Feb. 23, 2018
Indoor Meet #7 - Track & Field at the 2018 SEC Indoor Championships
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina track & field team is set for the 2018 SEC Indoor Championships, to be held Feb. 24-25 inside of Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas. Saturday's action begins with multi events at 11 a.m. CT, with the full schedule kicking off at 3 p.m. CT. On Sunday, the multis get started at 2:30 p.m. CT, with action on the track and in the field commencing at 5 p.m. CT.
The SEC's annual indoor extravaganza once again features the deepest collection of talent in collegiate track & field. Ranked squads on the men's side include No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 8 Alabama, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 23 South Carolina and No. 25 Auburn. In the women's field, top-25 clubs include No. 1 Arkansas, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 8 Florida, No. 12 Missouri, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 17 Alabama and No. 24 Mississippi State. Of the 34 events to be contested in College Station, 13 will feature the NCAA leader at the start of the week.
In addition to serving as the conference championship, this week's meet is the final opportunity for student-athletes to post a qualifying mark for the 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships. At the conclusion of this weekend's conference championship action across the nation, the top-16 student-athletes in each individual event, along with the top-12 teams in each relay, will be accepted into the NCAA meet.
Live streaming of Saturday's action is available on SEC Network+, beginning at 3:55 p.m. ET and concluding at 8:15 p.m. ET. On Sunday, SEC Network will pick up television coverage at 6 p.m. ET until the conclusion of the meet at approximately 10 p.m. ET.
FROM THE COACH
"Titi is healthy and his mindset is to win the conference championship, then to go on and contend for the national title. His workouts have been excellent. We're quite pleased with his efforts, and it gives him confidence to be able to (win). He's prepared for this meet."
"Our goal for most of our athletes is to be a top-five finisher. Be a competitor, compete, and the SECs will take you to the NCAAs. Very few times have I seen a top-five (SEC Championships) finisher, in any event, (not go to NCAAs). They know that's our goal -- to get to the NCAA Championships by way of the SEC Championships."-- Head Coach Curtis Frye
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS (Click to Expand)
TITI NAMED SEC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
University of South Carolina senior Ncincilili Titi earned SEC Men's Indoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors on Feb. 21. Titi is the fourth Gamecock in history to win the league's Scholar-Athlete honor in track & field, joining Natasha Hastings (2007), Marvin Reitze (2012) and Jeannelle Scheper (2015). Titi enters the conference meet with the league's fastest 200m time this season (20.45), a mark that's listed second nationally, and he sports a 3.400 GPA in public health.
LAST YEAR AT THE SEC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Gamecocks finished 11th on the men's side and 13th in the women's competition last season at the SEC Indoor Championships, which were held in Nashville, Tenn. Arkansas won the team title on both sides.
Among current Gamecocks, Carolina had the most success in the shot put. Three Gamecocks scored on the men's side, with Eric Favors (fifth), Josh Awotunde (seventh) and Ben Bonhurst (eighth), while Alycia Springs was sixth in the women's competition. Rougui Sow finished fifth in the long jump to pace the women's team. Favors and Springs were named to the Freshman All-SEC Team for their efforts.
GAMECOCK HISTORY AT THE SEC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Carolina has produced 23 SEC Indoor titles on the men's side and 22 women's championships since joining the league for the 1992 postseason. The best team performance by the men's team came in 1999, when Curtis Frye's team finished second. The Gamecock men added a third-place effort in 2003 and fourth-place results in 2009 and 2010. The Gamecock women placed second in 2003 and have finished third four separate times.
An illustrious group of Gamecocks have earned the title of SEC Indoor Champion during their collegiate careers. The first SEC champion in program history came in 1993, when Ron Willis captured the first of his two weight throw titles. Olympian Terrance Trammell was a five-time champion across four different events from 1998-2000, and Brad Snyder won the shot put four consecutive years from 1996-99.
Carolina's first SEC Indoor women's titles came in 1996, when Crystal Brownlee won the shot put and Dawn Ellerbe captured the weight throw. Both Gamecocks ended their collegiate careers as two-time SEC indoor medalists, as did Carolina alum Lakya Brookins. Demetria Washington holds the program record with five indoor SEC crowns, while Miki Barber won three.
The Gamecock women snapped a four-year drought at the SEC Indoor Championships when Nakita Gray won the high jump in 2016. For the men, the last SEC indoor gold came in 2010, when Elliott Haynie won the pole vault.
LAST TIME OUT FEB. 17 TWO GAMECOCKS CLOSE INDOOR REGULAR SEASON WITH UCS INVITATIONAL WINS
South Carolina sent a paired-down squad to the UCS Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C., but those that competed did a fine job improving their stock before the start of postseason action. Yann Randrianasolo won the men's long jump, and his mark of 25-2 3/4 ranks fifth in Gamecock indoor history and 26th in the nation this season. On the women's side, Milan Parks earned the victory in the 60mH with a season-best time of 8.48.
Two Gamecock pole-vaulters put forth their finest efforts in Winston-Salem; Armand Woodley finished second on the men's side; his vault of 16-10 3/4 is ninth in Carolina history and 50th nationally this season. On the women's side, Hailey Sweatman hit 13-5 1/4, the fourth-best Gamecock women's mark in history and the 35th-best effort nationally this season.
GAMECOCK MEN RANKED 23rd IN LATEST USTFCCCA POLL
South Carolina's men's squad is listed 23rd this week in the USTFCCCA national rankings. The Gamecocks are listed in the top-25 for the second-straight week after checking in at No. 22 on Feb. 12.
Leading the way for Carolina is senior sprinter Ncincilili Titi, who is ranked second in the 200m and 35th in the 60m. Josh Awotunde also holds down a podium spot, as he is ranked third in the shot put.
The South Carolina women fell four spots to No. 31 this week. Carolina has been ranked as high at No. 19 this season. Three Gamecocks are in the top-10 in their event: Jordan Fields (fifth -- high jump), Hanifah Abdulqadir (ninth -- triple jump) and Rougui Sow (ninth -- long jump).
This is the second week of the season that the USTFCCCA's rankings include only marks achieved as part of the 2018 indoor collegiate season. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week's poll can be found here.
GAMECOCKS IN THE NCAA INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS
Through six weeks of indoor competition, the Gamecocks have 11 individual student-athletes accounting for 15 NCAA Division I top-50 marks in their respective events. The top-16 in each event at the conclusion of this week's competition will earn invitations to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
FEB. 9-10 AWOTUNDE'S SCHOOL RECORD HIGHLIGHTS TIGER PAW INVITATIONAL
South Carolina posted 13 top-eight finishes at the Tiger Paw Invitational, held Feb. 9-10 in Clemson, S.C. Carolina's top performer was Josh Awotunde, who finished second in the shot put. His mark of 66-10 1/2 is a new indoor Carolina record, and it ranks third in the nation this season.
On the men's side, Otis Jones finished third in the 800m, and his time of 1:48.96 ranks fourth in program history, while Armand Woodley moved to 10th in the Gamecock records with a pole vault mark of 16-8 3/4, which was good for third last week.
On the women's side, Hanifah Abdulqadir finished third in the triple jump, hitting 42-11. Other Gamecocks to finish in the top-eight at Clemson included Jordan Fields (fifth -- high jump), Yann Randrianasolo (fifth -- long jump), KD Young (fifth -- shot put), Abdulqadir (sixth -- long jump), Anna Kathryn Stoddard (6th -- 3000m), Lissa Labiche (6th -- high jump), Rougui Sow (sixth -- long jump), Hailey Sweatman (seventh -- pole vault) and Kaylee Wessel (seventh -- 5000m).
AWOTUNDE STANDS AT THE TOP OF CAROLINA SHOT PUT LIST
Josh Awotunde broke a 19-year-old Carolina record when he hit 66-10 ½ (20.38m) on his final shot put attempt Feb. 9 at the Tiger Paw Invitational. The mark surpassed the previous school record of 66-8, set in 1998 by Brad Snyder.
Snyder still holds Carolina's absolute school record in the shot put. He threw 67-3 ½ outdoors as a senior in 1999.
One of the most decorated athletes in Carolina history, Snyder was elected to the Gamecock Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He was a three-time NCAA champion, seven-time SEC champion and eight-time All-American in addition to representing his native Canada in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
FEB. 2-3 TEN GAMECOCKS GRAB WINS AT LIBERTY
South Carolina was the top team at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, where it led the field with 10 event victories in the non-scored 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, 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 closed the meet with fewer misses.
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.
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 wasn't the only Gamecock listed in FloTrack's preseason individual rankings. On the women's side, two-time All-American Rougui Sow was listed fourth in the long jump after earning a pair of sixth-place finishes nationally last season. For the men, Isaiah Moore was ranked eighth according to FloTrack in the 60m hurdles and Josh Awotunde held 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 who finish the regular season ranked in the top-16 in their event will head back to College Station in two weeks for the 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet is set for March 9-10 at Gilliam Indoor Stadium.
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