Gamecock Quick Sprints - SEC Outdoor Championships
May 11, 2011
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By Miquel Jacobs
ATHENS, Ga. - There are five weeks remaining in the NCAA track and field season, and the stretch begins this week in Athens, Ga., as the South Carolina Gamecocks prepare to compete at the SEC Outdoor Championships. The four-day meet begins Thursday morning with the men's hammer throw and concludes Sunday night with the women's mile relay, and many members of Coach Curtis Frye's team will look to make their marks in the conference, whether they are seniors in their final SEC event or freshmen competing at the outdoor meet for the first time.
Only one Gamecock will hit the track Thursday, and it is fitting that the person to start things off for the team is the oldest member of the program in fifth-year senior Michael Zajac. A team captain, multiple All-American and Brad Davis Community Service Award nominee, Zajac will set the tone for the weekend with an early morning call time of 10 a.m.
The SEC's are no stranger to Zajac who earlier this year solidified one part of his legacy at South Carolina after his performance at the SEC Indoor Championships. Zajac claimed bronze medal honors in the weight throw back in February and in the process became the first Gamecock in school history to medal three times in the weight throw at the SEC indoor meet. Further, he is one of only two Gamecock men's throwers to score in the weight throw in all four of their competing seasons - the other being Bert Sorin.
Now it is time to make a bit of history outdoors. Zajac has scored the past three seasons in the hammer throw at the SEC outdoor meet and progressed each year, taking eighth as a freshman, sixth as a sophomore and fourth last year as a junior. Another top eight finish will once again tie Sorin for the distinction of scoring all four years at the SEC meet - this time in the hammer throw.
He enters the week with the fifth-best mark in the conference at 202-05 (61.69m) but has not yet this year hit his personal best mark of 211-00. Come Thursday afternoon, we will know where Zajac stands in the hammer throw competition, but regardless of the result, it promises to be a strong start to the championship season, and all 54 Gamecocks and 12 staff members that made the trip will be in the stands at the Spec Towns Track facility to cheer him on.