by Benny Benton
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Barton College freshman Jasmine Watson and junior Courtney Ricks both reached the finals of the 60-meter hurdles with top-five performances, and accounted for two of the eight personal records set by Lady Bulldogs over the weekend at the Buccaneer Invitational.
Watson broke the Barton school record with a run of 8.91 seconds in the preliminary round that earned third place in a field of 34. She also took over the top spot on the NCAA Division II Southeast Region performance list with the mark.
Ricks won her heat, beating four NCAA Division I runners to the line in the process, and claimed fifth place overall in the preliminary round with a personal record time of 9.12 seconds.
The marks earned the two runners, both from Suffolk, Va., spots in the semifinals, where Watson posted a time of 9.03 to place fourth and Ricks recorded a time of 9.22 seconds to finish eighth.
Those results advanced both runners to Saturday's finals, where Watson again placed fourth with a time of 9.0 seconds and Ricks finished right behind her in fifth with a mark of 9.17 seconds.
Barton had two other team members earn top-15 results during the meet. Senior Sharon Kiptoo placed 14th out of 58 participants in the 800-meter run with a season-best time of 2:23.18, and sophomore Kelsey Poole claimed 14th out of 37 in the shot put with a toss of 11.56 meters, which was less than a tenth of a meter off her own school record set last month in the same facility.
In the 5000-meter run, sophomore Meghan Araldi chopped an entire minute off per previous personal record in posting a mark of 20:09.46. The time is just 16 seconds off the indoor school record.
Also breaking PRs were Andrea Mills in 200-meter dash (28.05 seconds) and 400-meter run (1:03.89), and Nikki Helton in the 60-meter dash (9.05 seconds) and 200-meter dash (29.74). Senior Judith Melly established a benchmark PR in the 5000-meter run (21:05.85) by competing in the event indoors for the first time collegiately.
The meet served as the team's final tune-up for the Conference Carolinas Indoor Championships, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18, at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.