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March 14, 2008

Complete Results

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.Jason Richardson came within .003 seconds of winning the 60-meter hurdles as he earned All-America honors to lead the South Carolina track programs at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships held at the Randall Tyson Track Center.

Richardson and Florida State’s Drew Brunson both crossed the line at 7.53, leading the timers to differentiate the winner by cutting down to the thousandth of a second. Brunson took the title at 7.527 with Richardson crossing at 7.530, setting a new personal best and coming within one-hundredth of Terrence Trammell’s school-record 7.52 set in 1999.

“That was the whole plan,” Richardson said. “I put on the retro throwback uniform that Terrence wore, just trying to bring that championship back to Carolina. I have another year left so please believe I’ll bring home a championship. The top 10 hurdlers were seniors and I have another year left so it’s wide open.”

Friday’s final wasn’t without excitement and suspense as two runners were disqualified with consecutive false starts. Ryan Fontenot of LSU jumped the gun the first try followed by 2008 SEC Champion Ty Akins of Auburn the second time.

“(The false starts) get to me as they do the entire field, but it gets to me less just because I don’t normally have a good start,” Richardson said. “I’m never really worried about false starting. It does break the focus. Fontenot was right next to me so on that first false start I didn’t move at all. I felt Ty move so I didn’t move.”

Richardson began his day by setting a new personal-best in the 60-meter hurdles after winning his heat and placing second overall at 7.65 in the preliminary round. The mark tied him with Stanislavs Olijars (1999) for second all-time on the South Carolina indoor list as Richardson qualified for the finals.

The All-America honors are the fifth in Richardson’s career and his fourth time earning a medal at the national championships. Richardson took bronze medal honors in the 60-meter hurdles in 2005, bronze medal honors in the 110-meter hurdles in 2005 and bronze medal honors in the 110-meter hurdles in 2006.

“I’m one of the few athletes that can say I have three NCAA third places to my name,” Richardson said. “I had two freshman year and one sophomore year. For me to get second place is a step ahead. Also, just coming back on an entire year when I redshirted and getting through races healthy was a blessing in itself. To come out here and run the same time as Drew lets him know that he has his hands full in outdoors. I can’t ask for anything more.”

The women’s side took a big blow in the women’s 400-meter dash when Brandi Cross wasn’t able to finish the event. After a subtle stumble out of the blocks, Cross – who held the nation’s second-fastest time at 52.12 coming into the championships – was on record pace with the rest of the pack before pulling up and off the track while merging at the break after the first 200 meters. Cross and another runner ran into a conflict, causing Cross to pull aside.

“It was upsetting but it was either run into the rail or stop and start again,” Cross said. “Either way I wasn’t going to make (finals) after that. I’ll be ready tomorrow in the 4x400m relay. “

Freshmen Lakya Brookins and Shayla Mahan were two of only four freshmen to qualify for the championships in the 60-meter dash. Brookins matched her season-best time of 7.32 to place fifth in her heat and 12th overall in the prelims. Mahan ran a 7.37 to come in at 16th overall.

Another freshman in Antonio Sales competed in the men’s 200-meter dash, running a 21.17 to place 12th overall. Sales, who ran the second fastest time in USC indoor history at 20.83 at the SEC Championships, was the first Gamecock to compete in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships since Rodney Martin in 2005.

With two events remaining Friday, Florida State led the men’s standings with 16 points, followed by Arizona State, Cal State Northridge and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 10 points. South Carolina sits in a tie for fifth with eight points.

Virginia Tech led the women’s standings with 16 points after four events scored. Michigan, Washington State, Southern Illinois and Texas Tech round out the top five with 10 points with two events remaining Friday.

Carolina will conclude the second day of action with two events Saturday. The men’s and women’s 4x400m relays will compete Saturday to conclude the championships. The men’s relay will begin at 8:05 p.m. (CT) followed by the women’s at 8:20 p.m. (CT).

Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)
2. Jason Richardson 7.65

Men’s 60-Meter Hurdles (Finals)
2. Jason Richardson 7.530

Women’s 400-Meter Dash (Prelims)
NF. Brandi Cross

Men’s 200-Meter Dash (Prelims)
12. Antonio Sales 21.17

Women’s 60-Meter Dash (Prelims)
12. Lakya Brookins 7.32, 16. Shayla Mahan 7.37