Feb. 18, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior Kierre Beckles broke the 55-meter hurdle school record Saturday to lead the Gamecocks to 12 wins at the Gamecock Invitational. The meet was the final tune-up for the Gamecocks before heading to the SEC Indoor Championships next week.
Beckles had three runs in the women's 55-meter hurdles Saturday, improving from 7.88 in the prelims to 7.55 in the final to surpass the previous program record of 7.60 set by both Ronnetta Alexander (2006) and Jackie Madison (1998). It was the second victory of the season for Beckles in the event.
The 24th-ranked women's team picked up four additional wins throughout the day. Junior Breanna Radford won the weight throw competition with a best toss of 54'4 ½ (16.57m), hitting a season best mark but falling just two centimeters shy of her own personal best in the event. Sophomore Rachel Grochowski led a 1-2 finish in the women's mile run with Erin Fedewa. Grochowski won the event at 5:36.13, and Fedewa finished at 5:36.22.
A pair of freshmen multi-event athletes rounded out the wins on the women's side. Chalese Davis and Sarah Graham both put in a full days work on the track with four events each, and both won one of the four on the day. Davis took the win in the long jump at a season best mark of 17'10 ¾ (5.45m), and Graham won the high jump at 5'5 (1.65m). Both athletes also competed in the hurdles and the shot put to round out their days.
The men's team posted wins in seven of nine events on the day, highlighted by personal bests in the throwing events by a pair of redshirt juniors. Chris Campbell won the weight throw and led a 1-2-3 punch in the event with his personal best mark of 54'3 ¾ (16.55m). Day then turned around to give the Gamecocks a win in the shot put at a personal best mark of 55'7 ¾ (16.96m). Both throwers improved upon their previous bests by over a foot.
All-American Marvin Reitze took his third win of the season in the pole vault at 17'8 ½ (5.40m). Reitze has finished first or second in every meet this season and will look to earn his first SEC gold medal in next week's championships after missing the 2011 indoor season to injury. Rounding out the field events, juniors Jarrod Hutchen (long jump) and David Wilkins (high jump) both earned wins on the day.
Damiere Byrd, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, ran the fourth-fastest 55-meter dash time in school history to win the event at 6.24. The men's 4x400-meter relay team rounded out the victories on the day to give the Gamecocks 12 overall.
South Carolina travels next weekend to the SEC Indoor Championships. The conference championship meet will be held at the Nutter Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kentucky from Feb. 24-26.
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