CCSU wraps up successful track season

From staff reports

The Clayton College & State University 4x400m relay team placed sixth in finals of the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships Saturday in Walnut, CA, and in the process, became the school's first men's track & field athletes to receive All-America honors.

The relay team of senior Rother Heard (Conyers), junior Carlos Guyton (Thomasville, GA), freshman Eric Simmons (Carrollton, GA) and freshman Brian Etelman (Marietta, GA) finished with a time of 3:13.05 at the meet held at Mt. San Antonio College.

"This has been an amazing season for our men's team," said Mead. "We went from having Tony (Juarez) being a provisional qualifier the previous two seasons to having a total of six guys make nationals this year and four being named All-America. "They have put our program on the map...we've made tremendous strides."

St. Augustine's won the race with a time of 3:05.61, followed by North Dakota State in second at 3:07.75. Abilene Christian finished third in front of N.C. Central and Texas A&M Commerce. The Laker team finished ahead of fellow Georgia schools Albany State and Morehouse. Central Missouri State placed ninth in the race.

The squad advanced to the finals on Saturday with the sixth best qualifying time on Friday of 3:13.04. The Lakers entered the national meet with the seventh fastest 4x 400m team in Division II. The top eight of the nine teams in the finals received All-America honors.

In addition to the relay team, Simmons and Juarez competed in the 400m and 1500m events earlier in the week but neither was able to advance to the finals in their respective events. Senior Juarez (East Hazel Crest, IL) placed 17th in the 1500m race, while Simmons came in 16th in the 400m race.

The Clayton State track squad was participating in the national meet for the third time in four years. Joni Guffey (Frankfort, KY) became the school's first All-America in the 1500m in 2002.