Cross, Heikkila Run Record Times in 400m at SEC Championships
March 1, 2008
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Brandi Cross ran the fastest collegiate time this year and Jussi Heikkila set a Finland national record in the 400-meter dash as the South Carolina men's and women's track programs concluded the second day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships, held at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Gamecocks are ninth in both the men's and women's standings heading into Sunday.
Heikkila, a native of Virrat, Finland, set a national record for the country after running a 47.27 in the 400m to place fifth and qualify for Sunday's final. The mark was a personal-best for Heikkila as the time fell just .02 seconds from earning his first provisional qualifying mark of the year.
Cross ran the fastest collegiate time in the nation and the fifth-fastest time by an American in 2008 after placing first in the women's 400-meter dash at 52.53. It was also a new personal-best for the sophomore, eclipsing the 52.83 she set at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky., the first weekend of February.
Competition began with the men's weight throw where Michael Zajac put the Gamecocks on the board to begin the day. The redshirt-freshman from Lynchburg, Va., set a new personal record with a distance of 63-3 ¼ at his first conference championship to finish fourth. Zajac, the top freshman finisher in the event, bested his previous personal best of 62-7 ¾ by seven and one-half inches.
Junior Brittney James hit a provisional time in the 60-meter hurdles prelims at a personal-best 8.37. The mark is the fastest this season for a Gamecock and pushes her to seventh on the USC all-time list. James, who will compete in the finals at 12:35 p.m., also placed in the long jump at eighth (19-10 ¼), becoming the first woman to put points on the scoreboard for Carolina.
Scott Pierce and Curt McGill add points to the scoreboard after placing sixth and seventh in the men's heptathlon, respectively. Pierce jumped two spots following the final event of the heptathlon after winning the 1000-meter run at 2:38.64. He took eighth in the pole vault at 11-11 ¼ and ninth 60-meter hurdles at 8.90.
McGill took third in the 60m hurdles at 8.47 seconds for 867 points. He then took seventh in the pole vault with a clearance of 12-3 ¼ for 536 points before ending with 546 points in the 1000-meter run.
In the men's 60-meter hurdles prelims, both of Carolina's entrants qualified for Sunday's final. Jason Richardson hit his ninth provisional time in the hurdles this season to place second at 7.83. Freshman Johnny Dutch battled in a tight race for second in his heat as he and Ryan Fontenot of LSU both ran 7.85's. Dutch's time broke down to a 7.850 for seventh overall to give him his second provisional time of the year.
All three runners in the men's 200-meter dash set PR's. Freshman Antonio Sales led the way for the Gamecocks at 21.12 for fourth place. The time is the 11th-fastest in the nation this year and puts him at fifth on the all-time USC list. Derron Flood clocked a 21.35 to place 11th and move him to eighth on the all-time Carolina list. Freshman Lamar Markett came in 14th place at 21.49.
Vica Shobe narrowly missed scoring in the women's pole vault after clearing a personal best 12-6 ¼ to finish ninth. Shobe cleared the height on her first attempt to best her mark set last week at the Gamecock Invitational by half an inch. Sallie Gurganus took 16th in the event with a clearance of 12-0 ½.
The women's 60-meter dash proved to be an exciting event in Saturday's preliminary round with four automatic qualifying times recorded in the event. South Carolina had five runners compete that were led by Lakya Brookins at 7.34. The time was the ninth provisional of the season and a new collegiate personal-best for Brookins, but the deep field placed her at ninth overall - one spot out of the finals. Shayla Mahan placed 11th at 7.46 while Gabrielle Glenn ran to a personal-best 7.49 for a 13th-place finish.
Aaron Searles set a new PR in the long jump, placing 14th at 22-10 ½.
The final day of competition will begin at 10 a.m. (CT) Sunday with the women's weight throw. The final event of the day will be the men's 4x400-meter relay, scheduled for a 4 p.m. (CT) start.
WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SATURDAY
MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS AFTER SATURDAY
Women's Mile Run (Prelims)
Women's Long Jump (Finals)
Women's 800m (Prelims)
Women's Shot Put (Finals)