Jan. 11, 2018
2018 Track & Field Preview – Jumps
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 jumps squad.
FROM THE COACH
"Rougui (Sow) and Tye (Williams) feed off of each other in training. They’re close, and our whole jumps crew is close. They feed off of each other in training and aspire to be the very best at what they do. Their goals are very high, but we do keep it day-to-day.”
"Lissa (Labiche) is a phenomenal person and athlete. She’s very mature, as you can image, having competed at that level. I’ve seen her over the years at the World Championships and on the international stage, and she’s eager to get here and have some consistency and also to get on the podium at the national level.” – Assistant Head Coach Delethea Quarles
2017 REVIEW – WOMEN’S TEAM
No newcomer was more effective for South Carolina in 2017 than long jump ace Rougui Sow. The Le Havre, France, native earned first-team All-America status both indoors and outdoors, the only Gamecock to achieve the feat last year. Departed senior Natasha Dicks also had success at the highest level, earning triple jump bronze for the second straight season at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and fellow graduate Nakita Gray was an NCAA Regional qualifier.
Carolina had a deep well of talent last season in the jump events. Funlayo Oluwole set PRs and moved into the Carolina top-10 both indoors and outdoors in the triple jump. Milan Parks set a new long jump PR at the Armory Invitational, and Makyla Stanley notched an indoor PR at Vanderbilt and an outdoor personal best at the Weems Baskin Invitational.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Rougui Sow
Sow’s first season in Columbia was one of the top individual long jump campaigns in program history. She finished fifth indoors at the SEC Championships and went on to notch a sixth-place result at the NCAA indoor meet. But that was just the prelude for a magnificent outdoor slate, where Sow set a new program record by jumping 6.72m at the Spec Towns Invitational (a mark that led the 2017 world leaderboard for three weeks), took home bronze at the conference championships and placed sixth once again at NCAAs. Now a junior, Sow is a national championship contender in 2018.
OTHER KEY RETURNERS – WOMEN’S TEAM
Oluwole, Parks and Stanley all return for their junior campaigns, and with another season of experience, each hopes to be in the scoring mix come SEC Championships season.
KEY NEWCOMERS – WOMEN’S TEAM
New Mexico JC transfer Hanifah Abdulqadir brings incredible versatility to the roster after finishing third in the high jump, fourth in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump at the 2017 NJCAA Division I Championships. Fellow JuCo product Tatyana Mills came in second at the NJCAA Division III meet last season in the long jump.
Freshman Stephanie Davis is one of the top athletes to emerge from the Washington, D.C. area this season, and fellow freshman Dymier Jeffery was a four-time high jump state champion at Henrico High School in Virginia.
2017 REVIEW – MEN’S TEAM
The 2017 season will forever be remembered for the incredible breakout of then-junior Tye Williams. The Clyo, Ga., product barely missed the NCAA Indoor Championships high jump cut but used the disappointment as fuel for an incredible outdoor campaign. He won two home meets and the Penn Relays, breaking a 30-year-old Gamecock record in Philadelphia with a mark of 7-4 ½. He went on to take bronze at the SEC Championships, breeze through the regional meet and finish fourth in Eugene at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Newcomer Yann Randrianasolo also made a big impact in 2017. He just missed out on scoring at the SEC indoor meet, placed seventh at the outdoor conference championship and grabbed a top-16 finish at the NCAA East Regional. Graduated senior Michael Wamer also had a good indoor season, scoring for Carolina in the triple jump at the SEC Indoor Championships.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICAN – Tye Williams
Williams topped his previous high watermark on an almost weekly basis in 2017. First he cleared seven feet for the first time at Vanderbilt, then he scored at SECs for the first time and nearly qualified for the NCAA indoor meet. Outdoors, he cleared a new school record, stood on the podium at the conference meet, entered Eugene as the top overall seed and left fourth in the nation. If the rapid progression continues, Williams is a strong a candidate as any to top the podium at the national meet in 2018.
OTHER KEY RETURNERS – MEN’S TEAM
Randrianasolo showed great breakout potential in his first collegiate season and grew more comfortable at the NCAA level as the season went along. After narrowly missing a trip to Eugene as a junior, he is a contender to qualify for the national championship – and possibly more – heading into the 2018 campaign.
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