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Feb. 27, 2010

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Five Gamecocks scored and 10 qualified for Sunday’s finals as the South Carolina track and field teams completed the second day of competition at the SEC Indoor Championships held at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

Michael Zajac took second in the weight throw, Jeff Merkt took eighth in the same event and Scott Pierce placed fourth in the heptathlon to lead the Gamecock men’s team to 14 points. Vica Shobe earned fourth in the pole vault and Brittney James claimed eighth in the long jump to give the women’s team 16 points. Overall, the men sit seventh and the women sit fifth heading into the final day of competition.

Zajac earned the silver medal and Al-SEC honors for the second consecutive season with a toss of 67’3 ½ (20.51m) in the weight throw. The redshirt junior earned the first points for the Gamecock men’s team at the championships and remains sixth in the NCAA in the event. Merkt entered the weight throw seeded 10th in the conference, but the senior fought his way into the finals of the event and tossed a 60’1 ¼ (18.32) on his fifth throw to claim eighth place and score a point for the Gamecocks, giving the men two scorers in the weight throw for the first time since the 2006 season. Freshman Louis Day came in 10th overall at 51’4 ¼ (15.65m).

Shobe tied her personal best and school record in the pole vault with her clearance of 13’9 ¾ (4.21m) to take fourth overall and bring the South Carolina women’s total to 15 points after two scored events. Shobe continued to show the poise she has displayed all season with a clearance on her second attempt before bowing out of the competition at 14’1 ¾ (4.31m). Sophomore Allison Nicosia set a personal best with a clearance of 12’8 ¾ (3.88m) to tie for ninth place.

After sitting out the 2009 season, senior Brittney James returned this year and grabbed eighth place in the long jump to score a point for the Gamecocks. James, who also took eighth in 2008, jumped 19’6 ¾ (5.96m) on her third attempt.

Pierce claimed fourth in the heptathlon at a provisional mark of 5,236 points. The mark set a personal best by one point as Pierce scored in the heptathlon for the third consecutive season after getting sixth in 2008 and third in 2009. Teammate Jerry Thompson III took 10th with 4,578 points and Michael Humphrey took 12th with 3,709 in his first SEC meet.

Sophomore Booker Nunley earned the win in the 60m hurdle preliminary round at a personal best 7.71, narrowly missing an automatic qualifying time (standard of 7.70) to qualify for Sunday’s final. Junior Johnny Dutch also qualified for the final with a time of 7.80 to place third overall. Both earned provisional times, and the mark for Nunley moves him into fourth in the nation two weeks before the NCAA meet.

Janica Austin led the way in the women’s hurdles by posting a big PR at 8.38 to win her heat and place third overall. She took sixth in the final last season.

Three short sprinters on the women’s side qualified for Sunday’s final with a 2-5-7 finish in the 60m dash, all by the trio of talented All-American juniors. Lakya Brookins took second overall at 7.31 after winning her heat. Gabrielle Glenn took fifth overall at a personal best 7.35, moving the five-time All-American up the NCAA list and into contention for a spot at nationals. Filling out the qualifiers was Shayla Mahan, who won her heat at 7.36 to claim seventh overall and give the Gamecocks three of eight finalists in the 60m. In addition, two Gamecocks earned personal bests in the preliminary round with Breehana Jacobs and Tatianna Fisher both running 7.47 to finish 14th and 15th, respectively.

Not to be outdone, the highly regarded 400m duo of Brandi Cross and Nadonnia Rodrigues also qualified for Sunday’s final. Cross ran a season best 53.34 to place third overall and was quickly followed by Rodrigues at 53.83 for fifth.

Senior Obakeng Ngwigwa earned a berth in the 400m dash final for the second consecutive season and notched his first provisional qualifying time of the year. Ngwigwa ran 47.22 to take seventh in the preliminary round. Classmate Quentin Moore initially qualified for the final as well with a run of 46.94, but his time was nullified due to a disqualification. Also competing were Aaron Anderson and Andre Carter, their first appearances in the event this season. Anderson, who has battled an injury throughout the indoor season, ran 49.10 to take 19th, and Carter ran 49.70 to take 23rd.

Antonio Sales, a 2008 SEC bronze medalist, qualified for the 200m final with a season best time of 20.90. Sales placed fourth overall, and teammate Chris Maxwell took 23rd.

The Gamecock men also competed in the mile run and the 60m dash. Sales placed 18th in the 60m dash at 6.85, and Maxwell took 31st at 7.17. A duo of freshmen competed in the mile run with Robert Razick claiming 22nd at 4:28.43 and Alex Bermudez running 4:33.15 for 23rd. In the field events, two freshman led Carolina as Lincoln Carr took 11th in the long jump (23’0 // 7.01m) and David Wilkins took ninth in the high jump (6’6 ¾ // 2.00m).

On the women’s side, freshman Sierra Henderson barely missed the cut with a time of 2:14.39 in the 800m dash. Henderson, a Ridge View graduate, placed 11th overall in her first appearance at the SEC Indoor Championships. Fellow distance runner Laura Pramstaller claimed 21st in the mile run. Sophomore Beatrice Biwott placed ninth in the 3,000m at 10:05.37. Sophomore Kelsey McCorkle ran a PR of 24.38 to take 12th in the 200m dash. In the shot put, Stacee Roberts took 10th at 46’8 ¼ (14.23m), and Katie Vuckovich (46’4 ¼) and Breanna Radford (46’1 ¼) both threw collegiate bests to place 11th and 13th, respectively.

South Carolina will conclude action Sunday beginning with the women’s weight throw at 11 a.m. The first running events begin at 1:35 p.m. with the women’s 60m hurdle finals.

W-60m Prelim (Auto: 7.26, Prov: 7.44)
2. Lakya Brookins 7.31Q PRO
5. Gabrielle Glenn 7.35q PRO, PR
7. Shayla Mahan 7.36Q PRO
14. Breehana Jacobs 7.47 (7.462) PR
15. Tatianna Fisher 7.47 (7.464) PR
27. Kelsey McCorkle 7.73 PR
W-200m Prelim (Auto: 23.20, Prov: 23.90)
12. Kelsey McCorkle 24.38 PR
15. Breehana Jacobs 24.64
Tatianna Fisher DQ (24.21)
W-400m Prelim (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)
3. Brandi Cross 53.34q PRO
5. Nadonnia Rodrigues 53.83q PRO
21. Porche Byrd 57.57
W-800m Prelim (Auto: 2:05.00, Prov: 2:09.00)
11. Sierra Henderson 2:14.39
W-Mile Run Prelim (Auto: 4:37.00, Prov: 4:47.00)
21. Laura Pramstaller 5:14.48
W-3000m Run Final (Auto: 9:13.00, Prov: 9:32.00)
Beatrice Biwott 10:05.37
W-60m Hurdles Prelim (Auto: 8.14, Prov: 8.43)
3. Janica Austin 8.38q PRO, PR
W-Long Jump (Auto: 6.38m, Prov: 6.13m)
8. Brittney James 19-06.75 (5.96m)
W-Pole Vault (Auto: 4.25m, Prov: 4.00m)
4. Vica Shobe 13-09.75 (4.21m) PRO
T9. Allie Nicosia 12-08.75 (3.88m) PR
Sallie Gurganus NH
W-Shot Put (Auto: 16.90m, Prov: 15.20m)
10. Stacee Roberts 46-08.25 (14.23m)
11. Katie Vuckovich 46-04.25 (14.13m) PR
13. Breanna Radford 46-01.25 (14.05m)
20. Aimee Kodat 40-03.25 (12.27m)
M-60m Prelim (Auto: 6.60, Prov: 6.71)
18. Antonio Sales 6.85
31. Chris Maxwell 7.17
M-200m Prelim (Auto: 20.83, Prov: 21.23)
4. Antonio Sales 20.90q PRO
23. Chris Maxwell 21.85
M-400m Prelim (Auto: 46.15, Prov: 47.25)
7. Obakeng Ngwigwa 47.22q PRO
19. Aaron Anderson 49.10
23. Andre Carter 49.70
Quentin Moore DQ (46.94)
M-Mile Run Prelim (Auto: 3:59.00, Prov: 4:03.50)
22. Robert Razick 4:28.43
23. Alex Bermudez 4:33.15
M-60m Hurdles Prelim (Auto: 7.70, Prov: 7.91)
1. Booker Nunley 7.71q PRO, PR
3. Johnny Dutch 7.80q PRO
M-Long Jump (Auto: 7.85m, Prov: 7.50m)
11. Lincoln Carr 23-00.00 (7.01m)
M-High Jump (Auto: 2.24m, Prov: 2.14m)
9. David Wilkins 6-06.75 (2.00m)
Scott Pierce NH
M-Weight Throw (Auto: 21.50m, Prov: 19.50m)
2. Michael Zajac 67-03.50 (20.51m) PRO
8. Jeff Merkt 60-01.25 (18.32m)
10. Louis Day 51-04.25 (15.65m)
1. Scott Pierce 2:33.27
11. Michael Humphrey 3:04.05
12. Jerry Thompson III 3:20.89
Eddie Stoudemire DNS
M-HEPTATHLON 60m Hurdles (Auto: 7.70, Prov: 7.91)
8. Jerry Thompson III 8.65 (825 pts)
9. Scott Pierce 8.76 (800 pts)
11. Michael Humphrey 9.18 (707 pts)
Eddie Stoudemire DNS
M-HEPTATHLON Pole Vault (Auto: 5.50m, Prov: 5.20m)
6. Michael Humphrey 13-05.25 // 4.10m (645 pts)
7. Jerry Thompson III 13-05.25 // 4.10m (645 pts)
10. Scott Pierce 12-01.50 // 3.70 (535 pts)
Eddie Stoudemire DNS
M-HEPTATHLON Final (Auto: 5,675 pts, Prov: 5,325 pts)
4. Scott Pierce 5236 PRO
10. Jerry Thompson III 4578
12. Michael Humphrey 3709
DNF Eddie Stoudemire 2437