Jan. 21, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - South Carolina track and field competed at the Auburn Invitational Saturday night in what was the first big meet of the season with many of the top teams from the southeast competing at the new Birmingham CrossPlex facility.
SEC foes Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee were all present at the meet in addition to nationally-ranked programs that included UCF, Clemson, Florida State and Texas.
The Gamecock men posted four top five finishes at the meet, led by sophomore Clayton Gravesande placing third overall in the 400-meter dash at 48.34. Gravesande also ran the first leg of the men's 4x400-meter relay team (Gravesande, Eric Winfrey, Chris Royster, Chris Maxwell) that placed fifth overall at 3:16.09.
Junior Jarrod Hutchen continued his strong opening form with a third-place finish in the long jump at 24'1 ½ (7.35m). In the men's 200-meter dash, Royster took fourth at 21.56 to pace the Gamecocks.
Freshman Damiere Byrd made his track & field debut as the top Gamecock finisher in the men's 60-meter dash. Byrd placed 12th overall in his first collegiate meet at a time of 6.79.
Senior Kierre Beckles placed seventh in the 60-meter hurdle finals at 8.41. The three women's shot putters - Stacee Roberts, Katie Vuckovich and Breanna Radford - all placed within inches of each other to hit season highs in a 9-10-11 finish. Roberts took ninth at 47'5 ¾ (14.47m) and was followed successively by Vuckovich (47'4 ½ // 14.44m) and Radford (46'11 ½ // 14.31m).
Freshmen Sarah Graham and Jemekia Wilson both hit collegiate bests in the high jump at 5'4 in a busy day that saw both compete in three events. The multi-event athletes also competed in the 60-meter hurdles and as members of the second 4x400-meter relay team.
The Gamecocks host their first meet of the season Wednesday afternoon at the USC Indoor Facility.
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