CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson track and field program will host its third meet of the season on Jan. 29-30, as the Tigers welcome 15 schools for the 2021 Bob Pollock Invitational. Joining Clemson in representing the ACC at this weekend’s meet will be Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, and Virginia Tech. Clemson’s women’s team will take to the track after being ranked No. 21 by USTFCCCA in their first national poll of the season.
“The competition this meet should be deeper and more challenging than in our first three meets,” said Director of Track & Field Mark Elliott. “I’m looking for where we are performance-wise, and hopefully, we’re still on the path of continuing to get better. Being with this many teams, there should be more excitement with more people going in and out of the facility, and I’m sure there’s going to be great competition across the board in every single event.”
Clemson’s distance runners will be seen in full force this weekend as the Tigers contest the 5k for the first time this season. The women will be first to take on the 25-lap race as they toe the starting line on Friday at 1 p.m., while the men will follow shortly after at 1:25.
The men’s race will feature Jackson Leech and Marlin Young, with Leech returning to the event after being the Tigers’ top competitor at the distance last season. Young has put together a strong campaign during the opening three meets this season and will look to make his indoor 5k debut on Friday afternoon. Young enters the weekend with a best of 15:24.78 in the event from his lone season competing with USC Upstate.
The Tigers’ storied history in the women’s hurdles looks to be in good hands this season, as Trishauna Hemmings and Kori Carter are the primary athletes in the event. Hemmings will return to the track — following a weekend away from competition — when she loads into the blocks for Friday’s prelim of the 60-meter hurdles at 1:45 p.m.
Lafranz Campbell is set to make his long-awaited season debut this weekend as he is featured in the first section of the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Campbell ended the 2020 indoor campaign as an All-American in the event following his personal best of 7.72, which he ran in the semifinal round of the Tiger Paw Invitational.
Elliott spoke on the hurdles group by saying, “We have a strong hurdle group with both the men and women. It’ll be good to see one of our top hurdlers [Lafranz] return… we’re getting ready and looking forward to Tiger Paw and ultimately the conference meet.”
This weekend’s competition will provide a select few athletes their first opportunity to dawn the Clemson Orange and Regalia at the starting line. Serena Clark, a decorated newcomer from Cincinnati, Ohio, will contest the prelims of the women’s 60-meter dash on Friday while making her collegiate debut. Another exciting female to watch this weekend is Antoinette van der Merwe, a world-class sprinter and hurdler from Centurion, South Africa, who is slated to make her Clemson debut in both the women’s 60 and 200 meters this weekend.
“It’s [going to be] great to see what Serena might be able to add to the team. The same thing with Antoinette,” said Elliott. “I know both of them are excited to compete, and it’ll give us another idea of the strength of our women’s team as it relates to those two.”
Saturday’s action on the track is scheduled to start with a bang, as Andrea Foster headlines the collegiate athletes entered in the women’s 800 meters. Foster opened her 800-meter campaign during the Clemson Invitational and will look to improve upon her season’s best time on Saturday.
Clemson will see some familiar faces return to competition this weekend, with the likes of Veronica Fraley and Keco Morrison set to contest the shot put and 400 meters, respectively. Fraley will compete in the invite section of the women’s shot put. The junior currently occupies the No. 3 position on Clemson’s all-time list for the event after throwing 16.10 meters (52-10) last season.
Terryon Conwell will return to the track for the first time since the Clemson Invitational when he competes in Saturday’s men’s 200 meters. Conwell was slated to contest the event during the Tigers’ second meet of the season, but an unfortunate start and subsequent disqualification have delayed his debut in the one-lap race to this weekend.
Last weekend’s Hokie Invitational was the first meet this season in which the Tigers recorded multiple top-10 marks during the same meet. Zico Campbell launched the No. 5 mark in Clemson’s shot put history, recording a toss of 17.66 meters on his second throw of the competition.
Freshman Sofia De Coteau has shown consistency throughout her 2021 high jump campaign, clearing 1.60 meters in each of her three meets this season. Last weekend’s competition saw De Coteau etch her name into Clemson’s record book by clearing 1.70 meters (5-7) to enter into a tie for the No. 10 mark in program history.
Action is slated to begin on Friday, Jan. 29 at 9:30 a.m. with the men’s heptathlon 60-meter dash. The women’s pentathlon will get underway at 10 a.m. with the 60-meter hurdles. Friday’s first track event is scheduled to be the women’s 5k at 1 p.m., while weight throw, women’s pole vault, and women’s long jump are slated to begin action in the field events at 3 p.m.
For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson’s track and field program, be sure to reference clemsontigers.com and follow @ClemsonTrackXC on Twitter.
Given present state gathering restrictions and modified operations protocols due to COVID-19, attendance at the venue will be limited to only essential participants. As is the standard at many NCAA Indoor facilities this season, this will allow for adequate social distancing for coaching staffs, participating student-athletes and meet officials. No student-athlete or staff guests will be allowed inside the facility.
Select event video will stream live via ESPN ACC Network Extra, and live results are available via Adkins Timing. Fans can also access updates via official social media accounts, @ClemsonTrackXC.
Other protocols include tented staging areas at the Rock Norman Outdoor Track, restrooms for each team individually, designated entry and exit points for participants, and a one-way flow of participant pedestrian traffic. Face coverings will be required by participants at all times when not actively engaged in competition.
For the week prior to the track meet, non-conference opponents will need one PCR test for student-athletes, coaches and close support staff. For the week of the track meet, non-conference institutions will need one PCR test for student-athletes, coaches and close support staff within three (3) calendar days of the first competition of the week. Additionally, all teams will test within 48 hours after each event.