Gamecocks compete in last day of SEC Outdoor Track Championships with record performances
May 18, 2008
Auburn, Ala. - South Carolina's hurdlers stole the day with five running life-time bests in four different races including Jason Richardson who won the 110m hurdles and Johnny Dutch was the runner-up in the 400m hurdles with a school record and the fourth-best time in the world this year in the final day of the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Gamecock men won five medals and the women won four medals (top three). The South Carolina men were seventh and the women were eighth. LSU won the SEC women's title and Arkansas won the SEC men's title.
"We had an incredible day," said head coach Curtis Frye. "I think everyone can see South Carolina is young and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. The SEC is by far the best conference in the country and the performances here the last four days proved that."
Richardson's time of 13.21 bettered former Gamecock Terrence Trammell's SEC mark in 1999 (13.29), but Richardson ran with a 2.4+ wind so it won't count as an SEC record, but does improve his NCAA qualifying time which is already No. 1 in the country. Richardson's time is the second-best in school history to Trammell's 13.19 set at the 2000 Olympic Trials prior to him winning his first of two Olympic silver medals.
"It was God's plan. It wasn't a perfect race, but I saw Ty Atkins (runner-up) start to buckle at lane seven and so I stayed focused and ran to victory," said Richardson. "Johnny is having a great freshman campaign. He is continuing Carolina's dedication to the hurdles' double."
Johnny Dutch was the runner-up in the 400m hurdles, crossing the line a life-time best 48.68 - the fourth-best time in the world, shattering the school record set by Kenneth Ferguson in 2003 (48.79). Dutch was followed across the line by Jussi Heikkila who also ran a lifetime best 49.52 to finish fourth. Both bettered their NCAA regional times. Dutch's time is the second-best in the country this year. Richardson was eighth at 51.75 after his hamstrings cramped a bit in the first three hurdles.
"I had no idea I had run that time," said Dutch. "I had no idea everyone would finish that fast. I knew someone would run under 49, but I didn't know I would too. I'm just blessed. I prayed before the race for God to give me strength. I feel honored to have the school record - South Carolina has had so many greats run the hurdles."
"It felt good, I can't complain," said Heikkila after just missing out on the Olympic B Standard (49.50). He was just short of Finland's national record as well (49.37).
Earlier Dutch was fourth with a personal-best 13.63 in the 110m hurdles - bettering his won NCAA regional time and finishing with the fifth-best time in school history. "I have been working on my speed between the hurdles and the wind helped run quicker," said Dutch.
Brandi Cross was the runner-up in the 400m with a lifetime best of 52.31. Cross' time is the eighth best in school history and betters her own NCAA regional time.
"There's always room for improvement, but I am satisfied. I ran for points and I am just looking to every other 400m race I have coming up. My times have been dropping so that is good and I am excited. I just want to set a good example for all the younger females on the team to step up," said Cross, a native of Missouri City, Texas.
Jason Cook finished third in the shot put with a personal best 60' 4 - missing the runner-up spot by three centimeters. Cook's throw is sixth best in school history and betters his regional mark.
"Technically I didn't throw well, but I PR'ed," said Cook. "I threw the big throw early. I thought I was top four or five. I am more excited about regionals because Coach Sergent thinks I have two or three feet to go -- to give and I need to be top five to make nationals. I think I am fifth or sixth now in the region."
Derek Pressley, a native of Easley, S.C., hit the pits for a season-best 51' 1 ½ to win the bronze medal. He improved his own NCAA regional mark on his last jump of the day. Pressley graduated from USC last weekend with a degree in Sociology.
"I am really happy and I know he is too," said jumps coach Dee Quarles. "We have been really concerned about his injury (lower back) the last few weeks. The fact he was able to jump injury free speaks volumes. I am excited for regionals and hoping to make the NCAA meet. I think he knows he is on the verge of so much more."
"I took an aggressive jump at the end. I wish I could have gone further, but satisfied with third place without an injury," said Pressley, a graduate of Wrenn High School in Piedmont, S.C. (do you have something to prove at regional): "This year I think this meet brought back confidence since I have been injured the majority of the outdoor season."
Quentin Moore ran a lifetime best of 46.18 to finish fifth in the 400m - the fifth-best tie in the school history - bettering his own NCAA regional time.
The women's 4x100m relay was third (Kia Brookins, Shayla Mahan, Faragin Giles, Gabby Glenn) at 44.34 and the men's 4x100m relay was fourth with a season best time of 39.66 (Johnathan Hancock, Antonio Sales, Quentin Moore and Lamar Markett).
"Marty grabbed the stick so fast and I said `Oh! Ok!," said Moore of Lamar Markett's anchor leg exchange.
Trier Young ran a life-time best 13.57 to finish seventh in the 100m hurdles and better her own NCAA regional time.
Aimee Kodat was seventh in the discus with a life-time PR of 157' 4 - clinching an NCAA regional berth and throwing the eighth best whirl in school history.
"'Coach Frye you are going have to put up with me for two more weeks - I got an NCAA regional mark'" the freshman-redshirt beamed when she reported her finish to Coach Frye.
Erik Heymann was seventh in the javelin at 208-9. He has a season-best of 212-7.
Shayla Mahan was ninth at 11.57 in the 100m. She has a season-best of 11.31. Mahan later finished eighth in the 200m at 23.53 - bettering her NCAA regional time.
Kevin Brinkley was 11th in the pole vault at 15' 9.