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Clemson Indoor Track & Field Season Review

Clemson Indoor Track & Field Season Review

March 27, 2009

Ford Claims National Championship in 60m Dash Clemson continued to show its strength in the men’s sprints after junior Jacoby Ford won the national championship in the 60m dash at the NCAA indoor meet. Ford became the second Tiger to claim the event crown in the last three years, as former sprint great Travis Padgett won in 2007. Ford’s crown was the ninth individual indoor national championship for Clemson in its men’s track & field history.

He became the second two-sport athlete from Clemson to win a national championship in track. James Trapp, who spent more than a decade in the NFL as a defensive back, was a national champion for Clemson in the 200m dash at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 1992.

Ford matched his own personal best and a national meet record with a 6.51 in the preliminary round. He fell just one hundredth of a second shy of that time in the final, but was able to out-duel fellow football star Trindon Holliday of LSU for the championship.

Clemson’s Individual Men’s NCAA Indoor Champions
Year Name Event Mark/Time
1992 Michael Green 55m Dash 6.08
James Trapp 200m Dash 20.66
1993 Michael Green 55m Dash 6.15
Wesley Russell 400m Dash 45.92
1998 Shawn Crawford 200m Dash 20.69
1999 Ato Modibo 400m Dash 46.11
2000 Shawn Crawford 200m Dash 20.26
2007 Travis Padgett 60m Dash 6.56
2009 Jacoby Ford 60m Dash 6.52

Ford Ends Indoor Season With Unblemished Record in 60m DashJacoby Ford’s championship to conclude the 2009 indoor season was simply icing on the cake for one of the most impressive individual campaigns in Clemson track & field history. The junior competed in five different meets in the 60m dash, and was not beaten a single time, either in the preliminary round or finals.

Ford began the year with a simple automatic qualifying time of 6.59 at the Clemson Invitational, easily coasting to victory. He matched his own personal best with a 6.52 in winning the Elite Meet at Virginia Tech. However, his ACC mark was short-lived as he beat it by one hundredth of a second three weeks later in the same facility at the conference meet. Ford also ran a 6.51 in the prelims at the NCAA Championships, which tied the national meet record for the 60m dash.

Ford’s 2009 Indoor 60m Race-by-Race Progression
Date Meet Time Place
1/10 Clemson Invitational 6.59 1st
1/31 Clemson Games 6.58 1st
2/7 Virginia Tech Elite Meet 6.52 1st
2/28 ACC Championships 6.51 1st
3/14 NCAA Championships 6.52 1st

Weber Earns First-Ever All-America Honor in Pentathlon Junior multi-event standout Liane Weber made history at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships by becoming the first female at Clemson to earn All-America honors in the pentathlon. The native of Wangen, Germany established a personal best and ACC record with 4,235 points in the five-event competition. She finished in sixth place to nab her first All-America honor as a member of the Tiger track & field program.

It was a banner year for Weber, who burst onto the scene for Clemson in 2007 as a freshman ACC champion in the pentathlon. She duplicated the feat in 2009, earning her second crown in the pentathlon. She also was named Southeast Region Field Athlete-of-the-Year just prior to the NCAA national meet.

Johnson Puts Stamp on Clemson Program Clemson’s first-year Director of Track & Field, Lawrence Johnson, was able to put his stamp on the program after coming over as an Associate Head Coach with the Virginia Tech women’s track & field team. The men’s team posted another top-25 finish at the NCAA Championships, while the women’s team was ranked as high as #10 nationally during the season by the coaches’ association.

The best example of Johnson’s success in 2009 was the performance of the women’s track & field team at the ACC Championships. The team finished third in the standings, best finish for Clemson since the 2004 meet. Clemson accumulated 85 points on the women’s side, 53 more than in 2007.

Johnson also coached a national champion, two regional Athletes-of-the-Year, and an ACC Most Valuable Field Event Athlete in his first year on the job at Clemson. By almost every standard, his first season in charge of the Tiger track & field program was a tremendous success.

Clemson Women Finish Third, Men Fifth at ACC Championships The 2009 ACC Indoor Championships were certainly a success for both the men’s and women’s teams at Clemson. The women finished in third place, best since the 2004, while the men placed fifth in the final team standings. The women’s team had a five-spot improvement from the 2008 meet and produced three individual event champions and four additional all-conference performers.

The women’s team totaled 85 points, its highest total in years and 53 more than the 2008 team collected. Leading the way was April Sinkler, the league’s Most Valuable Field Event Athlete for women’s track & field. She won a pair of championships, the high jump and long jump, setting school records in both events. Liane Weber was also an ACC champion for the Tiger program, as she earned her second pentathlon crown in the last three years.

The men’s team was led by the record-setting performance of sprinter Jacoby Ford. He topped his own league standard with a national-best time of 6.51 in the finals of the 60m dash. He was Clemson’s only league champion on the men’s side.

In terms of All-ACC performers, Nikola Lomnicka, a freshman, was third place in the weight throw at her first league meet.

Patricia Mamona was also All-ACC in a pair of events, the triple jump and pentathlon. It was her third straight indoor All-ACC honor in the triple jump, and her first in the pentathlon. In total, she has eight all-conference finishes in her career (indoor + outdoor) with the Tiger track & field program.

Ford, Weber Earn Regional Accolades from USTFCCCAJacoby Ford added to an already full collection of individual honors after being named the Southeast Region Track Athlete-of-the-Year for the second time in his three years with the program. He also won the honor in 2007 after setting the ACC record in the 60m dash as a first-year freshman. Liane Weber of the women’s team also earned an honor within the region, as she was named Field Athlete-of-the-Year. Both athletes earned NCAA All-America honors and ACC championships in 2009.

Sinkler Named ACC’s Most Valuable Field Event Athlete Sophomore track & field sensation April Sinkler was named the ACC’s Most Valuable Women’s Field Event Athlete after the conclusion of the league meet, as determined by a vote of the league’s head coaches. Sinkler won two events and set personal bests in three in leading Clemson to a third-place finish in the women’s team standings.

Sinkler, a native of Stafford, VA, had a breakout performance on the Virginia Tech campus. She won the high jump and long jump competitions, setting indoor school records in both events. Sinkler cleared 5’11.5″ in the high jump, a solid NCAA provisional qualifying mark. She became the first women’s track & field athlete from Clemson to win the high jump at the ACC Championships.

She then won the long jump with a mark of 21’4.25″, which earned her an automatic invitation to next week’s NCAA Indoor Championships. In fact, her long jump mark was ranked #4 nationally heading into the national meet. An untimely injury, however, prevented Sinkler from competing at her first NCAA Indoor Championships.

Clemson’s Indoor Women’s Most Valuable ACC Athletes
Year Name Event Championships
1992 Kim Graham 55m, 200m
1993 Karen Hartmann 800m, Mile
2001 Jamine Moton Shot Put, Weight Throw
2009 April Sinkler^ Long Jump, High Jump
^ The ACC began honoring separate MVPs for track & field events in 2007.

Mamona Posts NCAA Qualifying Marks in Four Events Versatile junior Patricia Mamona displayed her value to the Clemson women’s track & field team at the ACC Championships in a major way. She scored in four individual events (60m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, and pentathlon) and also helped the 4x400m relay team to a fifth-place finish.

Mamona qualified for the NCAA Championships with at least provisional status in four different events. She competed at the indoor national meet in the pentathlon and triple jump. Mamona, who had never competed in the multi-events, was ACC runner-up in the pentathlon with the school’s second-best point total ever (4,081) and an automatic NCAA qualifying tally.

The 2009 season marked the first time in Mamona’s career she qualified provisionally in the high hurdles. She posted a top time of 8.41 at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet. Mamona’s top long jump mark was 20’4.5″ at the ACC Championships. Her best in the triple jump was also at Virginia Tech when she hit 43’7″, just centimeters off an automatic mark.

Lomnicka Thrown Into the Mix Immediately Clemson’s top newcomer in the 2009 indoor season was without a doubt Nikola Lomnicka, a native of Slovakia. She came to Tigertown with the reputation of an outstanding performer in the hammer throw, but she proved she could also adapt quickly to the indoor setting as well. Within months of initially being trained for the 20-pound weight throw, Lomnicka was an All-ACC level competitor.

She ranks third on the school’s all-time performance list already in the event, behind only former NCAA All-Americans in Della Clark (2007). Lomnicka’s top throw of the season was a distance of 61’10.25″ at the ACC Championships, where she finished third.

Golladay, Scott Display Marked Improvement One of the areas Lawrence Johnson targeted for improvement within Clemson’s track & field program was sprints & hurdles, an area he specialized in at Virginia Tech. With the aid of sprints coach Tim Hall, the women’s team was able to show great strides in those areas during the 2009 indoor season.

Two of the main reasons Clemson was able to improve were the breakout performances of Kristine Scott and Michaylin Golladay. Both juniors seemed to come into their own during the indoor season. Scott was a scorer in both the 60m and 200m dash events at the ACC Championships, while Golladay was fifth in the 60m high hurdles at the league meet. Both entered the Clemson record books as well. Golladay ran a time of 8.32 in the hurdles, second-best in school history, while Scott ranks among the top 10 in both the 60m (7.55) and 200m (23.95).

Strong Stable of Sprinters Though national champion C.J. Spiller. The others were sophomore Trenton Guy and freshman Justin Murdock.

Spiller was excluded from the national championship field for the 60m dash, despite a strong provisional qualifying time of 6.65. However, the entire 14-man field at the NCAA Championships earned automatic spots. Due to several events in which automatic qualifiers exceeded the expected number, the at-large totals were significantly reduced in 2009. Spiller’s time would have easily been enough to get him in the field for the 2008 national meet.

Guy and Murdock showed progress throughout the year, though Murdock was affected for a few weeks by injury prior to the ACC Championships. Guy appeared to be working toward qualifying for the NCAA 60m field, but a false start at the Virginia Tech Qualifier put a stop to his chances. Guy also qualified provisionally in the 200m dash on the final weekend before nationals, posting a 21.21 at Tech. He moved into 10th place on Clemson’s all-time performance lists in both the 60m and 200m during his sophomore season.

Travis Swaggard was perhaps Clemson’s most improved sprinter during the 2009 indoor season. Swaggard, who was All-ACC in both the 200m and 400m, ranks seventh on the school’s all-time list in the quarter mile.

Moss Moving up Heptathlon Ranks at Clemson Clemson has a star in the making in the male multi-events in sophomore Miller Moss. The Sumter, SC native finished fifth in the heptathlon at the ACC Championships, but he did so behind some impressive company. Three of the competitors that finished ahead of him participated in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships.

Moss improved in almost every area and recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying total of 5,468 points at the league meet. His point total ranks third in school history, behind only former NCAA All-Americans Ryan Koontz (2007) and Brent Hobbs (2004). He posted personal bests in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles, 1000m, pole vault, long jump, and shot put.

Raising the Bar Clemson may very well have had its best collection of women’s high jumpers and pole vaulters ever on its 2009 indoor team. Five of the top 10 performers in the high jump in school history competed for the Tigers this season, including four of the top six. In the pole vault, Clemson’s 2009 roster made up four of the top 10 spots on the school’s all-time performance list.

April Sinkler became the first female high jump champion at the ACC Championships for Clemson after she cleared a school-record 5’11.5″ bar in late February. Anastasia Wilson, third-place finisher in the event at the league meet, ranks second on the school’s all-time list with a 5’10” clearance. She was a provisional NCAA qualifier. Linda Buchholz (5’8.5″) and Liane Weber (5’7.75″) rank fifth and sixth, respectively, on Clemson’s all-time performance list. A fifth competitor on the 2009 team, Patricia Mamona, ranks eighth all-time with a 5’6.5″ clearance.

In the vault, junior Caroline Kennedy tied the school record after clearing 12’9.5″ in the event at the ACC Championships. Kennedy was a strong scorer in the event for the Tigers during the 2009 indoor season. Amy Morrison and Emily Barlage are both tied for fourth on the performance list after clearing 12’5.5″ at the league meet in Blacksburg, VA. Both showed tremendous improvement as the indoor season progressed. Kathleen Majester, a newcomer to the team in 2009, cleared 11’5.75″ for a season best and is tied for ninth in Clemson history, despite no previous experience in the pole vault.

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