June 6, 2012
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By Miquel Jacobs
DES MOINES, Iowa - South Carolina sophomore Petra Olsen hit a school record in the pole vault in her first career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to lead the Gamecocks on the first of four days of competition at Drake Stadium.
Olsen placed 12th overall at 13'7 ¼ (4.15m) to earn second team All-America honors and surpass Vica Shobe's 2010 mark of 13'6 ½ as the top mark in program history. Olsen becomes the first Gamecock woman to earn All-America honors in the outdoor pole vault since Kylene Nixon did so in the 1998 season.
Freshman Erika Rucker took 15th overall in the 400-meter semifinals at 52.95 to earn her second All-America nod of the season. Rucker, the SEC Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year, had a strong debut season for the Gamecocks. Her participation this week makes her the first Gamecock freshman to qualify for the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in the 400-meter dash since Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings achieved the feat as a freshman in 2005.
The men and women competed in the 4x100-meter relay with the men's team taking 12th and the women's team taking 22nd. The men's quartet of Andre Carter, Chris Royster, Clayton Gravesande and Eric Winfrey ran a season-best 39.60, and the women's team of Kelsey McCorkle, Asia Delaney, Vashti Bandy and Amber Allen ran 45.48.
Junior Jarrod Hutchen was the last Gamecock to hit the track Wednesday, but he could not rebound from the leg injury that hampered him at the NCAA East Preliminary meet. Hutchen fouled his first attempt before passing on his final two attempts due to the injury.
Competition continues Thursday for the Gamecocks with redshirt freshman Joshua Suttmeier competing in the men's javelin throw at 2:30 p.m. (CT), and the women's 4x400-meter relay team hitting the track at 8:25 p.m. (CT). The meet will be webcast live on ESPN3.com.
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