April 6, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - South Carolina traveled to the prestigious Pepsi Florida Relays and completed all of Friday's open events with season best marks on both the men's and women's sides.
Freshman Erika Rucker, the SEC Indoor Freshman of the Year with a strong 400-meter dash season, opened the outdoor season as one of the top 800-meter dash runners in the SEC. In Friday's meet, Rucker returned to the quarter mile and erupted with the fastest time in the nation for a freshman at 53.17 to place seventh among collegians. Her time also pushes her into the national top 10 overall in the event.
Senior Beatrice Biwott was one of four women to break the Pepsi Florida Relays record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, placing fourth overall at 10:27.70. Biwott, who did not compete during most of the 2012 indoor season, has started strong outdoors with her time just seven seconds off her school record and SEC gold medal performance of 10:20.14 in the 2010 season.
Sophomore Petra Olsen and freshman Megan Wall both hit outdoor collegiate bests in the women's pole vault after placing seventh and 19th, respectively. Olsen moved up to No. 6 in the Gamecock record books with a clearance of 12'9 ½ (3.90m). Wall hit a new personal best for the second time in three days after clearing 11'9 ¾ (3.60m).
The Gamecocks saw big improvements in the intermediate hurdles on the men's and women's teams. Juan Stenner ran the third-fastest freshman time in the nation to place 12th among collegians in the men's 400-meter hurdles at 52.11. On the women's side, sophomore Amber Allen took 10th among collegians with a season best time of 59.66, besting her season opening time in the event by three seconds. Freshman Tamera Harris also improved her time with a season best 1:01.25 to take 30th.
Kelsey McCorkle cracked the east region top eight in the women's 200-meter dash at 23.78. The senior placed 10th overall Friday night in her second appearance this season in the event. In the 100-meter dash, Asia Delaney ran a season best 11.99 to take 40th, and Vashti Bandy finished 47th at 12.18.
Freshman Joshua Suttmeier earned the final top 10 finish for South Carolina Friday after finishing ninth in the men's javelin throw at 199'3 (60.73m).
South Carolina will return to action Saturday with the remaining field events and all of the relays.
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