Feb. 8, 2018
Indoor Meet #5 - Track & Field at the Tiger Paw Invitational
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina track & field team remains in the Palmetto State this weekend to participate in the 2018 Tiger Paw Invitational. The meet is the premier competition in collegiate track & field this weekend and runs Friday and Saturday at the Clemson Indoor Track Complex in Clemson, S.C.
The Gamecocks will lock horns with Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Southern California, Virginia and Virginia Tech this week in the Upstate.
The men's field features seven USTFCCCA top-25 teams, including No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Georgia and No. 5 Alabama. Seven women's teams are also ranked, including No. 2 Georgia, No. 4 Southern Cal, No. 5 Kentucky and the Gamecocks, who enter the weekend listed 19th.
FROM THE COACH
"We're looking for some head-to-head efforts from some of our best. Tye, Rougui, Titi, Josh -- this meet gives them the opportunity (to compete) in a national environment, to size themselves up. It's important that you get that to find out (where you match up). So we're looking for that out of those particular athletes. Then we're looking for that 1 percent improvement out of the rest of the group. Hanifah has never been in this kind of environment. She jumped 43 feet in New York, but it wasn't in this environment. She's jumped right at six feet (in the high jump), same as Jordan, but it wasn't when there was a 6-3 jumper in the meet. This puts them at that level, and they'll find out a great deal about themselves." -- Head Coach Curtis Frye
LAST TIME OUT FEB. 2-3 TEN GAMECOCKS VICTORIUS AT LIBERTY
South Carolina was the top team at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, where they led the field with 10 event victories in the unsecured event. After failing to record a win Friday on the first day of the meet, the Gamecocks came out blazing on Saturday, recording all 10 of their wins on the day. Maiya Dendy (60m and 200m) recorded two wins on Saturday, while Eric Favors (shot put), Otis Jones (500m), Lissa Labiche (high jump), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump), Rougui Sow (long jump), Armand Woodley (pole vault), and KD Young (shot put) each won a single event. Carolina also won the title in the men's 4x400m relay, as Arinze Chance, Jones, Rivaldo Leacock and Jordan Griffin were successful. For Dendy, it's the second time this season she's won both the 60 and the 200 on a single day. Woodley set an indoor PR by hitting 5.05m in the pole vault, while Jones ran a PR of 1:03.21 in the 500. Labiche's victory was her first as a collegian; she finished tied with Hanifah Abdulqadir at 1.76m but finished with fewer misses.
LAST YEAR AT THE TIGER PAW INVITATIONAL FEB. 10-11, 2017
South Carolina finished with one event victory, 10 podiums and 25 top-eight finishes at the 2017 Tiger Paw Invitational, held Feb. 10-11, 2017.Markus Leemet earned the Gamecock victory, with his heptathlon score of 5,341 lapping the field by more than 1,100 points, while Ncincilili Titi provided another major highlight for the Gamecocks. His 200m time of 20.67 was a new PR at the time. Titi finished second in the event and also set a PR of 6.76 in the 600m.
Leemet and Titi were joined on the podium by current Gamecocks Josh Awotunde (shot put), Jordan Fields (pentathlon), Rougui Sow (long jump), Maddie Beaubien (600m), Ben Bonhurst (shot put) and Yann Randrianasolo (long jump).
GAMECOCKS RANKED 19th IN LATEST USTFCCCA POLL
The South Carolina women's team is ranked No. 19 in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll, released Feb. 5. Six members of the Gamecocks have combined for eight individual USTFCCCA listings: Lissa Labiche (High Jump -- 4th), Rougui Sow (Long Jump -- 7th), Aliyah Abrams (400m -- 10th), Jordan Fields (High Jump -- 11th and Pentathlon -- 26th), Hanifah Abdulqadir (Triple Jump -- 12th and High Jump -- 27th) and Precious Holmes (400m -- 17th).
The Gamecock men occupy the No. 31 spot this week. Ncincilili Titi is ranked second in the 200m with a mark of 20.45, and he is also ranked 44th in the 60m. Other Gamecocks ranked on the men's side include Josh Awotunde (8th -- Shot Put), Tye Williams (15th -- High Jump) and Isaiah Moore (19th -- 60mH).
The USTFCCCA's latest rankings include a combination of preseason marks and new personal bests achieved during the first four weeks of the 2018 season. This is the last poll of the indoor season that will utilize preseason marks. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week's poll can be found here.
GAMECOCKS IN THE NCAA INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS
Through four weeks of indoor competition, the Gamecocks have 10 individual student-athletes accounting for 13 NCAA Division I top-50 marks in their respective events.
GAMECOCKS LEAD THE WAY IN THE SEC
Over the years, the SEC has established itself as the premier conference in NCAA track & field, and several Gamecocks are at the front of that pack. Ncincilili leads the league in the 200m on the men's side, with a time of 20.45, while Josh Awotunde's shot put effort of 65-0 ¾ ranks second.
On the women's side, Jordan Fields is the top Gamecock; her mark of 6-0 ¾ in the high jump ranks second.
JAN. 26-27 GAMECOCKS WIN THREE EVENTS IN NEW YORK CITY
South Carolina had another successful weekend at one of its favorite annual stops, the Columbia Challenge at The Armory in New York City. The Gamecocks finished fourth on both the men's and women's side of the scored competition. Carolina won three event victories: Josh Awotunde's shot put mark of 65-0 3/4 ranks second in school history and third nationally, while Hanifah Abdulqadir's 43-4 1/4 in the triple jump is third in school history and eighth in the NCAA. Rougui Sow was also victorious, winning the long jump at The Armory. Other Gamecocks recording scoring efforts in New York include Tye Williams (2nd -- high jump), Lissa Labiche (3rd -- high jump), Caitlyn Little (3rd -- 60mH), Yann Randrianasolo (3rd- long jump), KD Young (4th -- shot put and 6th -- weight throw), Heather Stone (5th -- 5000m), Ncincilili Titi (5th -- 60m), Matt Froschauer (6th -- 60mH), Precious Holmes (6th -- 500m), Colleen Openshaw (7th -- 5000m) Milan Parks (7th -- 60mH), Abdulqadir (8th -- high jump) and Alycia Springs (8th -- shot put). Labiche's effort was especially notable, as the two-time Olympian made her collegiate debut.
JAN. 19-20 GAMECOCKS COMPETE AT CLEMSON INVITATIONAL
South Carolina's season continued in the Palmetto State, where the Gamecocks took on a loaded field at the Clemson Invitational. Five nationally-ranked teams were featured on both the men's and women's side and the Gamecocks fared well, collecting eight podium finishes. The star of the show for Carolina was Ncincilili Titi. The senior won the 200m with a time of 20.45. That's the fastest indoor mark in the entire world this season, the fastest mark in the NCAA, the second-fastest indoor mark in African track & field history and the second-fastest indoor 200m in Carolina history. Titi also set a PR in the 60m, where his time of 6.69 placed third at the event and ranks 19th in the country. Other Gamecocks to finish on the podium include Otis Jones (800m), Tye Williams (high jump) and Armand Woodley (pole vault), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump), Jordan Fields (pentathlon) and KD Young (shot put), Allie Mueller (mile run) and Hanifah Abdulqadir also continued their climbs up the program's all-time top-10.
JAN. 13 GAMECOCKS WIN 16 EVENTS AT NAVY WINTER INVITATIONAL
South Carolina opened the indoor season with 16 event victories at the Navy Winter Invitational, which led the way in a field that included Wake Forest, George Mason, Mount St. Mary's, Penn and the hosts from Navy. The highlight of the day came from senior Tye Williams, whose high jump mark of 2.20m set a new indoor school record. The Gamecock men also got victories from Ncincilili Titi (60m), Otis Jones (500m), the 4x400m relay team, Yann Randrianasolo (high jump) and Josh Awotunde (shot put). On the women's side, Maiya Dendy was perhaps the most successful Gamecock, winning both the 60m and the 200m. Other Gamecocks to stand in the winner's circle include Stephanie Davis (400m), Allie Mueller (1000m), Milan Parks (60mH), Jordan Fields (high jump), Hanifah Abdulqadir (triple jump), Rougui Sow (long jump), Hailey Sweatman (pole vault) and KD Young (shot put.). Davis and Young were victorious in their very first collegiate meet, while Abdulqadir won on her first day as a Gamecock. Carolina returns to action Jan. 19-20 at the Clemson Invitational.
NEW SCHOOL RECORD HIGHLIGHTS INDOOR OPENER FOR WILLIAMS
Coming off of a fourth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, expectations were high for Tye Williams at the start of the season. The senior lived up to the hype in his first meet of 2018, setting a new indoor high jump school record with a mark of 2.20m (7-2 ½) at the Navy Invitational. The jump broke the previous record of 7-2 ¼, set in 2011 by David Wilkins, and it gave Williams ownership of both Gamecock records in the high jump after he claimed the outdoor mark of 7-4 ½ at the 2017 Penn Relays. Williams is ranked seventh nationally after the first week of the indoor season and is looking to solidify his spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas in the weeks to come. Ty Jaye Robbins, Markus Leemet and Otis Jones were part of a winning 4x400m relay and Emily Crounse, Maddie Beaubien, Anna Kathryn Stoddard and Allie Mueller turned in a winning distance medley relay.
FLOTRACK LISTS TITI AS NATION'S TOP 200m SPRINTER
University of South Carolina senior Ncincilili Titi was ranked as FloTrack's No. 1 200m runner in the nation, the publication announced as part of its preseason event rankings. Titi returns for one more collegiate year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships both indoors and outdoors in 2017. The Butterworth, South Africa, native's outdoor time of 20.14 was the sixth-fastest qualifying mark in the nation last year, and he earned a pair of All-America finishes as a junior.
Titi ran only the 60m individually at Navy, but he is scheduled to make his 200m season debut Saturday at Clemson. As a junior, he ran his indoor PR (20.67) at Clemson in 2017.
Titi wasn't the only Gamecock listed in FloTrack's preseason individual rankings. On the women's side, two-time All-American Rougui Sow is listed fourth in the long jump after earning a pair of sixth-place finishes nationally last season. For the men, Isaiah Moore is ranked eighth according to FloTrack in the 60m hurdles and Josh Awotunde holds the same ranking in the shot put.
ALL-AMERICAN GROUP READY FOR MORE ACCOLADES IN 2018.
The Gamecocks return five 2017 Indoor All-Americans for the start of the 2018 season. For the women's Aliyah Abrams and Precious Holmes are back after leading the Gamecocks to a ninth-place finish in the 4x400m at last season's NCAA Indoor Championships, and Rougui Sow finished sixth last season in the long jump indoors before duplicating that feat in the outdoor season.
On the men's side of things, Josh Awotunde is a national title contender in the shot put after finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships a year ago. Ncincilili Titi was also a first-team All-America finisher after placing eighth in the 200m.
Sow and Titi went on to earn All-America status outdoors last season, providing plenty of momentum heading into the new year. 2017 Outdoor All-Americans Maiya Dendy (4x100m), Isaiah Moore (110mH), Milan Parks (4x100m) and Tye Williams (high jump) are also back in Garnet and Black this year.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks will send a select group of student-athletes to the final meet of the indoor regular season, the UCS Invitational. The meet is scheduled for Feb. 16-17 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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