BRISTOL, Tenn. – Coming off one of the most successful season's in program history, the King University men's track & field team is hungry to exceed this year's expectations. The Tornado took the Conference Carolinas Indoor championship in 2013, but came up just short in the outdoor meet leaving room for improvement in 2014.
Head coach Amanda Williamson will look to juniors Justin Newring, Reggie Warren, Alson Edgecombe and Jordan Tippens to lead the sprinters in her inaugural campaign. The quartet won the 4x100 meter relay, and finished second in the 4x400 meter relay at the Conference Carolinas Outdoor Championships a season ago. This 4x400 meter relay team was named All-Region by the USTFCCCA. They also took home a second place finish in the 4x400 meter relay at the Conference Carolinas Indoor Championships.
"Those four guys are kind of the meat of the sprint group, they have experience which is great and they are able to lead the freshmen and sophomores" Williamson said. "It's going to be great to see Justin, Reggie, Alson and Jordan to step up and be real leaders on the team and have the core in the sprint and jumping group."
Newring looks to be at the top of this group as he finished in the top-5 in a total of five individual events at the Conference Carolinas Indoor and Outdoor Championships a season ago. During the outdoor season, the Knoxville, Tenn., native won the 200 meter dash after finishing second in the indoor season. Newring and Warren took home a 2-3 finish in the 400 meter dash during the indoor season and Warren finished second to Newring in the 200 meter dash at the outdoor meet.
The distance runners should be paced by the trio Spencer Frantom, Jordan Noe and Brent Swiney. Frantom became the first runner in King history to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships as he qualified in the 10,000 meter run a season ago. The senior will be looking to duplicate that feat in 2014. At the outdoor conference championships, Frantom finished fourth in the 5,000 meter run while taking a second place finish in the 10,000 meter run. He earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors in both events. Swiney and Noe both came home with titles from the outdoor conference meet as Swiney won the 1,500 meter run and Noe was the 3,000 meter steeplechase champion. Noe earned All-Region honors from the USTFCCCA in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
"Frantom came back with all this great experience to tell the rest of the team, I think it just motivates the rest of the athletes to hit those times that need to be hit to go and experience and see other collegiate athletes out there that compete at the national level," stated Williamson. "So it not only motivates him to continue to have the success that he had, but also the other athletes as well."
In the field events, Tom Lamkin and Jeremy Stamper look to improve upon stellar 2013 seasons. Stamper took home the conference title in the hammer throw while Lamkin wasn't far behind in third place. Stamper also finished third in the shot put and fourth in the discus throw en route to being named the league's Male Field Athlete of the Year. Eric Jones returns for his junior season to lead the jumpers after earning All-Region honors from the USTFCCCA in the long jump after last year's indoor season.
The Tornado have competed in one meet so far this season, the Appalachian State University Invitational. Newring posted an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 200 meters with his time of 22.08 seconds. King will kick off their season in January 11 at the Wake Forest Invitational at the JDL FastTrack in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Tornado will then be in action in Johnson City at the Niswonger Invitational hosted by ETSU in Johnson City.
The Conference Carolinas Indoor Championships are scheduled for February 23 at the JDL FastTrack in Winston-Salem while the outdoor championships are scheduled for April 25-26 at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C.