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Pioneers set 10 school records, qualify four for nationals at USC Open

Pioneers set 10 school records, qualify four for nationals at USC Open

COLUMBIA, S.C. --- The Tusculum University men's and women's track and field teams set 10 school records, broke three South Atlantic Conference records and had four NCAA Division II qualifying performances in their final regular-season meet of the indoor season Saturday at the USC Open, hosted by the University of South Carolina.

Sprinter Widchard Guervil won the men's 60 meters in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 6.72 seconds, and also provisionally qualified for the 200 meters with a school-record time of 21.29 seconds. Distance runner Nicole McMillen set her third conference record of the season in the mile, running 4:53.57 to earn a spot on the NCAA provisional list. Hachlaine Petit broke her own conference record in the 400 meters at 56.65 seconds, and was part of the 4x400-meter relay that also broke their SAC record and provisionally qualified for nationals at 3:50.05.

The Pioneers will compete at the SAC Indoor Track & Field Championships at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1.

Guervil was the top qualifier in the 60 meters with a time of 6.77 seconds, then beat a field that included a pair of top Chinese university runners along with two Division I sprinters. Guervil's time of 6.72 seconds is the third-fastest in school history, behind his performances at the 2018 NCAA Division II Championship, and is the second-fastest in the SAC this season. Thurlow Wilkins, who advanced to the finals with a time of 6.94 seconds, ran 6.93 in the finals and took sixth overall.

In the 200 meters, Guervil was third at 21.29 seconds to break his own school record of 21.58 seconds set at last year's USC Open. His time was also the second-best in the conference this season and moves him into the top 10 on the Division II performance list this season.

David Saruni broke his own school record in the 400 meters, running 50.15 seconds to surpass his mark of 50.27 set at the Carolina Challenge on Jan. 31. Jontavus Walker was timed at 51.28 seconds for the sixth-best mark in program history. In the 800 meters, Antonio Aparicio became the first Pioneer to break two minutes as he ran 1:58.11 to finish 10th overall. Aparacio broke the record of 2:00.45 set by J'Quen Johnson at last year's Buccaneer Invitational at ETSU. Kyler Hodges ran 2:01.64 to take over seventh place on the school's top 10 list in the event.

Will Cronin set his third school record of the season, breaking the mark in the mile with a time of 4:23.38. Kyler Hodges, who had the previous record of 4:25.40 set at last year's USC Open, ran 4:26.43 for the third-best time in school history while Taylor Tupps rocketed to fourth on the all-time list with a career-best run of 4:27.72.

The Pioneer 4x400 relay of Saruni, Guervil, Aparicio and Walker ran 3:20.99 to finish third overall and break the school record of 3:25.03 set three weeks ago at the Carolina Challenge. The B team of Tyree Hilliard, Isaac Hybarger, Jonathan Julien and Jamire Thompson finished ninth in 3:34.97.

In field events, Alex Higgins was sixth in the shot put at 13.74 meters (45 feet, 1 inch), the second-best mark in program history behind the 13.80 meters (45 feet, 3 1/2 inches) set by Christian Sisto at last year's Liberty Kickoff. Evan Grooms was 13th in the weight throw, and had his third-best career mark of 12.18 meters (39 feet, 11 1/2 inches).

McMillen, who had set school and conference records and provisionally qualified for nationals in both the 3000 meters and 5000 meters, added the mile to her collection with her fourth-place finish. She led at the midway point of the race before slipping behind runners from Clemson, North Florida and South Carolina in the final results. Her time of 4:53.57 broke her school record of 4:58.23 set at last year's USC Open, and broke the SAC record of 4:55.99 set by Hannah Wolkenhauer of Queens in 2018. McMillen is 17th on the NCAA performance list in the mile, after surpassing the qualifying standard by more than five seconds.

Petit broke her own SAC record of 57.05 in the 400 meters, set Jan. 31 at the Carolina Challenge. Her time of 56.65 seconds placed her 13th overall in the field, and was just shy of the NCAA provisional time of 56.53 seconds. Petit, Ke'Lah McMiller, Kenisha Stubbs and Earthaiza Watkins ran 3:50.05 in the 4x400 relay to surpass their own school and conference record of 3:51.76 set at the Carolina Challenge, and beat the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:51.63.

Also setting school records were freshman Gabrielle Beckett, who broke her own record in the 800 meters by more than 3 1/2 seconds with a time of 2:21.20 that is fourth-fastest in the SAC this season and placed her 13th overall in the event, along with Alyssa Farmer who finished 11th in the shot put and also broke her own school record with a mark of 12.09 meters (39 feet, 8 inches).

In other track events, Emmi Hulse ran 5:31.55 in the mile and took 10th place on the program's all-time top 10 and third on the school performance list. In the 60 meters, Hailey Cole was timed at 8.17 seconds for the 10th-best mark in school history. McMiller had a career-best run of 58.92 seconds in the 400 meters to rank her 10th on the school top 10 list.

In the high jump, Destini Wilson finished ninth overall at 1.54 meters (5 feet, 1/2 inch) to place fourth on the program's top 10 list. Farmer had a mark in the weight throw of 12.90 meters (42 feet, 4 inches) for her second-best throw in program history. Tynaja Stewart had a career-best throw in the shot put of 10.22 meters (33 feet, 6 1/2 inches).

USC Open - at Columbia, S.C.
Tusculum results
60 prelims: 2. Thurlow Wilkins, 6.95; 7. Gerard Hearst, 7.03; 21. Giovanni Purser, 7.16; 24. Devan Hart, 7.18; 39. Pierre Dupuy, 7.29; 41. Zaveon McCluney, 7.31; 50. Jamire Thompson, 7.48.
60 heats: 1. Widchard Guervil, 6.77; 8. Thurlow Wilkins, 6.94; 14. Gerard Hearst, 7.03.
60 finals: 1. Widchard Guervil, 6.72 (NCAA DII automatic qualifier); 6. Thurlow Wilkins, 6.93.
200: 3. Widchard Guervil, 21.29 (school record/NCAA DII provisional qualifier); 44. Devan Hart, 23.12; 45. Gerard Hearst, 23.22; 56. Zaveon McCluney, 23.64; 57. Jamire Thompson, 23.65.
400. 33. David Saruni, 50.15 (school record); 44. Jontavus Walker, 51.28; 61. Isaac Hybarger, 52.56; 73. Tyree Hilliard, 54.21; 75. Jonathan Julien, 54.50.
800: 10. Antonio Aparicio, 1:58.11 (school record); 22. Kyler Hodges, 2:01.64.
Mile: 21. Will Cronin, 4:23.38 (school record); 24. Kyler Hodges, 4:26.43; 26. Taylor Tupps, 4:27.72; 38. Alex Perez, 4:38.03; 41. Carson Walls, 4:39.90; 48. Caleb Archer, 4:48.56.
4x400: 3. Tusculum A (Saruni, Guervil, Aparicio, Walker), 3:20.99 (school record); 9. Tusculum B (Hilliard, Hybarger, Julien, Thompson), 3:34.97.

Long jump: 23. Pierre Dupuy, 5.46m (17-11); 26. Giovanni Purser, 4.83m (15-10 1/4).
Shot put: 6. Alex Higgins, 13.74m (45-1), 11. Mike Peppin, 12.22m (40-1 1/4).
Weight throw: 13. Evan Grooms, 12.18m (39-11 1/2)

60: 28. Hailey Cole, 8.17; 30. Kayneshia Carter, 8.19.
60 hurdles: 19. Kenisha Stubbs, 9.22; 27. Brianna Oats, 9.70; 30. Destini Wilson, 10.68.
200: 45. Kayneshia Carter, 26.93; 56. Hailey Cole, 27.48.
400: 13. Hachlaine Petit, 56.65 (SAC record/school record); 27. Ke'Lah McMiller, 58.92; 30. Kenisha Stubbs, 59.33; 36. Earthaiza Watkins, 1:00.06; 38. Kesia Griffith, 1:00.27; 62. Regina Wol, 1:09.15.
800: 13. Gabrielle Beckett, 2:21.20 (school record); 51. Brittany Bowery, 2:44.32.
Mile: 4. Nicole McMillen, 4:53.57 (SAC record/school record/NCAA DII provisional qualifier); 26. Emmi Hulse, 5:31.55.
4x400: 5. Tusculum A (Petit, McMiller, Stubbs, Watkins), 3:50.05 (SAC record/school record/NCAA DII provisional qualifier); 9. Tusculum B (Griffith, Beckett, Wol, Bowery), 4:29.18.

High jump: 9. Destini Wilson, 1.54m (5-1/2).
Shot put: 11. Alyssa Farmer, 12.09m (39-8) (school record); 24. Tynaja Stewart, 10.22m (33-6 1/2); 34. Destini Wilson, 7.61m (24-11 3/4).
Weight throw: 16. Alyssa Farmer, 12.90m (42-4).






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