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Greeley, Padgett Win Championships at NCAA East Regional

Greeley, Padgett Win Championships at NCAA East Regional

May 31, 2008

Tallahassee, FL – Travis Padgett and Mitch Greeley claimed individual championships Saturday to lead Clemson men’s track & field to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA East Region meet, held at the Mike Long Track on the campus of Florida State. It marked the first time since the inaugural East Region Championships in 2003 that Clemson had multiple event champions. The Tigers have now finished in the top five at the East Region meet five of the six years the event has been held.

Florida State captured its third straight East Region team championship with a total of 88.5 points, while Florida was runner-up with 68 points. Clemson totaled 38 points. Head Coach Bob Pollock was pleased with the team’s performance overall, but knows the Tigers let a few points slip away.

“We had some opportunities we did not take advantage of, and that’s disappointing,” Pollock said after the meet’s conclusion. “But, we had some great individual performances today, led by Travis Padgett and Mitch Greeley winning their events. Padgett did extremely well in the 200, coming back after already winning the 100. Mitch certainly kept it exciting after clearing his opening height on his final jump, but he got the job done.

“We’re taking a good group to the national meet. Certainly, we’d like to have a few more guys going. But we feel the guys we’re taking will be highly competitive in Des Moines.”

Padgett won his second regional title in the 100m dash after posting a time of 10.09 into a slight headwind in the final. He held off Jeremy Hall of Florida and defending NCAA champion Walter Dix of Florida State to grab the victory. Padgett became the first Clemson men’s athlete to win multiple championships at the NCAA East Regional. He won the 100m dash with a time of 10.00 in Greensboro, NC in 2006 as a freshman. Padgett previously earned a pair of All-America honors in the 100m dash, both as a freshman and as a sophomore.

Greeley earned his third straight trip to the outdoor national meet after winning the region title in his last shot. The Rock Hill, SC product showed his mettle after struggling through the opening height. He finally cleared on his last attempt, and then passed at the next height before clearing 17’9″ in just one attempt. He is the second field event athlete from Clemson to win a regional title in the six-year history of the meet. George Kitchens previously won the long jump in 2003.

C.J. Spiller was sixth, just missing the automatic bid for nationals. He ran a 10.39 Saturday, but owns a season-best time of 10.29 and could be considered for an at-large spot at the national meet.

Padgett concluded his outstanding weekend with a third-place showing and career-best time in the 200m dash. He crossed the finish line in 20.32 seconds, which ranks as the fourth-best time in school history. He passed Greg Moses on Clemson’s all-time performance list, a former student-athlete that had ranked among the top five since the 1985 season. Padgett will compete in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second straight year.

Spiller also competed in Saturday’s final in the 200m. He turned out a time of 21.17, seventh-best among the eight competitors.

The 4x400m relay team established a season-best in Saturday’s final. The Tigers won the second of three seeded sections with a time of 3:08.06 to nudge North Carolina at the line. The team finished seventh overall and was made up of Cowin Mills, Miller Moss, Andrew Porter, and Travis Swaggard. The final leg was run in a split under 46 seconds.

Matt Hughes finished 19th in his first trip to the East Region Championships. The native of Canada had a time of 9:21.11 in the 3000m steeplechase.

Josh Fowler finished 27th in the triple jump in his first regional meet. A red-shirt freshman, Fowler bounced back from significant injuries early in his career to jump 48’0.75″ Saturday in the prelims. Zach Berg qualified for his first East Region meet in the hammer throw, but suffered a tough first outing. He was guilty of multiple foot fouls and did not record an official mark, ending his season on a down note. Chris Spear suffered a similar fate in the pole vault, falling short on three tries at the opening height.

The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held June 11-14 at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.