March 8, 2018
Indoor Meet #8 - Track & Field at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Seven members of the South Carolina track & field program will compete at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships, to be held March 9-10 at Gilliam Indoor Stadium in College Station, Texas. On the men’s side, Carolina is represented by Josh Awotunde (shot put), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump) and Ncincilili Titi (200m). The Gamecock women will send Hanifah Abdulqadir (triple jump), Jordan Fields (high jump), Lissa Labiche (high jump) and Rougui Sow (long jump) to the national meet.
Texas A&M serves as NCAA Championships host for the second-straight year. The meet begins with multis action at 12 p.m. CT both Friday and Saturday. The first Gamecock is in action Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT, and Carolina's second day of action starts at 3:30 p.m. CT.
WATCH THE GAMECOCKS LIVE ON ESPN3
Live streaming of both days of the NCAA Indoor Championships is available through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Friday’s coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local time), and Saturday’s stream gets rolling at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. local time).
“I’m a technical guy, so I like to think it through and think of all my positions. But at this point, it’s time to go get it now. You’ve just got to turn it up and rely on what you have.” – Josh Awotunde
“My teammates that have been to NCAAs before have told me that it’s basically about your mentality and execution. You go in there with a strong mentality, and you execute what you and your coach have been practicing all this time. Everyone is shooting for the same goal. Everyone wants to be on the podium, and wants to be first, but not everybody has a strong mentality and can hold their composure on such a big stage. Whoever does that the best will turn out to be the champion.” – Jordan Fields
“NCAAs present a big opportunity every year. You want to be All-American, finish top-three or win the whole thing. But it’s like any other meet, you’re going to be anxious, but once you get there, you’ve got to set your goals and take it one step at a time.” – Ncincilili Titi
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Awotunde, Sow and Titi were among the Gamecocks who made the trip to College Station in 2017, and all three finished as first-team All-Americans. Awotunde took fifth in the shot put, Sow finished sixth in the long jump and Titi made his first NCAA final, finishing eighth in the 200m. The highlight of the meet came from graduated senior Natasha Dicks, who earned bronze in the triple jump.
Overall, the Gamecocks finished 25th on the women’s side, with nine points, their best finish since 2014. The Carolina men finished the weekend tied for 36th with five points, their best result at the NCAA Indoor Championships since 2012.
GAMECOCK HISTORY AT THE NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
The South Carolina women own 10 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing as high as second place in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Fifteen different Gamecocks have combined to capture 14 NCAA indoor national titles, including four victories in the 4x400m relay. Demetria Washington leads the Gamecock program with three indoor NCAA crowns, winning the 400m dash in 2001 and the 4x400m relay in 2001 and 2002. Carolina’s most recent national titles came in 2009 and 2011, when Lakya Brookins won the 60m dash.
On the men’s side, the Gamecocks have finished in the top-10 nine times at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Carolina’s best finish came in 1974, when the squad finished third, and in both 1999 and 2003 the Gamecocks finished fourth. South Carolina has won eight NCAA indoor titles, with Terrence Trammell winning the 60m hurdles in 1999 and both the 60m dash and 60m hurdles in 2000. Brad Snyder garnered the shot put national title in 1998 and 1999, and the most recent NCAA indoor victory came in 2002 when Otukile Lekote was the national 800m champion.
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.
QUARLES EARNS USTFCCCA REGION ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR LAURELS
Assistant head coach Delethea Quarles was named USTFCCCA Southeast Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, the organization announced earlier this week. Quarles, who is in charge of Carolina’s jumpers and multi athletes, guided five of her student-athletes to NCAA Indoor Championships berths.
"This is long overdue. This award hasn't existed for very long, but in my opinion Coach Dee has been a coach of the year for 20 years,” South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. “Coach Dee could have won this award many times before, but there are a lot of great teams and great coaches in our region. She's a mentor to so many young coaches in our business, and so many coaches around the business are excited to see Coach Dee get her due. I'm so happy she's finally being recognized by her peers; it says a tremendous amount about how well-respected she is in our profession."
Hanifah Abdulqadir – JR – KINGSTON, JAMAICA – TRIPLE JUMP
Abdulqadir enters the NCAA Championships listed 11th nationally in the triple jump. She achieved her qualifying mark of 43-4 ¼ on Jan. 26 at the Columbia Challenge in New York City. Two weeks ago, she placed 10th in the event at the SEC Championships.
This is Abdulqadir’s first NCAA Championships bid. She does have national championship experience from her time at New Mexico Junior College; last season at the 2017 NJCAA Indoor Championships, she placed third in the triple jump and 10th in the high jump.
Josh Awotunde – SR – FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. – SHOT PUT
Awotunde was already assured of an NCAA Championships berth when he journeyed to the SEC Championships, but the senior wasn’t satisfied, and he left College Station with one of the most memorable performances in Carolina history. The Franklinville, N.J., native won the conference title with a throw of 69-11 ¾, a new school and SEC Championships record, the second-best mark in the nation this season and the 10th-best collegiate mark of all-time.
Awotunde is no stranger to the NCAA Championships environment. He finished fifth last season at the NCAA indoor meet, and he was also a first-team All-American outdoors in 2016. Overall, this will be his fourth appearance at an NCAA Championships event.
Jordan Fields – SO – JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – HIGH JUMP
Fields got off to a fantastic start in 2018, jumping 6-0 ¾ on Jan. 19 at the Clemson Invitational, and that mark still holds as the seventh-best effort in the nation this season. Most recently, the sophomore competed at the SEC Championships, where she placed eighth in the heptathlon and 11th in the high jump.
This will be the first NCAA Championships appearance for the Jacksonville, Fla., native.
Lissa Labiche – R-SO – MAHE, SEYCHELLES – HIGH JUMP
A two-time Olympian, Labiche entered the SEC Championships on the edge of the national top-40 and needing a season best to get in the mix for nationals. She rose to the occasion, clearing 6-0 ¾ to punch a ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships. That earned a silver medal at the conference meet and is listed seventh on the national leaderboard.
Labiche represented her native Seychelles at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, and she is also a three-time African continental champion, but this will be her first NCAA Championships appearance.
Yann Randrianasolo – SR – TOULOUSE, FRANCE – LONG JUMP
Randrianasolo entered the SEC Championships needing a season best to lock down a trip to the national meet, and the senior delivered. The senior laid down four separate PRs and finished as the silver medalist with a final attempt of 25-10 ¾. That ranks ninth nationally heading into College Station.
This will be Randrianasolo’s first appearance at the NCAA Championships. He was an NCAA East Regional qualifier last outdoor season, finishing 16th.
Rougui Sow – JR – LE HAVRE, FRANCE – LONG JUMP
Like she did in 2017, Sow has steadily gotten better throughout the 2018 season. She jumped a season-best in each of her last two meets, including a mark of 20-11 ¼ at the SEC Indoor Championships that ranks 12th in the nation this season.
This will be Sow’s third appearance at the NCAA Championships. She finished sixth indoors last season, earning first-team All-America status with a mark of 21-2 ½. She also finished sixth last year at the outdoor meet to finish the campaign as a double first-team All-America honoree.
Ncincilili Titi – SR – BUTTERWORTH, SOUTH AFRICA – 200m
A six-time All-American, Titi enters his sixth NCAA Championships as one of the favorites to win the men’s 200m dash. The senior posted a time of 20.45 on Jan. 19 at the Clemson Invitational, a mark that still ranks second on the national leaderboard (and tops among non-altitude marks).
Titi has already experienced a great deal of success on the Gilliam Indoor Stadium track. He earned first-team All-America honors last season at the national indoor meet, and two weeks ago he finished fourth on the track in the 200m. He was also a second-team indoor All-American in the event in 2015 and 2016 in addition to 200m outdoor All-America laurels in 2016 and 2017 and a 4x100m relay All-America nod last season.
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