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Jan. 31, 2014

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. and STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Redshirt sophomore Sarah Graham and freshman Alexandre Asselin had career days in the multi events while freshman Precious Holmes claimed her second-consecutive 400-meter dash win on Friday. Graham traveled to the Penn State-hosted PSU National while the rest of the Gamecocks competed at the Hilton Garden Invitational at the JDL Fast Track.

At the PSU National, Graham notched an impressive performance in her first pentathlon of 2014. Graham’s stellar day began in the 60-meter hurdles where she posted a time of 8.74, just off her lifetime best of 8.70 set earlier this season. She continued the pace, setting new personal records in the high jump (1.73m // 5-08.00) and the shot put (10.86m // 35-07.75). In the 800-meter run, the final event, Graham recorded her third PR of the day despite a fall in the race.

Her total of 3,823 points is the fifth-best in school history and tops her previous PR of 3,460. Based on totals entering the weekend, Graham would rank 11th in the NCAA.

At the Hilton Garden Invitational the rest of the Gamecocks competed against teams from across the Eastern seaboard.

Asselin made his first heptathlon appearance in the Garnet & Black. The French native started his day with a win in the 60-meter dash, clocking in at a personal best 7.18. A collegiate best mark in the long jump at 23’1″3/4 (7.05m) and a lifetime best in the shot put at 42’9″ ½ (13.04m) followed. In the final event of the day, Asselin added another collegiate-best mark, this time in the high jump with a clearance of 6’2″ (1.88m).

Asselin won all four events of the day and takes a nearly 400-point lead into tomorrow’s final three events – the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run.

In the women’s 400-meter dash, freshman Precious Holmes won for the second-consecutive weekend. Holmes chased down the leader of her heat from behind to cross the line in 55.57, the fastest time in a field of 90. Fellow freshman Briana Haith grabbed third place, running a 56.54. The Gamecocks claimed four spots in the top eight (6. Tamera Harris – 57.41; 8. Maya Evans 57.85).

Freshman Jussi Kanervo and sophomore Dondre Echols won their respective heats in the 60-meter hurdles to move on to tomorrow’s semifinals. Kanervo qualified second overall with a time of 8.01 with Echols not far behind in the third slot with a time of 8.08. Freshman Mollie Williams moved on in the women’s section after winning her heat. Tomorrow’s semifinals are slated for 9:45 a.m. with the finals at 2:00 p.m.

Every Gamecock that entered the 60-meter dash advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals as well. Junior Kendall Kee advances as the top qualifier with a time of 6.79 and junior Eric Winfrey took the third spot in the prelims (6.81). Freshman Ryan Bermudez joins the duo in tomorrow’s race.

In the women’s 60-meter dash, senior Vashti Bandy and junior Ahtyana Johnson moved on after finishing 3-4 in the prelims. Sophomore Alexis Murphy advanced as well. Tomorrow, the men’s and women’s 60-meter dash semifinals are set for 11:20 a.m. with the finals later in the afternoon at 3:15 p.m.

South Carolina picks back up tomorrow with the long jump at 9:30 a.m. and the 60-meter hurdle semis at 9:45 a.m.

60m Dash – Prelims
1. Kendall Kee 6.79q
3. Eric Winfrey 6.81q
12. Ryan Bermudez 6.95q
400m Dash
18. Nigel Redic 51.24
22. Juan Stenner 51.52
800m Run
20. Kevin Keating 2:00.22 Season Best
5,000m Run
17. Greg Lowing 15:53.13
60mH Prelims
2. Jussi Kanervo 8.01q
3. Dondre Echols 8.08q
Triple Jump
14. James Adams 13.62m // 44-08.25
Hept 60m Dash
1. Alexandre Asselin 7.18 (819pts)PR
Hept High Jump
1. Alexandre Asselin 1.88m // 6-02.00 (696 pts) CB
Hept Long Jump
1. Alexandre Asselin 7.05m // 23-01.75 (826 pts) CB
Hept Shot Put
1. Alexandre Asselin 13.04m // 42-09.50 (670 pts) PR
Heptathlon After Four Events
1. Alexandre Asselin 3,011 pts
60m Dash – Prelims
3. Vashti Bandy 7.56q
4. Ahtyana Johnson 7.56q
13. Alexis Murphy 7.71q
400m Dash
1. Precious Holmes 55.57
3. Briana Haith 56.54
6. Tamera Harris 57.41
8. Maya Evans 57.85
16. Leveshia McClain 59.46 Collegiate Best
800m Run
19. Martha McCoy 2:21.93
20. Ashley Miller 2:22.34
23. Kaleigh Higgins 2:23.25
25. Sarah Falta 2:23.74 Collegiate Best
5,000m Run
9. Penny Boswell 18:42.19
60mH Prelims
6. Mollie Williams 8.78q
Pent. 60mH
3. Sarah Graham 8.74 (965 pts)
Pent. High Jump
1. Sarah Graham 1.73m // 5-08.00 (819 pts) PR
Pent. Shot Put
4. Sarah Graham 10.86m // 35-07.75 (586 pts) PR
Pent. Long Jump
6. Sarah Graham 5.26m // 17-03.25 (631 pts)
Pent. 800m Run
6. Sarah Graham 2:25.56 (750 pts) PR
Final Pentathlon Standings
2. Sarah Graham 3,823 PR