Johnson City, Tenn. - Senior Ashlei Alexander posted two top five finishes, and Gardner-Webb put two in the Top 3 of the men's weight throw to highlight a strong first day for the Runnin' Bulldogs at the Niswonger Invitational, hosted by East Tennessee State University.
In finals of the women's weight throw, Alexander (Queens, N.Y.) took 4th after tossing 16.63 m. GWU also put junior Jasmine Miles (Amelia, Va.) in the top 10, as she achieved the 7th best distance at 16.19 m.
Junior Kyntoya Hansford (Miami, Fla.) and senior Yazzming Lee (Paterson, N.J.) threw a 14.40 m and 13.86 m in the event, placing 11th and 16th respectively. Hansford's performance during Friday's finals session marked a season best.
Senior Ivana Hughes (Evans, Ga.) took 6th place for the Runnin' Bulldogs in the women's 800 m Run, posting a time of 2:16.43.
Pole vaulters Taylor Cook (Boone, N.C.) and Megan Melton cracked the top 8, posting distances of 3.20 m and 3.05 m to finish 6th and 8th respectively.
Alexander continued a stellar first day at the Niswonger Invitational with a 5th place finish in the women's shot put. The senior threw 12.86 m in the event.
Junior Kristen Hurley (Columbia, Conn.) led the Runnin' Bulldogs during prelims of the women's 60 m hurdles, racing to a time of 9.19, the 8th fastest time posted Friday.
Hurley's time lands her in event finals for Saturday.
In the men's weight throw, freshman Alex Young (LaVergne, Tenn.) put up the best performance of his collegiate career, tossing 17.46 m in the men's weight throw to finish 2nd. Junior Carson Sears (Suwanee, Ga.) followed in 3rd place after throwing 17.36 m in the event.
Senior Andy Scates (Shelby, N.C.) finished 13th (13.43 m), and freshman A.J. White (Hurricane, W.Va.) took 15th place (12.58 m), giving the Runnin' Bulldogs four top 20 performers in the event.
In the 800 m Run, senior Josiah Stanton-Brooks (Seattle, Wash.) led the GWU men with a 3rd place finish, racing to a time of 1:55.68.
Junior distance specialist Mike McClay (Lawrenceville, Ga.) achieved a time of 15:59.28 in the men's 5000 m run, good enough for 18th in the timed finals session.
Freshman Josh Wembolua sprinted to the 3rd fastest time during prelims of the men's 60 m hurdles. The Runnin' Bulldog rookie achieved a time of 8.49 in the event.
With the time, Wembolua qualifies to compete in finals of the 60 m hurdles on Saturday.
In the men's 400 m dash, Gardner-Webb's Miles Harris (Atlanta, Ga.) posted the 17th fastest time during event prelims. The sophomore raced to a time of 51.38 in the event to qualify for Saturday's finals session.
Gardner-Webb put itself in great opportunities to compete among the nation's best after a stellar first day. NCAA teams participating in the Invitational include Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State, and Georgia State. Local track star and 2012 London Olympic medalist Manteo Mitchell, a Crest High School and Western Carolina University alum, competed under Nike's banner on day one.
Competition will resume on day two, beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.