Sales, Zajac Lead Gamecocks on Final Day at New Balance Collegiate
Feb. 7, 2009
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The South Carolina track and field teams notched four more provisional times and two additional personal bests as the 11th-ranked women and 14th-ranked men concluded competition at the prestigious New Balance Collegiate Invitational held at the Armory Track and Field Center in upper Manhattan.
"Overall I'm pretty pleased with our showing," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "We had great performances on the men side with people like Johnny Dutch in the hurdles, Johnathan Hancock in the 60m and Antonio Sales in the 200m. Sales put in a strong effort today. Those guys are continuing to work towards nationals."
Sophomore Antonio Sales clocked his first provisional time of the year in the 200m after claiming third in the championship final at 21.18. The USA Junior National Champion and SEC Indoor bronze medalist last year as a freshman improved six spots from the prelims to take third Saturday after finishing 11th in the event last season.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Zajac earned his second provisional mark of the season in the weight throw to claim third with a toss of 64-04.00 (19.61m). Competing in a stacked field of throwers, Zajac was the second finisher of nine SEC throwers to compete. Fellow Gamecock Jeff Merkt notched a personal best 55-03.75 (16.83m) to take 17th overall. The throw was more than a foot further than his previous personal best set at the Tom Jones Memorial this year.
Competing in the women's 400m final, Nadonnia Rodrigues and Brandi Cross both ran season bests and provisional times to take fifth and sixth, respectively. Rodrigues ran a 53.50 and Cross improved her time to 53.95.
In the women's high jump, freshman Cory Bowen jumped a season best 05-05.25 (1.66m) to claim second overall. The height ties the South Carolina season high this season. Shantelle Patterson bested her previous weight throw PR by almost three feet when she took 17th in the event at 51-02.75 (15.61m).
Marvin Reitze competed for the Gamecocks in the pole vault championship flight, clearing 16-06.75 (5.05m) to place 11th overall. In the college division, Matt Shuler and Kevin Brinkley each jumped season bests with Shuler taking fifth at 15-09.00 (4.80m) and Brinkley taking 16th at 15-03.00 (4.65m).
The Gamecocks ran four underclassmen in the women's 200m dash, and the two sophomores ran their respective season bests. All-Americans Shayla Mahan and Gabrielle Glenn both ran a 24.50 with Glenn winning her heat. Mahan, running in just her second meet after an injury in December, placed 18th and Glenn took 19th. Freshmen Breehana Jacobs and Kelsey McCorkle also ran in the event for Carolina.
Three of those four combined to lead Carolina to a second place finish in the women's 4x200m relay. Mahan, McCorckle, Radiance Basden and Jacobs ran a 1:39.25 to claim second in the event. The men matched the placement as Lamar Markett, Bryce Sherman, Booker Nunley and Eddie Stoudemire ran a 1:27.95 to also claim second.
"The women's 200m was a little disappointing," Frye said. "Shayla Mahan is still recovering from a car accident she had during the Christmas Break. She still hasn't gotten back to where she was before that."
Bad fortune befell both relay teams in the premier event as the women's relay suffered a disqualification after a fifth place finish and the men's team was in position for first before a dropped baton. The women's 4x400m relay narrowly missed the provisional standard with a run of 3:40.24 before the disqualification was called after the race for a cut before the break. The men's 4x400m relay team ran a 3:15.63 after a dropped handoff slowed the Gamecocks from their first position.
Other Gamecocks competing include distance runners Danielle Barnes in the mile and Laura Pramstaller in the 800m. Freshman Radiance Basden competed in the triple jump. David Zaycek in the weight throw was the only senior to compete Saturday in any event for South Carolina.
"We're not senior oriented," Frye said. "We still have a lot of youth and not a lot of senior or juniors leading us. With that, we're missing our one senior leader in Jason Richardson (who did not travel this weekend). For our kids to come out, perform well and make finals without that senior leadership makes me happy because this is a big meet with probably 90 percent of the top teams in the country here."
South Carolina continues its championship stretch next weekend when the team travels to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Gamecock throwers will head upstate to compete at the Tiger Invitational at Clemson.