No. 1 Clemson and No. 3 LSU figure to be two of the teams fighting it out for the NCAA indoor women's track title next month. The gave a preview Friday and Saturday at the prestigious Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City, with LSU edging Clemson 73-69.
The Clemson women were led by an MVP performance by Brianna Rollins, who on Friday set a new facility record in winning the 60-meter hurdles, and then on Saturday won the 200 meters.
Clemson also got a school-record performance by Brittney Waller in the weight throw.
The Clemson men continued their improvement by finishing third place, trailing only national powers Texas A&M and LSU in the team standings.
Spencer Adams broke the school record he shared with former Olympian and NCAA champion Duane Ross in the 60-meter hurdles, and Brunson Miller broke his own school record in the 400 meters.
With a 60 hurdles meet record already in the bag, Rollins claimed a second gold medal of the weekend when she raced to a personal best time of 23.22 in the 200-meter dash Saturday afternoon. Rollins was awarded Armory Collegiate MVP honors at the conclusion of the event. Her time in the 200 ranks second-best in school history.
The women’s team, ranked No. 1 in the latest USTFCCCA calculations, received several additional outstanding performances Saturday. Brittney Waller improved on her school record in the weight throw and finished third overall with a mark of 69’9”. Marlena Wesh took bronze in the 400 dash with a time of 53.36 – her season debut in her trademark event.
The 4x400 relay team of Nnenya Hailey, Keni Harrison, Keisha Richburg and Marlena Wesh ran to its best time of the young indoor season after crossing the finish line in 3:38.06. Clemson finished runner-up to Arkansas in that event.
Also among the Tiger women, Dezerea Bryant took fourth in the 200 dash with a time of 23.54, while senior Jasmine Brunson placed fifth in the triple jump with a mark of 41’0.25”.
The Clemson men trailed only Texas A&M (62) and LSU (53.5) in the standings with its cumulative total of 48 points. On Saturday, the Tiger men’s program also had several top performances.
Torian Ware followed up a school record two weeks ago in the high jump with a 7’2.25” clearance Saturday and runner-up showing. Tevin Hester, a dynamic freshman sprinter, took third place in the 200 final with a time of 21.25. Teammate Reggie Lewis was ninth in the 200.
In the 400, Miller clocked a second straight Clemson best with a time of 47.33, topping his preliminary time by .12 seconds and earning a sixth-place finish. A final men’s athlete earning points for the team on Saturday was sophomore Shai Carpenter, sixth in the triple jump. He hit a mark of 49’5”.
On Friday, Adams and Rollins led a Clemson sweep of the men’s and women’s hurdles, while Ty McCormack won the men's 5,000 meters.
After a solid 7.66 in the prelims, Adams clocked a 7.59 in the final to cruise to victory and nipping the top-spot time (7.60) he shared with Ross. Marcus Maxey (7.89) finished seventh.
Rollins - who set a new NCAA record in the 60 hurdles earlier this season - added to her list of accolades when she won both her heat and the final by comfortable margins, establishing the meet record with a time of 7.93 to close it out. Bridgette Owens took third place, clocking a time of 8.20 in the final. Harrison also scored in the event for the Tigers with a sixth-place finish.
McCormack got out in front of the men’s championship 5000 meters and claimed a victory for the Tigers after crossing the finish line in 14:14. It was a personal best for the red-shirt sophomore, whose previous top time was 14:15.54 last season. In the 1000 meters, teammate Aaron Ramirez took eighth place with the fourth-best time in Clemson history at 2:26.97.
Bryant was runner-up in the women’s 60 dash. She clocked a time of 7.26 and finished a tenth of a second behind defending Bowerman Award winner Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU. The men’s final followed, and freshman Tevin Hester took fourth place with a time of 6.71. He previously ran 6.70 in the prelim.
Kate Borowicz was sixth place in the championship section of the women’s 5000 meters. She had a personal best run of 16:45.88 – second-best in Clemson history.
Wesh, defending event champion, had the fifth-best time Friday in the women’s 400 qualifying round (53.79). Miller qualified for the men’s quarter mile final. The transfer from The Citadel posted a time of 47.45 – fifth-best in school history for the indoor 400. He was 10th Friday.
Lauren Terstappen was the top performing jumper Friday for the program. The junior from Phoenixville, PA cleared a season-best bar of 13’1.5” in the pole vault, finishing in a tie for 12th place.
Cory Thalheimer was sixth in the championship section of the men’s shot put. He posted a personal best mark of 56’6.75”, an improvement of six centimeters from his previous best set last season.
The teams return to action next weekend in two meets. Clemson will host the Tiger Paw Invitational on Feb. 8-9 at the school’s indoor track, while selected athletes will make the trek north to compete at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet in Blacksburg, VA.