Track and field starts strong at Buccaneer Invitational
Redshirt senior Ben Johnson won the men's weight, tossing the second-best mark in Buccaneer Invitational history at 20.45 meters on Friday.
Track and field starts strong at Buccaneer Invitational
Friday, February 1, 2019

Bucs qualify multiple runners for finals, Johnson and Brown win field events

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2019) – A healthier ETSU track and field team saw a number of strong performances from both its usual and unusual performers to open Day One of the Buccaneer Track and Field Invitational on Friday inside the MSHA/ETSU Athletics Center.

The Bucs had a collection of qualifiers for tomorrow’s finals, along with a pair of field wins from senior men’s thrower Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) and freshman women’s long jumper Mekayla Brown (Elgin, S.C.) to complete a solid opening day in Johnson City.

“I was very pleased with the effort of both teams today,” said ETSU Director of Track and Field George Watts. “We should have more people competing tomorrow, and I feel like we can win some events along the way. I'm looking forward to recognizing and honoring our seniors as they compete for the final time in the Dome.”


Track Highlights from Day One

  • Senior Lamisha Simmons (Hollywood, Fla.) pulled double duty in the 60 meter hurdles, turning in the top qualifying time in the prelims at 8.85 and in the semifinals at 8.79. Simmons will compete for the title tomorrow at 2 p.m. 
  • Two ETSU sprinters made it past both the prelim and semifinal in the women’s 60 meter dash, as senior Kiana Davis (Ooltewah, Tenn.) made the final with the second-fastest time at 7.62.
  • Sophomore Fanta Sanoe (Stone Mountain, Ga.) competed for the first time this year, also qualifying for the 60 meter dash behind Davis with a time of 7.78 — fourth fastest in the field.
  • Simmons and Davis also had strong finishes in the women’s 200 meter dash prelims, as Davis topped the board at 24.81. Simmons qualified at 25.68, while sophomore Vicki Franse (Clinton, Tenn.) was slightly edged for the final qualifying spot by a tenth of a second — winning her heat at 25.85.
  • The Bucs also had two qualifiers for the tomorrow’s women’s 400m dash, as sophomore Jessica Lord (Morristown, Tenn.) led the Blue and Gold with a prelim time of 58.25. Freshman Johnaida Eliscar (Columbia, S.C.) also qualified in her 400 debut with a 59.36 finish.
  • Junior Neyasha Honorable (Knoxville, Tenn.) set a personal record in the women’s 400, but just missed tomorrow’s final by .25 seconds with a time of 1:00.24 — 11th in the field.
  • Multi-sport athlete Kashif Warren (Knoxville, Tenn.) brought his football speed to the men’s 60 meter dash and blew past the preliminaries at 7.07. Warren slightly missed out on qualifying for the final as the second man out, running a 6.98 in the semis.


Field Highlights from Day One

  • Redshirt senior Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) won his fourth event in three meets, remaining undefeated in the men’s weight. His throw of 20.45m is the second longest mark in Buccaneer Track and Field Invitational history, as he set the standing record last season at 21.39m.
  • Freshman Mekayla Brown (Elgin, S.C.) earned her first career win in the women’s long jump while hitting a personal best mark of 5.54m. ETSU took three of the top five spots in the event. 
  • Senior Nyambi Shoates (Atlanta, Ga.) finished fourth in the women’s long jump at 5.40m — her first home meet of the season — while freshman Johnaida Eliscar (Columbia, S.C.) lasered a 5.39m, her personal best, to round out the top five.
  • The Bucs also had a pair of top 10 finishes in the women’s weight. Senior Margaret Hayden (Ballymore Eustace, Kildare, Ireland) shattered her previous personal best of 5.11m with a throw of 5.32m to place eighth in the field.
  • Sophomore Jaden Finch (Glen Aubrey, N.Y.) rounded out the top 10 with a toss of 14.69m. Finch is also slated to compete in tomorrow’s shot put at 10 a.m. 


Thoughts from Coach George Watts

On Johnson’s performance: “Ben Johnson continues to perform at a very high level week in and week out and has done so for two years.”

On Brown’s big win: " It was great to see freshman Mekayla Brown win her first college competition in her third best event. She has done a very fine job in her young college career.”

On Davis and Simmons in sprint action: “I was very impressed with how good Kiana Davis looked in qualifying for the 60m and 200m dashes. Lamisha Simmons had another strong competition day by leading all qualifiers in the hurdles and qualifying for the 200m final. I'm excited to see how they compete on our senior recognition day tomorrow.

On Sanoe’s speedy start: “Fanta Sanoe was a pleasant surprise in her seasonal debut, qualifying for the 60m final with a very fine personal best.”

On the 400 qualifiers: “Jessica Lord and Johnaida Eliscar both won there heats in the 400m to make tomorrows final. Jessica stepped down from her usual 800 distance, and JoJo showed a lot of poise and confidence in leading her heat from gun.”

On notable improvements: “Although they didn't make the final, I thought Kashif Warren made a big jump in the 60 meter dash and Vicki Franse just missed making the final, but won her heat of the 200 meter. Margaret Hayden continues to steadily improve in the weight throw as she made the final with a personal best.” 


Up Next

The Bucs will begin Day Two tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the women’s 3000m run, as the sophomore trio of Addison Aguilar (Clovis, Calif.), Lindsay Bruce (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Hannah Sokol (Kingsport, Tenn.) are entered to compete.

The ETSU senior recognition ceremony will take place at the track finish line, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Athlete of the Meet ceremony is set for 4:45 p.m. Times are subject to change.

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For more information on ETSU track and field, visit and click on the track and field pages. Also, follow the program on Twitter @ETSU_TF_XC and on Instagram at the handle @etsuxctf.


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