Track kicks off new year at Clemson, Kentucky

Tech men’s and women’s track and field teams began their 2009 portion of the season of with the Clemson Invitational (Jan. 9-10) and the Kentucky Invitational (Jan 16-17). Last spring, the men’s team finished second place in the 2008 ACC Indoor Championships and returns 14 All-ACC performers. The women’s team reached a 2008 indoor national ranking as high as No. 22 and comes into the new year with 29 underclassmen.

On the first day of competition at the Clemson Invitational, senior Jerome Miller’s jump of 7 feet 4.25 inches set a new Tech indoor record and already qualified him for the 2009 NCAA Championships in the high jump. Miller held the previous record back from the 2007 indoor season and broke it at the Invitational by 1.75 inches. His jump was four inches higher than the next best mark that day. Because of the jump, Miller was the ACC Track and Field Co-Performer of the Week with Clemson’s Jacoby Ford.

Junior Alphonso Jordan also saw success during the meet placing first in both the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.09 seconds and triple jump with a distance of 51 feet, 2.75 inches while placing second in the long jump with a distance of 23 feet, 6.25 inches.

On the women’s squad, five freshmen made 2009 collegiate debuts. Freshman Bailey Wagner took first in the shot put with a throw of 46 feet, 10.25 inches, the second longest indoor throw in school history. Sophomore Janae Anderson won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.59 seconds, which is the fastest time in the ACC so far this season.

At the Kentucky Invitational, the Jackets saw tough competition, facing 11 top-25 teams. Miller was the only Jacket to receive a first-place on the weekend with a jump at a mark of 6 feet 10.25 inches. Junior Tiffany Chavis was in a four-way tie in the high jump, but ended up receiving fourth place as she could not clear over 5 feet, 5.25 inches mark.

Wagner received a fourth place distance of 48 feet, 3.25 inches in the shot put, which was an improvement of about two inches from the week before. Jordan was the only other Jacket to place top five in the invitational with a fourth place finish in the long jump. Jordan jumped a distance of 23 feet 11.75 inches.

Tech will see more action today and into the weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. for the Razorback Invitational. The teams are preparing for the for the ACC Indoor Championships, which will be held in Blacksburg, Va. from Feb. 26 till Feb. 28. The Jackets will get a chance to test out the track at Virginia Tech next weekend, when they compete in the VT Elite Invitational.