Personal Bests Lead Gamecock Multis in Exciting Day One SEC Action
Feb. 27, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - All three Gamecock multi-event athletes won an event in the heptathlon and two notched three new personal bests to lead South Carolina in the first day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships held at the Nutter Field House. Senior Curt McGill leads the heptathlon after four of seven events with 3,168 points.
Scott Pierce and Eddie Stoudemire finished the day in fourth and eighth, respectively, as both also won an event to lead an exciting day for the Gamecocks and keep the Carolina men in pursuit of three heptathlon point scorers for the first time in program history. For the women, Kettiany Clarke competed in three events in the pentathlon before a sore hamstring that bothered her throughout the day kept her out of the final two events, ending the run for the SEC's number three pentathlon competitor heading into the championships.
"It was a great day," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "Our kids had great days today. They all had wins on the men's side with Curt winning the shot put, Eddie taking the 60-meter and Scott winning the high jump. They all were solid in the long jump, so it was a good start for us today. Overall, I'm excited that the first day started with heart."
The Gamecock heptathletes got the day started off strong as Eddie Stoudemire won the first heptathlon event - the 60m dash - at a career best 6.92, bringing in 911 points towards his day one total in the heptathlon. Curt McGill came in third at 7.05, and Scott Pierce took 11th at 7.26.
In the long jump, McGill jumped a 23-05.50 (7.15m) on his final attempt to post the longest jump for any Gamecock this season. McGill won the long jump to bring in 850 points and take the lead in the heptathlon after two events with 1,715 points. Stoudemire took third in the long jump at 22-03.50 (7.08m) to move into third overall after two events. Pierce jumped a 21-11.50 (6.69m) for seventh in the event, which also moved him up four spots after the first event to seventh overall halfway through the day.
McGill remained hot in the next event, claiming first in the shot put with a toss of 46-00.25 (14.03m) to extend his overall lead by 125 points heading into the final event of day one. Pierce bested his career-high by nearly five feet Friday to take fifth in the shot put at 40-01.25 (12.22m). In fact, all three of Pierce's throws Friday were better than his previous career high. Stoudemire also posted a season high in taking 12th in the event at 37-07.25 (11.46m) to hold steady at fourth in the overall standings heading into the final event.
Pierce became the third Gamecock to win one of the four heptathlon events in the opening day as he cleared a personal best 6-06.75 (2.00m) in the high jump to claim the title and jump up to fourth place on the overall leaderboard. McGill cleared a season best 6-03.25 (1.91m) to claim fifth while Stoudemire cleared 5-09.25 (1.76m) for 13th. McGill kept a 20-point lead in the standings with his jump.
"It was a great first day," McGill said. "I put in a lot of hard work and it's paid off. The long jump was a surprise because it was the first time I've ever jumped 23-feet indoors, so that was great."
Nursing a sore hamstring throughout the week, Kettiany Clarke began the day with an off-characteristic performance in the 60m hurdles at 11.23, three seconds off her seeded time of 8.41 that was second best entering the pentathlon. Going over the first hurdle was enough to aggravate Clarke's hamstring, but the redshirt junior continued to compete and cleared 5-05.75 (1.67m) in the high jump to place third in the event.
Clarke continued strong and took fourth in the shot put at 38-06.25 (11.74m), a season best that moved her up to 15th with two events remaining. However, the hamstring prevented the provisional qualifier from competing in the final two events - long jump and 800m - and ended the night for Clarke.
"We struggled a little on the women's side, but KeKe has such a good heart," Frye said. "She had a hamstring problem and we tried to pull her early, but she had tears in her eyes because she wanted to continue to compete. She ended up getting a 5'6" in the jump and PR'd in the shot put, both after aggravating her hamstring, so that shows the kind of courage she has. We're six points down with KeKe not being able to finish her event, so the rest of them need to step up."
Competition resumes Saturday with the women's weight throw and men's high jump at 11 a.m. Running events begin at 2:10 p.m. with the men's 60m hurdles when national leader Jason Richardson returns to the track where he ran his NCAA automatic qualifying time of 7.58 on January 17. The heptathlon will begin the second portion of competition with the 60m hurdles at 2:30 p.m.