CLEMSON, S.C. – Day two of the 2021 ACC Indoor Track & Field Champions saw the Clemson track and field program perform in a historic manner, as three men recorded top-10 all-time marks and seven athletes earned personal bests. Seven athletes advanced to the final of their respective event this evening, joining the four advancing finalists from Thursday’s competition.
“Days like today make you feel good,” said Mark Elliott, Clemson’s Director of Track & Field. “It shows you that between the coaches and athletes, with the way the year has gone, [our athletes] are resilient and that whatever happens performance-wise, they can compete. Those [athletes] are the special ones, and we have a few of them on our team.”
Giano Roberts ran into Clemson’s record book by recording the tenth fastest performance in program history in the 60-meters hurdles, running 7.78 seconds to win his preliminary heat. Roberts entered the day with a personal best of 7.87 following a decorated two-year career at Monroe College. By winning his preliminary heat, Roberts secured the No. 2 seed in tomorrow’s final.
“We saw the true potential in Giano when we recruited him,” added Elliott. “For him to now run 7.78 and rank [highly] nationally, it just makes you feel good!”
Lafranz Campbell, a 2020 Indoor All-American in the 60m hurdles, finished close behind Roberts thanks to a season’s best performance of 7.84 in the same preliminary heat. Campbell enters tomorrow’s final as the No. 3 seed.
In the quarter-mile, Clemson touted four entries across the event’s 11 preliminary heats. Jevon Williams produced a phenomenal run of 47.26 to be the Tigers’ fastest athlete on the day, convincingly winning his heat by half a second. Williams’ time was good enough to rank No. 10 on the program’s all-time list, knocking Marcus Black’s mark from 1986 of 47.52 off the top-10 rankings. As a result of his performance, Williams will be the lone freshman in tomorrow’s men’s 400m final.
The Tigers’ success in the men’s 400m did not stop with Williams, as Rayan Holmes sprinted to a new personal best by running 47.70. Ethan Binnix made his 2021 season debut by contesting the 400m, running 49.21.
John Ward was the Tigers’ top performer in the men’s mile to start Friday’s action on the track, as the redshirt-junior ran 4:05.76 to finish fifth in his heat and 11th overall. Ward’s time on Friday makes him No. 10 all-time at Clemson for the event, with the previous tenth-best mark coming from Esteban Diaz’s 4:06.12 in 1999. Ward’s time was a personal best, signifying a 10-second improvement over the personal best of 4:16.72 Ward carried into the 2021 season.
“He [John] has gotten very mature and has kept progressing,” remarked Elliott. “We can’t wait to see what he’ll do outdoors.”
Friday’s action on the straightaway began with the men’s 60m, with Roberts and Fabian Hewitt serving as Clemson’s two entries. Hewitt was the first Tiger across the line, as the senior from St. Catherine, Jamaica, ran 6.78 to place third in his heat and sixth overall, thus punching his ticket to tomorrow’s final. Roberts ran 6.91 to place third in his heat.
Following a season of dominance over the hurdles, Trishauna Hemmings advanced to tomorrow’s final in the women’s 60m hurdles as the No. 2 seed after going 8.14 to capture victory in her preliminary heat. Hemmings ran sub-8.15 for the fourth time this season on Friday, a sign of the top-class form the veteran hurdler now finds herself in.
Clemson’s effort in the women’s 400m was led by Kamryn McIntosh, as the senior ran 54.47 to win her heat and advance as the second-fastest qualifier in the event. McIntosh’s previous best in the two-lap sprint was 54.72 set back in 2019. Freshman Ken’Naria Gadson impressed again by running a personal best of 56.23.
Clemson was well represented in the prelims of the women’s 60m, as four Tigers loaded into their blocks for the event. Freshman Antoinette van der Merwe punched her ticket to Saturday’s final by running a personal best of 7.48 in the third preliminary heat. Van der Merwe finished second in her heat and sixth amongst all competitors.
In addition to van der Merwe, the Tigers were represented by Serena Clark (7.69), Zeniyah Lawrence (7.72), and Courtney Williams (7.82), with Williams’ time coming during collegiate debut at the event. Clark’s time served as her season’s best.
Riley Coggin was the Tigers’ lone entry in the women’s mile, with the indoor redshirt-sophomore running 4:57.36 to place sixth in her heat. Coggin’s time was a season’s best for the event. The women’s long jump featured Caroline Johnston and Zeniyah Lawrence, with Johnston earning the Tigers’ top mark thanks to her season’s best leap of 5.86m (19-2.75).
The third and final day of competition at the 2021 ACC Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m., as D.J. Ledell contests the men’s triple jump. All of Saturday’s track events will be finals, with the men’s mile starting the track action at noon.
For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson’s Track & Field programs, be sure to reference clemsontigers.com and follow @ClemsonTrackXC on Twitter.