CONWAY, S.C. -- The Coastal Carolina University mens track and field squad will open the 2007 season Saturday, Mar. 3, at UNC Wilmington competing in the Battle of the Beach Dual Meet. This will be the third year of this dual meet between the two schools. Field events are set to begin at 11:00a.m. with running events beginning at 1:00pm.
"The guys are really looking forward to getting started on Saturday, head coach Jeff Jacobs said. They have been working very hard since last September and are finally going to receive the opportunity to compete. Ibelieve the 'Battle of the Beach' will be a very close meet once again this year and hopefully we can come out on top."
The Chanticleers will be looking to improve after a narrow two-point loss to the Seahawks in the 2006 edition of the meet. Leading the Coastal men will be All-American Thomas Jordan (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest). Jordan is coming off a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championship meet in the javelin. Jordan has been named co-captain for the 2007 season and is the current school and Big South Conference record holder in the javelin with a throw of 232-8.
In addition to Jordan, Coastal returns two more NCAA Regional Qualifiers in the throws. Senior Galen Jones (Evans, Ga./Lakeside) qualified in the hammer with a personal best throw of 193-5. Jones also won the shot put, finished third in the hammer and sixth in the javelin at the Big South Championships to earn team MVP honors last season. Senior Tommy Sugishita (Arroyo Grande, Calif./ Arroyo Grande (Moorpark JC)) won the Big South Championship in the discus with a personal best 165-10 and finished fourth in the hammer.
Five more school record holders also return for CCU this season. Sophomore Aubrey Lemon (Goose Creek, SC/Stratford) set the CCU school record in the 200 meters with a time of 21.34 at the Big South Championship. Lemon won both the 100-meter-dash and 200-meter-dash events at the Battle of the Beach a year ago. Red-shirt junior Dee Stokes (Bluffton, S.C./Hilton Head (Savannah State))also returns. Stokes was a Big South finalist in the 100 meters last season, ran and was a solid lead-off leg on the 4x100 meter relay. Stokes has also been named a co-captain for the 2007 year.
Tyrone Murphy (Spartanburg, S.C./Dormam) the 2006 Big South Freshman of the Year, returns for the 2007 season and holds the school record in the 400-meter-hurdles. Junior Jim Chmelik (Westlake, OH/St. Ignatius) holds the school record in the 110 high hurdles at 14.89 and has also been named team co-captain this year.
Three new hurdlers join the Chanticleers this season. Jack Hutchison (Chester, MD/Kent Island) ran a time of 14.40 in the high hurdles in high school and is a three-time state champion in the 300 meter hurdles. Ben Wheeler (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg) owns a personal best of 14.65 in the 110 high hurdles and was a South Carolina State AAAA finalist in the event. Kasheem Clifton (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) competed in the South Carolina State meet for Northwestern High School.
Other returnees in the jumps for Coastal is red-shirt sophomore Jerome Simpson (Reidsville, N.C./Reidsville) earned All-Big South Conference honors in the high jump clearing a school-record 6-8.75 and in the long jump with his leap of 23-3.5. Veteran Marcus Johnson (Orangeburg, S.C./Orangeburg-Wilkinson (Claffin)) will also return in the jumps. Johnson finished fourth in the Big South in both the long jump and triple jump and ranks second all-time in the triple jump at CCU. Newcomers in the jumps are freshman Boyce Bivings (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg) and red-shirt junior Trevino Pope both should add to the depth in the horizontal jumps.
Senior Doug Currie (Sarnia, Ontario, Canada/Sarnia Northern) will lead the distance crew. He is the school record holder in the 1500 meters with a personal best of 3:50.69. Currie was a finalist in the 800 meters at the Big South Championships. Sophomore Jamie McCarthy (Riverstick, Cork Co., Ireland/North Monastery) finished in third place in the 5000 meters at the Big South Championship and earned All-Conference honors.
A year ago, Coastal won the 2006 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championship for the second time in school history with a CCU record 205 points. The Chanticleers scored in every event, had 14 All-Conference performances and sent five athletes to the NCAA Regional Championship.