Action began on Friday night when the throwers and jumpers kicked off the competition. For the Lady Tornado, Shelbie Burchfield (Morristown, Tenn.) was one of seven athletes to hit 1.53 meters at the high jump, good for a 13th place finish in a field of 22. In the long jump, Burchfield finished 18th with a 4.80-meter jump. Atlanta Westbrook (Spring Hill, Tenn.) took her first jump of her collegiate career in the triple jump, making a splash in the event by setting her indoor PR at 10.55 meters.
Maegan Henry (Bluefield, Va.) highlighted in the women's shot put with a top-10 finish in the event. Henry threw 11.82 meters, topping all throwers in the NCAA II Division Southeast region. Henry took 13th place in the weight throw (11.89m) while Miranda Broesche reached 10.27 meters for a 19th place finish. Both of Henry's finishes in her throwing events were new personal records.
The Tornado continued setting new personal records in both the 200 and 400-meter races. Lanneickia Brewton (Inman, S.C.) set a new indoor PR and finished 14th in the 400-meter dash, crossing the line at 1:00.34. Teammate Ashley Ruth (Cleveland, Tenn.) finished two spots and less than a second behind Brewton in 16th place, also setting a new indoor PR.
In the 4x4 relay race, the grouping of Ashley Ruth, Atlanta Westbrook, Callie Todt and Lanneickia Brewton finished with the fastest opening time in Tornado women's program history. The team finished in sixth place, just four seconds outside of a top-5 finish, with a combined time of 4:04.04. The team finished ahead of local Division I rival East Tennessee State by more nearly six seconds and finished ahead of regional rivals Milligan College and Mars Hill by more than 25 seconds.
Freshman Alexis Robinson (Belton, S.C.) hit a new indoor PR by finishing in the top half of the 41-man field with a 27.14 time.
The men's throwers had an impressive day at the Invitational. Rickey Bell broke a school record and had a top-10 finish in the shot put event, registering a new PR with a 14.16 meter throw. Justin Power (Alamogordo, N.M.) finished in the top half of the field with a 13.50 meter toss, good for 13th place in the event.
Bell set a second PR in the weight throw, marking a 13.98 meter throw and a 13th place finish in the event. Teammates Jonathan Outen (Maynardville, Tenn.) and Tom Lampkin (Troy Grove, Ill.) also set new personal records with throws of 13.10m and 11.84m, respectively.
On the track, sophomore Earl Rahming (Nassau, Bahamas) blazed a trail in the 400-meter race, completing a top-5 finish in the event. He crossed the finish line in 49.98 to finish in fifth place out of runners.
In the 200-meter, Reggie Warren (Knoxville, Tenn.) set a new indoor PR while finishing 18th of 40 runners with a time of 23.20, less than a second off the pace of the event winner.
Warren and Rahming teamed up as part of a four-man team for the men's 4x4. The team ran competitively, finishing eighth out of 21 teams. Jordan Tippens and Hunter Ford were the second half of the team that finished with a time of 3:27.05.
Also setting a new indoor personal record in the triple jump, local product Eric Jones (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit the 11.86 meter mark.
"It is really early but what we see is really encouraging for the season ahead," said Head Coach Peter Dalton. "We are pretty pleased. We have a lot of freshmen coming into this season but they have done really well in their first meet and those returning came out ready to begin a fresh start for themselves and the program."
The Tornado will compete next in a return to Boone, N.C. for a second stint at an indoor open on Jan. 21.