Eliud Rutto Ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Indoor 800-Meter

Blue Raiders finish day at TSU with six first-place finishes

February 1, 2014 · @MTAthletics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's and women's track & field teams produced 16 personal best times and six first-place finishes at the TSU Invite and the women's team captured first place. Sophomore Eliud Rutto competed at the Hilton Garden Invitational in Winstom Salem, N.C. as part of the Camel City Elite Races on his way to a second place finish in the 800-meter and the NCAA's best time of 1:47.45.

Rutto lost to 2008 and 2012 Olympic qualifier Nick Symmonds, who also was a silver medalist at the 2013 Moscow World Championships. Symmonds finished with a time of 1:48.64 while Rutto finished with a total time of 1:48.98. His NCAA best time of 1:47.45 comes after track conversion due to the JDL Fast Track being 200 meters.

"He [Rutto] did a very good job and it was a good race," said Head Coach Dean Hayes. "He ran a great race and we are very happy for him."

The women's squad highlighted the team performances at the TSU Invite, having 13 of the new personal-best times and four first place finishes.

Shaina Johnson took home her second first place in the 400-meters this season and set a new best time of 55.64. Johnson previously won last week at Vanderbilt and then had set a new career-best time of 55.81. Along with Johnson, India Hammond set a new distance in the triple jump, leaping 12.73 meters to a first place finish. Hammonds also set a new personal-best time in the 55-meter hurdles (8.01) and placed second behind teammate Christal Wilson (7.97).

Freshman Jackline Kiprono competing in the 5,000-meters for the first time indoors, placed first with a time of 17:45.26.

The men's team had the remaining three personal-best times and two first place finishes. Teammates Andre Hamilton (22.04) and Demitrius Shelton (22.09) battled it out in the 200-meter and finished first and second, respectively.

Cordario Golden led the group of field athletes with a first place finish in the triple-jump (15.08m) while newcomer Vincent Okot (14.60) placed fifth in his first collegiate meet. Okot also leaped 6.77 meters in the long jump for 11th place overall, behind Golden's (7.16m) fifth place finish and Kameron Rory's (7.03m) seventh.

Kenneth Gilstrap led the group of collegiate runners in the 55-meter dash to a second overall finish and time of 6.36. Gilstrap lost to Trell Kimmons, who helped team USA win silver in the 4x100-meter relays in the 2012 London Games.

The Blue Raiders are scheduled to take a week off and will be back in action at two separate meets, the Iowa State Classic Feb. 14-15 in Ames, Iowa and the Cupid Classic Feb. 14 in Birmingham, Ala.

Team Scores:
With team scores being released Sunday due to the amount of teams, the MT women's team captured first place at the TSU Invite over Tennessee State 33.50 to 28.33. The men's squad finished fourth after accumulating 20 points. TSU placed first (34), Eastern Kentucky second (26) and Lipscomb (23) to round out the teams that finished ahead of the MT men.

Men's Personal Bests:
Bryson Lillard (55-meter hurdles, 7.54)
Vincent Okot (Triple jump, 14.60m) (Long jump, 6.77m)

Women's Personal Bests:
Barbara Vilson (Triple jump, 11.75m)
India Hammond (Triple jump, 12.73m) (55-meter hurdles, 8.01)
Jessica Howell (Long jump, 5.85m) (55-meter hurdles, 8.70) (55-meter dash, 7.39)
Atarah Abdullah-Muhammad (Long jump, 5.66m)
Jackline Kiprono (5,000-meter, 17:45.26)
Hannah Northam (800-meter, 2:34.86)
Shaina Johnson (400-meter, 55.64)
Chelsea Caldwell (400-meter, 59.16) (200-meter, 26.27)
Ashley Henry (55-meter, 7.50)

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.