April 21, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The University of South Carolina track & field team is back at Sheila & Morris Cregger Track on Saturday for the final regular-season home meet of 2017, the USC Open. Field events start at 9 a.m. ET and track events start one hour later. Admission is free as the Gamecocks honor approximately 30 seniors competing in their final home meet at Carolina.
The Gamecocks will welcome another large, well-rounded field to Cregger Track for a full day of action. Joining Carolina will be Alabama State, Albany State, Allen, Barton, Belmont Abbey, Benedict, Bob Jones, Charleston Southern, Citadel, Claflin, Coker, College of Charleston, Columbia International, Emmanuel (Ga.), Florida A&M, Fort Valley State, Furman, Mars Hill, Morris, North Florida, Paine, Southern Connecticut State, USC Aiken, Southern Wesleyan, South Carolina State, Tennessee, USC Upstate, Voorhees and Wofford.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
"This group of seniors gave us a lot of trust. There are some kids in this group that have been waiting a long time for us to provide them a facility. Some of these are kids that had the notoriety and potential to go to other schools that had more bells and whistles. We're grateful for them committing to us while we were running on a high school track across town and their first season at the old track. There's heaviness in my heart, because these kids trusted us. They went through a lot of things, us telling them that (the track) is coming. Those kids went through that. I put my arms around them, because they did everything they could. I am thrilled to death for them, but I am sad, because they are leaving."
LAST WEEK -- TITI SETS 200m RECORD AT GAMECOCK INVITATIONAL
Junior sprinter Ncincilili Titi made his 200m season debut at the Gamecock Invitational, held April 15 at Cregger Track, and blazed to the fastest time in school history. Titi stopped the clock in 20.14, 0.2 faster than Carolina's previous record in the event and the fastest time in the NCAA season. It's also the third-fastest time in the world this year.
Titi was one of six Gamecocks to win an individual event on Saturday, joining Josh Awotunde (shot put and discus), Nakita Gray (high jump), Kara Lyles (400mH), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump) and Armand Woodley (pole vault). Carolina also won both the men's and women's 4x100m relays.
Next to Titi's heroics, Randrianasolo's long jump was perhaps the most notable performance on April 15. His effort of 25-4 ¾ ranks fifth in Carolina history and 16th in the nation this season.
Overall, Carolina finished with 24 new personal records at the Gamecock Invitational.
GAMECOCKS RISE IN USTFCCCA NATIONAL POLLS
South Carolina continues to surge upwards in the latest edition of the USTFCCCA national polls. The Gamecock men are up seven spots this week to No. 17, their highest ranking since week 4 of the 2016 season. Carolina's women check in at No. 22. Both teams have been ranked in every poll this outdoor season.
This week's poll continues to use a composite of new personal bests achieved in 2017 and old collegiate PRs from the 2016 season. Carolina is utilizing four new marks achieved April 15 at the Gamecock Invitational, including the 20.14 by Ncincilili Titi in the 200m dash.
The first poll to use data only from the 2017 outdoor season will be released April 24. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week's poll can be found here.
GAMECOCKS HONORED WITH SEC WEEKLY ACCOLADES
Ncincilili Titi became the sixth Gamecock this season to win a weekly award from the SEC when the league named him Men's Track Athlete of the Week on April 18. The honor came on the heels of Titi's NCAA-leading 20.14 in the 200m at the Gamecock Invitational.
Titi joins Rougui Sow (Women's Field Athlete of the Week - April 11), Josh Awotunde (Men's Field Athlete of the Week - March 28), Darrell Singleton Jr. (Men's Freshman of the Week -- March 21), Eric Favors (Men's Freshman of the Week -- Feb. 21) and Taranisha Taylor (Women's Track Athlete of the Week -- Feb. 21) as Gamecocks honored by the SEC this season. Additionally, Favors and Alycia Springs were both named to the SEC Indoor All-Freshman Team in the shot put.
GAMECOCK INDIVIDUALS IN THE NCAA EAST REGION RANKINGS
South Carolina features 13 individuals and three relays in the NCAA East Region top-20 through four weeks of outdoor competition. The Gamecocks also have six marks in the national top-10.
APRIL 7-8 -- SOW POSTS WORLD'S BEST LONG JUMP MARK AT SPEC TOWNS INVITATIONAL
South Carolina was in Athens, Ga., for the Spec Towns Invitational April 7-8, with Rougui Sow making history to highlight the weekend at Georgia. Sow won the long jump competition with a mark of 6.72m (22-0 ¾), a new South Carolina program record and the top outdoor mark in the world this season. Sow is the first woman in the NCAA ranks to jump over 22 feet this season.
Overall, South Carolina recorded 17 podium finishes and set 20 new personal bests at Georgia. Carolina achieved five new PRs in the women's 5000m alone, setting the tone for a great weekend.
Senior Markus Leemet competed in his first decathlon of the season last weekend, finishing fourth against a very strong field. Leemet set a PR in four of the 10 events and totaled 7,383 points.
MARCH 30 -- APRIL 1 -- BROCKINGTON STEALS THE SHOW AT FLORIDA RELAYS
South Carolina competed March 30 -- April 1 at the Florida Relays. Senior Tyler Brockington was the star, winning the women's 400mH with a time of 56.35 that goes down as a personal best, the third-fastest time in the nation this season and the fifth-best mark in Gamecock history. It's the second consecutive week that Brockington has won her featured event.
Brockington was one of four Gamecocks to finish on the podium in Gainesville. Rougui Sow took second in the long jump invite with a mark of 20-9, and Natasha Dicks grabbed second in the triple jump at 43-9. The women's shuttle hurdle relay squad added a third-place result.
Carolina also saw several student-athletes leave a mark on the Gamecock all-time record book, as seven different Gamecocks achieved a mark that ranks on the school's top-10. Ben Bonhurst (shot put), Brockington (400mH), Clarence Gallop (hammer), Nakita Gray (high jump), Hailey Sweatman (pole vault), Ncincilili Titi (100m) and the men's 4x200m relay team all posted new Carolina top-10 efforts in Gainesville.
MARCH 24-25 -- GAMECOCKS OPEN CREGGER TRACK WITH WEEMS BASKIN INVITATIONAL
South Carolina began a new era of its storied track & field history March 24-25 with the Weems Baskin Invitational, the first meet ever on the brand-new Sheila & Morris Cregger Track. The Gamecocks welcomed over 1,100 student-athletes to Cregger Track and combined to win 13 different events at the historic meet.
On the first day of competition, Carolina walked away with five victories. Markus Leemet became the first event winner in the history of Cregger Track when he took the javelin B flight, and later in the day the senior won the B flight of the pole vault. Olivia Hassler (javelin), Rougui Sow (long jump) and the women's 4x800m relay squad also earned victories to start the meet.
The Gamecocks grabbed eight more wins on the second day at Cregger Track. Alycia Springs led the way for the Gamecocks, winning both the shot put and the discus on the women's side. Seniors Tyler Brockington (400mH) and Natasha Dicks (triple jump) also added victories in their first appearance at Cregger Track, as did junior Tye Williams (high jump), while both 4x100m relay teams and the women's 4x400m squad also found the winner's circle.
Cregger Track long promised to be one of the finest competition venues in track & field during its construction, and it lived up to that billing at the Weems Baskin. Two Gamecocks posted efforts that lead the NCAA after two weeks: Brockington's 56.93 stands as the top 400mH time in the nation, and Josh Awotunde, who was the top collegiate finisher in the shot put, leads all collegiate throwers with a mark of 64-10 ¾.
The Gamecocks posted five new marks that rank on Carolina's all-time outdoor top-10 list at the Weems Baskin Invitational. Sow (long jump), Springs (shot put), Clarence Gallop (hammer throw), Funlayo Oluwole and the 4x800m quartet of Maya Evans, Maddie Beaubien, Anna Kathryn Stoddard and Allie Mueller all achieved a new mark in the program top-10 at Cregger Track.
Overall, Gamecock student-athletes combined to set 33 new personal records at the Weems Baskin Invitational, the most of any meet so far this season.
MARCH 17-18 -- GAMECOCKS WIN 10 EVENTS AT HURRICANE INVITATIONAL
South Carolina opened the outdoor season March 17-18 by dominating the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla. Clarence Gallop (hammer throw) and Simon Gyllensten (pole vault) were victorious on Friday, while Maddie Beaubien (800m), Ben Bonhurst (shot put), Precious Holmes (400m), Jussi Kanervo (800m), Isaiah Moore (110mH), Alycia Springs (shot put) and David Winters (100m) took individual events on Saturday. Also, the Gamecocks were victorious in the women's 4x100m relay, with Makyla Stanley, Tyler Brockington, Taranisha Taylor and Maiya Dendy racing to the win.
Overall, the Gamecocks set 21 new collegiate personal bests at the meet. Bonhurst was perhaps the top performer, with his mark of 61-3 leading the NCAA East Region through one week and ranking fifth in Carolina shot put history.
EIGHT GAMECOCKS EARN ALL-AMERICA STATUS AT NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Carolina is coming off of a highly successful week at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, held in College Station, Texas. Gamecocks Josh Awotunde (shot put), Natasha Dicks (triple jump), Rougui Sow (long jump) and Ncincilili Titi (200m) each finished as First Team All-Americans, while the women's 4x400m relay team grabbed Second Team laurels.
Dicks finished third in the triple jump, her second consecutive podium finish at the NCAA indoor meet. The senior jumped 44-2 ½ on her second attempt, breaking her own school record from last season's NCAA Championships.
Awotunde placed fifth in the shot put after spending much of the competition outside of the points. The junior stood in 11th place with one prelims throw left, but he moved into the finals with an effort of 63-0. On his last attempt, the Franklinville, N.J., product vaulted into fifth with a PR of 64-6, second-best in Carolina history.
Sow was also in 11th with one preliminary effort left, and she made the finals with a jump of 20-10. Three jumps later, the Le Havre, France, native moved up to sixth with a PR mark of 21-2 ½, third in school history.
In his fourth appearance at an NCAA championship event, Titi qualified for finals for the first time. His prelims run of 20.79 was sixth-best, and in the finals he finished eighth at 21.03.
The Gamecocks return a slew of All-Americans from a very successful 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. On the women's side, Tyler Brockington (400m Hurdles, 4x400m), Precious Holmes (4x400m), Aliyah Abrams (400m, 4x400m), Natasha Dicks (Triple Jump) and Shelby Freedman (Javelin) were honored at outdoor nationals last season. For the men, Jussi Kanervo (400m Hurdles) and Josh Awotunde (Shot Put) grabbed outdoor laurels a season ago.
THE COACH FRYE FILE
The 2017 season is head coach Curtis Frye's 21st season in charge of the Gamecock program.
MEET THE COACHES
Delethea Quarles is in her 20th year with the South Carolina program and her 27th year as a collegiate coach entering the 2017 season. Promoted to assistant head coach in 2005, her primary responsibilities include coaching the multi-event performers and jumps. Quarles has extensive international experience, none more impressive than her 2015 post as the head women's coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
HASTINGS' GOLD HIGHLIGHTS CAROLINA'S IMPACT AT RIO OLYMPICS
Five members of the South Carolina track & field program represented the Gamecocks and their native countries at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leading the charge was Natasha Hastings, who won her second Olympic gold medal as part of the 4x400m relay. Hastings ran the second leg of the 4x400 final, with the United States posting a time of 3:19.06 to narrowly defeat Jamaica's 3:20.34. The Olympic medal was the 14th earned by a Gamecock in the program's track & field history. Hastings nearly won an individual medal, finishing fourth in the 400m dash.
Head coach Curtis Frye served as an assistant coach for Team USA, helping the Americans earn 32 medals in Rio, including 13 gold medals. Three other Gamecocks competed in Rio: current student-athlete Aliyah Abrams (Guyana) placed 38th in the 400m dash, graduate assistant Jeannelle Scheper (Saint Lucia) finished 25th in the high jump and alumna Kierre Beckles (Barbados) came in 24th in the 100m hurdles.
GAMECOCKS TO HOST SEC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP
South Carolina is proud to host the 2017 SEC Outdoor Championship at the brand new Morris and Sheila Cregger Track. The event runs May 11-13, and tickets go on sale soon. In addition to hosting the meet, the Gamecocks will hold several alumni events throughout the week. Gamecock alumni wishing to participate should contact associate head coach Delethea Quarles at DQUARLES@mailbox.sc.edu or (803) 777-1617.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
Carolina competes in its final regular season meet of 2017 next week at the 123rd Penn Relays Carnival. The meet runs April 27-29 at famed Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
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