Four Gamecocks Score, 17 Qualify for Finals in SEC Day Two
Feb. 28, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Four Gamecocks scored points and 17 qualified for Sunday's finals in their respective events as the South Carolina track and field programs concluded the second day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships held at the Nutter Field House.
"We had 17 qualifiers today and there's very little more we could ask for from our athletes," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "We're hitting on all cylinders and doing the best we can do at this point. We had strong performances across the board; it was almost a perfect day."
After completing half the events in the first day of competition, the Gamecock multi-event athletes had a day to remember by picking up 11 total points with Scott Pierce claiming third and Curt McGill claiming fourth in the heptathlon. Pierce, who registered five PRs in seven events, hit a provisional mark in the event with 5,325 points for his bronze medal finish while McGill finished with 5,292 points, eight shy of a provisional mark. Eddie Stoudemire came in ninth with 4,992 points, missing the point-scoring eighth place spot by only 12 points.
Jason Cook became the first Gamecock to score for the men's team when he took silver medal honors in the shot put with a toss of 60-03.00 (18.36m). Cook, who took seventh in the event last year, ended the day with the best finish in the shot put indoors for a Gamecock since Brad Snyder won the event in 1999.
"Fifty-seven points is our big number for the women to finish in the top five, and 65 is the number we're looking at for our men to be able to hit the top five," Frye said. "Our men right now have 18 points with Jason Cook taking second in the shot put and our two decathletes doing well, so they only have 46 more points to go."
Carolina has much to look forward to Sunday as six hurdlers - three for the men and three for the women - advanced to the final in the 60m hurdles. Jason Richardson paced a 1-4-7 Gamecock finish in the men's 60m hurdles with a 7.78 in his first race since running his automatic qualifying time of 7.58 on the same track back on January 17. Johnny Dutch came in at 7.84 to qualify for the final while freshman Booker Nunley ran a season best 7.92 to take seventh in the prelims.
Not to be outdone, the Gamecock women hurdlers matched the feat to give Carolina much to celebrate after the first two running events of the meet. Redshirt senior Ronnetta Alexander ran a season best 8.20 to win the preliminary round of the 60m hurdles and was followed by Janica Austin's personal best 8.45 and Trier Young's season best 8.49. Austin placed seventh and Young placed eighth as both qualified for the finals.
Keeping with the pattern, three short sprinters also will compete in Sunday's final as a trio of sophomore All-Americans each qualified in the 60m dash. Lakya Brookins and Shayla Mahan both punched their tickets to College Station with their first automatic times of the year in a 2-3 finish. Brookins ran a personal best 7.22 and Mahan ran a personal best 7.23, moving Brookins to third on the Carolina all-time list and Mahan into a tie for fourth with Olympian Aleen Bailey's top mark in 2003. Gabrielle Glenn ran a 7.42 to take eighth and give Carolina three finalists in the event. Mahan also qualified in the 200m dash in seventh at 24.02.
The Gamecocks then received a big boost in the women's 400m dash as four women qualified for the nine-person final, the most to qualify for the 400m final since 2005. Nadonnia Rodrigues (53.66) and Brandi Cross (54.10) both ran provisional times to place third and fourth, respectively. Porche Byrd placed seventh at 54.70 to qualify for the final, and Breehana Jacobs ran in the event for the first time this season but responded well with a ninth place finals qualifying finish at 55.15.
The women's pole vault didn't go exactly as expected, but the Gamecocks received their first points of the meet when Liza Todd jumped a personal best 13-01.50 (4.00m) to take sixth with her first provisional mark of the year. With the second highest jump in school history, she becomes the first Gamecock woman to score in the pole vault since Cheryl Terrio claimed fifth in 2006 at 3.80m. Another Gamecock threat to score at the meet, junior Sallie Gurganus, had a disappointing day with a no height after registering a season best 3.93m last weekend. Vica Shobe continues to improve after placing 14th at 12-05.50 (3.80m) in just her second meet of the season. Freshman Allison Nicosia rounded out the Gamecock effort in 17th at 11-11.75 (3.65m).
In the men's 60m dash, Johnathan Hancock continued his strong season by taking third in the prelims at a provisional time of 6.68, a career best for the senior. The race moves Hancock to third in the South Carolina record books behind Terrence Trammell's 6.54 and Corey Bridges's 6.61. Obakeng Ngwigwa took ninth in the 400m dash prelims at 47.54 to qualify for the final as well. The final Gamecock male to qualify for a final was Antonio Sales in the 200m dash with a provisional time of 21.20 to place ninth.
Danielle Barnes became the first Gamecock to qualify for the final in the women's mile run since Ivana Skladana took eighth in 1998. Barnes ran a season best 4:54.21 to take ninth in the preliminary round.
In the men's heptathlon, Curt McGill began the day in first place with 3,128 points and continued his strong performance early on as he and Eddie Stoudemire tied for first in the heptathlon 60m hurdles at 8.21 for 930 points each. Scott Pierce ran an 8.58 to claim seventh in the event and remain in fourth overall while Stoudemire's run pushed him up to fifth overall.
McGill then hit a personal best in the pole vault with a final clearance of 4.05m (13-03.50). Pierce cleared 3.85m (12-07.50) and Stoudemire cleared 10-11.75 (3.35m). In the final event of the heptathlon, Pierce made a big jump to earn his first provisional mark in the heptathlon after winning the 1000m run at 2:33.46.
Included in the group of Gamecocks that had personal best times Saturday were Carolina's two participants in the 800m as Erin Fedewa and Laura Pramstaller both hit PRs in the event. Fedewa placed 20th at 2:16.74, and Pramstaller placed 22nd at 2:19.34.
The final day of competition resumes Sunday at 11 a.m. with the men's weight throw. Running events begin at 1:30 p.m. with the men's 60m hurdles finals. Fox Sports Net will begin broadcasting the championships at 3:30 p.m.