March 9, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
NAMPA, Idaho - South Carolina senior pole vaulter Marvin Reitze made his first and only NCAA Indoor Championship appearance count, taking silver medal honors in the men's pole vault competition at a personal best and school record mark of 18'0 ½ (5.50m) at the Jacksons Indoor Track at the Idaho Center.
Sophomore Jeannelle Scheper put the Gamecock women on the board with an eighth-place finish in the women's high jump competition at 5'10 (1.78m), scoring in what was also her first NCAA Championships appearance.
In the pole vault competition, Reitze and Arkansas freshman Andrew Irwin recreated their battle from the SEC Indoor Championships two weeks ago that saw Irwin get gold and Reitze win silver in Lexington, Ky. As the competition began to unfold Friday night at Jacksons Track, Irwin, Reitze and Oral Roberts's Jack Whitt made it apparent that they were the trio to contend for the title until Reitze took the upper hand with two consecutive first-attempt clearances at 17'10 ½ (5.45m) and 18-0 ½ (5.50m).
Holding the advantage with the bar raised to 18'2 ½ (5.55m), Reitze was forced to clear the bar after Irwin cleared on his final attempt, but the Gamecock senior clipped the bar on his three attempts to earn the top men's or women's pole vault finish in South Carolina history at the NCAA Championships.
"Unfortunately it was like the SEC Championships," Reitze said of the pole vault competition. "My plan was to beat Andrew Irwin. Unfortunately he was a better pole vaulter today. I jumped 5.50 for the first time in my life, and I'm really happy about that. Second place is OK I guess, but overall I'm happy with my first indoor meet, and it was a pretty good performance."
With a new personal best for the second time in three weeks, Reitze concludes his indoor season having finished first or second in every meet of the season. The outdoor season now awaits him with SEC's to be held in Baton Rouge in May and NCAA's to be held in Des Moines in June.
"Outdoors we should continue to do what we're doing now," Reitze said. "I'm still not where I should be. I think I can jump higher than I did today. It took me a while to get into the meet and to get to the right pole. It actually took me too long. We have to work on that. I just have to keep continue practicing, working out and working on my vaults. I'm excited for outdoors."
In the women's high jump, Scheper put together a strong performance for a sophomore making her first NCAA appearance. After a miscue on the opening bar (5'7 // 1.70m), Scheper posted first-attempt clearances at both 5'8 ¾ (1.75m) and 5'10 (1.78m) to secure a spot in the top eight. Her finish earned a point for the women's team and likely first team All-America honors for the St. Lucia native.
Also competing Friday night were a pair of women's runners in senior Kierre Beckles and freshman Erika Rucker. Beckles finished 13th overall in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.24, and Rucker took 11th in the prelims of the 400-meter dash at 53.54.
The Gamecock men finished tied for 26th in the overall team standings with eight points. The Gamecock women finished tied for 62nd in the overall team standings with one point.
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