Richardson Back In Form As Gamecocks Finish Penn Relays Day Two
April 24, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - Jason Richardson won the 110-meter hurdles prelims to lead the Gamecocks in the second day of competition at the 115th annual Penn Relays Carnival held at Franklin Field. No. 8/20 South Carolina advanced seven - including the men's and women's 4x200 and 4x200m relays - to Saturday's Championship of America rounds to cap a strong day for the Gamecock contingent.
"We had a really good day," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "It's pretty much what we expected. We're just excited to get out of these heats and stay healthy. This is like our second test with the Florida Relays being our first one. We're just around the corner from our midterm, which would be the SEC Championships. Then we have a major project with the East Region meet, and we end with the final exam in the NCAA's. We're just taking each meet kind of like exams. We're growing up, and I think we'll be fine."
The women's 4x100m relay team ran a 44.82 to improve to fourth in the Championship of America. Lakya Brookins led off the relay with Gabrielle Glenn and Brandi Cross running the middle legs. Breehana Jacobs ran anchor as the team posted its fastest time this year. The Gamecocks later qualified for the Championship of America in the 4x200m relay with an eighth place finish in the heats at 1:35.39. The 4x200m was run by Glenn, Jacobs, Cross and Kelsey McCorkle.
Senior hurdler Jason Richardson returned to championship form in the 110m hurdles after battling back from an injury that kept him out of the NCAA Indoor Championships this year. Richardson blazed past the field at 13.44 to win the heats headed into Saturday's Championship of America. His run ties for the fourth fastest time run in the event in the 115 year history of the Penn Relays; the top two times are held by former Gamecock Terrence Trammell. Fellow Gamecock Johnny Dutch, running in his third race of the day, claimed eighth in the event at 14.00 to also qualify for the final. Freshman Booker Nunley missed the championship cut by one place with his 14.03 placing him 10th in the heats.
"Being healthy is a big thing," Frye said. "Our massage therapists have done a wonderful job for us. This meet has been nothing but positive so far, but it's just prelims. We've come into this meet before and not done well in the finals, so we have to continue to work tomorrow."
Two Gamecocks advanced in the 100m dash with Brookins placing sixth on the women's side and senior Johnathan Hancock claiming fourth on the men's side. Brookins ran an 11.64 in the women's race while Hancock ran a 10.47 clip to qualify on the men's side.
"The girls did a good job," Frye said. "We got Kya back in the 100 meters, and we also have the 4x200 and the 4x400 running tomorrow. That seems like a good day for us."
The men's 4x200m relay team of Obakeng Ngwigwa, Aaron Anderson, Quentin Moore and Antonio Sales gave the men's team its first Championship of America qualifier after the relay placed second overall in the heats at 1:22.70. Moore, Ngwigwa and Anderson also teamed up with Jason Richardson in the 4x400m relay to win their heat and advance with a third place finish at 3:06.26.
"John Hancock did a good job today and stepped up in the 100-meter," Frye said. "I'm most proud of Aaron Anderson, the anchor leg of the 4x400. He stepped up and had a good hard race, and I was really proud of the way he finished."
In addition, Sales, Moore and Ngwigwa teamed up with Hancock in the 4x100m relay team that took ninth in the heats at 40.50, advancing the relay to Saturday's consolation final.
Senior Jason Cook had a big improvement over his performance at the Penn Relay carnival last year in taking second in the shot put championship section at 62-05.00 (19.02m). The NCAA qualifier is currently ranked fifth in the nation in the shot and finished behind only NCAA leader Milan Jotanovic of Manhattan. Senior David Zaycek took 13th in the college division with a toss of 51' (15.54m).
Junior Jeff Merkt had a breakout day in the discus throw in earning his first regional qualifying mark with a personal best 176-08 (53.87m) to place second. The throw moves him to ninth on Carolina's all-time list and moves him to sixth in the SEC this year.
Running in the first race of the day at 9 a.m., Dutch placed 32nd in the 400m hurdles at 54.39. It was just the second race in the event this year for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials fifth place finisher in the event. Dutch later ran the first leg of the shuttle hurdle relay that ran the program's second-fastest time despite two legs of the relay stumbling over hurdles. The relay ran a 55.47 with Dutch, Nunley, Richardson and Eddie Stoudemire running the event just two seconds behind the school record time of 53.94 set in 2003 that is also the Penn Relays record.
Freshman Marvin Reitze took second in the men's pole vault college division at 16-02.75 (4.95m). After not competing in most of Carolina's outdoor meets, it was the first clearance of the outdoor season for the SEC indoor bronze medalist.
"Marvin had a good finish at second, and it looks like he's getting back (in form)," Frye said. "We also had a discus thrower in Jeff throw well and qualify for regionals. Tomorrow we have Elliott Haynie in the pole vault as well. He's never been in this atmosphere, so it's good to see how he responds. This is another step for him to see how he'll handle these next big meets. The same with Michael Zajac; he goes tomorrow so we have a lot of good things to look forward to Saturday."
The women's sprint medley team took 21st at 4:06.82.
South Carolina competes in the final day of competition Saturday beginning with Aaron Searles in the men's triple jump at 9 a.m. The meet will be televised on ESPN2 from 4-6 p.m.