by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College men's track team set five modern-era school records over the weekend during competition at two different meets, the Trojan Challenge in Mount Olive, N.C., and the 49er Classic in Charlotte.
One of those setting new BC standards, sophomore Larry Russell, also recorded an NCAA provisional mark on the opening weekend of the outdoor season.
Russell, who last week became the first participant in school history to take part in the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, made a solid first step towards returning for the outdoor nationals with a leap of 7.35 meters at Charlotte in the long jump.
The leap improved upon his own outdoor school record by two one-hundredths of a meter and earned second place in a field of 42. Russell defeated everyone in the competition except Quemell Brave of NCAA Division I program Winthrop University.
Also setting new Barton records in the Charlotte meet were senior Tyler Amerson in the 3000-meter run and Qasim Ray in the 400-meter hurdles. Amerson, a hometown resident of Wilson, knocked 13 seconds off his own BC standard with a run of 9:29.01. Ray, a junior transfer from Brooklyn, N.Y., conquered Kendrick Smith's 2015 400-hurdles mark of 56.86 seconds with a time of 56.40. Ray's mark was 17th in a field of 66.
Amerson also posted a personal record in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:27.73. Running in the same event, junior Joel Lagat recorded a mark of 4:04.59 to place 28th in a field of 110. Lagat earned a top-20 finish out of 87 participants in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.71.
Barton also received a very strong performance in Charlotte from senior sprinter Semaj Street, who finished seventh in a field of 116 in the 200-meter dash to advance to the finals. His time of 21.61 was just three one-hundredths of a second off his own school record. He narrowly missed the finals of the 100-meter dash as well, placing 12th out of 95 with a mark of 10.87 seconds.
Two Barton records were claimed by participants in the Mount Olive meet, both by freshmen in throwing events. Micah Clemons, a Greenville, N.C., resident, destroyed Trevor Kyle's 2015 mark of 30.93 meters in the hammer throw by uncorking a toss of 42.28 meters. Raheme Dawkins, a resident of Bloomfield, Conn., narrowly eclipsed the oldest of BC's modern-era records, surpassing Ross Johnson's 2012 mark of 45.60 meters in the javelin with a throw of 46.32 meters.
Dawkins placed fourth out of 22 competitors in the javelin, one of six top-five finishes in the Mount Olive meet for the Bulldogs. Junior Aaron Jones, a resident of Blounts Creek, N.C., took home a victory in the 400-meter run by leading the field of 18 with a time of 49.08 seconds.
The split squads will reunite to compete together in the VertKlasse Meeting on March 31 and April 1 at High Point University.