Men's Track & Field Concludes Competition At NCAA Championships
SACRAMENTO, CA - The Clemson men's track and field team concluded competition at the 2003 NCAA Championships with two All-Americans. Itay Magidi finished eighth in the 3,000m steeplechase to score for the Tigers, and George Kitchens garnered All-America honors in the long jump with a 10th-place finish. Arkansas won the 2003 team title with 59 points, Auburn took second with 50 points, and Southern California claimed third place with 41.50 points. Clemson tied for 70th with one point.
Magidi, a freshman from Yavne, Israel, earned his first All-America honor in the steeplechase with a career-best time of 8:36.92. His previous personal-best performance was 8:40.80 set at the East Region Championships. Magidi has set season-bests in each of the four steeplechases in which he has competed this season. His performance at the NCAA Championships ranks third on Clemson's all-time list in the event, and he is the first steeplechase All-American at Clemson since 1981. In fact, Magidi's top-eight performance is the first by a distance athlete since 1993.
Kitchens earned All-America honors after placing 10th in the long jump. As one of the top eight Americans in the finals, the sophomore from Hephzibah, GA, earned his first All-America accolade. Kitchens recorded his best mark of the day (24'9.75") in his first attempt. He is Clemson's all-time leader in the long jump with his personal-best mark of 25'10.75". Kitchens is the first jumper since 1999 to earn the honor, and only the second long jumper to claim All-America honors in Clemson history.
Ryan Lewis also made Clemson history this week in the pole vault. With his invitation to the NCAA Championships, Lewis became the first Clemson pole vaulter to compete at the NCAA Championships. He cleared 16'4.75" to finish the season ranked 16th. Lewis is third on Clemson's all-time list in the vault with a mark of 16'10.75".
Rick Hill finished 14th in the decathlon, and became the second decathlete to advance to the NCAA Championships since 1988. The junior from Chapel Hill, NC, tallied 7,117 points, his second-best career performance. Hill posted a career-best clearance of 14'9.25" in the pole vault to highlight his meet. He ranks fourth on the Tigers' all-time list in the decathlon with 7,327 points.
Senior Otto Spain concluded his career at Clemson with a semifinal appearance in the 400m, and also as a member of the 4x400m relay team. The native of Columbia, SC, tied his career-best time of 45.57 in the trials of the 400m but did not advance to the finals of the event. Clemson's 4x400m relay team of Michael Bolling, Roy Cheney, Jacey Harper and Spain recorded a time of 3:09.47 in the qualifying round of the event, but did not advance to the finals.
Airese Currie suffered an injury prior to the beginning of the meet, but contested the 100m and 200m dashes. The sophomore from Columbia, SC, did not qualify for the semifinals of either event.
The Tigers' 4x100m relay team of Larry Griffin, Tye Hill, Ronald Richards and Jacey Harper ran a time of 39.69 in the preliminaries of that event. The 400m team was edged for a berth in the finals by a mere four-hundredths of one second.