Men’s track and field prevails over Kennesaw State to win third A-Sun Outdoor Championship
Men’s track and field prevails over Kennesaw State to win third A-Sun Outdoor Championship
Saturday, April 21, 2012

Women’s team finishes fourth as Vodova sets new A-Sun heptathlon record

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 21, 2012) – The ETSU men’s track and field team took the 2012 Atlantic Sun Outdoor Championships down to the final event with Kennesaw State, and prevailed by combining for 223 total points to slip past the Owls mark of 220.5 and win its third outdoor conference title.

Leading the Owls by one half of a point entering the 4x400m relay, ETSU’s team of Tim O’Dell (Palm Coast, Fla.), Ryan Jones (Apopka, Fla.), Errol Cash (Nassau, Bahamas) and anchor Desmond Pierce (Morristown, Tenn.) finished the final event in second place, beating Kennesaw across the finish line by less than a half second with a time of 3:14.81 to KSU’s mark of 3:15.22.

The 2.5-point margin of victory is the closest in the A-Sun’s 17-year history of the event, as the Buccaneers put an end to KSU’s streak of two-consecutive outdoor titles. The two track and field rivals have now combined to win the last six outdoor conference championships, with each side splitting the glory 3-3.

Freshman K’Vonte Scott (Virginia Beach, Va.) made A-Sun history along the way, setting the conference championship’s new record in the decathlon at 6,662 points. Kennesaw State’s Brian Graham – who edged Scott by one point in the heptathlon of this year’s A-Sun Indoor Championships – also broke the previous meet record, but finished well behind Scott with 6,541 points.

Perhaps the biggest performance of the meet came from ETSU’s throwers, who immensely helped the Buccaneers to the title by combining for 64 points. Assistant coach Eli Sunquist heavily applauded the crew’s senior class.

“The men’s win was a complete team effort,” Sunquist said. “We scored very well across all disciplines, and it was a true team win.

“I would especially like to commend our men’s throwers, as they were able to score 64 points which is by far the most we have ever scored in the throws at a conference meet. The senior leadership of Cornell Sneed and Justin Burton was a huge help for our team.”

The ETSU women settled for fourth place, earning its highest championship point total, 109, since joining the conference. Jacksonville was head honcho once again, winning its seventh-straight outdoor title with 242 points, barely within sight of second-place Kennesaw State who finished with 151 points.

Freshman Katerina Vodova (Humpolec, Czech Republic) highlighted the women’s showing with an A-Sun Championship record performance in the heptathlon. Vodova scored 5,152 points – 197 points above second-place Christie Leverette of Kennesaw State –, winning three of the seven sections over the two-day period and also setting the new Hodges Stadium facility record.  

“I was thrilled at how our women’s team performed,” Sunquist added. “They tied for the program’s highest finish and set an all-time ETSU best for points in a conference meet. I was especially pleased with how Taylor Story and Katerina Vodova performed, as the two freshmen were able to score 41 points for the team. 

“As the women's program continues to get deeper across other event areas, we will very soon be looking to win the women's title as well.”

On the start of day two at the 2012 A-Sun Outdoor Championships, the men’s team trailed Kennesaw State by just a single point. ETSU combined for 152 points on Saturday with the help of some top performances across several events.

The Bucs earned gold in the triple jump, as Jason Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.) posted a first-place leap of 15.09m in his last attempt. Justin Haston (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Stephond Allmond (Memphis, Tenn.) took fifth and sixth, grabbing the Bucs seven additional points towards their eventual title.

Marek Navratil (Olomouc, Czech Republic) earned the bronze in the high jump, clearing 1.96m on his first attempt.

In the discus, Sebastian Dietl (Grobwallstadt, Germany) and Cornell Sneed (Miami, Fla.) claimed second and third place. Dietl recorded a distance of 49.99m, while Sneed’s best throw traveled 49.37m. Richie Lovell (Orlando, Fla.) came in fifth at 44.50m. Other throwing events saw Sam Liska (Cookeville, Tenn.) take third in the javelin with a mark of 51.38m.

In the day’s first running event, ETSU recorded a conference-record time of 40.41 to edge out Kennesaw State in the 4x100m relay. The Bucs’ time broke the previous Atlantic Sun record of 40.45 set by Jacksonville in 2001.

ETSU added to its running total when O’Dell broke his own facility record in the 400m, clocking a conference-winning time of 47.27. Ifrish Alberg won more gold for the Bucs, taking the 100m with a time of 10.46.

A pivotal performance for the men came from Landon Milhorn (The Woodlands, Texas) and Anders Ludvigsen (Odense, Denmark) in the 5000m, keeping the Bucs ahead of Kennesaw State with fourth and fifth place finishes accumulating nine points. The somewhat better than expected finishes are what setup the final event with ETSU needing to just out-relay the Owls for the title.

“We weren't supposed to score very high in the 5000,” Sunquist mentioned. “But Landon Milhorn and Anders Ludvigsen ran great, smart races and gave us a ton of momentum heading into the 4x4.”

Meanwhile, the women’s team added 86 points to its day one total in its most successful A-Sun Outdoor showing ever in terms of scoring.

Sophomore Lexie Burley (Johnson City, Tenn.) used a personal best of 12.31m in the triple jump to take first place and set a new Hodges Stadium record. The leap came on Burley’s final attempt, and bested JU’s Shanique Walker by over 3 inches. Freshman Taylor Story (Germantown, Tenn.) added to ETSU’s soaring success in the high jump, earning fourth place after clearing 1.62m.

Story also padded her day with a fourth place showing in the 100m dash, while Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.) earned third. Harrison’s bronze medal showing came with at a time of 11.82, and Story clocked in at 11.89. The two also took third and fourth in the 200m, with Harrison posting a time of 24.45 and Story 24.71. Demetria Edgecombe (Spartanburg, S.C.) earned a bronze in the 100m hurdles, crossing the line in 13.90.

Nicole Alexander (Rock Hill, S.C.) also ran a good race in the 400m hurdles, placing fourth at 1:02.78. Anja Claussnitzer (Chemnitz, Germany) earned the bronze in the 800m, posting a time of 2:09.10.

The ETSU men’s and women’s track and field teams exit the conference tournament and look forward to the Liberty Twilight on May 3 in Lynchburg, Va.

For more information on ETSU track and field, please visit and click on the track and field links.