Five Buccaneer athletes claim titles at Niswonger; Dahl and Burton set new ETSU records
Saturday, January 31, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2009) - The ETSU track and field team closed out the 31st Niswonger Invitational with a bang on Saturday, as five Buccaneer athletes claimed titles, including senior Heidi Dahl (Orem, Utah) and junior Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) setting new school records inside Memorial Center.


Dahl, who was in action for the first time since breaking Val Urchison's ETSU record in the mile two weeks ago at Kentucky, clipped more time off her provisional mark on Saturday evening. The Orem, Utah native blew past the 15-woman field with an impressive time of 4:43.85. Wake Forest's Anna Noesnko was nowhere near catching the speedster Dahl, as she finished second in 4:56.07.


Meanwhile, as Dahl was flying her way to the crown on the women's side, sophomore transfer Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) was doing the same in the men's mile. Ronoh posted his third title in the event this season, finishing with a season and conference best time of 4:15.71 against the field of 12 athletes.


"I was so proud of Ben and Heidi's performance in the mile," commented associate head coach Michelle Byrne. "There was a part in the race where Ben had to really push himself to the front, so it was nice to see it pay off for him in the end. On the women's side, Heidi was outstanding again in the mile. She is a pleasure to coach and is extremely talented. It's really hard to post a mark like she did, and she did that coming off fast 64-65 spilt on that first lap."


Burton also wanted to get a new mark posted in the ETSU record books and his heave of 54-10.75 (16.73m) in the shot put did just that, as the Bastian, Va. native finished second in the event. Burton's toss broke his previous mark of 53-00 (16.15m), which was set two weeks ago at Clemson.


"Jarrod (Burton) had a perfect weekend and he set the tone for us as a team," said Byrne. He's competing really well right now and hopefully he keeps this momentum going through the conference meet."


With Dahl and Ronoh setting the tone in the mile, the track was also kind to senior Judy Johnson (Knoxville) and sophomore Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.). After posting the fastest time in the 118-woman field on Friday's 200-meter prelims, Johnson followed that up with a top time in the finals. The Knoxville, Tenn. native beat out Georgia's Odeika Bent in the event, finishing with a time of 24.36. Bent ended with a mark of 24.49.


In the finals of the 60-meter hurdles, James blew by the competition as he posted a season best time of 8.14.


Wrapping things up in the sprints was senior Nae-Nae Bailey's (Statesville, N.C.) sixth place finish in the 60-meter dash. Bailey finished with a time of 7.73.


"Judy (Johnson) and Mike (James) were excellent in their events today," added Byrne. "I think Judy will build on this performance, while Nae-Nae (Bailey) had to battle through some injuries this weekend but was still able to manage sixth in the 60-meter dash. Mike (James) has continued to show improvements and came away with a big win in the hurdles today."


Senior Josh Cloyd (Telford, Tenn.) wrapped up the weekend with a win in the long jump. Cloyd finished with a season best leap of 23-11.00 (7.29m), which beat South Carolina State's Levar Knight by over four inches (23-06.75). Cloyd's mark was also the longest distance amongst A-Sun competitors this season as well.


"It was great to see Josh (Cloyd) get a win in the long jump," said Byrne. "He is extremely talented and works really hard everyday at practice."


"This meet was a benchmark for us, and overall I was very pleased with the improvement from our athletes this weekend," Byrne said. "It was a hard two days and we asked a lot out of the team, but hopefully we can take this momentum to Virginia Tech next weekend and continue to push toward the indoor conference championships in three weeks. "


The Buccaneers return to action next weekend when they compete at the Virginia Tech Invitational. This two-day meet begins on Friday, Feb. 6.


For more information on Buccaneer track and field, visit