June 13, 2008
Des Moines, IA – Travis Padgett was runner-up in the 100m dash final Friday evening to highlight Clemson’s efforts at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Fellow sprinter Jacoby Ford finished fifth, giving the Tiger program two All-Americans in the event. Clemson has now had at least one All-American in each of Bob Pollock’s 20 seasons with the men’s track & field program.
Padgett did not have his best start Friday, as he was in fifth place coming out of his drive phase. However, a strong middle portion of the race allowed him to make up the ground necessary to earn the runner-up finish.
His year-by-year progression continued again in 2008. As a freshman, he placed fourth at nationals in the 100m. Last season, he brought home a third-place finish. He was second place at this year’s meet after running a time of 10.16 into a slight headwind. Richard Thompson of LSU, who had the nation’s best time coming into the event, won with a 10.12. Trindon Holliday of LSU was third, while defending NCAA champion Walter Dix of Florida State came across the line in fourth.
Padgett’s performance now gives the junior six All-America honors overall in his three years at Clemson, which ranks sixth-most in the history of the program. He is the first Clemson men’s athlete since James Trapp to be named All-American in the 100m dash in three consecutive years. Trapp did it from 1990-92.
“Travis did a really good job, considering how much work he’s put in this week,” Pollock said. “He had two rounds of the 100 on Wednesday, then two in the 200 yesterday. So it was nice to see him respond with that kind of effort today.”
Ford ran a 10.33 to finish fifth, his first All-America performance in outdoor track & field. It was his second All-America certificate overall, as he earned one as a freshman in 2007 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60m dash. Ford actually got off to a great start and was fifth or better the entire race.
“I thought that was pretty impressive for Jacoby,” Pollock noted. “He’s coming back from his football injury, and he just got better and better for us as this season wore on.”
In a stunning development, Mitch Greeley did not clear his opening height Friday in the finals of the pole vault. It put a close on what was the most brilliant career in Clemson history by a vaulter. He finished his four years with three All-America honors, three ACC championships, and an East Region championship. He cleared his only height of the preliminary round with ease on Wednesday.
In late action from Thursday, senior Matt Clark concluded his career in the 10,000m run. He finished 16th out of 26 runners with a time of 29:50.51. Clark is the school record-holder in the 10K event, having run under 29 minutes earlier this season at the Stanford Invitational. He was six-time All-ACC in track and two-time all-conference in cross country during his five years with the program.
“Obviously it was a disappointing result for both Mitch and Matt,” Pollock said. “But, we have to look at the big picture. Those guys were incredible leaders for our program, they had tremendous careers, and we’re extremely proud of them.”
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