

Senior sisters Hannah Bowers (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Emma Bowers (Jonesborough, Tenn.) were part of last year’s third place 4x400m relay team. The duo teamed with former Bucs Ashton Bishop (Gate City, Va.) and Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.) to post a time of 3:53.28 to pick up six points.

Vodova scored 3,698 points at Penn State’s Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup two weeks ago, a mark that would place her first all-time at the A-Sun Indoors if she were to repeat it this weekend.

Entry lists, heat sheets and live results will be available throughout the course of the weekend courtesy of cfpitiming.com.

For more information on ETSU track and field, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field links.

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