May 13, 2011
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By Miquel Jacobs
ATHENS, Ga. - Four Gamecocks have earned their tickets to Sunday's finals in the second day of competition at the SEC Outdoor Championships at Spec Towns Track on the campus of the University of Georgia. Kelsey McCorkle and Gabrielle Glenn qualified in the 200-meter dash, and Amber Allen qualified in the 400-meter hurdles for the women's team. On the men's side, freshman Nejmi Burnside qualified in the 400-meter hurdles.
McCorkle and Glenn both hit season bests in the 200-meter dash prelims to qualify for Sunday's finals. McCorkle improved her time to 23.49 and won her heat to place fifth overall on the day to qualify for finals. Glenn ran the seventh-fastest time of the day at 23.61 to also qualify. Vashti Bandy and Asia Delaney ran 24.33 and 24.40, respectively, to round out the 200-meter women.
"One of our teams brought three (finalists) back, and the other didn't but it was a good day for us," South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. "Kelsey McCorkle ran a personal best (in the 200-meter). She came into the meet not even favored to make the finals, but she finished fifth. This is her first SEC final (as an individual), so it was a good day for her."
Amber Allen, a freshman from New Jersey, led the intermediate hurdles and placed fifth overall at a season best time of 58.85 to make the finals in her first SEC Outdoor Championship run. It was a collegiate best for Allen and marks her first time running a sub-59 this year. Radiance Basden and Janica Austin also competed with Basden running 60.69 and Austin running 63.38.
"Amber had a good day," Frye said. "She ran down the top runner in her heat and learned something about herself today. She ran a good race and finds herself in the finals as a freshman."
Burnside qualified for the finals in the men's 400-meter hurdles with his season best time of 53.28. Burnside, competing in his first SEC Outdoor Championship, finished second in his heat and also is one of two freshmen to make the final. Classmate Kevaughn Griffith placed 11th overall at 54.34.
In the men's 200-meter prelim, senior Antonio Sales had the eighth-fastest time of the day at 20.76, but he did not qualify for the final due to the winner of the second heat earning an automatic spot in the finals despite running a slower time (20.87). Sophomore Chris Maxwell hit a personal best in the event with a time of 20.90 to place 12th overall. The freshman trio of Chris Royster, Eyong Oma and Alex Loose all ran with Royster hitting 21.49, Oma hitting 22.12 and Loose hitting 22.52.
"We had a big PR from Chris Maxwell," Frye said. "Antonio, normally 20.76 makes the finals (but it didn't today). I know he's probably beating himself up right now, but we have to pull together for hi. We still have a pole vaulter (that can get points). We're going to have fresh legs on the mile relay, and we also have a high jumper (that can perform better than seeded."
A trio of women ran the 800-meter prelims and were led by freshman Scolastica Jepngetich with a time of 2:10.52 to place 11th overall, missing out on the finals by one second. Sophomore Sierra Henderson placed 16th at 2:12.29, and Liz Locke placed 23d at 2:17.54. Only one Gamecock competed in the men's section as freshman Drew Ricci took 15th at 1:53.96.
The Gamecocks had three women compete in the hammer throw finals, and junior Stacee Roberts hit a personal best mark of 158-9 (48.39m) to lead the Gamecock contingent but missed out on the top eight scoring position. Sophomore Breanna Radford threw 154-9 (47.18m) and junior Katie Vuckovich threw 131-9 (40.16m).
Competition continues Saturday morning at 12 p.m. when the men's javelin throw, men's long jump and women's high jump are contested. The Gamecock have athletes in all three events. The running events will begin at 4 p.m. with Robert Razick in the men's 1500-meter run.
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