Feb. 25, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Three Gamecocks scored in the second day of competition, and another had a breakout meet in the women's 400-meter dash as competition concluded for South Carolina at day two of the SEC Indoor Championships being held at the Nutter Field House. Petra Olsen and Breanna Radford scored points for the women's team, and Chris Sharp scored in the heptathlon for the men's team heading into the final day of competition.
Olsen put the first points on the board for the Gamecocks after placing sixth overall in the pole vault at 12'11 ½ (3.95m). The placement added three points to the 22nd-ranked women's team tally early in the day. Radford then added a point with an eighth-place finish in the shot put with a season best toss of 48'4 ½ (14.74m). Senior Stacee Roberts narrowly missed scoring, placing ninth at a season best 48'2 ¾ (14.70m).
The Gamecock women had a breakout performance in the 400-meter dash prelims in the form of freshman Erika Rucker. Heading into the meet with a previous personal best time of 53.96, Rucker blazed through her heat at a time of 53.15 to take second overall in the 35-person event and qualify for Sunday's final. Rucker's time pushes her into the national top 12 - in line for a possible bid to the NCAA Championships in two weeks - and moves her to ninth on the South Carolina all-time list in the company of Olympians such as Lashinda Demus, Natasha Hastings, Miki and Lisa Barber and Tiffany Ross-Williams in addition to NCAA champions Demetria Washington, Brandi Cross, Stephanie Smith and Shevon Stoddart.
Senior Kierre Beckles began her quest for SEC gold Saturday afternoon in the 60-meter hurdles by earning an automatic spot in the final with her top two finish in her heat. Beckles ran 8.39 despite clipping the first hurdle, and will compete at 1:30 p.m. Sunday to improve upon her fourth-place finish in 2011. A pair of freshmen multi-event athletes also competed in the hurdles with Chalese Davis finishing 16th at 8.70 and Sarah Graham finishing 21st at 9.30. Davis and Graham competed in the five-event pentathlon late Friday and rebounded by competing in the hurdles Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Damiere Byrd qualified for the 60-meter dash in his first appearance at the conference meet. The two-sport athlete crossed the line at 6.74 (6.731) to finish third in his heat and seventh overall to put himself in position to score for the men's team. Sophomore Chris Royster placed 12th overall at 6.84. The men's final will be run Sunday at 1:55 p.m.
In the conclusion of the two-day heptathlon event, sophomore Chris Sharp placed eighth to score the first points for the Gamecock men's team. Sharp began the day with a time of 8.78 in the 60-meter hurdles to add 795 points to his tally. The sophomore then jumped from ninth in the overall standings to eighth after the sixth event with his clearance of 12'9 ½ (3.90m) in the pole vault, giving him a 280 point advantage over the competitor in ninth heading into the final event of the competition. The sophomore ended the day with a fifth-place finish in the 1000-meter run at 2:50.97 to guarantee that the Gamecocks continued their streak of seven consecutive seasons scoring in the heptathlon competition.
In one of the first events of the day, junior David Wilkins placed 10th overall in the men's high jump with a top clearance of 6'9 ½ (2.07m). The men's weight throw also began at 11 a.m. with Louis Day, Chris Campbell and Andrew Seay all competing for the Gamecocks. Day took 11th overall at a personal best mark of 53'11 (16.43m), Campbell took 13th at 51'7 ¾ (15.74m) and Seay finished 15th overall at 51'0 ¼ (15.55m).
Junior Jarrod Hutchen placed 11th overall in the men's long jump with a top mark of 23'6 (7.16m). Dorian Johnson finished 17th and James Adams finished 19th in the event at a season best mark of 20'9 ¼ (6.33m).
Senior Kelsey McCorkle matched her indoor collegiate best time of 24.20 in the 200-meter dash to take 12th overall in the prelims. Christal Green (24.93) and Asia Delaney (25.02) also ran season bests for the Gamecocks, placing 21st and 23rd. Vashti Bandy ran 25.09 to take 25th overall.
In the mile run, Meredith Mill and Beatrice Biwott both ran personal best times to place 13th and 23rd, respectively. Mill ran 4:54.73 to move into third on the South Carolina all-time list. Biwott ran 5:00.57. On the men's side, Robert Razick placed 14th overall in the mile run at 4:17.30.
All three women's 60-meter dash runners ran season bests in the prelims with McCorkle taking 14th at 7.64, Bandy taking 15th at 7.66 and Delaney placing 20th at 7.71. The women's 400-meter dash that was led by Rucker also saw Nadonnia Rodriques place 14th while a pair of freshman, Christal Green and Tamera Harris, ran season bests of 55.71 and 55.74 to take 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Amber Allen ran 56.12 to place 28th.
A trio of freshmen men competed in the 800-meter run, and all three ran season bests in the event. Juan Stenner led the group with a time of 1:53.21 to place 14th overall. Kevin Keating and Thomas Gaither finished back-to-back in 21st and 22nd with times of 1:56.89 and 1:57.98.
Ceci Kryst placed 18th overall in the women's long jump at a season best mark of 18'9 ¼ (5.72m).
The final day of competition begins Sunday with four field events starting at 11 a.m. SEC-leaders Jeannelle Scheper and Radiance Basden will attempt to medal in the women's high jump and women's triple jump, respectively, in addition to Marvin Reitze in the pole vault and a quartet of women will compete in the weight throw.
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