Blackburn sets new school record in the weight throw; Day One of Niswonger Invitational in the books
Friday, January 30, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2009) - Junior Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) gave the Buccaneer faithful a show on Friday afternoon inside Memorial Center, as the dominate thrower set a new ETSU record in the weight throw on day one of the 31st Niswonger Invitational.


Blackburn, who already set a new school mark in the event this season, used the comfort of being inside the Dome to her advantage, as her heave of 55-03.50 (16.85m) not only set a new Buccaneer record but also won the event as well. The Tazewell, Va. native beat out A-Sun rival Jessica Lumpkin (Kennesaw State) for the title as Lumpkin's toss of 53-11.25 (16.44m) was good enough for second. Blackburn then finished up the day with a sixth place finish in the shot put (40-01.25).


"We started off the meet with a really big bang with Zacklynn throwing another personal-best in the weight," commented associate head coach Michelle Byrne. "It was just nice to see, especially after she kind of struggled early. She had one great throw, which finally got the ball rolling for her and our team today."


Meanwhile, with Blackburn making headlines in the field events, senior sprinters Nae-Nae Bailey (Statesville, N.C.) and Judy Johnson (Knoxville) stole the show on the track.


Bailey advanced to the finals in both the 60m and 200m events, while Johnson finished first in the 200m prelims. Bailey finished third in the 60m prelims with a season-best time of 7.70 and concluded the day with a fifth place showing in the 200 - posting another season-best mark of 24.75. Johnson was flying her way to the finish line in the 200m, as she led the 118-woman field with a seasonal best of 24.44.   


"Johnson and Bailey both qualified for the 200-meter finals tomorrow," added Byrne. "They both really had a great race today and I know both were close to their personal best. I was also really pleased with our 60s. For Bailey to finish with a 7.70 really should put her top of the conference."


On the men's side, Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.), Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.), Pat Bearry (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) and Josh Cloyd (Telford, Tenn.) enjoyed stellar days.


James moved on to Saturday's finals in the 60-meters hurdles, finishing eighth with a time of 8.45.


While James was a bullet on track, Burton and Bearry flexed their muscles in the weight throw. Burton posted his second longest throw of the season in the event, finishing second overall with a mark of 62-04.50 (19.01m). Burton's teammate and freshman thrower Pat Bearry, posted a top-10 showing as well, ending the day with a toss of 53-03.50 (16.24m) - which placed him 10th overall.


Closing out the day for the Buccaneers was Cloyd's showing in the triple jump. The senior provided a season-best leap of 46-04 (14.12m) and finished 13th in the event. Cloyd's jump also marked the longest mark this season from any A-Sun competitor as well.


"Overall, we improved a lot today," said Byrne. "From the short sprints we ran really well. All the kids have improved in every meet to this date, especially after Clemson. I really wanted our team to start moving in the right direction as conference indoors head towards us in three weeks and I thought we started doing that in this meet."


The Bucs return to the Dome on Saturday as the second and final day of the Niswonger Invitational begins at 8 p.m. Make sure to visit for full results and a recap of events.