Four Gamecocks Qualify On Final Day of NCAA Preliminary Meet
May 26, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - South Carolina earned four final bids to the NCAA Outdoor Championships on the final day of competition at the East Preliminary held at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida. Pole vaulter Marvin Reitze advanced in the men's pole vault, and the Gamecocks also advanced the men's 4x400-meter relay in addition to both women's relays to give South Carolina a total of nine qualifying events to Des Moines.
Senior Marvin Reitze has earned the right to try and avenge his NCAA Indoor silver medal after advancing in the men's pole vault. Reitze was one of only nine men to successfully clear 17'5 ½ (5.32m) to earn his berth, and the senior will look to use the opportunity and experience from indoor nationals just four months ago to try and bring home the first pole vault gold medal in program history.
"I'm really confident right now," Reitze said. "I'm glad that I made it. It was a tough competition; real long. A couple of guys cleared a couple of bars that I didn't expect. It was just a tough meet to get through, but finally I made it. I'm happy to compete at my last NCAA this year as a senior and hope that I do well."
The Gamecocks ran the men's 4x100-meter relay combination of Andre Carter, Chris Royster, Clayton Gravesande and Eric Winfrey for the first time since April 14 due to the unavailability of freshman Damiere Byrd, and the foursome responded by running a season best 39.67 to earn an automatic berth to Des Moines. It was a tense moment after the race when the referee pulled a caution flag out on the track after the fourth handoff, but it was ruled that Pittsburgh from lane seven was DQ'd and not the Gamecocks in lane eight.
The women's 4x100-meter relay team took a different route to qualification, but it was one that was just as thrilling. The quartet of Asia Delaney, Kelsey McCorkle, Vashti Bandy and Amber Allen took fifth overall in the second heat at a season best 45.06, but that heat proved to be the most competitive as the Gamecocks were the 12th and final qualifier for national's at that time.
The Gamecocks also advanced the women's 4x400-meter relay team of Erika Rucker, Nadonnia Rodriques, Amber Allen and Christal Green that took fifth overall at a season best time of 3:33.91. The quartet took third in the final heat to automatically earn a berth to Des Moines. In the men's relay, Clayton Gravesande, Andre Carter, Chris Royster and Eric Winfrey teamed up for the first time this season and finished 19th overall at 3:08.67. Freshman Juan Stenner - the normal anchor leg for the relay - was not able to compete today or in the 400-meter hurdles yesterday due to medical reasons.
Kelsey McCorkle took 24th overall in the women's 200-meter quarterfinal at 23.94. Senior Radiance Basden competed in the women's triple jump and took 19th overall at 41'2 ¼ (12.55m), and classmate Louis Day competed in the men's shot put and placed 34th at 55'5 ½ (16.90m).
The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held at Drake Stadium from June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.