by Benny Benton
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Led by an outstanding day from junior Larry Russell, the Barton College men's track team claimed third place in the 2018 Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday at JDL Fast Track.
Barton totaled 72 points in matching last year's team for the best finish in program history.
Russell amassed 30 of those points for the Bulldogs by winning the long jump and the high jump, placing third in the triple jump and finishing fifth in the 60-meter hurdles.
The Sicklerville, N.J., resident secured himself a trip to the NCAA Division II national championships for the second straight year early in the day by posting an automatic qualifying mark of 7.63 meters, or 25 feet and 1/2 inch, in the long jump, the third-best mark in the country this season.
His mark broke the meet record and the Barton school record, both of which he held after a jump of 7.49 meters in last year's championship.
Russell won the high jump with a season-best mark of 2.04 meters, or 6 feet, 8 1/4 inches. He reached NCAA provisional status with the leap, but is far from the distance needed to reach nationals in that event.
Barton also received 14 points from sophomore Micah Clemons, who was runner-up in the shot put and came in third in the weight throw.
Clemons, a sophomore from Greenville, N.C., missed his own indoor school record in the shot put by just one one-hundredth of a meter after making a toss of 14.76 meters, or 48 feet, 5 1/4 inches.
Two other BC individuals reached the podium and earned all-conference recognition with top-three finishes – Justin Alford in the pole vault and Aaron Jones in the 400-meter run – as did Barton's distance medley team of Evan Lee, Qasim Ray, Leslie Jones and Joel Lagat.
Between the three points he produced on his own with a sixth place finish in the 60-meter hurdles and 11 more he helped collect as part of the DMR and 4x400-meter relay teams, Ray was also part of 14 points for the Bulldogs
Ray set a personal record with his time of 8.47 seconds in the preliminary round of the 60-meter hurdles, as did senior Collin Wilks in the preliminaries of the 60-meter dash. Also producing PRs in the meet were Chianti Ghee in the weight throw and Alex Kelly in the 3000-meter run.
2018 Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships
Men's Team Scores
1. University of Mount Olive – 237
2. Limestone College – 139
3. Barton College – 72
4. North Greenville University – 68
5. Southern Wesleyan University – 36
6. King University – 26
7. Lees-McRae College – 23
8. Belmont Abbey College - 18