JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2009) - The East Tennessee State University track & field team has begun its final preparations for the Niswonger Foundation Track and Field Invitational/KTC High School Indoor Track Classic, that will be held inside Memorial Center this weekend on the David E. Walker Track. This year's meet is the seventh year that the Niswonger Foundation will be sponsoring the event and the 31st meet overall.
The meet will showcase some of the world's top collegiate, post collegiate, and professional athletes. Over 1,400 athletes from 105 teams will compete in the two-day event. Athletes from Georgia, Tennessee, and Wake Forest will be in action, as well as some professional athletes from Team Velocity and Doyle Track Club and many other club teams. Other notable universities making the trip to Johnson City include: Appalachian State, Chattanooga, and Western Carolina from the SoCon, East Carolina and UAB from Conference USA, Coastal Carolina and Winthrop from the Big South and the Buccaneers can see where they match-up in the A-Sun as Kennesaw State and USC Upstate will be competing in the meet this weekend. Please click the entries tab above for complete listing of all the athletes and schools participating.
Some notable ETSU athletes to watch out for this weekend include:
Jarrod Burton (Bastian, Va.) - Burton holds the school record both the weight throw and shot put. The junior thrower set new school marks in both events at the Clemson Invitational three weeks ago and his mark in the shot put (53-00) and weight (62-05.25) are conference bests this season.
Drew Beamer (Johnson City, Tenn.) - This product of Science Hill High School holds the ETSU pole vault record at 15-01 (4.60m).
Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) - Blackburn, a junior thrower, will see action in both the weight throw and shot put. Blackburn's toss of 55-01.50 (16.80m) in the weight at Appalachian State (Dec. 5) not only set a new school record, but also ranks second in the A-Sun.
Nae-Nae Bailey (Statesville, N.C.) and Judy Johnson (Knoxville) - This two-headed monster will guide the women's sprint group this weekend. Both Bailey and Johnson will run in the 60m and 200m. The duo holds the A-Sun's fastest times in the 60m, while Johnson holds the ETSU record in the 200m (24.30).
Heidi Dahl (Orem, Utah) - Dahl is a senior transfer from BYU and has already exploded onto the scene for the women's track and field program. Dahl set a new school record in the mile two weeks ago at Kentucky with a time of 4:47.39, which also was a NCAA Provisional Mark. The talented runner also holds the conference's fastest time in the 800m, when she posted an impressive mark of 2:10.80 at Clemson.
Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) - James finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles last year at Niswonger and will look to improve on that showing this weekend. The Palm Bay, Fla. native already won the 55-meter hurdles at the Appalachian State Invitational last month.
Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya) and Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) - These Kenyan cousins will highlight the Bucs in the 3000m. Both distance runners had exceptional cross country campaigns and have carried that momentum over to the track this indoor season. Rotich has already claimed a pair of titles in the 3000m, while Ronoh won mile in his last outing at the ASU Open two weeks ago.
Quentin Greenlee (Morristown, Tenn.) - Greenlee has made a huge splash in his first season with the Bucs. The Morristown, Tenn. native set a new Clemson track record in the 300m (34.47) and holds the league's fastest times in the 55m (6.35) and 200m (22.37). Greenlee will also run in the 400m this weekend.
In addition, the KTC High School Indoor Track Classic will be taking place at the same time as the collegiate Niswonger meet. For the second straight year, the Elementary School Shuttle Relays will be run on Friday evening at 7 p.m.
Close to 1,000 athletes from high school clubs are expected to make the trip to Memorial Center this weekend. Teams from across the southeast region are expected to visit Johnson City.
For a complete listing of events and times, please visit http://www.cfpitiming.com/ or click on the link above. Make sure to visit www.ETSUBucs.com for a full recap of what took place at the conclusion of Friday and Saturday.
The meet begins at 10 a.m. Friday morning, and runs until seven o'clock Saturday evening.
All media requests and inquiries including credentials and interviews should be directed to the media relations contact for track and field Kevin Brown (423) 439-5263 or via e-mail [email protected]. Requests should be made as early as possible.
Live scoring will be available all weekend by visiting http://www.cfpitiming.com/.