Gamecocks Advance Eight to finals; Goose Creek's Trout Finishes Fourth in Hammer with 7-foot PR
May 11, 2007
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - At the second day of the SEC Track and Field Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., South Carolina advanced eight athletes to the finals with Shalonda Solomon (200m) and Thomas Hilliard (400m hurdles) running the top times of the day in their signature event. Goose Creek's Tyler Trout got the Gamecocks on the board with a fourth place finish in the hammer with an almost seven foot PR and Curt McGill was sixth in the two-day decathlon (see below for Gamecocks who advanced to finals).
"We had a good day, a very good day. The kids put in great effort. All the people we expected to do well, did well and Tyler Trout did extremely well. A walk-on to finish in fourth place is outstanding," said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. "Curt McGill was in third going into the finals of the 1500m for the decathlon and that gives him something to work on this summer. The future looks pretty bright in that event with those three young men in the multis. Jussi and Thomas are in good shape for the finals of the 400m hurdles. It's gonna be a battle - this conference is so tough. Everybody in the 400m hurdles race made regional qualifier and everyone in the men's and women's 200m finals made regional qualifiers. It's the best of the best. I am just proud our kids are stepping up to the plate, but we are just beginning. We can't rest on one good day - we need to be ready again tomorrow."
Trout threw a personal best by almost seven feet to finish fourth in the hammer with a toss of 202' 10. Trout's throw is the best by a Gamecock in eight years and the eighth-best throw in school history. He came in seated No. 7.
"We were waiting for the next break-through and he has been consistent," said throws coach Mike Sergent. "He can realistically throw 210 feet. What really helped him today that he was competing for his family that is here to be here with him instead of going through graduation this weekend at USC. They were all cheering for him and he was really excited to have him here. He did a great job of competing and handling the pressure of the SEC Championships. It's an exciting story for a guy that came here as a walk-on and hadn't thrown the hammer before college."
"A lot of support from the family and all I day I just felt I had to get the job done and felt I could throw far today. It was amazing. It was such a great experience and I was so glad to finally get it out there," said Trout, who attended Stratford High School in Goose Creek. "It gives me extra confidence for the discus on Saturday. It is good to have the good throw off my back and get ready to start competing in the discus. No predictions for the discus, but I would love to get top five in the discus this weekend."
McGill was sixth in the decathlon with a personal-best 6440 points, Eddie Stoudemire was ninth at 5797 points and Scott Pierce was 10th with 5691 points. McGill's second day totals included: 15.15 in the 110m hurdles (831 points), 113' 5 in the discus (555 points), 12' 11 ½ in the pole vault (603 points, 149' 10 in the javelin (525 points) and he finished the day with a 5:27.57 in the 1500m.
Defending champion Shalonda Solomon and Natasha Hastings both easily won their heats in the 200m with Solomon running the top time of the day at 22.74 and Hastings posting a personal best 22.78. Solomon's time is the fourth fastest in school history and Hastings' is the fifth fastest.
South Carolina advanced six 400m hurdlers to the finals - four women and two men. Thomas Hilliard led the way by winning his heat with the fastest time of the day and the third-fastest time in school history at 49.63. Two heats later Jussi Heikkila ran a collegiate PR at 50.78 to finish as the runner-up in his heat and advance to the finals.
On the women's side, Chiquita Martin won her 400m hurdles heat with a season-best time of 57.96 and the second-best time of the day. Krystal Cantey won her heat at 58.59 and finished with the third fastest time of the day. Trier Young (1:00.03) and Tawana Watkins (1:00.16) finished second and third in their heat to qualify for the finals.
"I felt real good. I thought about my race all day. I wasn't as nervous and I was confident," said Hilliard. "I was anxious to run a good race. I ready to set the tone and I have been confident all day. I wanted to help Jussi by setting the tone early."
Senior Anthony Faulkner finished 13th in the hammer with a toss of 137' 6. Faulkner and Trout will both graduate on Saturday from USC and chose to compete at SECs rather than walk.
Other Gamecocks running in the prelims and not advancing: Johnny Baez ran a 1:52.10 to finish fifth in his heat of the 800m; Nick Lytle finished xx in his heat at 21.67 and Keisha Brown ran a 2:21.53 to finish seventh in her heat.
Gamecocks in the Finals Sunday May 13