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2012 Outdoor Track & Field Season Review

2012 Outdoor Track & Field Season Review

Clemson Women Record Program-High Fourth Place Tie at NCAA Championships The Tiger women’s program recorded its highest finish in outdoor track & field history when it tied Kansas for fourth place at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, IA.  Clemson matched a program-high with 28 total points, including 23 on the final day of the championship.

Clemson had nine first-team All-Americans, including multiple winner Marlena Wesh.  The Tigers added four second-team performers for a total of 13, matching the program’s most All-Americans in a single outdoor season.

Clemson Women Earn Third Straight ACC Outdoor Championship

Clemson’s women’s track & field team won its third straight ACC outdoor championship on Apr. 21 at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, VA.  It was the program’s fifth overall outdoor team championship and sixth consecutive crown overall in track & field.

Seven individuals won ACC championships, while Clemson won both relays as well.  The Tigers amassed 185 points, compared to 100 for runner-up Virginia.  The 85-point margin of victory was the largest in ACC women’s track & field since 1994.  Tiger athletes picked up an additional eight all-conference honors due to top-three finishes across multiple events.

At the conclusion of the meet, Marlena Wesh was named the ACC’s Most Valuable Track Performer after earning 38 out of a possible 40 points across four events.  April Sinkler was all-conference in three different events and was the league’s Field MVP for the sixth time in her decorated career.

Eleven Different Tigers Earn All-America Distinction Clemson had 11 student-athletes that combined for 14 All-America honors as released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association the Monday following the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  First-team All-America honors were awarded to finalists in each NCAA Championships event, and the Tigers had 10 such selections.

Marlena Wesh was Clemson’s only athlete to win multiple first-team All-America honors.  She was sixth in the 400 dash and also helped the 4×100 relay to a third-place showing.  Jasmine Edgerson earned her third straight first-team All-America certificate with the 4×1 as well.  Brianna Rollins and Bridgette Owens were second and third, respectively, in the 100 hurdles.  

The two were also second and third in the high hurdles during the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.  Spencer Adams was the lone first-team All-American for the Tiger men’s team, finishing in third place in the 110 hurdles. Second-team All-America honors were awarded to Warren Fraser in the 100 dash, Dezerea Bryant in the 200, Monique Gracia in the 100 hurdles, and Keni Harrison in the 100 and 400 hurdles.

Women Atop National Rankings for First Time For the first time in program history, the Clemson women’s track & field team was rated No. 1 in the nation by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Tuesday, April 24.  

The Tigers jumped two spots from the previous week’s rankings after winning their sixth consecutive ACC championship.  Two weeks later, Clemson again claimed the top position after Texas had jumped them the week before.

Men’s Shuttle Hurdle Relay Wins at Penn For the second time in the last three seasons, the Clemson men’s shuttle hurdle relay won the championship of America at the prestigious Penn Relays at Franklin Field.The team of Spencer Adams, Charlton Rolle, Marcus Maxey and Elijah Britton put together a time of 54.98, just eight one-hundredths off the school record of 54.90 set in 1998.  Both Maxey and Rollewere also part of the 2010 team that claimed a famous Penn Relays wheel.

Johnson Named ACC, Southeast Region Coach-of-the-Year for Third Straight Outdoor Season Clemson’s Director of Track & Field Lawrence Johnson was named 2012 ACC Women’s Coach-of-the-Year and Southeast Region Coach-of-the-Year by the USTFCCCA.

 It marked the third straight outdoor season Johnson earned both honors.  He led Clemson’s women to a third consecutive championship at the ACC outdoor meet, the fifth outdoor title in program history.  

He then led the Tigers to a fourth-place tie as a team at the NCAA Indoor Championships.  Johnson coached seven individuals and both relays to conference championships in 2012.  He also guided nine first-team All-Americans from the women’s program, including national runner-up Brianna Rollins in the 100 hurdles.

Wesh Named ACC, Southeast Region Outdoor Track Athlete-of-the-Year Marlena Wesh had an outstanding 2012 outdoor track & field campaign.  She began by capturing the ACC Meet Most Valuable Performer award.  Wesh contributed on both winning relays and took gold in the 400 dash with a meet record time of 51.43.  She was also runner-up to teammate Dezerea Bryant in the 200, thus earning 38 out of a possible 40 points in her four events.

She was then named Southeast Region Outdoor Track Athlete-of-the-Year by the USTFCCCA in June, and finally ACC Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete-of-the-Year following All-America performances in two events at the national championship meet in Des Moines.

Bryant USA Junior Champion in 100 Dash Dezerea Bryant became the first Clemson athlete since Todd Matthews in 1998 to win an individual event at the USA Junior Track & Field Championships when she won the 100-meter dash on June 16.

 The freshman out of Wisconsin ran 11.38 in the prelims and 11.43 in the final.  She also finished runner-up in the 200 dash.  She will compete for Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain in July.

Bryant already has one World Junior Championship under her belt.  In 2010, as a high school junior, she teamed with current Tiger and then Clemson freshman Stormy Kendrick to win gold in the women’s 4×100-meter relay.

Bryant Named ACC Outdoor Freshman-of-the-Year Dezerea Bryant won ACC titles in the 60 dash and 200 dash as a rookie en route to earning ACC Indoor Freshman-of-the-Year honors in 2012.  She was the third Tiger female to win the award in the past six years, joining Liane Weber in 2007 and Brianna Rollins in 2010.  

At the conclusion of the conference’s indoor meet in February, she was also awarded the ACC’s Most Valuable Performer award for earning the most points in the track events.

The native of Milwaukee, WI then went on to advance to national finals in the 60 dash and 200 dash.  She became the first Clemson female to earn All-America distinction in both events in the same indoor season.

Adams Advances to First Outdoor National Final, Places Career-High in Hurdles Clemson junior Spencer Adams completed an outstanding junior season on the track in June at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  The Charlotte, NC native ran a personal best 13.38 in the 100-meter hurdles to advance to his first national outdoor final.  Then, in the final, he ran against a headwind in lane eight and posted a time of 13.73 and career-best third-place effort.

The bronze medal finish was the highest by any male Clemson hurdler since Todd Matthews was second in 2002.  Adams was a first-team All-American both indoor and outdoor in 2012, also Clemson’s first to accomplish the double in the men’s high hurdles since Matthews.

Kulik a Standout On and Off the Track Alyssa Kulik became the first female in Clemson women’s track & field history to win the 3000-meter steeplechase.  She dominated the field en route to a meet, facility and school record time of 9:52.90 on Friday, April 20.  Kulik’s time was an “A” standard qualifying mark for the U.S. Olympic Trials as well.  

Kulik finished her career two-time All-ACC in the event, after a runner-up performance in 2011.It was a banner year for Kulik academically as well.  She was one of four Clemson recipients of the ACC’s Weaver-James-Corrigan postgraduate scholarship.  

She also received a winter sports postgraduate scholarship from the NCAA.  She was a Capital One Academic All-District selection.  In May, she received undergraduate degrees from Clemson in modern languages and psychology.  She was then named the ACC’s Outdoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year in late June by the conference office.

Sinkler Among Most Decorated in Clemson History April Sinkler is one of the most decorated athletes in women’s track & field history at Clemson.  She concluded her career with eight individual ACC titles, third-most in school history.  Only Kim Graham and Jamine Moton had more in their careers, and both are members of the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.

Sinkler was a late entry into the high jump at the ACC meet, but won the event without any training this calendar year.  It was her third high jump title at the ACC Outdoor Championships, a first in the league since former Georgia Tech great Chaunte Howard did it in the 2000s.

She also finished all-conference in the long jump and triple jump, giving her 14 over her career with the Tigers.  That figure also is third in school history.

Sinkler also went on to earn first-team All-America status in the triple jump, making her a seven-time All-American in her Clemson career.  That is second in program history, trailing only the 10 earned by Shekera Weston from 1997-2001.

Slate First Clemson Athlete to Compete in 800 at NCAAs since 1999 Clemson’s most recent 800-meter qualifier for the NCAA Championships was Davidson Gill in 1999. That all changed in 2012 when Chris Slate advanced on time (1:48.86) out of the NCAA East Preliminary Round.  In his final attempt, he qualified for his first national championship meet.

Slate had a decorated career, earning all-conference status in the 800 meters each of his last two indoor and outdoor seasons.  

Slate produced a personal best 1:48.30 in a third-place finish at the ACC Outdoor Championships in Charlottesville.  Prior to Slate, Clemson’s most recent male athlete to be four-time All-ACC in the 800 was also Gill in 1998-99.

Women’s 4×100 Relay Earns Best Finish in Program History Clemson’s 4×100-meter relay finished third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the best finish in Tiger women’s track & field history.  

The previous best was fourth place on two occasions, 2001 and 2010.  The bronze medal showing by the Clemson women came after the team of Stormy Kendrick, Marlena Wesh, Dezerea Bryant and Jasmine Edgerson combined to a time of 43.52.  The group broke the school record by running 43.43 in the semifinals in Des Moines.

Rollins, Owens Establish a First in Clemson Women’s Track & Field History In its entire Clemson women’s outdoor track & field history, the Tigers had never produced two of the top three finishers in the same event.  That changed in 2012 when Brianna Rollins was runner-up and Bridgette Owens took third place in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.  It has happened in Clemson women’s indoor history on two occasions, first in the 1500 meters in 1985 and this past winter in the 100 hurdles.

The closest any duo had ever come to scoring in the same event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for Clemson was in the triple jump in 2002.  Gisele Oliveira, a freshman, finished seventh overall in her first outdoor national meet.  Sheri Smith placed ninth, giving Clemson a pair of All-Americans for the event, but only one scorer.

Rollins and Owens had the top two semifinal times, but like the 2012 indoor season, both were edged out by Ohio State’s Christina Manning at the finish line.

Fraser, Wesh Compete at London Olympic Games Warren Fraser and Marlena Wesh will return for their senior seasons with Olympic experience.  Fraser hit the A standard for the London Games when he ran 10.18 in the 100 dash prelims at the NCAA Championships in June.  

He ran for his native Bahamas in the Olympics, clocking 10.27 in the preliminary round in London.  Wesh represented Haiti, her parents’ home country, and finished 19th overall as a semifinalist in the 400 dash.  She hit the qualifying time in the ACC final, running a meet record and personal best 51.43.

Former Tiger Kitchens Qualifies for U.S. Olympic Team At 29 years of age, former Clemson standout George Kitchens realized his dream and qualified for Team USA in the long jump.  He finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR on June 24 with a personal best, Olympic A standard jump of 26’11”.

He joined Patricia Mamona as a former Clemson track & field athlete to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.  Mamona, two-time NCAA champion for the Tigers, qualified in the triple jump with an A standard from 2011.  She bested that personal best with a Portuguese record leap of 14.52 meters in a runner-up finish at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Five Tigers Medal at NACAC U23 Championships Clemson’s Alyssa Kulik and Brianna Rollins won gold medals for Team USA to headline five Tigers competing July 6-8 in Guanajuato, Mexico at the NACAC U23 Championships.  Kulik won the steeplechase, while Rollins won the top prize in the 100 hurdles.  The individual gold medals were the first won by any member of the Tiger track & field program in the 12-year history of the NACAC meet.

In addition to those two performances, three other Tiger athletes secured medals in competition.  Marlena Wesh took silver in the 400-meter dash while running for Haiti, where she owns a dual citizenship.  Wesh ran 51.23, two tenths faster than her personal collegiate best.  

Warren Fraser also won a silver medal after helping the Bahamian 4×100 relay to a runner-up finish.  Fraser was sixth in the 100 dash as well.  A third medalist was Jasmine Brunson, who won bronze for Bermuda in the triple jump.