COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina University indoor track & field team opened up its indoor season at the Gamecock Opener on Saturday in Columbia, S.C. with a total of 28 top-10 finishes on the day.
CCU was led by a first-place finish in the women’s 3000-meter run by freshman Sydney Swanker and a win by freshman Jermaisha Arnold in the 400-meter run. Melissa Jefferson recorded two second-place finishes in the women’s 60-meter and 200-meter dash while the Chants also picked up a pair of third-place finishes by Arnold in the 200-meter dash and freshman Isabelle Gulick in the 3000-meter run.
CCU’s Alexis Estep turned in a fourth-place showing in the women’s shot put, while classmates Kayla Ulmer and Emerson Brown added a third and fifth-place finish in the women’s triple jump event, respectively, and Kadasia Evans placed third in the women’s high jump.
In her first event as a Chant, Arnold posted a mark of 54.30 to win the women’s 400-meters, a mark that is tops in the nation to date and ranks second all-time in CCU history. She led off the day with a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash with her time of 24.97.
Fellow newcomers Swanker and Gulick recorded a pair of top-three finishes in the 3000-meters, as Swanker crossed the finish line first with a time of 10:44.39, two spots ahead of Gulick in third with her time of 11:05.74.
Jefferson, the reigning Sun Belt Newcomer and Freshman of the Year, took second-place overall in the women’s 200-meter dash with a personal-best time of 24.80, which also ranked tied for ninth in the top-10 in CCU history, and finished runner-up in the 60-meter dash with a finals time of 7.49, also a personal-best mark and the fifth-best time in CCU’s indoor record books.
Also competing in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dash events were freshmen Kayla Sweeney and Keniah Wallace. Sweeney placed sixth in the 60-meter dash with a finals time of 7.81 and crossed the finish line in fifth overall in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.43. Wallace finished 12th overall in the 60-meter dash (7.90) and 13tin in the 200-meters (26.23).
Fellow Chants Emerson Brown (8.10) and Madison Jones (8.31) placed 19th and 21st overall, respectively, in the 60-meter dash, while Brown recorded a fifth-place finish in the women’s triple jump with a mark of 10.79 meters.
In the 60-meter hurdles, freshman Sydney Clemons posted a seventh-place in the finals with a time of 8.97 after recording a time of 8.81 in the preliminaries which was the ninth-best time in CCU indoor track & field history. She also took 11th-place overall with a time of 25.91 in the women’s 200-meter dash.
Sophomore Erin Palmer turned in a pair of top-10 finishes with an eight-place finish in the 200-meter dash (25.69) and a ninth-place showing in the 60-meter hurdles (9.28) with her 200-meter time a new personal-best mark.
Coastal’s Shani’a Bellamy also competed in both the 60-meter hurdles (10.44) and the 200-meter dash, turning in a seventh-place finish with a time of 25.48 to place seventh overall in the later, while fellow first-year Chant Anais Williams recorded a time of 9.54 in the 60-meter hurdles in her first event as a Chant.
CCU’s Lauren Gordon picked up a fourth-place finish in the 200-meters with a time of 25.37 and scored another top-10 finish for the Chants, placing ninth in the 400-meters with a time of 58.56.
Matching Gordon with a pair of top-10 finishes on the day was sophomore Tariney Pepper with a ninth-place finish in the 200-meters (25.77) and a 10th-place finish in the 400-meters with a personal-best time of 58.75.
A trio of newcomers in Amaryah White, Amelia Canetto, and Alyssa Smith ran in the 400-meters with White placing eight overall with a time of 57.69 and the others finishing just outside of the top 10 with times of 1:02.76 and 1:05.35, respectively.
In the field events, Ulmer placed third overall with a mark of 11.18 meters, finishing two spots ahead of Brown and her fifth-place distance of 10.79 meters.
CCU’s Evans placed third in the high jump, clearing the bar at 1.60 meters, while Emma Pearsall finished sixth overall with a mark of 1.50 meters.
Estep paced the Chants with a fourth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 12.25 meters and finished 10th in the weight throw with a mark of 13.53 meters.
Freshmen India Wright (12.05 meters) and Alexya Eberhardt (11.89 meters) placed sixth and ninth overall in the shot put, while sophomore Nikki Boon, who turned in a time of 27.72 in 200-meters, posted a personal-best mark of 11.81 meters in the shot put event to place 10th overall.
The Chants’ Zaria Stephens placed ninth in the women’s long jump with a leap of 4.95 meters, while Katie Bond (2.67 meters) and Grace Forren (2.67 meters) took eighth and 10th, respectively, in the pole vault event.
Second-year Chant Kacey Lombard finished 11th overall in the weight throw (12.50 meters), a new personal-best distance, and 13th in the shot put (10.74 meters), while Pearsall registered a throw of 7.29 meters for a 14th finish in the shot put.
The Chants will be back in action next week at the Liberty Elite Invitational on Jan. 21-23 in Lynchburg, Va.