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Feb. 6, 2010

Michael Zajac
Coach Frye

NEW YORKMichael Zajac hit a new personal best and hit the nation’s fifth best mark in the weight throw Saturday to lead No. 10/18 South Carolina in the final day of competition at the prestigious New Balance Collegiate Invitational held at the Armory Track and Field Center in upper Manhattan.

Zajac took second in the weight throw at a career best 69’7 ¾ (21.23m), besting his previous personal best by over one foot and inching closer to his indoor goal of 70 feet. The redshirt junior All-American will look to hit the mark next week at the Tiger Paw Invitational.

“Walter Henning setting a field house record from LSU and us still having Mike in the contest and having a personal best shows us he can compete at the national level,” South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. “We’re going to need him to score this year at the national level.”

Brandi Cross and Nadonnia Rodrigues placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 400-meter dash finals with season best times. The Gamecock duo crossed the line at a nearly identical time with Cross taking third at 53.78 and Rodrigues taking fourth at 53.79. Both times were provisional qualifying times. On the men’s side, Quentin Moore hit a season best to place sixth at 47.83.

All three quarter-milers also competed in the 4x400m relays. Cross and Rodrigues ran the first two legs of the women’s relay, teaming with Breehana Jacobs and Janica Austin to place fourth at a season best and provisional qualifying time of 3:38.36. Moore ran the first leg of the men’s relay, teaming with Obakeng Ngwigwa, Booker Nunley and Eddie Stoudemire to place eighth at 3:17.50. The Gamecocks held the lead in the second heat before Nunley was accidentally clipped by an opposing runner, but the sophomore recovered gracefully to keep the Gamecocks in the race.

Shayla Mahan qualified for the 200-meter finals after running 24.10 in the preliminary round to place ninth, but the junior All-American pulled out of the final and did not race. The same situation occurred on the men’s side with Antonio Sales who took seventh in the preliminary round at 21.57 before pulling out of the final.

The women’s 4x200m relay team of Breehana Jacobs, Tatianna Fisher, Breanna Hubbard and Janica Austin claimed eighth at 1:39.88.

Beatrice Biwott claimed 10th in the mile run at 5:00.93, and sophomore Laura Pramstaller bested her season best in the event by 10 seconds to place 30th at 5:13.3. In other middle distance events, Sierra Henderson led Carolina in the 800-meter run at 2:17.69, and Ashley Evens led the team in the 3,000-meter run at 10:34.37.

Robert Razick ran 4:19.68 in the men’s mile and Daniel Smoak ran 4:29.06 to conclude the track events for the men’s team.

Ceci Kryst was the only women’s field event athlete to compete Saturday and took 25th in the triple jump at 10.24m. Also competing in field events for the men were Jeff Merkt and Louis Day, who took 15th and 28th in the men’s weight throw.

“We saw what it takes two weeks in a row with fantastic teams in head to head competition,” Frye said. “We know we’re a long way away from where we need to be. Our kids got to see what the big teams do in a big team situation, so it’s a matter if we can learn how to bring anything to the meet.”

South Carolina continues its championship stretch next weekend when the team travels to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Gamecock throwers will head upstate to compete at the Tiger Invitational at Clemson.

W-200m Champ. Prelim (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)
9. Shayla Mahan 24.10q
43. Breehana Jacobs 25.04
W-400m Champ. Finals (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)
3. Brandi Cross 53.78 PRO
4. Nadonnia Rodrigues 53.79 PRO
W-800m Coll. (Auto: 2:05.00, Prov: 2:09.00)
28. Sierra Henderson 2:17.69
68. Megan Rother 2:23.66
W-Mile Run Coll. (Auto: 4:37.00, Prov: 4:47.00)
10. Beatrice Biwott 5:00.93
30. Laura Pramstaller 5:13.3 SB0
W-3000m Run Coll. (Auto: 9:13.00, Prov: 9:32.00)
21. Ashley Evens 10:34.37
8. Jacobs, Fisher, Hubbard, Austin 1:39.88
W-4x400m Champ. (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)
4. Cross, Rodrigues, Jacobs, Austin 3:38.36 PRO
W-Triple Jump Coll. (Auto: 13.30m, Prov: 12.65m)
25. Ceci Kryst 10.24m
M-200m Champ. Prelims (Auto: 20.83, Prov: 21.23)
7. Antonio Sales 21.57q
M-400m Champ. Finals (Auto: 46.15, Prov: 47.25)
6. Quentin Moore 47.83
M-Mile Run Coll. (Auto: 3:59.00, Prov: 4:03.50)
32. Robert Razick 4:19.68
48. Daniel Smoak 4:29.06
M-4x400m Champ. (Auto: 3:06.50, Prov: 3:10.40)
8. Moore, Ngwigwa, Nunley, Stoudemire 3:17.50
M-Weight Throw (Auto: 21.50m, Prov: 19.50m)
2. Michael Zajac 21.23m PRO
15. Jeff Merkt 17.04m
28. Louis Day 14.82m