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March 24, 2011

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

One week of the outdoor season is in the books and the Gamecocks had strong individual showings from Shayla Mahan, Aimee Kodat, Jeannelle Scheper, Lincoln Carr and Janica Austin, to name a few. Now fans get the chance to see their No. 20 Gamecock in action at home in Columbia as the Gamecock track and field teams host the Weems Baskin Invitational this weekend at the Weems Baskin Track Facility.

This is the first chance to get a look at your two-time national champion and the “Fastest Woman In The World” Lakya Brookins who will open up in the 100-meter dash at 2:10 p.m. Brookins begins her trek towards winning her first SEC 100-meter dash title, but she will have strong opposition from another runner who just happens to be wearing the Garnet & Black as well. Mahan opened her season with a time of 11.35 in the 100-meter dash last week, a time that already ranks No. 2 in the nation at this point in the year.

Also competing this Saturday are a group of Masters runners from the South Carolina area who will give fans a treat in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. Eight South Carolina natives, ranging in age from 60 to 84, are scheduled to compete this weekend, and all have strong track and field backgrounds. The information on the Masters runners is listed below:

Bob Rockwell – 60yrs – Home Town: Taylors, SC – A 3-time USATF Masters National Triple Jump Champion.

Vinod Patel – 64yrs – Born in Uganda, East Africa – Been in US since 1969 and lives in Columbia, B.S. in Chemical Eng.

Mickey McAllister – 65yrs – Home Town: Lake City, SC – Lives in Irmo, SC. Competed in the South Carolina Senior Sports Games the past two years.

Leonard Chapman – 66yrs – Home Town: Lexington, S.C. – Ran track for South Carolina (1965-68). Held the school record in the triple jump in 1966. Recently retired from Safety-Kleen Corp Lexington Recycle Center.

Fahem Shabazz – 66yrs – Home Town: Starr, SC – Retired Public school Educator/Athletic Coach of 31 years.

Walt Lancaster – 71yrs – Home Town: Holly Hill, SC – lives in Charleston, SC – Played football for South Carolina 53 years ago. Competed in last seven National Senior Olympics (1997-2009) in 13 different events, winning 7 medals and 14 ribbons.

Dick Mandell – 81yrs – Home Town: Columbia, SC – Retired USC History Professor, participates in Senior Track to stay in shape.

Marvin Schoon – 84yrs – Home Town: Irmo, SC – Retired from Detroit steel industry. Enjoys Senior track competition to stay in shape.

The men’s 100m will run at 2:25pm Saturday, and the 200-meter will run at 4:00 p.m.

Also, we visited with Gamecock senior Aimee Kodat who opened her outdoor season with a huge PR in the discus throw. Kodat spoke to about her opener and her goals for the senior season.

GAMECOCKSONLINE: How did it feel to open the outdoor season with a PR to start the season off right?
AK: Of course it is always feels good to PR, but I wasn’t satisfied. I’m thankful to have had an encouraging meet last weekend and hope to keep improving.

Your specialty is the discus which isn’t offered indoors. What is the indoor season like for you with an event that is only contested outdoors? Do you still practice shot or focus on getting ready for outdoors?
Ya, it is kind of a bummer not to be able to throw disc indoors. I use that time to primarily focus on my technique. This year I threw out of the rotation in shot to give me more practice with the spin. I have found cross-training in the shot put quite beneficial.

What are your goals for this season?
I want to just really enjoy my last season. My career is about to end, which is sad but drives me to appreciate every moment. Naturally my goal is to make it to the final round in Nationals.

Academically, what is your major and who do you hope to do with it?
I graduated last May with a double major in Marketing and Finance, minor in German. I am currently taking non-degree seeking graduate classes in American Government, Economic Development and Marketing. I’m trying to decide which route I want to next take in terms of post-graduate studies.

Post-graduation plans?
That is the big question. I’m trying to decide what I want to study next, although right now I’m leaning towards an MBA. My ideal job would be in International Marketing, studying cultural differences and how they affect consumers. I believe I could accomplish this through multiple channels though, not purely in the traditional business sense.