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May 12, 2011

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By Miquel Jacobs
Media Relations Assistant

ATHENS, Ga. – The first day of competition at the 2011 SEC Outdoor Championships saw one Gamecock hit the track as senior Michael Zajac competed in the hammer throw final with a fifth-place finish.

Zajac’s top mark of 201-11 (61.56m) scored four points for the Gamecocks and put the men’s team in fourth place at the end of the first of four days of competition at the Spec Towns Track facility. With his finish, Zajac becomes just one of two Gamecocks to ever score in the hammer throw in all four of his seasons for South Carolina. After also earning that distinction during the indoor season with the weight throw, Zajac and Bert Sorin now also go down as the only two Gamecock men’s throwers to score in two separate events for four straight years at the SEC Indoor or Outdoor Championships.

“Mike (Zajac) gave us four points that we really needed as a team today,” South Carolina throws coach Mike Sergent said. “He has scored all four years in both the hammer throw and the weight throw, and now he has scored at every SEC meet that he has gone to. He has had a great career for us, and while this week marks his last SEC meet, it’s not his last (collegiate) meet. He’s earned the right to compete at the NCAA First Round in Bloomington, and we hope his season continues going.”

With the discus throw finals to be contested Sunday, Zajac currently stands in his Gamecock career with 46 points scored in SEC competition over the past four seasons, including two silver and one bronze medal finish. His 46 career SEC points are fifth-most in school history for a thrower, ranking only behind NCAA champions Brad Snyder and Ron Willis along with SEC champions Kevin Mannon and Bert Sorin.

“Mike has been the epitome of a student-athlete,” Sergent said. “He has always stepped up and performed, has had a good attitude and represents the University of South Carolina well whether it is on the track or off it. He’s a team captain, an All-American and also was named as a candidate for the SEC’s top community service award. Not only that, but he’s graduating with a high GPA and had a phenomenal final semester in the classroom. I can’t say enough about what Mike has meant to this program.”

Competition continues Friday morning at 10 a.m. when a trio of Gamecock women’s throwers hit the track for the women’s hammer throw finals. Breanna Radford, Stacee Roberts and Katie Vuckovich will all compete in the hammer throw, and running events start at 5:30 p.m. with Drew Ricci in the men’s 800-meter prelims.