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April 24, 2008

Columbia, SC – Winning the pole vault, Columbia native Liza Todd got the Gamecock track and field teams off to a quick start during the first day of the 114th annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia. USC also advanced to the Championship of America in two relays on Saturday by winning its 4x100m relay heat and by finishing as the runner-up in the 4x400m relay.

Todd, a graduate of Columbia’s Dherer High School, jumped a personal best 12′ 9 – an NCAA regional mark. It is the second best jump in school history.

“It felt really good to win,” said Todd. “I knew it was coming -a big jump – I was so close so many times even if I wasn’t making bars. I’ve been working a lot in getting my left arm straight. It gives me a lot of confidence and moves me up the list in the SEC to being a scorer. I know I can go higher. I tried 13’1, but by then I was too tired, but it felt good.”

The women’s 4x400m relay (Krystal Cantey (55.5), Faraign Giles (52.9), Brandi Cross (51.7), Porche Byrd (53.6)) finished as the runner-up behind Penn State and advanced to Saturday’s Championship of America with a time of 3:33.71. It was a season best for the Gamecocks.

Earlier in the day the women’s 4x100m relay ran a 44.45 to win their heat and advance to the Championship of America final on Saturday.

Brittney James, who led until the final jump in the Championship of America long jump finals, finished as the runner-up at 20′ 3 3./4 – bettering her own NCAA regional mark.

Krystal Cantey was sixth in the 400m hurdles at 1:00.70.