Jan. 3, 2018
2018 Track & Field Preview – Sprints & Hurdles
The University of South Carolina track & field team returns to action in January for head coach Curtis Frye’s 22nd season in charge. In the days leading up to the start of the 2018 season, GamecocksOnline.com will preview each section of the Carolina squad, taking a glance at key returners and highlighting key newcomers who could make their names as the next great Gamecock superstars. Today’s preview focuses on Carolina’s sprints & hurdles squads.
FROM THE COACH
"Our newcomers are training at another level. The returning student-athletes helped them with that, because the commitment level of the whole sprint and hurdle group is amazing. It has not been that high since I’ve been there. In the weight room, some athletes have broken their record on the squat rack by 30 lbs. The newcomers are following that.” – Assistant Coach Hadrien Choukroun
2017 REVIEW – MEN’S TEAM
A veteran group of Gamecocks took the next step toward greatness in 2017, as Isaiah Moore and Ncincilili Titi each skyrocketed to new heights as juniors. Both Gamecocks earned first-team All-America status for the first time last season, with Moore collecting the honors outdoors and Titi finishing among the nation’s best indoors. The duo, along with freshman Darrell Singleton Jr. and departed seniors Ryan Bermudez, DeVon Lewis and David Winters, combined to post nine new entries in Carolina’s all-time top-10, highlighted by Titi’s school record in the outdoor 200m.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Isaiah Moore
As a junior, Moore narrowly missed out on the NCAA Indoor Championships in March when his 60mH time of 7.80 finished just .04 seconds out of a trip to College Station. But the Burlington, N.C., native used the close call as motivation for the outdoor campaign; he won the 110mH twice in the regular season before earning bronze at the SEC Championships. He easily qualified for outdoor nationals with a PR time of 13.47, then finished eighth in Eugene for first-team All-America status. Now a senior and with big-stage experience under his belt, Moore expects to be in the hunt for national glory indoors and outdoors in his final season.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Ncincilili Titi
Now a six-time All-American, few Gamecocks have accomplished as much a Titi in his first three seasons in Columbia. The Butterworth, South Africa, native achieved several breakthroughs as a junior; he finished eighth in the 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships to garner first-team All-America status for the first time, and he set the collegiate track world ablaze with an outdoor 200m school record time of 20.14 at the Gamecock Invitational in April. That time stood atop the collegiate leaderboard for several weeks before Titi grabbed two more All-America finishes in Eugene. Now in his final season, Titi is a national championship contender in the 200 and looks to be a valuable anchor on Carolina’s retooled relay squads.
OTHER KEY RETURNERS – MEN’S TEAM
Singleton was an SEC Freshman of the Week selection after his debut meet, and he joined fellow South Carolinian Yohance Thomas as alternates on Carolina’s NCAA Championships relay squads. Both look to parlay that experience into bigger roles in 2018. Hurdlers Matt Froschauer and Jordan Griffin each showed promise during the 2017 schedule, as did junior 400m specialist Ty Jaye Robbins. All three aim to factor into the postseason mix this season.
KEY NEWCOMERS – MEN’S TEAM
Blythewood native Kaden Briggs and Irmo product Austin Connor join the Gamecocks after winning South Carolina state titles for Westwood and Dutch Fork High School, respectively. USC Upstate transfer Patrick Jamison has one year of eligibility left and won the 400m Atlantic Sun Conference title in 2017. Barbados native Rivaldo Leacock was a CARIFTA champion in the 400m during his youth career. A pair of transfers from the University of Trinidad & Tobago, Darren Alfred and Arinze Chance, were added to the roster at the semester break. Alfred was a 400m finalist at the 2017 Universiade, and Chance represented Guyana at the CARIFTA Games.
2017 REVIEW – WOMEN’S TEAM
Perhaps the highlight of the Carolina season came at the 2017 SEC Outdoor Championships, where senior Tyler Brockington used her home-track advantage to bring home the league’s 400mH crown. The Gamecocks also earned second-team All-America laurels in the 4x400m relay indoors and the 4x100m relay outdoors, and while Brockington and her 11 career All-America honors have graduated, there is plenty left in the tank for 2018.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Aliyah Abrams
After earning a pair of All-America honors and representing Guyana at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Abrams was primed for big things as a sophomore in 2017. She was part of the Carolina 4x400m squad that won the Armory Invitational and placed ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, but an injury cut her season short before the outdoor campaign could begin. After getting an outdoor redshirt, the Grayson, Ga., native is healthy and ready to mark her mark on the big stage in 2018.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Maiya Dendy
Dendy was a huge part of Carolina’s very successful 4x100m relay squad last season, earning four regular-season victories and a spot at the NCAA East Regional. Once in Lexington, the group ran a season-best 44.51 to qualify for Eugene, and they finished 14th at nationals for second-team All-America status. The junior looks to guide the relay crew back to nationals in 2018 in addition to breaking out individually in the sprint events.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Briana Haith
Like Abrams, Haith guided the Gamecocks to a ninth-place effort in the 4x4 at indoor nationals before missing her senior outdoor season with an injury. But the Durham, N.C., product utilized a redshirt year to return in 2018 and intends to make one final trip to Eugene. A four-time All-American, all in the 4x4, Haith won an SEC bronze medal individually in 2016 and has what it takes to achieve more both on her own and in the relays this season.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Precious Holmes
A five-time All-America winner in the 4x400m relay, Holmes returns for one final season and the promise of more success at the conference and national levels. A New Haven, Conn., native, Holmes rounded into form at the right time in 2017, running her best individual marks in two years and qualifying for the NCAA Regional meet. She’ll bring more veteran tenacity to Carolina’s relays and is also a threat to qualify individually for both College Station and Eugene.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Milan Parks
Parks was in the right place at the right time in Eugene, moving from an alternate to the first leg of Carolina’s 4x100m relay team. Parks jumpstarted the Gamecocks to a 14th-place finish and second-team All-America status, a mark Carolina looks to build on this year. Individually, Parks has shown the potential to factor into the conference scoring picture in both sprint hurdle events.
OTHER KEY RETURNERS – WOMEN’S TEAM
Primarily featuring as one of the NCAA’s top long jumpers, Rougui Sow was a key part of Carolina’s 4x1 success and is also a factor in the 100mH. Funlayo Oluwole and Makyla Stanley have also shown promise on the track and look to take the next step as juniors.
KEY NEWCOMERS – WOMEN’S TEAM
Maryland native Stephanie Davis was a New Balance Nationals champion in the 400m, and Alabama product Caitlyn Little was a 13-time state champion across multiple events as well as a two-time New Balance winner. Kingsborough CC transfer Tatyana Mills was a three-time NJCAA Division III national champion and earned USTFCCCA Female Athlete of the Year honors in 2017.
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