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Feb 06, 2021

Foster Shines in 400, Tigers Sweep DMR at South Carolina Invitational

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Andrea Foster relied on the strength and endurance accumulated from her rigorous 800-meter training to register a new personal best in the 400 meters on Saturday, running 54.14 seconds to finish fifth overall. After starting the race in lane six, Foster crossed the halfway mark in second place with a split of 25.93, trailing South Carolina’s Knowledge Omovoh. With 150 meters remaining, Foster used her powerful stride and steady turnover to chase down Omovoh on the backstretch and sprint into the lead while coming out of the final curve. Foster’s result eclipsed her previous best of 55.04 and served as the fastest indoor 400 run by a Clemson female over the past three seasons.

“Andrea has a pretty big range,” said Clemson’s Director of Track & Field Mark Elliott. “I told her that she could be the leadoff for a college 4×400 relay and a DMR. She’s a super athlete and her performance was pretty impressive today.”

Clemson swept the distance medley relays on Saturday, as the women won in 11:40.18 and the men in 9:59.68. The women’s quartet of Laurie Barton (1200), Courtney Williams (400), Leah Disher (800), and Riley Coggin (1600) combined to produce the third-fastest time in the country. The result was sparked by Barton’s leadoff split of 3:25.50, giving the Tigers a 10-second lead at the first handoff. On the men’s side, John Ward closed in 4:10.01 to secure a comfortable victory for the Tigers.

“Our goal is to always have a balanced team,” added Elliott. “We’re always pretty good in the DMR and we had to get the time on the board to make sure we’re getting ready for ACC’s, so they [today’s results] are good things to point to.”

Early in the day, Clemson was represented in both the men’s and women’s final for the 60-meter hurdles. Lafranz Campbell ran 8.00 to secure a comfortable win in his preliminary heat and later ran 7.88 to finish a close second in the final. Trishauna Hemmings (8.22) and Kori Carter (8.45) advanced out of the prelims as time qualifiers, with Hemmings later running 8.24 during the final to finish third.

Saturdays Highlights

  • Clemson’s two freshman hurdlers, Antoinette van der Merwe and Jevon Williams, each contested the 60 hurdles for the first time in their careers on Saturday, respectively running 8.76 and 8.40 in their preliminary heats.
  • Serena Clark was the lone Tiger to compete in the prelims of the women’s 60-meter dash, with the freshman sprinter registering a season’s best of 7.71.
  • Riley Lair squeaked out a personal best in the women’s shot put, throwing 11.85 meters (38-10.5) to eclipse her week-old best of 11.82. Veronica Fraley earned a new season’s best in the event with her toss of 15.31 (50-2.75) on her second attempt, while Danielle Sloley threw 13.24 (43-5.25) to finish as the top Tiger in the event’s opening flight.
  • In the women’s 800, Olivia Cooney had a strong performance by running 2:14.38 to improve upon her previous best of 2:17.95.
  • Michael Smith was the fastest Tiger in the men’s mile, earning a personal best of 4:18.96 to improve on his previous best of 4:19.36. Smith’s result marked the second time this season he had gone under 4:20 in the event.
  • Van der Merwe was the fastest Tiger in the women’s 200, running 24.66 to finish 11th. In her Clemson debut, Courtney Williams won her heat of the 200 with a time of 25.28. Williams was one of two heat winners during the women’s 200, as Ken’Naria Gadson won her section with a time of 25.25.
  • In the men’s 3k, Jack McManus led the Tigers with his time of 8:52.33. McManus was followed closely by Conor McCabe and Cal Finley, each making their track debut for Clemson.
  • In the women’s 4×400-meter relay, Clemson ran a conference-leading time of 3:38.40 thanks to Andrea Foster, Hemmings, Gadson, and Kamryn McIntosh.

As a program, Clemson accumulated seven overall personal bests, three indoor personal bests, nine season bests, and made four event debuts during Saturday’s competition.

“Even though we didn’t have our full team here, we still have more people stepping up,” remarked Elliott. “Tiger Paw is our last big home meet and we want to show a really big home meet before we host ACC’s. I think both the men and women had a few ups and downs [today], but that’s what happens when you’re dealing with human beings. I think we had more ups than downs and we’re looking good as the season goes on.”

Up Next

The Tigers will return home next weekend to host the Tiger Paw Invitational on Feb. 12-13 at the Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex. Clemson’s Tiger Paw Invitational is regarded across the country as one of the best collegiate meets each season, routinely drawing some of the nation’s top athletes to Tigertown. Action will get underway at noon on Friday, Feb. 12, with three field events and the preliminary heats of the women’s 60 hurdles.

For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson’s track and field program, be sure to reference and follow @ClemsonTrackXC on Twitter.