by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Six members of the Barton College men's track team received 11 total all-region awards from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) this week for their performances during the 2017 outdoor season, a new program record.
The USTFCCCA grants all-region status to the top five individuals in each region in an event, as well as members of the top three relay teams.
Barton's total of 11 included seven for individual events and four for the members of the 4x400-meter relay team. The previous high for the men's program had been nine, earned during last year's outdoor campaign. The total matches the women's record of 11 set in 2014.
Freshman Micah Clemons was a triple honoree, earning all-region acclaim in the shot put, discus and hammer throw. He is just the second member of the men's team to do so, joining teammate Larry Russell, who accomplished the feat last outdoor season.
Clemons, of Greenville, N.C., ranked third in the region in the shot put with a mark of 15.01 meters, which was just recorded on Sunday at the Aggie Last Chance meet hosted by North Carolina A&T. He finished fourth in the region in the discus with a toss of 44.05 meters posted at the USC Open, and fifth in the hammer with a throw of 50.47 meters produced during an all-conference finish at the Conference Carolinas Championships. All three marks are Barton school records for the NCAA Division II era.
Russell, of Sicklerville, N.J., earned all-region status in the long jump and high jump for the second straight outdoor season after winning both events at the Conference Carolinas Championships. He led the Southeast Region and ranked eighth nationally with his long jump of 7.56 meters, which earned him a spot in the NCAA Division II national meet next week. The sophomore placed third in the region with his high jump mark of 2.07 meters. The long jump mark is an overall school record and the high jump mark is an outdoor record.
Senior Semaj Street was honored in the 200-meter dash after his school-record and conference runner-up time of 21.18 seconds at the Conference Carolinas Championships. The mark ranked third in the Southeast, giving him all-region status in an individual event for the third straight outdoor season. He is the first Barton male to accomplish that feat, a milestone he also achieved indoors.
Street was also recognized as one of the four members of Barton's all-region 4x400-meter relay team, which ranked third in the Southeast with a school-record time of 3:14.77 recorded at the league championships. The Fayetteville, N.C., resident completed his accomplished career with nine total indoor and outdoor all-region awards, including those for relays.
Jones, of Blounts Creek, N.C., also picked up an individual award this year in the 400-meter run after placing fifth in the region with a time of 48.16 seconds set at the USC Open. It was his first individual honor outdoors, although he has twice been named all-region in the indoor 400.
Collectively, the group led the Bulldogs to a third-place conference finish and a sixth-place regional ranking in the USTFCCCA's NCAA Division II Regional Team Index.