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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2006) - The East Tennessee State University track & field team opened the fifth annual Niswonger Invitational at the Memorial Center in record setting fashion Friday afternoon. The Bucs set two school records on the meet's first day.
Freshman Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) set a school record in the weight throw, breaking his previous record of 54-00 (16.46m) with a heave of 54-02.50 (16.52m). Burton's heave earned him a seventh place finish overall. Sophomore Dedra Jones (North Tazewell, Va.) also set a school record in the weight throw, breaking her previous record of 46-03.50 (14.11m) with a toss of 47-09 (14.55m).
Senior James Rainer (Alcoa, Tenn.) who was competing unattached finished second overall in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.76, finishing just behind Total Sport's Preston Perry who finished with a time of 6.75.
"James is in great form right now and is ready to run very fast. He just needs to relax and run," said head coach Michelle Byrne.
Other Bucs turning in solid performances on the day included junior Anna-Marie Ricciardi (Canfield, Ohio) who placed second overall in the high jump clearing, 5-7 (1.70m). Freshman Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) also finished first in her flight in the weight throw with a heave of 13.68 meters. Valerie Boothby (Glen Gardner, N.J.) turned in a strong performance in the 800-meter event as she finished in a season-best time of 2:19.44, placing 10th overall.
On the men's side, junior Mike Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) took first in his heat in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.42 seconds, and qualified for tomorrow's finals. Newcomer Derek Carey (Nassau, Bahamas) finished first in his heat in the 60-meter dash in 7.06 in his ETSU debut. Nate Strickland (Morganton, N.C.) competed in his first triple jump event of the season, and finished in the top-20 in with a leap of 44-00 (13.41m), placing him 17th overall.
The meet concludes on Saturday with some of the country's top athletes competing in invitational running events, as well as the finals to many of today's preliminary sprints. First race is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.