Johnson victorious in first appearance to close Gamecock Inaugural
Johnson victorious in first appearance to close Gamecock Inaugural
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Redshirt senior tosses 21.13m to win men’s weight invite; Bucs finish with five wins

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 19, 2019) – The ETSU Track and Field team concluded its first road meet of the season Saturday as the Blue and Gold brought a handful of victories back to Johnson City from South Carolina’s Gamecock Inaugural.

All but one of ETSU’s victories came in Friday’s events, but an emphatic ending to the meet came courtesy of redshirt senior Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) in the men’s weight throw. Johnson won by nearly three meters with a mark of 21.13 in his 2019 debut — setting a facility record at the new South Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex Saturday afternoon.

"I'm pleased with the performances throughout the weekend at the Gamecock Inaugural Track and Field Meet," said ETSU Director of Track and Field George Watts. "We came away with some nice wins and made improvements from last week's marks. On top of that we had several podium finishes and personal bests." 


Track Highlights from Day Two

  • Junior transfer Khayvonn Benson (Marietta, Ga.) showed his distance versatility as he competed in the men’s 800m run, ending with the fourth best time at 1:54.01 — besting 57 other times. 
  • In the women’s 800m that followed, sophomore Jessica Lord (Morristown, Tenn.) took bronze with a time of 2:15.69. After winning the women’s mile yesterday, sophomore Lindsey Stallworth (Knoxville, Tenn.) earned a top 10 finish in the 800m with a ninth-best time of 2:17.28.
  • Senior Kiana Davis (Ooltewah, Tenn.) received an invite to the women’s 200m dash and placed seventh with a time of 24.98 — winning the third heat.
  • After qualifying among some of the region’s best hurdlers yesterday, senior Lamisha Simmons (Hollywood, Fla.) battled in the women’s 60m hurdles and clocked in at 8.84 to place seventh.
  • In the women’s 200 meter dash, senior Starr Graham (Alpharetta, Ga.) had the 15th best time in a field of 83 at 26.20 (26.194). Junior transfer Neyasha Honorable (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished at 26.83 for her ETSU personal best.
  • Freshman Kyle Noe (Maryville, Tenn.) was ETSU’s representative in the men’s 200 meter dash, timing out at 23.38 in his first go at the 200m on the collegiate level.
  • The final track event of the day for ETSU was the women’s 1600m relay invite, as the ETSU team of Davis, Simmons, Lord and Honorable placed third with a time of 3:57.27. All four runners ran in individual events Saturday prior to the relay.

Field Highlights from Day Two

  • Senior Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) made his 2019 debut today, ending the day with his signature event — the men’s weight throw. Johnson blew away the field with a mark of 21.13m in his third attempt, winning the invite by nearly three meters.
  • Prior to the weight throw, Johnson tossed in the men’s shot put invite and marked out at 15.62m on his last attempt. The redshirt senior had the fourth best mark among attached athletes.
  • Transfer Paige Peterson (Alpharetta, Ga.) earned an invite to compete in the Day Two triple jump and recorded an 11.28m mark in her top jump. 
  • Making his first appearance since last season’s SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships, senior Yohana Koko (Alcoa, Tenn.) participated in the men’s triple jump invite and finished with a mark of 14.02m on his second try.
  • Sophomore Jaden Finch (Glen Aubrey, N.Y.) ended the day for the Blue and Gold with a 12.06m shot put mark in the invite — matching last week’s mark from the ETSU Track and Field Invitational.

Thoughts from Coach George Watts

On the throwers: "Ben Johnson had a very nice opening meet winning the weight throw and is currently ranked ninth in the NCAA in that event. He added a strong fifth place in the shot put and leads SoCon in both events. Jaden Finch had a third place finish in the open weight throw and had a very steady meet in the throws."

On the distance wins: "The middle distance and distance men and women came away with a total of three wins and look very sharp and confident. Adam, Lindsey and Ben have won two meets in a row and look to have much more in the tank. Genevieve Schwarz has been a pleasant surprise in our first two meets, setting personal bests. I look forward to seeing how she progresses the rest of the season."

On the underclassmen's performances: "Along with Genevieve, we had fine performances from other freshmen, including Lanaya Martin in winning the open 60m and podium placings by Mekayla Brown in the open triple jump and Noah Shelton in the open high jump. It's good to have our football guys out running track with Karon Delince and Tommy Rogers suiting up for their opening meet."

On what's ahead: "As we move forward, we need to continue to improve and to do so by staying healthy and training intelligently. We move on to VMI next week and get a chance to check out the site of our conference championship."

Next week, ETSU picks back up in Lexington, Va. at the VMI Team Challenge. The meet will be held inside VMI’s Corps Physical Training Facility and is a one-day event set for Jan. 26.

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