The Claflin University baseball team is ranked No. 5 in the Black College Nines HBCU small schools poll announced on Tuesday.

The poll is separated into two divisions, large schools (NCAA Division I) and small schools (NCAA Division II, NAIA and Independent).

The Panthers were ranked fourth in the poll two weeks ago. The standings are announced every other Tuesday through May 21.

Claflin, which will host Morehouse College in a 3-game series this Saturday-Sunday, currently carries a 14-10 record.

Richard gets MEAC track honor

NORFOLK, Va. — South Carolina State senior Tyrell Richard was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Men’s Track Athlete of the Week, the conference office announced.

Richard (Sr., Georgetown) picked up right where he left off from the indoor season, winning the 200-meter dash at the Buccaneer Invitational this past weekend with a time of 20.65. That time is not only the fastest in the MEAC so far this season, it also ranks Richard second in the nation behind only Jo’vaughn Martin of Sam Houston State.

Bethea captures gold to lead Claflin

COLUMBIA – Lonesha Bethea threw a 25.42 meters (83’5”) en route to capturing gold in the javelin to lead the Claflin University women's track and field team at the CIU Invitational hosted by Columbia International University on Saturday, March 23. The Lady Panthers finished fourth overall out of 14 teams.

Daija Pegues was the top finisher on the track for Claflin, finishing second in the 400 meters in a time of 61.32. Kiara Belton finished third in both the 100 and 200 meters, clocking season best times in both, 12.17 and 25.34, respectively.

Ty’sha Hamon-Dubose also finished in the top five, running a 61.67 in the 400 meters to finish fifth.

The 4x400 meter relay team of Ishawn Francis, Pegues, Belton and Hamon-Dubose finished second in a time of 4:21.22 and the 4x100 meter relay of Belton, Jayda Teasley, Hamon-Dubose and Da’Ja Smalls ran a 48.94 to finish fourth.

In the field, Zaria Nelson finished first and third in the discus and hammer, respectively. Nelson throw a 42.07 meters (138’0) in the discus and 33.80 meters (110’11”) in the hammer.

Ayannah Harrell finished second in the javelin with a throw of 25.03 meters (82’1”).

USC signee is Ms. Basketball – again

COLUMBIA – For the third straight season, South Carolina women's basketball signee Brea Beal (Rock Island, Ill./Rock Island) was named Ms. Basketball of Illinois. Her vote total was more than the next three finishers combined and made her just the second three-time Ms. Basketball winner in the state's history, joining Candace Parker in that category.

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Beal, a six-foot guard ranked 13th overall in the 2019 signing class, averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds in her senior season at Rock Island, helping the team to a 30-2 record and a sectional championship.

Playing in the McDonald's All America Game Wednesday night, she also counts Naismith High School All-America Third Team and WBCA All-America among her other national honors this season. The four-time Quad City Times All-Metro First Team selection also retained her spot on the Illinois AP Class 4A All-State First Team.

Beal and future Gamecock teammates Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke were to play in the McDonald's All America Game.

Laeticia Amihere and Olivia Thompson complete the Gamecocks' signing class, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Samuel sets school record

COLUMBIA – Domenic Samuel set the school record in the 800 meters and Derick St. Jean met the NCAA DII Outdoor Track and Field Championship provisional mark in the 200 meters as the Claflin University men’s track and field team finished third out of 16 teams at the CIU Invitational hosted by Columbia International University, Saturday (Mar. 23).

Samuel ran a school record 1:53.32 en route to capturing gold in the 800 meters while St. Jean finished first in the 200 meters in a time of 21.29. St. Jean was also a member of the 4x100 meter relay team who finished second in the meet.

The Claflin men showed a marked improvement in the meet, finishing with several top 10 performers.

Davion McKnight-Allen ran a 21.47 and 10.88 to finish third and fourth in the 200 and 100 meters, respectively.

Track newcomer Ashtin Knowles ran a 49.32 to finish second in the 400 meters while the 4x400 meter relay team of RaShamel Bannister, Joshua Bell, Knowles and LaCarlos Watlington ran a 3:19.40 en route to capturing gold.

The 4x100 meter relay team of Knowles, McKnight-Allen, Watlington and St. Jean finished second in a time of 42.32.

The CIU Invitational saw the Panther field eventers have their best outing of the young season.

MaQuette Bizzell, Jr. jumped a 12.58 meters (41’3.25”) in the triple jump to finish second.

Thrower Isaiah Milhouse finished third in both the hammer and javelin. Milhouse threw 28.98 meters (95’1”) in the hammer and 33.41 meters (109’7”) in the javelin.

Claflin will return to action this weekend, Friday-Saturday, traveling to Spartanburg to participate in the Terrier Relays.

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