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July 11, 2008

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland – South Carolina freshman Johnny Dutch won the silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles while three other Gamecocks posted the fastest times of the day in their event to conclude the fourth day of competition at the 12th International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Junior Championships Friday in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

For the second consecutive day Dutch ran the second-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles as he took home silver medal honors to fellow American Jeshua Anderson (Washington State). Dutch ran a 49.25 to become the first Gamecock man to medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the international competition since Kenneth Ferguson earned the silver medal in 2002. Anderson ran a 48.68 to win the gold, and Cuban Amaurys Valle came in third at 49.56.

“I’m happy we went 1-2,” Dutch said. “I’m not satisfied with my race, but I try to look at it in a positive way. I know for me to work hard something has to happen. With this happening, not having a good race and it’s my last one of the season, then it’s going to push me harder for next season.”

“We’re proud of Johnny’s efforts,” South Carolina coach Curtis Frye said. “To get a medal at World Championships and run the second fastest time for second place at Juniors is him continuing the performance of Carolina athletes at the Junior level. We look forward to a great year next year with Johnny as we continue our goal to lead Carolina to a top 10 finish nationally.”

Three Gamecocks led USA to the fastest times of the day in both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays on Friday.

Shayla Mahan and Gabrielle Glenn ran the middle legs of the 4×100-meter relay for Team USA to lead the Americans to the fastest time of the day at 43.76. The Americans bested second-place Brazil (44.25) by one-half second to coast through to tomorrow’s final round that begins at 12:25 p.m. EST (6:25 local time). Mahan previously finished fifth in the 100-meter dash final Wednesday at the World Junior Championships.

“We’ve been practicing on handoffs,” Glenn said of the relay team. “So as long as we get the stick through the handoffs, then I think we’ll do really well in the finals.”

On the men’s side, Antonio Sales, running in his first of two races Friday, ran the second leg as the men topped the competition at 39.37 for the fastest time of the day. Two hours later, Sales competed in the 200-meter dash finals where he ran a 21.01 to place sixth overall. He next competes in the final of the 4×100-meter relay Saturday at 12:40 p.m. EST (6:40 p.m. local time).

“This is the most exciting part of the meet to me,” Sales said. “I get a great joy out of running the relays. It’s a different type of feeling. In an individual event you may get a little nervous or tense, but on a relay it’s more fun. That’s the good part about a relay. You’ve got three other guys depending on you. So everybody tries to do their best.”

“It was a good day for us on the junior level,” Frye said. “Having 15 kids (with South Carolina ties) on the Olympic team and five kids at the World Juniors is panning out to be a good summer for the Gamecocks. With Jason Richardson and Brandi Cross traveling next week to Mexico to compete in the NACAC U23 Track and Field Championships, it’s a real active summer for the Gamecocks and for track and field.”

Incoming freshman Booker Nunley won his heat in the qualifying round of the 110-meter hurdles to advance. Nunley ran a 13.68 for the second-fastest time of the day behind Jamaica’s Warren Weir, showing that the numerous false starts that occurred from the rest of the field did not affect his approach. The semifinal round begins Saturday at 11:35 a.m. EST (5:35 p.m. local time).

“It was an okay race, but I felt kind of rusty,” Nunley said. “My start felt really good, though. I shut it down at the end to conserve some energy. I came here to win. That’s what I plan on trying to do.”