Track & Field looks strong in season opener
Track & Field looks strong in season opener
Saturday, December 2, 2006

CLEMSON S.C. and BOONE, N.C. (Dec. 2, 2006) - The ETSU men's and women's track & field squads opened the 2006-07 indoor season Saturday afternoon, sending competitors to the Clemson Indoor Opener and the Appalachian State Invitational.


Senior Anna Marie Riccardi (Canfield, Ohio) continued her stellar career, finishing second in the high jump at the Clemson Indoor Opener with a 5'7" leap.


"This is the best jump Anna has had to start a season in her career," said associate head coach Michelle Byrne.


Senior Jenny Knox (Connelly Springs, N.C.) and sophomore Nae-Nae Bailey (Statesville, N.C.) each competed in the 200 meters, and both performed well, with Knox posting the 15th best preliminary time (25.47) and Bailey the 22nd (25.77).


The women's distance medley relay team finished fourth, paced by freshman Valerie Boothby's (Glen Gardner, N.J.) 5:18.00 mile.


On the men's side at Clemson, senior Johnny Tucker (Spartanburg, S.C.) won his heat, running the 60 meter dash in 7.02, but falling just short of qualifying for the finals.


"Overall I'm really pleased," said Byrne.  "It's good to get this first meet under our belts and now we know what we need to work on for the new year."


Freshmen throwers and ETSU distance runners put together solid performances at the Appalachian State Invitational on Saturday.


It did not take long for freshman Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) to rewrite the record books as he set a new ETSU indoor record with a heave of 52-5.25 (15.98m) in the weight throw. Dakota Cagle (Rutherford College, N.C.) almost became the second ETSU freshmen to change the record books as his toss of 50-3.50 (15.35m) fell only five inches short of the school record.


The ETSU distance runners put together a solid showing as senior Josh Hicks (Riceville, Tenn.) finished second in the mile with a time of 4:31.51. The Bucs had three top-five finishers in the 3,000 meters with Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.) crossing the line in second, with a mark of 8:54.10. Jordan Ladd (Lyn, Ontario) and Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) finished fourth and fifth as Ladd posted a time of 8:58.64 and Crane followed right behind in 9:08.43.


On the women's side, freshman Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) just missed setting a new school record in the weight throw by three-fourths of an inch with a toss of 44-8.25 (13.62m). Blackburn and freshman Brooke Berarducci (Knoxville) posted identical throws of 40-3.50 (12.28m), which placed them third overall in the shot put.


"I am very pleased with our overall performance today, especially with the way the freshmen throwers looked," said head coach David Walker. "Hicks ran well in the mile, and having three runners place top-five in the 3,000 meters shows how much depth we have in the distance events."


The Bucs will now have a little over a month to prepare for their next meet and the rest of the indoor season. ETSU will compete next at the Tennessee All-Comers Meet on Friday, Jan. 5 in Knoxville.