CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson track and field program is set to return to action at the Clemson Indoor Track & Field Complex on Jan. 15-16 as the Tigers welcome Georgia Tech, Georgia and Kennesaw State for the Clemson Invitational. Action will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, as the women’s long jump, men’s weight throw, and prelims of the women’s 60-meter hurdles get the meet underway.
“We have four solid teams at this meet, so it should be a better meet than last week,” said Director of Track & Field Mark Elliott. “The events are going to be better represented throughout the meet.”
As customary to this time in the track season, this weekend will see Clemson feature many of its athletes in their primary event. Last weekend at the Orange & Purple Elite, most athletes contested “odd events,” which allowed the Tigers’ coaching staff to gauge where their student-athletes’ fitness was after returning from the holiday break.
Friday’s action will be exciting from the day’s first event. After setting a sparkling new personal best in the women’s 60-meter hurdles and earning ACC Women’s Track Performer of the Week honors, Trishauna Hemmings will look to once again lead the Tigers in the event. In other track action, Fabian Hewitt will make his highly anticipated season debut in the men’s 60 meters. Hewitt is set to be joined by Clemson teammate Giano Roberts.
Devon Brooks, a 2020 Indoor All-American in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, will make his season debut in the event on Friday at 3:45 p.m. Brooks will race alongside freshman hurdler Darryl Burton III.
“It was great to see what Trishauna did last week. We expected that result because she’s been training well since last season,” said Elliott. “Devon is what you call an athlete. Anything that he sets his mind to, he’s going to be pretty successful at.”
Saturday’s schedule is filled with talented Tigers, as freshman Ken’Naria Gadson will take to the track for her Clemson debut by racing the women’s 300 meters alongside Aliyah Mallard. Gadson, a long-sprint specialist from Ft. Myers, Fla., arrives in Tigertown with the team’s top mark in the indoor 400 meters, having run 54.84 during her prep career.
The women’s 800 meters will be the race of the day, featuring Clemson’s All-American duo of Laurie Barton and Andrea Foster. At last weekend’s Orange & Purple Elite, Barton was the top collegiate finisher in the women’s 600 meters, earning a dazzling new personal best as she led three Tigers, including Foster, to sizable personal bests. In the race, look for Clemson alumna Natoya Goule to take the pacing duties early on as Barton and Foster look to secure their spots at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Elliott previewed the women’s 800 meters by saying, “An advantage we have is being able to have a top-5 800-meter runner in the world (Natoya Goule) come and help everyone in the race (run fast). When you have an opportunity to get a mark in an NCAA event, you want to take it… It’s going to be a really good field.”
Terryon Conwell will return to competition on Saturday after collecting ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Week and USTFCCCA NCAA Div. I Men’s National Athlete of the Week honors. Conwell will headline the men’s 200 meters on Saturday afternoon. During his Clemson debut at the Orange & Purple Elite, Conwell ran a blistering 32.97 in the men’s 300 meters, breaking Marcus Parker’s previous record of 33.20. During the 2020 indoor campaign, Parker went on to run 20.70 in the men’s 200 meters to record the school’s third-fastest time in the indoor 200 meters. After his early success in 2021, Conwell has serious potential to land within the program’s all-time top-10 list for the indoor 200 meters on Saturday.
This weekend’s field event action is highlighted by Zico Campbell and Roje Stona in the men’s shot put on Saturday morning. After throwing a personal best of 16.46 meters (54-0) at last weekend’s Orange & Purple Elite, Campbell returns to the ring. Stona, a standout redshirt-sophomore, is slated to make his season debut after a great segment of fall training.
“The throws group over the past three years has become one of our major focuses, and to have Roje and Zico compete this year is a good way for them to come out and show their talent,” said Elliott. “This is an Olympic year, and based on how Roje’s training is going after talking with Coach Cobey, things have been going really well.”
Fans can follow along with all of the action by viewing live results here, along with following @ClemsonTrackXC on Twitter for exclusive access throughout the two-day meet.
Given present state gathering restrictions and modified operations protocols due to COVID-19, attendance at the venue will be limited to only essential participants. As is the standard at many NCAA Indoor facilities this season, this will allow for adequate social distancing for coaching staffs, participating student-athletes and meet officials. No student-athlete or staff guests will be allowed inside the facility.
Select event video will stream live via ESPN ACC Network Extra, and live results are available via Adkins Timing. Fans can also access updates via official social media accounts, @ClemsonTrackXC.
Other protocols include tented staging areas at the Rock Norman Outdoor Track, restrooms for each team individually, designated entry and exit points for participants, and a one-way flow of participant pedestrian traffic. Face coverings will be required by participants at all times when not actively engaged in competition.
For the week prior to the track meet, non-conference opponents will need one PCR test for student-athletes, coaches and close support staff. For the week of the track meet, non-conference institutions will need one PCR test for student-athletes, coaches and close support staff within three (3) calendar days of the first competition of the week. Additionally, all teams will test within 48 hours after each event.