May 13, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
BATON ROUGE, La. - South Carolina senior Marvin Reitze earned the pole vault bronze medal to lead the Gamecocks as competition concluded Sunday at the SEC Outdoor Championships at Bernie Moore Track Stadium. The Gamecock women placed ninth overall with 35 points, and the men's team finished ninth overall with 33 points.
Reitze earned the bronze medal in the men's pole vault competition after clearing 18'0 ½ (5.50m). Amazingly, the Gamecocks have medaled in the pole vault for four straight years as Marvin Reitze and Elliott Haynie have combined for one gold, one silver and two bronze in that span. It is Reitze fourth overall SEC medal - indoors or outdoors - in a career that could have seen many more had injuries not derailed him. Senior Matt Shuler took eighth overall at 17'0 3/4 (5.20m) to bring the total to seven points in the event.
Freshman Joshua Suttmeier exploded on his first attempt in the javelin throw with a new personal best of 227'9 (69.42m) to place fourth overall in his first SEC Championship appearance. Despite passing on his final four throws as a precaution from an previous injury, Suttmeier's throw was able to hold on for a top four finish.
Another men's thrower scored in redshirt junior Louis Day who placed sixth overall in the shot put final at 55'8 ¼ (16.97m). Day narrowly missed setting a new personal best in the event, coming only two centimeters short of his top mark, but he added three points to give the Gamecock men's throwers nine points in the championships. It was the first points of Day's career and comes just two days before he is to be awarded the 2011 NCAA Sportsmanship Award at a ceremony in Columbia, S.C.
A strong run in the first heat of the men's 4x100-meter relay gave the team of Chris Royster, Damiere Byrd, Clayton Gravesande and Eric Winfrey fourth place overall at a time of 39.96, the fourth time in the last five years that the relay has placed in the top four at the meet. The women's 4x100-meter relay team of Asia Delaney, Kelsey McCorkle, Vashti Bandy and Amber Allen improved its chances at qualifying for regionals after running a season best 45.27 to place sixth overall in the event.
In the 4x400-meter relays, the women's team of Erika Rucker, Nadonnia Rodriques, Amber Allen and Christal Green took fourth overall at 3:34.77, while the men's 4x400-meter relay team of Clayton Gravesande, Andre Carter, Juan Stenner and Eric Winfrey took sixth at 3:08.31.
Sophomore Chris Royster pulled double-duty Sunday as a finalist in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. He ran 10.36 in the 100-meter to place sixth overall, the top finish for a Gamecock in the event since Olympian Leroy Dixon took fifth in 2006. Royster rebounded just 40 minutes later to run the 200-meter where he placed seventh overall at 21.02. Royster is one of seven Gamecock men to score in both sprint events at the SEC meet, joining the likes of Dixon, Rodney Martin, Terrence Trammell, Jamie Price, Marcus Robinson and Josephus Howard to achieve the feet.
Redshirt sophomore Dorian Johnson set a new personal best and triple jumped up to No. 9 in the Gamecock record books after placing seventh overall at 50'6 (15.39m). Johnson is just the fourth Gamecock man to score in the triple jump at the SEC Outdoor Championships, following in line behind Derek Pressley, Greg Cryer and Lincoln Carr.
Sophomore Amber Allen continued the South Carolina tradition of excellence in the 400-meter hurdles by placing sixth overall at 1:01.00 and score for the second consecutive year. The Gamecocks have scored in the intermediate hurdles at the SEC Outdoor Championships every year since 1999. The 14-year streak also continued in the 100-meter hurdles with Chalese Davis taking seventh overall at her collegiate best time of 13.60. Carolina has also scored in the high hurdles at the SEC Outdoor Championships every year since 1999, and Davis was able to put points on the board in her first year as a Gamecock.
Sophomore Clayton Gravesande scored individually at the SEC meet for the first time after placing seventh overall at 46.82. Gravesande, who Saturday ran the fourth-fastest time in Gamecock history, will look to qualify individually for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a strong performance in Jacksonville in two weeks.
Perhaps one of the biggest runs of the day for the Gamecocks came from freshman Kayla Lampe who placed eighth in the 5,000-meter run at a personal best 16:55.82. Lampe, who did not compete during cross country season for Carolina, becomes just the fourth Gamecock to ever score in the event at the meet and the first since Tanya Povey earned bronze in 1998. She is the first Gamecock freshman to score in the event and moves to No. 3 in the all-time record book at South Carolina.
Freshman Erika Rucker narrowly missed scoring in the women's 400-meter final with a time of 53.68 to take ninth overall. Rucker, the SEC Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year, will likely make the SEC All-Freshman squad with her performances as the only freshman to qualify for the 400-meter final.
Bids for the NCAA Preliminary Round will be announced next week. The East Preliminary will be held in Jacksonville, Fla., on the campus of the University of North Florida.
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