Johnson sets Regional Qualifying Mark in 200m, Blackburn shatters school record in hammer at UNF Osprey Challenge
Saturday, April 18, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 18, 2009) - Senior Judy Johnson (Knoxville) and junior Zachlynn Blackburn (Tazewell, Va.) highlighted the day for the Bucs at the UNF Osprey Challenge on Saturday afternoon at Hodges Stadium, as Johnson set a Regional Qualifying Mark in the 200m and Blackburn shattered the school record in the hammer.

ETSU, who was getting a sneak peak at the facility that will be hosting the 2009 Atlantic Sun Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida, took good use of the trip down to the Sunshine State as five Buccaneer athletes won titles in their respective events on Saturday. The men's 4x100-meter relay team also added a title.

Johnson, a sprinter from Knoxville, got off to a shaky start in the 100m, but quickly made up that effort in the 200m. The senior capped off the day by turning in a top time of 23.78, which was also strong enough to set a regional qualifying mark. Despite getting off to a rough start in the 100m, Johnson managed to place second in the event (11.98).

Meanwhile, as Johnson was busy making noise on the track, Blackburn was doing the same in the field events. The junior thrower took home the crown in the hammer with a new school record toss of 158-10 (48.42m). Blackburn's heave on Saturday afternoon was over two feet longer than her previous mark of 156-09, which was set last season at Furman.

"Judy and Zachlynn had very strong performances today," added associate head track and field coach Michelle Byrne. "Judy got off to a rough start in the 100m, but she came back with a vengeance in the 200m by setting a regional qualifying mark. Zachlynn did a tremendous job in the hammer by setting a new school record and it also was the longest throw by any competitor in the A-Sun this season."

On the men's side, Jordan Briggs (Erwin, Tenn.), Kenneth Rotich (Nairobi, Kenya), and Duronal Monal (Belle Glade, Fla.) all came away with gold medals in their event areas.

Briggs was the top athlete to perform in the pole vault, as he turned in a season-best and first-place mark of 14-11 (4.55m). The Erwin, Tenn. native's mark was five inches better than his previous best this season, which was set at Furman last weekend.

On the track, Rotich cruised his way to the crown in the 5000m, while Monal did the same in the 200m. Rotich led a top-3 sweep in the event by being clocked with a 2009 best time of 14:24.18. Seniors Jeff Crane (Taylors, S.C.) and Michael Deren (Blasdell, N.Y.) finished second and third, respectively. Crane crossed the line with a time of 14:53.58 and Deren placed third (14:58.68).

In the sprints Monal carded a top time in the 100m (10.65) and came away with a second-place effort in the 200m (21.50).

Monal capped off the night by running a leg in ETSU's championship 4x100-meter relay. Monal was joined by Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.), Terrence Maxwell (Kingsport, Tenn.), and Jeremy Ford (Knoxville) - who won the relay with a time of 42.71.

James, a sophomore sprinter, also enjoyed the trip back to his home state on Saturday. James, who finished second in the 110-meter hurdles, just missed setting a regional qualifying mark by three hundredths of second (14.33).

Rounding out the Buccaneer attack was sophomore Matt Baum's (Middletown, Md.) impressive showing in the javelin. The Middletown, Md. native blasted his season best by 19 feet on Saturday and finished second with his heave of 160-09 (48.99m). Baum's toss also propelled him from eighth to third on the A-Sun performance charts in the event.

"Overall, our goal was to come down and get a preview of the facility that will be hosting the outdoor conference championships," said Byrne.  "We had the luxury of getting exposed to the elements that are available here, and I think we will be capable of turning in solid efforts when we come back in a few weeks."


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