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May 9, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After staying at home last weekend to focus on final exams, South Carolina returns to competition on Saturday at the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga. The meet serves as final preparation for the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships which begin in Lexington, Ky., on Thurs., May 15.

Date: Sat., May 10
Time: Field 9 a.m., Running 12:15 p.m.
Location: Athens, Ga.
Facility: Spec Towns Track
Schedule: Meet Schedule Get Acrobat Reader

The host Bulldogs are No. 6 in both the men’s and women’s USTFCCCA rankings. The Gamecocks will also take on Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville and others at the one-day meet.

Last Time Out
Before the exam break, South Carolina continued its season at the Penn Relays during the last weekend in April, collecting two wins at the 120th running of the event. Redshirt freshman Kaleb Zuidema captured the program’s first javelin championship, taking the college javelin crown with the third-best throw in school history (69.66m // 228-6). The personal-best mark ranks him to fifth in the SEC and 13th in the region. He owns the top mark by a freshman in the SEC and Division I. The Gamecocks’ second win came in the college men’s 4×100-meter relay with Brandon Sanders, Chris Royster, Dondre Echols and Eric Winfrey besting the field in the final with a time of 40.16. In the women’s shuttle hurdle relay, Chalese Davis, Tyler Brockington, Mollie Williams and Sarah Graham were narrowly beat at the line to finish second. The group of Ahtyana Johnson, Brockington, Tamera Harris and Vashti Bandy collected a fourth-place finish in the college 4×1, took third in the 4×2 Championship of America and fourth in the college 4×4. They posted season-bests in the 4×2 (1:33.00) and the 4×4 (3:35.81). The men finished seventh in the 4×200-meter relay Championship of America (1:23.67). In the individual events, Petra Olsen, who ranks third in the SEC, finished fourth in the women’s pole vault championship section with a clearance of 13’9 ¼” (4.20m). The Gamecocks also posted top-five finishes in the men’s 110 and 400-meter hurdles. Echols ran a season-best 14.01 in the prelims of the high hurdles to advance to the finals where he finished fifth. Jermaine Collier ran a 51.93 to finish fourth in the intermediate hurdles and also qualified for the 110-meter hurdles finals, but did not start.

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 preliminary round offers the chance to punch a ticket the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 11-14, Eugene, Ore.).

Currently, 21 Gamecocks – 9 men and 12 women – along with three relays are in position to continue on to the NCAA Preliminaries with just two more opportunities to post a qualifying time.

In the men’s hurdles, South Carolina holds the No. 5 spot in both the 110-meter and 400-meter events, with freshman Jussi Kanervo’s 13.77 in the high hurdles and sophomore Jermaine Collier’s 50.96 in the intermediate hurdles. Kanervo also ranks in the top 10 in the 400-meter hurdles, posting a time of 51.02. Freshman Kaleb Zuidema is the nation’s top freshman javelin thrower, widening the gap between him and the other freshmen with his winning personal-record throw at Penn Relays. He is the only freshman to rank in the nation’s top 25.

Senior school record holder Petra Olsen owns the region’s eighth-best clearance, topping a bar of 13’11 ¾” (4.26m) earlier this season. It is the third-best in the SEC. Precious Holmes is the nation’s sixth-best freshman in the 400 meters, recording a time of 52.89.

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 37 16
Chris Royster 200m Weems Baskin 20.84 30 15
Jussi Kanervo 110mH Weems Baskin 13.77 5 3
Jermaine Collier 110mH Bill Carson 13.99 24 11
Dondre Echols 110mH Penn Relays 14.01 27 12
Jermaine Collier 400mH Florida Relays 50.96 5 2
Jussi Kanervo 400mH Florida Relays 51.02 7 4
Kee, Royster, Winfrey, Walker 4x100m Relay Florida Relays 39.84 8 8
Kaleb Zuidema Javelin Penn Relays 69.66m//228-06 21 7
Name Event Meet Time/Mark East SEC
Ahtyana Johnson 100m Shamrock Invite 11.61 38 21
Ahtyana Johnson 200m Bill Carson 23.51 29 18
Precious Holmes 400m Shamrock Invite 52.89 11 6
Briana Haith 400m Bill Carson 54.04 37 16
Chalese Davis 100mH Weems Baskin 13.42 22 13
Tyler Brockington 100mH Bill Carson 13.61 39 18
Tamera Harris 400mH Florida Relays 58.58 15 7
Tyler Brockington 400mH Florida Relays 58.68 18 8
Johnson, Harris, Bandy Brockington 4x100m Relay Shamrock Invite 44.65 17 6
Johnson, Brockington, Harris, Bandy 4x400m Relay Penn Relays 3:35.81 15 6
Sarah Graham High Jump Bill Carson 1.75m//5-08.75 34 12
Petra Olsen Pole Vault Weems Baskin 4.26m//13-11.75 8 3
Natasha Dicks Triple Jump Weems Baskin 12.74m//41-09.75 22 10
Sarah Graham Heptathlon Mt SAC 5,215 pts 16 8

Up Next
The championship season begins at the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships. The University of Kentucky hosts this year’s event at its new track, the UK Outdoor Track & Field Facility. The meet is set to begin on Thurs., May 15, and continues through Sun., May 18.