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June 9, 2010

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EUGENE, Ore. – The 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships began Wednesday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon, and it was a a great day for the University of South Carolina programs as Coach Curtis Frye’s team advanced four of five races to their respective finals.

Competing through alternating moments of a light drizzle and heavy rain throughout most of the day, South Carolina advanced two entries on the men’s side and two entries on the women’s side to complete the first day of competition in Track Town, USA.

The men’s 4×100-meter relay team of Andre Carter, Antonio Sales, Quentin Moore and Obakeng Ngwigwa blazed on the track in the first race of the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the Gamecocks. Running in a light drizzle, Carter and Sales ran Carolina off to the top of the pack before Moore claimed the lead with his run in the third leg. Ngwigwa took the baton at the Bowerman Curve and battled LSU before edging the Tigers at the line to claim a win in the heat and automatically qualify for the final.

The time of 39.07 goes down as the fourth-fastest time in school history, falling only behind the runs of the 1999, 2000 and 2002 relay teams.

Junior Johnny Dutch won his heat and took second overall in the 400-meter hurdle semifinal with a time of 49.23. Dutch, the national leader this year with a top time of 48.12, will face off against Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson in Friday’s final in what many media outlets consider to be one of the top head-to-head matchups of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships. That race will run at 5:05 p.m. (8:05 p.m. EST).

Two Gamecock women qualified for finals as individuals after both missed the final round in 2009. Senior Brandi Cross took fifth in the 400-meter dash prelims at 53.09 to automatically qualify for the finals. Cross advanced to the semifinal in 2009 before falling out due to a false start. Her other appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the open 400 occurred in 2008 when she placed sixth as a sophomore. Mahan also qualifies for her first individual final since the 2008 season after fighting off two other runners in her heat of the 100-meter dash to automatically advance with a time of 11.41. Running in heat one, Mahan edged LSU’s Kenyanna Wilson at the line to earn her automatic bid to the final and chance to claim her third career All-America citation.

Competing earlier in the day was the women’s 4×100-meter relay. Using a different lineup than the one in Greensboro two weeks ago, the Gamecocks ran out strong before a slightly mishandled exchange slowed the team just enough to miss making the final. The team of Lakya Brookins, Shayla Mahan, Gabrielle Glenn and Breehana Jacobs ran 44.52.

South Carolina returns to action Thursday beginning with senior Elliot Haynie in the men’s pole vault final at 4 p.m. (PT).

W-100m Semifinal
6. Shayla Mahan 11.41Q (11.416)
W-400m Semifinal
5. Brandi Cross 53.09Q
W-4x100m Semifinal
10. Brookins, Mahan, Glenn, Jacobs 44.52
M-400m Hurdle Semifinal
2. Johnny Dutch 49.23Q
M-4x100m Semifinal
3. Carter, Sales, Moore, Ngwigwa 39.07Q