by Benny Benton
CENTRAL, S.C. – Barton College sophomore Micah Clemons and junior Larry Russell combined for more than 50 points between them in leading the men's track team to a fourth-place finish in the 2018 Conference Carolinas Championship this weekend at Southern Wesleyan University.
Barton team members earned a total of seven top-three finishes, which are recognized as all-conference performances.
Clemons, a resident of Greenville, N.C., had three of those podium finishes. He dominated the field of 15 in the hammer throw, producing a toss of 57.64 meters (189 feet, 1 inch) that was almost 10 meters longer than his nearest competitor. The throw easily surpassed the 2017 meet record of 50.89 meters, and improved upon his own BC record of 55.84 meters set in the season opener. The winning toss moved Clemons back into the national top-25 in NCAA Division II in the event.
He also claimed a runner-up finish in the shot put with a season-best mark of 14.81 meters, and a second-place result in the discus with a throw of 38.79 meters.
Russell recorded Barton's other event victory, capturing the long jump with a mark of 7.42 meters (24 feet, 4 1/4 inches) that was nearly a half-meter longer than his nearest competitor. The leap was just off his season-best of 7.44 meters, which currently ranks ninth in the country in DII.
The Sicklerville, N.J., resident added a second-place finish in the triple jump with an effort of 14.02 meters, a fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.45 seconds, and a fifth-place tie in the high jump with a mark of 1.84 meters.
For the meet, Russell totaled 26.5 individual points and Clemons earned 26. As a team, Barton received 102.5, four points short of third-place North Greenville and 18 behind second-place Limestone College. University of Mount Olive took first place easily with 260.5 points.
Lagat contributed nine points to BC's total, eight of those coming on a runner-up finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase after a school-record run of 9:46.63.
Freshman Chianti Ghee collected nine points as well, six of those produced during his first career podium finish, a third-place showing in the hammer throw. He added two points for a seventh-place finish in the discus, and another point for an eighth-place result in the shot put earned after he led his flight.
Ray gained eight points on fifth-place finishes in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles. He qualified for the 400-meter finals after placing third in the preliminaries with a school-record time of 55.34 seconds.
Barton's 4x400-meter relay team, which included Ray, Collin Wilks, Nihgel Scott and Aaron Jones, earned a third-place finish and six points as well. The 4x100-meter relay squad, made up of Scott, Jones, Wilks and Russell, narrowly missed making the podium, placing fourth to collect five points.
The Bulldogs also received four points from Justin Alford in the pole vault, three points from Avery Smith in the hammer, and two points each from Jones in the 400-meter run, Greg Gibbs in the 800-meter run, and Evan Lee in the 1500-meter run.
Smith set new PRs in both the hammer (43.70 meters) and discus (34.40 meters) during the meet, and Wilks added one in the 100-meter dash (11.03 seconds).
Several BC team members will compete in the Aggie Last Chance Meet at North Carolina A&T on May 13 in search of NCAA qualifying marks.