Ronoh, Duffy pace Bucs with seconds at USC
Ben Ronoh
Ben Ronoh

Sunday, March 27, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 27, 2011) - Pacing a field of several ETSU athletes at Saturday's Weems Baskin Invitational at the University of South Carolina, Ben Ronoh (Sotik, Kenya) turned in a second-place finish in the 5,000-meter run, while Sean Duffy (Jonesborough, Tenn.) took up the Kenyan's cloth as the runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Despite a slightly faster seeded time, Ronoh couldn't catch Savannah College's Ignacio Fernandez in the 5,000, clocking in at 15:03.95.  Ronoh also broke into the top 20 in the 1,500-meter run, running a 4:11.60.

Meanwhile, Duffy followed the example Ronoh set in Charlotte, turning in ETSU's second straight top-two finish in the steeplechase.  No one in the field could catch up to Benedict's Dickson Toroitich, the only athlete to finish in less than 10 minutes, but Duffy outpaced South Carolina State's Charles Kurgatt by almost six seconds with a time of 10:22.64.

Among several other top-ten finishes on the men's side, Landon Milhorn (The Woodlands, Texas) collected two solid distance finishes, coming in third behind teammate Ronoh in the 5,000-meter run at 15:28.68, and fifth to pace the Bucs in the 1,500-meter run with a 4:04.47 mark.  Milhorn's time in the 5,000 put him comfortably ahead of the nearest competitor, Vince DePiano of host South Carolina.

Two other Bucs rounded out the top-ten cluster in the 1,500, as Desmond Pierce (Morristown, Tenn.) and Christian Brewer (Knoxville) finished within a second of one another.  Pierce was seventh at 4:06.18, while Brewer's 4:06.46 time landed him in eighth.  Rounding out the distance complement, Pierce added a fifth-place 1:56.87 in the 800-meter run, just ahead of Ryan Jones (Apopka, Fla.), running a 1:57.70 sixth.

Leading the way in sprints, Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) went for third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.36.  Over in the 400-meter dash, Tim O'Dell (Palm Coast, Fla.) clocked in with a fifth-place 49.24.  Robert Purcell (Raeford, N.C.) and Ifrish Alberg (Paramaribo, Suriname) finished respectably in their events, as Purcell hurdled 400 meters in 56.34 and Alberg hung onto a top-10 finish in the 200-meter dash in 22.15.

ETSU got on the map in the field events as well, led by Cornell Sneed (Miami, Fla.) and Matt Baum (Middletown, Md.), both finishing eighth as Sneed hurled the discus 149-08.00 (45.62m) and Baum spiked the javelin into the turf at 177-02.00 (54.00m).  Michael Lockhart's (Dandridge, Tenn.) 22-03.25 (6.79m) mark in the long jump got him into 10th at the end.

On the women's side, two top-threes highlighted the festivities, one in distance and one in relay.  Chelsea Clark (Fairmont, W. Va.) transitioned from last week's 3,000-meter run to this week's steeplechase, where her 11:46.54 finish put her in third.  In the 4x100-meter relay, the quad squad of Emma Bowers (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Hannah Bowers (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.) and  Palmetto State native Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.) put together a 45.98 third-place effort.  Running in the familiar surrounds of her hometown, Harrison added a seventh in the 100-meter dash, running the C-note in 11.98.

Three more Bucs scored in the women's field events, as Lexie Burley (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Kelly Monteleone (Verona, Pa.) went back-to-back in the long jump standings.  Burley's 17-04.25 (5.29m) mark was eighth, while Monteleone broke the sand at a ninth-place 16-10.75 (5.15m).  Lili Allison (Oxford, Ala.) tossed in another solid finish in the hammer throw, chalking up a heave of 159-06.50 (48.63m).

Assistant Coach Eli Sunquist said he had hoped for a better all-around performance, which he hopes to see in the next two weeks leading into the Atlantic Sun Championships in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Like the weather this weekend, our performance at this meet was mostly cold, cloudy, and had just a few bright spots," said Sunquist.  "We are hoping to have a much better showing at Liberty next weekend when we bring a fuller team."

ETSU goes to two more events before the conference meet April 15 and 16.  They begin April next Friday and Saturday at the Liberty Invitational in Lynchburg, Va., before taking on the Sea Ray Relays April 6 to 9 in Knoxville.  "With the Outdoor conference meet quickly approaching," Sunquist added, "we are focused in on not only producing good results over the next few weeks, but also trying to get as many athletes as we can to the NCAA regional meet."

For more on the Liberty Invitational, check the track and field page at libertyflames.com.  For more on ETSU Track & Field, visit ETSUBucs.com.

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