Jason Richardson To Withdraw From NCAA Championships
March 10, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina senior Jason Richardson will not compete in this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships due to injury, Gamecock head coach Curtis Frye announced Tuesday afternoon. Richardson was favored to earn his first indoor national title after leading the country in the 60-meter hurdles since his season opening win at the Kentucky Invitational in 7.58 seconds.
Since that race, Richardson missed most of the indoor season while nursing a sore left hamstring. He returned to the track two weeks ago where he won his first SEC Indoor title in the event in 7.72 seconds after a six-week layoff.
"Jason is partly healthy, but we don't want him to injure himself and sacrifice his outdoor season," Frye said. "We don't want to ruin his chances of continuing his career and becoming a world-class track athlete, so we're going to scratch him from nationals."
A six-time All-American, Richardson has moved up the medal stand in the 60-meter hurdles since beginning his South Carolina career in 2005. As a freshman, he earned bronze medal honors at the national meet in 7.70 seconds. A tumble over hurdle two prevented him from finishing in 2006, and he missed the 2007 indoor season due to injury before placing second in 2008 at 7.53 seconds, missing the title by .003 seconds. He earned his first NCAA title in the 2008 outdoor season when he won the 110-meter hurdles at 13.40.
"The NCAA indoor title has been elusive for me throughout my career, and unfortunately I will not have the opportunity to get one last try at claiming it," Richardson said. "At the same time, I have to look out for my health first and foremost. Now I'll concentrate on helping this team win an outdoor championship."
The South Carolina men's track team is ranked 14th in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll. The Gamecocks placed fourth at the SEC Indoor Championships, largely due to Richardson's victory. The men's team will compete in six events at the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend.
"It hurts the team," Frye said. "We had a shot at top 15, and now we'll be fortunate for top 25, but hopefully he'll help us reach our outdoor goals. He helped us reach top four in the SEC's, and the team is on a big roll. It bothers us to lose him, but we have to do what's in his best interest as an athlete."
The NCAA Indoor Championships take place March 13-14 at the Gilliam Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.