CLEMSON, SC - The Clemson track & field program opens its 2014 indoor season Saturday at home by hosting six schools from across the Southeast in the Orange & Purple Classic. The meet gets underway with the men's and women's long jump and women's weight throw at 11 a.m., followed by the start of running events at 1 p.m. Teams expected to compete in the event are Anderson, East Tennessee State, Georgia Tech, UNC Asheville, SC State and Virginia. Live results are available at TimingInc.com.
Clemson has produced four straight indoor ACC titles and four consecutive top-10 NCAA finishes in women's indoor track & field, but the Tigers are without a number of pieces key to their run over that stretch. The Tigers do return a pair of All-Americans and four additional student-athletes who have competed in past NCAA Championship meets.
On the men's side, Clemson is coming off a third-place ACC Indoor finish from 2013 but has lost the services of standout hurdlers Spencer Adams and Marcus Maxey (graduation), and will be without Brunson Miller (eligibility) until outdoor season. Still, first-year Head Coach Mark Elliott inherits a team that returns a pair of All-Americans in the sprints and veterans across the jumping events as well.
The Tigers look to a new group of senior leaders from both teams, starting this weekend. On the women's side, Christy Gasparino and Lauren Terstappen are All-ACC level athletes in the pole vault. The two compete at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Another female jumper, Mimi Land, returns after earning ACC Freshman of the Year honors a season ago. Land is competing in the long jump (11 a.m.) and high jump (5 p.m.) Saturday.
On the track, the women's team takes on an entirely new look without the likes of Brianna Rollins, Dezerea Bryant, Jasmine Edgerson, Keni Harrison and Stormy Kendrick. In their place, the coaches look for recent graduate Whitney Fountain to step up after returning to her natural event areas, the sprints and long jump. Fountain will run the 60 dash (2:20 p.m.) and also compete in the long jump Saturday.
The men's team has great depth in the field events. While reigning outdoor All-American Jameel Abdul-Mateen is out of the action this weekend, several other standouts are for Elliott's squad. Shai Carpenter (triple jump) and Torian Ware (high jump) lead the way for the Tigers at 3 and 5 p.m., respectively. Ware competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships last winter. In addition, several freshmen with high expectations in the pole vault and throws are in action Saturday.
Tevin Hester and Reggie Lewis were both short sprint All-Americans in 2013, and both are entered in the 60 dash prelims (2:35 p.m.) Saturday. Hester was also the ACC Indoor Freshman of the Year. Aaron Ramirez is a returning standout in the middle distance and leads a group ofthree in the 800 meters at 4:45 p.m.
Clemson has both distance medley and 4x400 relay teams scheduled to run across both genders Saturday as well. The 4x4 action concludes the meet, the women at 6:40 p.m. and the men at 6:55.