Gamecock Track Earns 13 Entries for NCAA Indoor Championships
March 9, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Selections for the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships were released Monday night by the Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee with the South Carolina track and field programs earning 13 entries. The event takes place Friday-Saturday, March 13-14, in College Station, Texas, at the Gilliam Track Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The 14th-ranked men's team earned seven entries to the championships in sprinters Johnathan Hancock and Antonio Sales, hurdlers Jason Richardson and Johnny Dutch, shot put thrower Jason Cook, weight throw participant Michael Zajac and the 4x400m relay team of Quentin Moore, Dutch, Obakeng Ngwigwa and Aaron Anderson. The eighth-ranked women's team earned six entries in hurdler Ronnetta Alexander and sprinters Lakya Brookins, Brandi Cross, Shayla Mahan and Nadonnia Rodrigues. In addition, the 4x400m relay team of Cross, Rodrigues, Breehana Jacobs and Porche Byrd earned a bid after running the nation's fastest time this year in winning the SEC championship.
For the men, Hancock, Richardson and the relay team earned bids via automatic qualifying times run throughout the season. Hancock fought his way into the championship as the final seed in the 60m dash after winning the last chance meet at Virginia Tech last weekend at a personal best 6.63 seconds, marking the third-fastest 60m time in South Carolina history. Richardson, a six-time All-American, will seek his first NCAA Indoor title in the 60m hurdles after claiming his first SEC Indoor title two weeks ago. He leads the nation with a top time of 7.58 seconds, a mark he earned in his first race of the season. Carolina's 4x400m relay team finished as runner-up at the SEC Championships with the nation's third-fastest time this year at 3:06.11.
Provisional qualifiers that made the field include Sales who, like Hancock, fought his way into the championship with a strong showing last weekend at 20.89 seconds to win the 200m dash. Dutch enters as the 13th seed in the 60m hurdles with a top time of 7.79 seconds as the sophomore prepares to compete in the NCAA Indoors for the first time after missing the trip last year with a strained hamstring. Cook topped 18 meters in the shot put each of the last three weeks to earn a spot with a top mark of 18.87m (61-11.00). Zajac has improved her PR for five consecutive meets, topping off at 20.86m (68-05.25) to earn his spot.
Headlining the women's selections for the Gamecocks is a pair of sophomore All-Americans in 60m dash participants Brookins and Mahan who both earned bids with automatic qualifying times. Brookins has beaten the automatic time for three consecutive races and holds steady at third in the nation at 7.22 seconds. Mahan follows right behind with a top time of 7.23 seconds, giving her the fifth seed in the event.
Alexander makes the championships with a strong redshirt senior season after missing the entire 2008 cycle with an Achilles injury. Alexander ran a season best 8.18 seconds in the 60m hurdles Saturday to move to 10th on the national list. A freshman-junior duo will compete in the 400m dash as Rodrigues and Cross give the Gamecocks a double-scoring threat in the event. Rodrigues, the SEC Freshman Runner of the Year, has a top time of 53.41 on the year with Cross right behind at 53.47, putting their national rankings at ninth and tenth, respectively. The final qualifier is the women's 4x400m relay team that has the nation's top time this year at 3:33.50, more than one second faster than the next team.
Additional athletes may travel as alternates for the relay teams.
SOUTH CAROLINA NCAA DECLARATIONS - MEN
SOUTH CAROLINA NCAA DECLARATIONS - WOMEN