Men's Track and Field finishes second, women fifth at A-Sun Championships
Saturday, March 1, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 1, 2008) - The ETSU men's track and field team could not make it a three-peat at the indoor conference championships as Kennesaw State edged out the Buccaneers by 16 points to claim the crown on Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Center. On the women's side, the Lady Bucs turned in solid efforts today and finished fifth overall.


In total, ETSU picked up five titles on the day as sophomore Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya), freshman Zack Titman (Damascus, Va.), sophomore Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) and junior Judy Johnson (Knoxville, Tenn.) all recorded individual titles. In addition, the men's 4x400-meter relay team edged out Kennesaw State for the fifth title on the day.


Rotich, who entered the championship as the top runner in the 5,000m, showed everyone in the league how powerful he was on Saturday. The sophomore sensation finished the race with a time of 14:44.15, which set a new A-Sun mark in the event. Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) also earned all-conference honors with his third-place finish. Earlier in the day Crane picked up four points in the mile run with his mark of 4:21.62.


While Rotich and Crane were busy racking up points in the distance events, Titman was making his mark in the short sprints. Titman earned gold in the 200m by crossing the line in 22.06. Titman also was part the gold medal group in the 4x400-meter relay as well. He joined Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.), Josh Cloyd (Telford, Tenn.) and Josh Jaynes (Elizabethton, Tenn.) as the fastest four runners with a total time of 3:18.42. 


As a team, ETSU totaled 112 points and Kennesaw posted 128. Gardner-Webb finished third with 97.


The men were not the only Buccaneer athletes winning conference crowns on Saturday.


In the women's 60-meter finals, (Judy) Johnson blazed to a first-place mark of 7.65. Johnson's teammate, Nae-Nae Bailey (Statesville, N.C.) finished fourth in the event (7.75). The junior duo also highlighted the Bucs in the 200 meters as both sprinters turned in all-conference performances. Johnson, whom already held the school record in the event, eclipsed the mark again as she ended in 24.30 and Bailey finished right behind in third (24.72).


Zachlynn Blackburn joined Johnson as the other Lady Buccaneer athlete to rewrite the record books. Blackburn also broke her own mark with a strong heave of 53-06.50 (16.32m) in the weight throw. 


On the women's side, Jacksonville made it three consecutive indoor championships, tallying 157 total points for the weekend. Rounding out the top three were Belmont (83 points) and UNF (59 points). ETSU earned 52 points as Blackburn (14 points), Johnson (18 points) and Bailey (10 points) accounted for 42 of them.


Other ETSU notables included sophomore Nic Chernikow's (Seymour, Tenn.) effort in the heptathlon. Chernikow was edged out by Kennesaw State's Casey Strickland for third place. The Seymour, Tenn. native placed fourth with 4,246 points and Strickland earned 4,275. Gardner-Webb's Elliott Haynie blew away the field with 4,645 points to win the two-day grueling event.


Junior (Josh) Cloyd made an impressive showing in his ETSU debut of the triple jump. Cloyd totaled six points with his leap of 45-08.50 (13.93m). He also competed in the 400m and finished third with a time of 50.05. 


A day after a remarkable effort in the shot, sophomore Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) turned in another gutsy performance in the weight throw. Burton placed second in the event with a heave of 55-07.75 (16.96m).


Sophomore Vicki Currie (Dumfries, Scotland) just missed receiving all-conference honors in the 800m as she finished fourth in with a time of 2.22.82.


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