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June 11, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa – In the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Gamecocks advanced both 4x100m relay to the finals and two Gamecocks advanced to the semi-finals individually. The meet, hosted by Drake University, runs through Sat., June 14.

“Great day,” said Gamecock head coach Curtis Frye. “Everybody met expectations so all of them were highlights. The men ran a season PR in the 4×1. The women advanced, but had some bad hand-offs. We can improve on the women’s side. The men’s 4×1 has a little room for improvement and met expectations. Our women were seeded No. 5 and we ended up No. 7 headed to the finals. Our men were seeded No. 7 and the enter the finals at No. 4, but the finals are a different game.

“Brandi looked very good, very smooth. She managed the race really well. She has five quarters to run and two 100s this weekend. That’s a heavy load for her and she managed that race really well. Porche is a freshman. She didn’t advance in the 400m, but it’s a good experience so in the semi-finals of the mile relay she will be ready. She is the anchor leg so she has to be ready.” Cross is running the 400, the lead-off leg of the 4×1 and the second leg of the 4×4.

“Conditions were tough with the winds,” said Frye. “Another issue is worrying if we are going to have to move out of our hotel tonight due to the flooding of the Des Moines River right next to our hotel. Oregon and South Carolina are the only two teams left in the Embassy Suites, but we are managing that stress really well.”

Jussi Heikkila won his heat in the first round of the 400m hurdles at 50.56. He finished as the runner-up at the NCAA East Region meet in May with a personal best 49.39.

Brandi Cross won her heat of the 53.27 to advance to Friday’s semi-finals. Cross was the SEC and NCAA East Region runner-up this season. She ran the lead-off leg of the 4×1 earlier in the day.

The men’s 4x100m relay finished as the runner-up in its heat, running a season-best 39.37 to finish with the fourth-best time of the day. The relay, which included Johnathan Hancock, Antonio Sales, Quentin Moore and Lamar Markett, advanced to the finals. The time is the ninth-best time in school history.

The women’s 4x100m relay also advanced to the finals by finishing as the runner-up in their heat at 44.48. The time is the seventh best headed to the finals. The relay includes Brandi Cross, Shayla Mahan, Faraign Giles and Gabrielle Glenn.

On a very windy day, with head winds of blowing strongly in her face, Mahan ran a 12.05 to finish fifth in her heat. Glenn, who ran into a headwind of -3.6 ran a 12.16 to finish seventh in her heat. Neither advanced to the semi-finals.

Porche Bryd was fifth in her heat of the quarter at 55.38 and did not advance to the semi-finals.

Erik Heymann finished 12th in his section of the javelin, tossing it 194′ 11. He did not advance to the finals.