NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Corey Claiborne's first attempt in the shot put fell short of expectations Saturday, Belmont University Assistant Track Coach Joe Frye made sure to get his junior thrower's ear. He could do better, Frye reminded him.
Oh, how right he was.
Claiborne's next toss smashed the Bruins' indoor track and field school record by more than 3 feet, the brightest highlight in a day full of them at the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener. Claiborne's Belmont record throw of 56 feet, 2.25 inches (17.12 meters) was one of more than 20 personal bests set by Bruins at the first indoor track meet of the season.
Claiborne (Alpharetta, Ga.), who already owns the school's outdoor record at 53-8.25, surpassed the mark of 52-10.75 set in 2010 by none other than Coach Frye.
"He told me to stop being conservative and really get after it," said Claiborne, recalling the brief conversation before his record throw. "I'm really happy to have him as my mentor."
Claiborne isn't the only thrower off to a hot start for the season. Junior Stephen Gibson (Tuscola, Ill.) had PRs in both the shot put (49-0.75) and weight throw (59-5.75) to finish fifth and second, respectively, and freshman Cal Widener (Elmhurst, Ill.) had his own monster shot toss that Frye labeled the best of any freshman he's coached since joining the Belmont staff in 2012.
Widener was fourth in the shot with a throw of 51-6.5.
"We lost two seniors to graduation, but these marks from today were better than what our seniors put up last year," Frye said. "These could scare some people in the Ohio Valley Conference."
There was a slew of sprinter PRs, led by sophomore Ryan Teague (Double Oak, Tenn.) finishing in 7.05 seconds to take seventh in the 60 meters and junior Andrew Garcia (Brentwood, Tenn.) setting a new personal 200-meter indoor best at 23.23. Sophomore Alex Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo.) set a PR in the 60-meter hurdles (8.55), part of a 6-7-8 finish for Belmont between senior Caleb Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) and junior Ryan Lipe (Franlin, Tenn.), who ran 8.42 and 8.57, respectively.
Back in the field, sophomore Drake Mitchell (Nashville, Tenn.) had his best indoor high jump, matching the 6-4.75 he posted during last spring's outdoor season. He was fifth in the event.
The Bruins will now break for the holidays before returning to Vandy Fieldhouse for the Commodore Invitational on Jan. 12-13.
BELMONT ONLY RESULTS
28. Andrew Garcia, jr., 23.23*
-- Nathan Nammour, jr.
5. Drake Mitchell, so., 6-4.75 (1.95m)*
-- Bobby Willingham, fr.
11. Drake Mitchell, so., 21-2.5 (6.46m)