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April 23, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Gamecocks unofficially kick off the championship season this weekend at the 120th running of the Penn Relay Carnival at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. The women begin competition on Thursday with the men joining for two full days of action on Friday and Saturday.

Date: Thurs., Apr. 24 – Sat., Apr. 26
Time: Competition begins at 9 a.m. each day
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Facility: Franklin Field
Live Results & Schedule: Penn Relays Online
Live Stream ($): FloTrack’s “Flo Pro” Live Stream ($)

Over 252 colleges are set to convene at Franklin Field this weekend, including most of the Gamecocks’ SEC foes with Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt joining South Carolina. Half of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association top 25 will be represented as well, with 12 ranked men’s teams and 13 women’s programs, including the No. 1 teams in the nation in the Oregon men and Texas A&M women.

While many Gamecocks will be competing individually this weekend, relays are the focus of the fast-paced event. South Carolina ranks fifth all-time with 14 women’s relay championships at the carnival. This year, the women have a chance to make an impact in the 4×100, 4×400 and the shuttle hurdle relays. The 4×1 and 4×4 relays rank in the top 26 of Division I this year.

South Carolina’s most threatening relay on the men’s side is the shuttle hurdle relay. The Gamecocks set the meet and facility record 12 years ago with a time of 53.94, a performance that still tops the record book. A squad that features freshman Jussi Kanervo and sophomores Jermaine Collier and Dondre Echols, who are all ranked in the nation’s top 55, will look to unseat defending champion Savannah State. The shuttle hurdle relay Championship of America is set for Friday at 3:05 p.m.

Last Time Out
South Carolina hosted the USC Outdoor Open, its final home meet of the 2014 season, on Saturday, and excelled by winning nine events outright and producing the top collegiate finishers in nine other events. Earlier in the week, freshman Alexandre Asselin completed the first decathlon of his collegiate career at Mt SAC, amassing 6,210 points to finish 10th. Sophomore Sarah Graham also competed at Mt SAC, posting the program’s sixth-best heptathlon point total with a personal-best 5,215 points. The total is 1,000 points higher than her previous best in the event.

East Regional Watch
South Carolina athletes are jockeying for position to be included in the NCAA East Region field (May 29-31, Jacksonville, Fla.). The regional offers the chance to punch a ticket the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 11-14, Eugene, Ore.).

Currently, 26 Gamecocks – 12 men and 14 women – are in position to continue on to the NCAA Preliminaries with just three more opportunities to post a qualifying time on South Carolina’s schedule.

Freshman Jussi Kanervo continues to rank in the East top 10 in both the high and intermediate hurdle events, posting a 13.77 in the 110-meter hurdles and a 51.02 in the 400-meter hurdles. Sophomore Jermaine Collier’s time of 50.96 in the 400-meter hurdles is the No. 5 time in the region. The men’s 4×1 team of Kendall Kee, Chris Royster, Eric Winfrey and Chris Walker sit in the seventh spot in the region, clocking in with a season-best 39.84. For the women, senior school record holder Petra Olsen’s pole vault clearance of 13’11 ¾” is seventh, and freshman Precious Holmes is ninth in the region with a time of 52.89 in the 400-meter dash.

For the fifth-straight season, the country has been split into two regions – East and West – with the top 48 athletes (24 relays) in each region qualifying for the Preliminary Round. The top 12 finishers in an event at each regional preliminary will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Gamecocks in the East Top 50

Name Event Meet Time/Mark East SEC
Chris Royster 100m Weems Baskin 10.30 20 12
Kendall Kee 100m Florida Relays 10.40 35 16
Chris Royster 200m Weems Baskin 20.84 24 12
Eric Winfrey 400m Shamrock Invite 47.28 49 20
Jussi Kanervo 110mH Weems Baskin 13.77 5 3
Jermaine Collier 110mH Bill Carson 13.99 19 9
Dondre Echols 110mH Weems Baskin 14.12 30 13
Jermaine Collier 400mH Florida Relays 50.96 5 2
Jussi Kanervo 400mH Florida Relays 51.02 7 4
Dondre Echols 400mH 52.82 49 12
Kee, Royster, Winfrey, Walker 4x100m Relay Florida Relays 39.84 7 7
Walker, Winfrey, Kanervo, Collier 4x400m Relay Florida Relays 3:09.19 24 7
Kaleb Zuidema Javelin Shamrock Invite 66.95m//219-08 21 7
Alexandre Asselin Decathlon Mt SAC 6,210 pts 46 7
Name Event Meet Time/Mark East SEC
Ahtyana Johnson 100m Shamrock Invite 11.61 28 18
Ahtyana Johnson 200m Bill Carson 23.51 19 16
Precious Holmes 400m Shamrock Invite 52.89 9 6
Briana Haith 400m Bill Carson 54.04 26 16
Chalese Davis 100mH Weems Baskin 13.42 19 12
Tyler Brockington 100mH Bill Carson 13.61 37 18
Tamera Harris 400mH Florida Relays 58.58 11 7
Tyler Brockington 400mH Florida Relays 58.68 15 8
Johnson, Harris, Bandy Brockington 4x100m Relay Shamrock Invite 44.65 13 6
Holmes, Haith, Brockington, Bellamy 4x400m Relay Florida Relays 3:36.09 11 5
Sarah Graham High Jump Bill Carson 1.75m//5-08.75 29 10
Petra Olsen Pole Vault Weems Baskin 4.26m//13-11.75 7 2
Natasha Dicks Triple Jump Weems Baskin 12.74m//41-09.75 20 10
Sarah Graham Heptathlon Mt SAC 5,215 pts 15 8

Up Next
The Gamecocks take a weekend off for final exams before traveling to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., for the Aggie Last Chance meet on Sun., May 11. The event serves as a final tune-up before the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships at the University of Kentucky on May 15-18.