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Feb. 27, 2014

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Redshirt sophomore Sarah Graham broke became the fourth woman in South Carolina history to break the 4,000-point barrier in the pentathlon on the opening day of the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships at Gilliam Indoor Stadium. Graham’s total of 4,107 points is the second-most in school history and her sixth-place finish in a highly competitive field earned the Gamecocks three points in the team standings. Freshman Alexandre Asselin put himself in solid position in the men’s heptathlon, finishing the day in third place after four events.

After a sixth place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59 to open the day, Graham moved to her strongest event, the high jump and finished second in the with a clearance of 5’10” (1.78m). The Gamecock had a chance to set a new PR in the high jump with the bar at 5’11” ¼ (1.81m), but was just short on her three attempts. Her performance thrust her into third place with 1,950 points after two events.

Graham entered the day with a shot put lifetime best of 35’7″ ¾ (10.86m). She bested that on the first and ultimately recorded the three best throws of her career, ending the day with a mark of 38’10” ¼ (11.84m). Graham took eighth in the event and continued on to the women’s long jump in fourth with 2,601 points. The total was just one point away from third.

In the long jump, Graham fouled on her first attempt but responded with her second to get on the board and set a new PR with her third leap. The effort kept her in fourth place with 3,292 points entering the final event of the day, the 800-meter run. Graham gutted out a third personal-best performance of the afternoon with a 2:20.63 in the 800-meter run, lowering her PR by over five seconds.

Graham’s 4,107 points puts her in good position for a trip to Albuquerque to compete in the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships. After her result catapulted her into second-place in South Carolina history in the pentathlon, Graham now ranks second in two events in school history. Earlier this season, Graham posted the second-best high jump mark in school history at 5’10” ½ (1.79m).

The sixth-place finish is the best by a Gamecock in the event since Kettiany Clarke’s pentathlon championship in 2010.

Graham will have a chance to score more points for her team on Saturday in the high jump.

In the men’s heptathlon, Asselin had a strong day as well. The newcomer clocked in at 7.27 in the 60-meter dash to start his day. He then made his move in the long jump, taking the top spot after recording a leap of 23’6″ (7.16m). Asselin accumulated enough points to drive him to second place overall and maintained his standing with a fifth-place finish in the shot put (41’9″ ¼ // 12.73m).

In the day’s third event Asselin, entered the high jump at 6′ ½ (1.84m) and cleared three bars before it was raised to 6’4″ (1.93m). The mark would have matched his personal record, but the Gamecock was unable to clear. He finished the day in third place with 3,006 points.

Tomorrow, the heptathlon concludes with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run at 2:40 p.m. ET. The day begins with the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries, the men’s weight throw and the women’s pole vault at 2:00 p.m. ET. Eight SEC champions will be crowned on Friday.

60m Dash – Hept.
6. Alexandre Asselin 7.27 (789 pts)
Long Jump – Hept.
1. Alexandre Asselin 7.16m // 23-06.00 (852 pts)
Shot Put – Hept.
5. Alexandre Asselin 12.73m // 41-09.25 (651 pts)
High Jump – Hept.
5. Alexandre Asselin 1.90m // 6-02-75 (714 pts)
Heptathlon – After four events
3. Alexandre Asselin 3,006
60m Hurdles – Pent.
6. Sarah Graham 8.59 (997 pts)
High Jump – Pent.
2. Sarah Graham 1.78m // 5-10.00 (953 pts)
Shot Put – Pent.
8. Sarah Graham 11.84m // 38-10.25 PR (651 pts)
Long Jump – Pent.
9. Sarah Graham 5.47m // 17-11.50 PR (691 pts)
800m Run – Pent.
10. Sarah Graham 2:20.63PR (815 pts)
Pentathlon – Final Standings
6. Sarah Graham 4,107 pts Personal Record