March 2, 2007
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The NCAA Last Chance Meets await South Carolina track and field Saturday, as 12 athletes head to Blacksburg, Va., and five travel to Ames, Iowa. It marks the Gamecocks' final opportunity to qualify athletes for the NCAA Indoor Championships that take place over March 9-10 in Fayetteville, Ark.
At Virginia Tech, Brittney James is scheduled to compete in the long jump and 55-meter hurdles. James has one provisional time in the 60m hurdles after running an 8.39 in the prelims of the SEC Championships. She needs a 7.58 time in the 55mH to automatically qualify for NCAAs. James also will participate in the long jump, where her top mark is 19-11 this year. Provisional qualifiers need a 20-0 1/4 jump and 21-0 is automatic.
Dan McKenzie, Sallie Gurganus and Liza Todd will pole vault in Blacksburg. McKenzie has cleared the provisional standard of 17-0 3/4 three times this year and looks to improve his clearance by six inches. The automatic mark for the men is 18-0 1/2. Gurganus and Todd will work toward the provisional mark of 12-11 1/2.
Precious Akins and Tyler Trout will compete in the throws at Virginia, with Akins throwing shot and Trout the 35-pound weight. Akins recorded a PR and provisional mark of 50-9 1/2 in the shot put last week and hopes to move closer to the automatic standard of 55-5 1/2. Trout had a PR throw at SECs as well with a 61-2 1/4 heave. He needs to reach 63-11 3/4 to be a provisional qualifier and 70-6 1/2 for automatic qualification.
Derek Pressley hopes to improve his triple jump at Blacksburg, an event in which he finished fifth at the SEC Championships this year. With a top performance of 49-7 1/4 in 2007, he needs to reach 50-6 1/4 for a provisional jump and 52-10 to punch his ticket to Fayetteville for sure.
Brandi Cross, Krystal Cantey, Jamil James and Derron Flood are set to run the 400m while in Virginia. Cross and Cantey both have provisionals in their freshmen years and hope to move closer to the automatic figure of 52.40 by dropping their times below 54 seconds. James' top time is 48.47 and Flood will run for the first time this year. Provisional qualification in the 400 for the men is 47.25 and 46.05 to automatically reach NCAAs.
Rounding out South Carolina's representation in Blacksburg is Thomas Hilliard, IV, who specializes in the hurdles. Hilliard's best time in his career in the 55mH came at Virginia Tech earlier this season when he crossed the finish line in 7.24, just .07 seconds from an automatic time.
Three men and two women comprise the squad of quarter-mile runners heading to Iowa State, whose Lied Recreation-Athletic Facility is known for producing fast times thanks to a 300-meter track. Keith Hinnant is the only Gamecock male to run a provisional time in the 400 after recording a 46.97 time at the SEC Championships. Jonathan Fortenberry and Ray Miley also will compete for the men.
Faraign Giles hopes to drop her time below 54 seconds at Ames, as her best this year stands at 54.46 (.06 seconds from a provisional time). Smith had a strong run of 53.47 at the SEC meet for her PR in 2007, and she will look to decrease the figure even more in Iowa.
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