Johnson City Press: ETSU enjoys 1-mile flourish at Buccaneer Invitational

ETSU enjoys 1-mile flourish at Buccaneer Invitational

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Feb 3, 2018 at 9:46 PM

East Tennessee State's distance runners put some distance between themselves and the competition in the 1-mile races Saturday at the Buccaneer Invitational Track Meet.

Running on their home Dave Walker Track inside the MSHA Athletic Center, the Bucs had 1-2 finishes in both the men's and women's 1-mile.

The Bucs actually swept the top three spots in the men's race.

Simeon Roberts set a meet record with a run of 4:09.27 to finish ahead of teammates Adam Bradtmueller (4:10.51) and Matthew Scarr (4:16.78).

It added to the Bucs setting a school record of 10:05.41 in the distance medley relay on Friday.

"We got to a lap to go and Adam was like, 'Let's go.' That helped motivate me the last lap," Roberts said. "We won the DMR yesterday and to come out here where guys set p.r. (personal records) in the mile — so that was nice to see."

Despite setting the sweep and setting the meet record, Roberts admitted he wanted to do more during Saturday's race.

"I really wanted the school record, so hopefully I will get a school record in the 3k next week," he said.

A couple of local products also had memorable runs. Former Science Hill runner Noah Charles finished sixth (4:18) for ETSU, while former Daniel Boone runner Mitch Bronstetter won the section 3 race at 4:31 for Milligan College.

A pair of ETSU freshmen also posted a 1-2 finish in the women's 1-mile run.

Colbie Williamson raced to the win at 5:12.91, just .030 ahead of runner-up Heather Feuchtenberger.

"I had been looking forward to this race for a long time," Williamson said. "The last time I ran a mile, I ran 5:22 — so this was over a nine-second p.r.

“I’m just so thankful for (ETSU director of track and field) Coach (George) Watts and (women's distance) Coach (Catherine) Layne. They've always been there to help me with my training and making me a better runner."

Williamson played out her strategy just right and made her winning kick with a lap and a half to go. She knew some of the toughest competition individually would come from her teammate.

"I felt really good and I knew Heather has a lot of foot speed and I don't," Williamson said. "I'm not as quick as she is and I felt if I was going to make a move, I had to make it sooner than the rest of the girls since I'm not as fast."

Feuchtenberger, who ran at nearby Elizabethton High School, liked running in front of a friendly crowd. She said the support of the home crowd made a difference in the closing moments of the 1-mile run.

"It was a fun race," she said. "I think we had a great home advantage and that's what I liked about it. It was only my second race in the indoor season, but Colbie and I ran cross country together and it was easy to pick it up when she did. It really worked out for us."

Feuchtenberger has been pleased to stay close to home and compete for the local university. She's found the experience so far to be quite similar to her high school days.

"It's been a really fun experience as a freshman," she said. "It's cool to see the Buccaneer spirit and see what that's like. We had a strong team bond at Elizabethton and it's been that way here, so that wasn't much difference. It's just the competitive level is so much higher than when I ran at Elizabethton."

ETSU also posted a 1-2-3 finish in the men's 5,000 on Friday night. Former Daniel Boone standout Ben Varghese won at 14:32, followed by teammates Soresa Gemechu at 15:07 and Carl Oberfeitinger at 15:10.

Kyra Atkins also picked up a win for ETSU on Saturday, running 8.50 in the women's 60-meter hurdles. The other major highlight of the meet was Ben Johnson shattering the Buccaneer record Friday with a heave of 70 feet, 2 1/4 inches in the men's weight throw. It was over 12 feet longer than the next farthest throw.

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