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Jan. 15, 2011

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Gamecock seniors Shayla Mahan and Antonio Sales gave South Carolina the 200-meter dash sweep as action concluded on the final day of competition at the Virginia Tech Invitational at the Rector Field House.

Mahan claimed first in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 20.83, falling just 0.63 seconds shy of an NCAA automatic qualifying time in her first race of the season. Sales turned around 15 minutes later to win the men’s 200-meter dash at 21.43 with freshman teammate Chris Royster following closely behind at 21.89 for third place. Also earning a victory Saturday was sophomore David Wilkins in the high jump with a clearance of 6’10 ¼ (2.09m).

“Shayla and Lakya Brookins both ran well this weekend,” South Carolina assistant coach Kevin Brown said. “It was a good double for Shayla to get second in the 60-meter yesterday and first in the 200-meter today. It was a good meet for them being the first meet of the year. Antonio Sales ran faster than he ran last year at the same meet, and David Wilkins ended up winning the high jump on a jump off, so that was good for him.”

Freshman Sanura Eley-O’Reilly concluded her strong opening weekend with a third place finish in the 400-meter dash at 55.20. Eley-O’Reilly took fourth in the 300-meter dash Friday night to cap her first weekend as a Gamecock. In the other sprint event, sophomore Tatiana Fisher followed Mahan by placing eighth in the 200-meter dash at 24.89.

South Carolina’s middle and long distance runners enjoyed a successful day with coaching from Stan Rosenthal. Beatrice Biwott (7th) and Ashley Evens (9th) were top 10 finishers in the 3000-meter run while Nicole Rheinlander took second overall in the 5000-meter run. Three Gamecocks placed well in the 800-meter run with Sierra Henderson (2:17.70), Liz Locke (2:19.10) and Scola Jepngetich (2:20.56) placing eighth, ninth and 11th, respectively.

Freshman Petra Olsen led the Gamecock pole vaulters with a fifth place finish after clearing 12’9 ½ (3.90m) on her final attempt in what is the top career-opening women’s pole vault mark in school history. Junior Allison Nicosia and freshman Angie Rummans both cleared 11’9 ¾ (3.60m) as Nicosia placed seventh and Rummans placed 10th due to total attempts. On the men’s side, Matt Shuler placed sixth with a clearance of 16’1 ¼ (4.91m).

The men’s and women’s relay teams performed well in their first races together. The women’s team of Janica Austin, Nadonnia Rodriques, Vashti Bandy and Sanura Eley-O’Reilly took third at 3:44.05. The men’s team of Aaron Anderson, Clayton Gravesande, Chris Maxwell and Andre Carter ran 3:12.59 to take second.

In men’s action, Sales, Royster and Chris Maxwell (8th, 22.38) were top 10 finishes in the 200-meter dash. Four Gamecocks competed in the 400-meter dash with senior Aaron Anderson leading a 4-5-7 finish. Anderson claimed fourth at 48.67 and returning All-American Andre Carter took fifth at 48.71. Freshman Clayton Gravesande placed seventh at 48.99, and classmate Nejmi Burnside placed 15th at 50.67.

Freshman Dorian Johnson led the long jumpers with a mark of 6.70m to place eighth. Ceci Kryst jumped on the women’s team and finished 16th overall. Two high jumpers also competed for the women in Staley Foster and Kayla Blake.

Louis Day and Andrew Finley placed eighth and ninth, respectively, in the men’s shot put. Day threw 50’0 ¾ (15.25m), and Finley threw 49’3 ¾ (15.03m). Alex Bermudez took 12th in the men’s 800-meter dash, and following Wilkins in the high jump was freshman Chris Sharp with a clearance of 6’4 ¾ (1.95m).

“We had some solid performances with Michael Zajac in the hammer throw, Antonio Sales today and across the board with a lot of second and third place (finishes). (The returning athletes) are starting to see some improvement based on where they were last year.”

South Carolina will return to the Rector Field House next week when the team participates in the Hokie Invitational on the campus of Virginia Tech.