CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson University track & field program is set to kick off its 2018-19 campaign with the Clemson Opener Saturday, which will be held at the Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex. The Tigers will look to test the waters with their new squad, which features a flurry of a newcomers. The Clemson men return 18 student-athletes and boast 10 rookies, while the women return 19 competitors and will premiere 19 new faces. The first events, which feature four field events, are set for 10 a.m., while the meet slated to conclude with the 4x400m relays at 5 p.m.
“The purpose of having what I would consider to be an early indoor meet is to basically give the student-athletes an idea of where they are fitness wise before the go home for the holidays,” said Clemson track & field head coach Mark Elliott. “We’ve been training all fall, which has been good, but it’s also to break up the training. So again, everybody is just looking to see where they are right now and what they need to improve on to get ready for the rest of the indoor season when they get back.”
The Tiger men return senior middle distance All-American John Lewis, who specializes in the open 800m and was a key member of the Clemson 4x400m relay group last year. Sophomore Deonte Tolbert will look to build on his freshman campaign in the 400m dash and 4x400m relay. Senior Chris McBride and sophomore DJ Ledell will look to score big the Tigers’ jump squad this season. McBride was the 2017 ACC indoor long jump champion when he set the program record of 7.79m. Ledell was the top freshman at the 2018 ACC Outdoor Championships, earning Second Team All-ACC honors in both the long and triple jump events. In the cage, junior Grant Voeks returns after earning Second Team All-ACC honors in the indoor shot put last season.
In addition to men’s deep field of returners, the Tigers added depth, particularly in the sprints and hurdles areas. Among those newcomers are Juwan Augustine Mayers, Fabian Hewitt and Rayan Holmes.
On the women’s side, Clemson returns junior Rebekah Smith, who earned First Team All-ACC honors in four events last season between indoor and outdoor track and represented Clemson at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 100m dash and 4x100m relay. Middle distance runner Kamryn McIntosh will look to build upon her freshman season, which was one of the best freshman seasons ever in program history. McIntosh set the freshman record in the 800m and earned Second Team All-American honors the event as well as the indoor 4x400m and distance medley relay. In the hurdles, Clemson returns Markeeta Thomas, Ebony Williams and Lakeisha Warner, all of whom represented Clemson at the outdoor national championship last season.
Among some of the Tigers’ anticipated newcomers is Veronica Fraley who will make her debut in the cage Saturday. Fraley, one of the nation’s top high school throwers, is set to compete in both the shot put and weight throw Saturday. Coming of a redshirt year, sophomore Janell Fullerton will also appear in her first meet as a Tiger in the shot put. Elliott also landed junior transfer Andrea Foster, who won the outdoor 800m junior college national championship last season at Essex County College. Joining Smith in the sprints, are freshmen Aliyah Mallard and Zeniyah Lawrence, both of whom were top high school prospects and are set to compete in the 300m dash Saturday.
Live results for the Clemson Opener will appear on ClemsonTigers.com as soon as they become available.
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