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June 10, 2010

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EUGENE, Ore. – Misfortune came to the South Carolina track and field programs in the second day of competition at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships, but junior Johnny Dutch and the men’s mile relay (Obakeng Ngwigwa, Quentin Moore, Dutch and Aaron Anderson) turned in strong times in their events to advance to the final days of competition.

On another rainy day of competition at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon, Dutch, with the help of his always strong relay teammates, went three-for-three in qualifying after advancing in the 110-meter hurdles Thursday. Dutch took second in his heat at 13.70 and placed sixth overall to advance to Saturday’s final, giving the Bowerman Watch List member three finals to participate in this weekend. Dutch will compete in the 400-meter hurdle finals tomorrow before hitting the track Saturday for the 110-meter hurdle and 4×400-meter relay finals. He is the only athlete to qualify for both hurdle finals at the championships.

The Gamecock 4×400-meter relay team of Ngwigwa, Moore, Dutch and Anderson has been a strong foursome all season long, and Thursday night’s matinee was no difference. Ngwigwa began things by getting Carolina out in the lead in the first leg despite running in the open 200-meter dash earlier in the day. Moore grabbed the baton in the second leg and kept the Gamecocks in position with his handoff to Dutch, who was running his third race in two days. Dutch maintained position and Anderson finished the race to give Carolina a time of 3:05.05. The final will be broadcast live on CBS Saturday at 11:50 a.m. (2:50 p.m. ET), the last event of the championships. Ngwigwa teamed with Sales as individuals in the 200-meter dash, but the race didn’t go as planned for the duo as Ngwigwa placed 10th at 20.88 and Sales finished 17th at 21.20.

Controversy struck in the men’s pole vault where SEC Champion Elliott Haynie was competing. A threat to earn All-America honors, Haynie passed at 16’4 ¾ (5.00m) before coming in at what the field believed to be 16’10 ¾ (5.15m). The senior earned a big clearance on his third attempt to remain one of eight competitors remaining in the competition before officials realized they made a mistake and did not raise the bar to the proper height.

Due to the officiating mistake, all competitors – including those who failed to clear the height – were allowed back in the competition to begin jumping at 5.15m. Haynie, who originally was in position to score as one of the remaining competitors, again cleared the height on his third attempt, but fell out of the competition at the next height. However, six competitors that were originally out of the competition cleared the next height and passed Haynie in the standings, pushing the senior to 12th overall.

The only women’s event of the day for South Carolina was the 4×400-meter relay with Brandi Cross, Nadonnia Rodriques, Janica Austin and Breehana Jacobs running. Senior Brandi Cross ran a 52-second opening leg to put the Gamecocks in contention, but the field caught up as the race progressed as the Gamecocks finished 18th overall at 3:40.72.

South Carolina returns to action Friday with five athletes competing in their respective finals. Vica Shobe begins the action in the women’s pole vault at 4 p.m., followed by Michael Zajac in the hammer throw (4:45 p.m.). Johnny Dutch (400m hurdles, 5:15 p.m.), Shayla Mahan (100m dash, 5:32 p.m.) and Brandi Cross (400m dash, 6:32 p.m.) round out the Gamecocks in action. The meet will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports from 5-7 p.m. PT (8-10 p.m. ET).

W-4x400m Relay Semifinal
18. Cross, Glenn, Jacobs, Rodriques 3:40.72
M-200m Semifinal
10. Obakeng Ngwigwa 20.88 (-0.9)
17. Antonio Sales 21.20 (1.1)
M-110m Hurdle Semifinal
6. Johnny Dutch 13.70Q (4.5)
M-4x400m Semifinal
4. Ngwigwa, Moore, Anderson, Dutch 3:05.05q
M-Pole Vault
Elliott Haynie 13-10.75 // 5.15m