June 5, 2008
Columbia, SC – The South Carolina track and field teams travel to Des Moines, Iowa June 11-14 for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Three men qualified individually and both relays. On the women’s side, four women qualified individually and both relays. The women finished 12th last year and the men finished 30th. The women have been in the top 12 the last 12 years straight. The men are ranked No. 24 and the women are ranked No. 27.
The following men have been selected for the NCAA Championships through NCAA East Region performance or selection on previous 2008 outdoor performance: Jason Richardson (110m hurdles), Jussi Heikkila (400m hurdles) and Erik Heymann (javelin). The 4x100m relay pool includes Johnathan Hancock, Antonio Sales, Quinten Moore, Lamar Markett and Jamil James. The 4x400m relay includes Keith Hinnant, Moore, Johnny Dutch, Ray Miley, Aaron Anderson, Richardson and Heikkila.
The following women have been selected for the NCAA Championships through NCAA East Region performance or selection on previous 2008 outdoor performance: Shayla Mahan (100m), Gabby Glenn (100m), Brandi Cross (400m) and Porche Byrd (400m). The 4x100m relay pool includes Cross, Mahan, Glenn, Faraign Giles, Trier Young and Bryd. The 4x400m relay pool includes Cross, Glenn, Giles, Young and Byrd.
“We have a lot of numbers. Jason Richardson and Jussi Heikkila give us quality, but we don’t have a lot of top five people. This isn’t a top 10 national qualifying group. This is a group that has to over-achieve and to this point they have. From the SEC meet to the Region meet, they have stepped up and performed close their maximum abilities,” said USC head coach Curtis Frye. “I am not sure how much longer they can do that, but with that said, the youth of the team creates an optimism of tremendous ‘wait until next year’ attitude because we have so much to accomplish next year. If we can be in the top 10 this year for the men and top 15 for the women. If we can be in the top 10 this year with the men, with the recruits we have coming in and Jason Richardson coming back, we will have a solid top 10 foundation. We have been dreaming of that for years. If we can make top 10 it’s something to look forward to.
“On the women’s side a top 20 finish which will be really difficult. To get a top 20 you have to score 12-15 points and it will be a tough go,” continued Frye. “Both relays are going to have to be top four. Brandi is our biggest hope as a returner and seated about No. 6. All of it has to be overachievers. The women’s 4×1 is top four, but the rest have to overachieve. So you have to run the meet. Ten percent of your ranking, you underachieve 10 percent and then you have had a good meet. Very few times do you overachieve 10 percent and that’s track and field. Play the numbers, it is what it is if you are healthy. Jason and Jussi are where they are – if they do what they did to get to the meet – that’s about what you can expect.”