Lakers excel on track

From Staff Reports

The Clayton College & State University men's track & field team won five events and had another runner provisionally qualify for the NCAA nationals Saturday, placing second as a team at the Mt. Laurel Relays at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.

Freshman Eric Simmons had the top performance for the Lakers winning the 400m race with a school record time of 47.97, provisionally qualifying him for the NCAA Division II National Championships in the event. Simmons bettered his own school record by almost three-tenths of second set last week at the Emory Classic.

In addition to Simmons' first place, senior Tony Juarez also brought home a first place finish in the 1500m race with a time of 3:58.19 to go along with three Laker victories in relay events.

"Another satisfying day with the men finishing second," said head coach Mike Mead. "We collected four school records, had three second place finishes and another NCAA provisional qualifier in Eric Simmons. The guys looked great as we dominated the relays."

The 4x100m relay team of senior Elijah Ajayi freshman Brian Etelman junior Carlos Guyton and Simmons won with a school record time of 42.11. The 4x400m relay team of Guyton, Etelman, Juarez and Simmons won with a time of 3:17.41. The 4x800m relay team of Guyton, Simmons, junior Adil Berkhedle and Juarez won with a time of 7:56.86.

In other top finishes for the men, Ajayi placed second in the 100m with a time of 11.20, while Etelman finished fourth in the 400m with a time of 49.83. The sprint medley relay team of Ajayi, Guyton, Etelman and senior Stephen Hughes (Hampton, GA) finished second with a time of 1:35.04. Sophomore Jed Foster finished eighth in the discus with a school record throw of 106-feet-10 inches.

On the women's side, senior Penny Tinker had the top finish for the women, placing second in the 1500m race with a time of 4:56.40. Tinker was also a member of the 4x800m and the 4x400m relay teams that placed third and fourth, respectively.

"Penny had the best finish for the ladies with a second in the 1500," said Mead. "She also ran strong legs in the relays. It was also nice to have Melissa (Shaw) back, and she was a big help on the relays."

Shaw, who has been battling an injury early this season, and Tinker were on both relay teams.

In addition to Shaw and Tinker on the 4x800m relay team, junior Stephanie Gilbert and sophomore Heather Krehbiel helped lead the team to a third place time of 10:03.68. The 4x400m relay team of Tinker, Shaw, Krehbiel and junior Beatrice Wade (Fairburn, GA) placed fourth with a time of 4:20.41.

Wade also set a new school record in the triple jump, placing ninth with a leap of 32-10.

Krehbiel had a sixth place finish in the 1500m race with a time of 5:04.81, and sophomore Lindsey Heuther finished sixth in the shot put with a throw of 33-4.

Clayton State will return to the track on Friday and Saturday, April 9-10. The Lakers will send a group of select athletes to Knoxville, TN, for the University of Tennessee's Sea Ray Relays, one of the most prestigious track & field meets in the South, followed by the entire squad running Saturday in the Cumberland Invitational in Williamsburg, Ky.