Feb. 28, 2010
|Gamecock Pole Vaulters|
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – South Carolina finished the 2010 SEC Indoor Championships with three gold medalist as pole vaulter Elliott Haynie and 60m dash specialist LaKya Brookins earned wins Sunday to go along with the pentathlon title won by Kettiany Clarke. The titles were all SEC indoor firsts in each event for the Gamecocks and capped a weekend where numerous Gamecocks defied what was “on paper” and came through with showings that exceeded expectations.
The men’s team finished fourth for the second straight season with 53 total points and five medals. The Gamecock women’s team placed seventh overall with 53 points, two points shy of sixth, and earned a total of five medals over the weekend. Haynie earned gold in the pole vault at 17’7 Â¼ (5.37m) and Brookins, the defending national champion in the 60m dash, won gold at a nation-leading 7.18.
“It was a fantastic weekend,” South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye said. “On our men’s side, we thought coming into this meet that being No. 7 or 8 would be a great performance. Our guys had better than a great performance. They were outstanding; fourth in the SEC is a big finish for us. Our women, we thought we could get number seven and we got seventh. We were two points out of being sixth (and being) in the top half of the SEC. That’s outstanding. We’ve had a great year. We would have loved to be number six. Getting seventh by two points is hard to swallow, but it was not because of lack of effort.”
The Gamecock hurdlers began the final day of competition by earning a combined three medals in the men’s and women’s 60m hurdles. Junior Janica Austin set a personal best with her time of 8.37 to claim bronze on the women’s side, her second career SEC medal after taking bronze at the 2009 Outdoor Championships in the 400m hurdles.
“I feel pretty good. I feel like I accomplished a lot,” Austin said of her race. “Taking third is not No. 1 but I’m going to be happy. I’m looking forward to dropping my time (at NCAA’s) and taking home the gold.”
Following her race, the men’s duo of Booker Nunley and Johnny Dutch took to the track and continued the South Carolina tradition in the event by claiming silver and bronze. Nunley ran the nation’s fourth fastest time this year and punched his ticket to national’s with his automatic qualifying mark of 7.68, a time that is a lifetime best for the U.S. Junior National runner-up.
“It’s mixed feelings,” Booker said of his finish. “I’m mad I didn’t get the win because I was so close, but I’m happy I (automatically qualified for NCAA’s) and PR’d. That’s a lifetime PR for me so I have to look at all my blessings and just be happy. I knew whoever was going to win that race would have to run 60-something, so I knew I was going to run fast.”
Dutch followed right behind at 7.82 to take third in the event, an improvement from his seventh-place showing last season. However, the U.S. national team member and 2009 NCAA bronze medalist in the event expected he and Nunley to provide more points on the track.
“I’m not too excited about the race,” Dutch said. “I didn’t get out at all and was hitting hurdles everywhere. It wasn’t my best race. Booker and I were trying to go one-and-two (overall) but we didn’t so we have to continue to work hard and hope for the best in the future.”
The meet then switched back to the women’s side with the 60m dash, and defending national champion Lakya Brookins was determined to continue making history for the storied Gamecock program. Almost one year after becoming the first Gamecock national champion in the event, Brookins ran a nation-leading 7.18 to become the first Gamecock conference champion in the meet as well. In addition, teammates Gabrielle Glenn (7.38) and Shayla Mahan (7.54) claimed sixth and eighth, respectively, to round out the Gamecock effort in the event.
“I feel really good about my race,” Brookins said. “I feel like I’ve put everything together. I just tried to get there before anyone else did. Honestly, I wasn’t (expecting to run 7.18) but I’m glad I did. I’ve been working so hard and really wanted to drop my time so these next two weeks I can drop it some more.”
Brandi Cross earned her second silver medal in the 400m dash after winning her heat and finishing second overall with a time of 53.42, contributing eight points to the Gamecock women’s team.
“The highlight (on the women’s side) was LaKya Brookins with the fastest time in the nation,” Frye said. “She’s a champion. She’s stepping up and performs big in big meets. Brandi Cross getting second in the SEC in the 400m, Janica getting third in the hurdles and our girls coming back to get fourth in 4×4 (were also big things).”
Needing and expecting points in the pole vault to help push the men’s team up the standings, Coach Lawrence Johnson’s Gamecocks exploded with an outstanding 21 points courtesy of medals from Elliott Haynie and the combined bronze from Marvin Reitze and Matt Shuler. Haynie’s gold medal was the first SEC indoor pole vault gold in South Carolina history and the first overall since Chris Steddum won the 2001 outdoor title.
“The biggest thing we had happen for us was our pole vault,” Frye said. “To have a champion in the pole vault, it’s pretty solid that he’s going to get to the NCAA’s. Haynie came through big. Marvin came through and Matt came through to get 21 points out of the event.”
Haynie sealed the title after clearing his first three bars on his first attempts. After clearing 17’2 Â¾ (5.25m) on his third jump, he was the only person remaining in the competition and decided to up the bar to 17’7 Â¼ (5.37m). He cleared it emphatically on his third attempt to jump to No. 11 in the NCAA.
“We came through for the team which is number one,” Haynie said. “I want to jump higher. I’ve been sick all week, so just to come here and jump the best mark of the season is really good. The number one thing is to help the team get as many points as they can for this meet, and that’s all that really matters. This is the number one conference in the country. It’s not just about yourself; it’s about your team. For us to come together and score more points than people thought we would is an accomplishment in its own.”
Reitze and Shuler both cleared 16-10 Â¾ (5.15m) on their first attempts to take tie for third. Reitze earned bronze medal honors for the second consecutive season in only his second meet of the season after battling injuries. The height was a personal best for Shuler, a West Columbia native, who cracked the all-time top 10 list in the meet for the first time.
“It was a good meet,” Reitze said. “It was a big question because I’m still injured, but it went alright. I really wanted to jump and medal because I wanted to score for the team. We got nice points in the pole vault and we showed up today to score for the team.”
“It felt good,” Shuler added. “I should have had 5.25 (meters). We left the sweep out there but I look forward to outdoor and the Last Chance meet next weekend. I feel good about my performance today. We worked through a lot of stuff with Coach Johnson this year, so we’ll be ready to go.”
In the men’s field events, two Gamecocks came through to place six each. Michael Zajac claimed sixth in the shot put at a PR of 53’7 (16.33m) one day after winning silver medal honors in the weight throw. Later, freshman Lincoln Carr jumped the third best indoor time in school history in the triple jump at 51’3 Â½ (15.63m) to also claim sixth at his first provisional mark.
“Zajac came back today and hadn’t thrown the shot put for us in a long time, but PR’d by three-feet in throwing 53 feet in the shot put,” Frye said. “The freshman of the meet was Lincoln Carr. He PR’d by almost two feet in the triple jump. Our kids stepped up.”
The men’s 4x400m relay team of Quentin Moore, Obakeng Ngwigwa, Booker Nunley and Johnny Dutch took fourth at 3:10.20, the first provisional time of the year for the men’s relay. The women’s relay team of Brandi Cross, Nadonnia Rodrigues, Gabrielle Glenn and Janica Austin claimed silver at 3:37.03. In addition, the DMR team of Laura Pramstaller, Kelsey McCorkle, Sierra Henderson and Beatrice Biwott took eighth at 12:02.93 to score.
South Carolina will send a few athletes to the NCAA Last Chance meets in Ames, Iowa and Blacksburg, Va., on March 6 before returning to Fayetteville to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships from March 12-13.
|SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – WOMEN|
|W-60m Final (Auto: 7.26, Prov: 7.44)|
|1. Lakya Brookins||7.18 AUTO|
|6. Gabrielle Glenn||7.38 PRO|
|8. Shayla Mahan||7.54|
|W-400m Final (Auto: 52.40, Prov: 54.40)|
|2. Brandi Cross||53.42 PRO|
|Nadonnia Rodrigues||DQ (54.46)|
|W-60m Hurdles Final (Auto: 8.14, Prov: 8.43)|
|3. Janica Austin||8.37 PRO, PR|
|W-4x400m (Auto: 3:33.00, Prov: 3:40.00)|
|2. Cross, Rodrigues, Glenn, Austin||3:37.03 PRO|
|W-DMR (Auto: 11:05.50, Prov: 11:26.50)|
|8. Pramstaller, McCorkle, Henderson, Biwott||12:02.93|
|W-Triple Jump (Auto: 13.30m, Prov: 12.65m)|
|17. Ceci Kryst||37-04.00 (11.38m) PR|
|W-High Jump (Auto: 1.85m, Prov: 1.78m)|
|T10. Staley Foster||5-05.00 (1.65m)|
|T10. Kayla Blake||5-05.00 (1.65m)|
|W-Weight Throw (Auto: 21.00m, Prov: 18.75m)|
|22. Breanna Radford||45-05.00 (13.84m)|
|23. Stacee Roberts||44-03.25 (13.49m)|
|SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – MEN|
|M-200m Final (Auto: 20.83, Prov: 21.23)|
|5. Antonio Sales||20.88 (20.872) PRO|
|M-400m Final (Auto: 46.15, Prov: 47.25)|
|6. Obakeng Ngwigwa||46.54 PRO|
|M-60m Hurdles Final (Auto: 7.70, Prov: 7.91)|
|2. Booker Nunley||7.68 AUTO, PR|
|3. Johnny Dutch||7.82 PRO|
|M-4x400m (Auto: 3:06.50, Prov: 3:10.40)|
|4. Moore, Ngwigwa, Nunley, Dutch||3:10.20 PRO|
|M-DMR (Auto: 9:33.00, Prov: 9:44.70)|
|10. Pierce, Carter, Anderson, Razick||10:28.12|
|M-Triple Jump (Auto: 16.15m, Prov: 15.45m)|
|6. Lincoln Carr||51-03.50 (15.63m) PRO|
|17. Aaron Searles||46-11.50 (14.31m)|
|20. Tony Brown||43-03.00 (13.18m)|
|M-Pole Vault (Auto: 5.50m, Prov: 5.20m)|
|1. Elliott Haynie||17-07.25 (5.37m) PRO|
|T3. Marvin Reitze||16-10.75 (5.15m)|
|T3. Matt Shuler||16-10.75 (5.15m) PR|
|M-Shot Put (Auto: 19.30m, Prov: 17.75m)|
|6. Michael Zajac||53-07.00 (16.33m) PR|
|9. Andrew Finley||49-08.25 (15.14m)|
|12. Louis Day||44-08.25 (13.62m)|