May 27, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. – South Carolina senior Elliott Haynie tied for first in the pole vault and junior Michael Zajac placed ninth in the hammer throw in Thursday’s preliminary round to become the first Gamecocks to punch their tickets to the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Haynie cleared a season best 17’4 Â¼ (5.30m) to finish in a two-way tie for first in the pole and punch his second straight ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. With the preliminary rounds organized strictly for NCAA qualifying, neither vaulter attempted another height to break the tie.
“It feels good,” Haynie said of qualifying for Eugene. “(This is my) senior year and I wouldn’t have it any other way. With the top qualifying mark, I’m feeling really good right now. We’ll just take that into nationals and do what we have to do.”
The top mark is the second straight championship meet that Haynie finished first after the senior won the SEC Outdoor Title two weeks ago in Knoxville, Tenn., to become the first double-crown pole vault winner in Gamecock history.
“It’s been a tough and long season,” Haynie said. “This week things just seemed like they’re getting better. Not only that but I’m starting to move to bigger poles like I did last year. If they didn’t stop the competition, it would have been a PR or school record. I’m feeling good. This is coming on at the right time. Last year I started strong but I didn’t finish strong, so this year I’m finishing strong.”
Zajac, a two-time All-American indoors in the weight throw, earned his first bid to the NCAA Outdoor Championships after placing ninth with a throw of 207-2 (63.14m) at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
“I’m feeling good,” Zajac said of qualifying. “My distance wasn’t great, but today was all about qualifying. (For) throwing uphill on a slow circle, it’s pretty good. I feel like I competed decently and hopefully I’ll have some more out at Eugene.”
The qualifying mark for Zajac was the start of a busy first day for the Gamecock track programs at the NCAA Preliminary Round. Originally scheduled to throw in the third heat of an event scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., Zajac and the rest of the field found themselves waiting until nearly 1 p.m. to begin the first heat after a competitor’s practice throw damaged the net, causing the crew to fix the damage and begin warm-ups over again. Despite not getting into the circle for his warm-up until 2:40 p.m., Zajac took the delay professionally to earn the right to compete for his third All-America honor.
“I’m excited,” Zajac said. “I’ve got two indoor championships under my belt so hopefully I’ll still know how to compete, get after it and get some points for my team.”
Elsewhere on the track as the sun intensified in Greensboro, four Gamecocks qualified for their respective finals. Junior hurdler Johnny Dutch easily coasted to a win in the 400-meter hurdle prelims at a time of 59.83 to lead the 10th-ranked men’s team qualifiers. Dutch, the top-ranked hurdler in the East region, will compete for a region title Friday at 7 p.m.
Senior Brandi Cross easily won her heat at 53.51 to qualify for Friday’s final in the 400-meter dash. Cross, ranked second in the region and ninth in the nation heading into this week, placed 10th overall in the prelim in pursuit of a bid to Eugene.
A duo of junior sprinters automatically qualified for the women’s 100-meter final with their times in Thursday’s prelims. Shayla Mahan and Gabrielle Glenn ran 11.31 and 11.51, respectively, and will compete in the final Friday at 6:15 p.m. Mahan placed fifth overall as her 11.31 ties a personal best for the junior from Detroit. Glenn placed 19th overall at her time. Also competing were junior Lakya Brookins (11.68), freshman Tatianna Fisher (11.72) and sophomore Breehana Jacobs (11.78). The race was the first for Brookins since Penn Relays after the former national champion missed the SEC’s due to illness.
Junior Antonio Sales placed 27th in the 100-meter dash at 10.47, missing out on a berth to the finals by four spots. Senior Quentin Moore placed 34th in the 400-meter dash at 47.32. Sophomore Marvin Reitze tied for sixth in the men’s pole vault but missed out on a berth to Eugene by one spot due to tiebreaker rules.
Junior Janica Austin took 30th in the 400-meter hurdles at 59.66. She gets another chance to qualify for Eugene when she competes tomorrow in the 100-meter hurdles. In the women’s shot put, sophomore Stacee Roberts placed 40th with a best of 46-3 Â½ (14.11m). Senior Brittney James took 25th in the long jump at 19-6 (5.94m).
South Carolina returns to action Friday afternoon beginning with the women’s pole vault at 4 p.m. Other finals that will be run include the 400m, 100m, 400m hurdles and steeplechase.
|THURSDAY, MAY 27 – WOMEN|
|5. Shayla Mahan||11.31Q (1.1)|
|19. Gabrielle Glenn||11.51Q (1.4)|
|28. Lakya Brookins||11.68 (1.1)|
|34. Tatianna Fisher||11.72 (1.4)|
|39. Breehana Jacobs||11.78 (1.1)|
|10. Brandi Cross||53.51Q|
|30. Janica Austin||59.66|
|25. Brittney James||19-6 // 5.94m (1.1)|
|40. Stacee Roberts||46-03.50 (14.11m)|
|THURSDAY, MAY 27 – MEN|
|27. Antonio Sales||10.47|
|34. Quentin Moore||47.32|
|1. Johnny Dutch||59.83Q|
|1. Elliott Haynie||17-04.25 (5.30m)|
|T6. Marvin Reitze||17-00.00 (5.20m)|
|9. Michael Zajac||207-2 (63.14m)|