Gamecock Multis Finish Rain Delayed Day One at SEC Outdoor Championships
May 14, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - South Carolina's multi-event athletes endured an eight and a half hour day courtesy of an almost three hour rain delay to conclude competition in the first day of the SEC Outdoor Championships held at Percy Beard Track on the campus of the University of Florida.
Junior Kettiany Clarke stands fifth after four of seven heptathlon events with 3,301 points, almost 200 points more than she had at this point prior to her sixth place finish at last year's SEC Outdoors. On the men's side, senior Curt McGill stands sixth after the completion of half of the decathlon with 3,521 points, and freshman Jerry Thompson III stands in 13th with 3,079 points.
"I don't think I could ask for a better day from KeKe considering the last several weeks of fighting injury," South Carolina Associate Head Coach Delethea Quarles said. "She had a very good day today and there's great promise for tomorrow. I'm excited for her and happy for what she did."
The meet was only able to get through two events - one for the women and one for the men - before heavy rain and lightning hit the Gainesville area, weather that is forecasted to continue throughout the weekend. KeKe Clarke took fourth in the 100m hurdles at 13.55 (1,043 points) to notch her first regional qualifying time of the year. Like most of the field after the hurdles, she was one jump into the high jump before the weather caused the delay at 3:57 p.m.
"That's par for the course," Quarles said. "The multis, you never get through two days without some kind of inclement weather, especially at SEC's. The southern schools are at places that have thunderstorms and rain. It's tiring, but it's part of it."
Also on the track, the men were able to complete the 100m dash before the delay with McGill taking fifth at 11.23 (810 points) and Thompson taking 13th at 11.63 (725 points). The runs were season bests for both McGill and Thompson. They were in the middle of the long jump when the delay hit, soaking Percy Beard Track and the participants for 2 hours and 45 minutes before the field rain stopped.
Returning to the track, Clarke cleared 5-04.25 (1.63m) to place seventh in the high jump for 771 points before tossing the shot put 37-11.50 (11.57m) for third with 633 points. She ended with a seventh place finish in the 200m dash at 25.36 for 854 points, moving her to fifth overall on the day with 3,301 points.
The men returned to complete the long jump, and McGill started off with a fourth place finish with a jump of 21-11.75 (6.70m) for 743 points, and Thompson took eighth at 20-07.75 (6.29m) for 650 points. McGill then jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a strong showing in the shot put by winning the event with a toss of 46-03.50 (14.11m) for 735 points. Thompson took eighth at a season best 36-11.75 (11.27m) for 562 points.
McGill and Thompson both cleared 5-10.75 (1.80m) in the high jump to tie for 10th with 670 points headed into the final event of the day. Running the 400m dash, McGill took 11th at 54.82 and Thompson took 13th at 57.16.
"There are a few things that could have been better today, and we gave up points but we're competing well. Curt will end up in the top after tomorrow, but I couldn't ask for a better day. Jerry is doing probably better than I expected, he's hanging in there with the field and trying to put himself into scoring position."
Competition resumes Friday with the conclusion of the decathlon and heptathlon beginning at 12:30 p.m. Field events for the rest of the team will begin with Michael Zajac in the men's hammer throw at 2 p.m. while running events will start with the men's 800m prelims at 8 p.m.