Clemson wins ACC Championship
Tigers capture six individual events to cruise to victory
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Clemson won six individual events and both relays on Saturday to clinch its third consecutive indoor/outdoor sweep of the ACC championships. Dezerea Bryant won two individual sprints, while Marlena Wesh won the 400 in record fashion and contributed to both relay victories at Lannigan Field. The Tigers won by an 85-point margin ahead of runner-up Virginia, the largest point differential since 1994 at the ACC outdoor meet.
“This feels brand new every time, it never gets old,” said director of track & field Lawrence Johnson. “I can go on forever winning championships. Dezerea and Marlena had some terrific performances from start to finish. The value they bring is unmatched. We were dead set on winning every sprint available on the track, and I think we did. I couldn’t ask for any more out of the group.”
Bryant produced a meet record in her 100-meter dash win. Bryant had a time of 11.29 -- third-best in Clemson history. She had to hold off teammate Marlena Wesh in the 200, but did so with a personal best 23.05. Bryant swept all ACC short sprints as a freshman in 2012, as she won both indoors as well.
Wesh’s ACC record time of 51.43 in the 400-meter dash was a personal highlight. She also charged in the final meters of the 200, finishing runner-up to Bryant by a mere hundredth of a second to earn all-conference recognition.
The 4x100 won for a third consecutive year. The team of Bridgette Owens, Wesh, Bryant and Jasmine Edgerson compiled a time of 43.58 in a dominating performance. Edgerson, the common link to all three victorious 4x100 relays, was also runner-up to Bryant in the 100-meter dash. The 4x400 relay team of Nia Fluker, Brittany Pringley, Keni Harrison and Wesh recorded a season-best 3:33.68 and came back to win in grand style after North Carolina took the lead early in the third leg.
Clemson had a pair of first-time champions crowned in the hurdles on Saturday. Owens (13.03) won her first individual crown in the 100 hurdles, and then freshman Harrison (57.33) set a facility record in the 400 hurdles with a strong push over the final stretch of the race.
Harrison was also all-conference with a bronze medal in the 100 hurdles.
Monique Gracia was runner-up in the 100 hurdles, earning her first individual All-ACC honor.
“Keni just kept coming and coming,” Johnson said. “I’m very impressed with how she handled herself at these championships.”
April Sinkler won the high jump, her eighth career ACC crown, and was runner-up in the triple jump. She cleared the high jump bar at 5’11.5” to give her three consecutive ACC titles in the outdoor event. She then jumped 43’5” in the triple jump to cap a 26-point scoring weekend for the Tigers. Sinkler concluded her career with 14 All-ACC performances, third-most in school history.
Sinkler was named the ACC’s Most Valuable Field Performer for the sixth time in her decorated career. She also became the first athlete since former Georgia Tech star Chaunte Howard to win three ACC outdoor high jump titles in a career.
“April has had an outstanding carer in her time at Clemson,” Johnson said. “To see her perform at a high level in a short weekend was phenomenal. She has the ability to step up and make it happen, she’s a tremendous competitor. She has not high jump trained a day this calendar year. But we decided to at the last minute, and she said, ‘Sure!’ She found an approach she liked and for her to win was tremendous.”