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May 30, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Four Gamecocks earned bids to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on the second day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.

The day’s results along with freshman Kaleb Zuidema’s finish in yesterday’s men’s javelin gives the Gamecocks five total bids to the national meet in Eugene with the chance to earn more tomorrow.

The second-straight day with a long afternoon weather delay began with senior pole vault school record holder Petra Olsen securing a trip to her third-straight NCAA Outdoor Championships. Olsen cleared a height of 13’9 ¼” (4.20m) to earn a top-12 spot.

On the track, three more Gamecocks punched their tickets to Eugene. In the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Jussi Kanervo and sophomore Tyler Brockington rode personal-best performances to NCAA Outdoors.

In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Kanervo won his heat to clinch an automatic bid with lifetime best 50.67. The time propels him from tenth all-time at South Carolina to eighth. It is the freshman’s first NCAA bid.

A day after running her first sub-57 second time at 56.96, Brockington notched her second-straight ticket to nationals with a new lifetime best of 56.65. She was the fastest on-time qualifier, seventh overall, in the 400-meter hurdles, and the time lowers her entry at the No. 5 spot in the South Carolina record book.

Also booking a return trip was senior Chris Royster. The Gamecock ran a season best 10.20 to win his 100-meter dash heat and get an automatic bid. He returned to the track for the first round of the 200-meter dash and will have the chance to add another race to his schedule in Eugene tomorrow after posting a personal best 20.80 to advance to the quarterfinals.

This evening, Ahtyana Johnson narrowly missed her first individual trip to nationals in the 100-meter dash, finishing 15th, but earned another chance with her performance in the 200-meter dash first round later in the night. Johnson road a lifetime best performance of 23.37, the sixth fastest time overall, to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.

All season, the South Carolina men’s hurdlers have been a highlight. Tonight, the Gamecocks were the only program to advance three hurdlers to tomorrow’s 24-man 110-meter hurdles quarterfinal. Jermaine Collier (13.75), Dondre Echols (13.87) and Kanervo (13.88) all finished in the top 15.

In the women’s 100-meter hurdles, Chalese Davis also advanced to the quarterfinals, qualifying on time with her 13.46.

Redshirt sophomore Sarah Graham narrowly missed out on a trip to nationals, finishing 13th after a jump off to determine the top 12. She cleared 5’9 ¾” in the competition.

For the fifth-consecutive 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 East Preliminary is being held in Jacksonville, Fla., with the West Preliminary taking place in Fayetteville, Ark. The event quarterfinals include 24 student-athletes, 12 of which will receive trips to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14. Field events are halted once the top 12 spots have been determined.

The NCAA East Preliminary Round draws to a close tomorrow. The Gamecocks start their day with freshman Natasha Dicks in the triple jump. Running begins at 6 p.m. with the 4×100-meter relays and ends with the women’s 4×400-meter relay at 9:45 p.m.

Qualified for NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14
Chris Royster – 100m
Jussi Kanervo – 400mH
Kaleb Zuidema – Javelin

Tyler Brockington – 400mH
Petra Olsen – Pole Vault

Men’s 100m Dash – Quarterfinals
4. Chris Royster 10.20Q (+ 1.1) Season Best
Men’s 200m Dash – First Round
10. Chris Royster 20.80Q (+0.7) Personal Best
26. Eric Winfrey 21.15 (+0.8) Personal Best
Men’s 110m Hurdles – First Round
5. Jermaine Collier 13.75Q (+0.6)
12. Dondre Echols 13.87Q (+1.7)
15. Jussi Kanervo 13.88Q (+0.6)
Men’s 400m Hurdles – Quarterfinals
3. Jussi Kanervo 50.67Q Personal Best
Women’s 100m Dash – Quarterfinals
16. Ahtyana Johnson 11.57 (+1.0)
Women’s 200m Dash – First Round
6. Ahtyana Johnson 23.37Q (+0.9) Personal Best
Women’s 400m Dash – Quarterfinals
15. Briana Haith 53.21 Personal Best
Women’s 100m Hurdles – First Round
20. Chalese Davis 13.46q (+0.3)
Women’s 400m Hurdles – Quarterfinals
7. Tyler Brockington 56.65 Personal Best
Women’s High Jump – First Round
13. Sarah Graham 1.77m // 5-09.75
Women’s Pole Vault – First Round
9. Petra Olsen 4.20m // 13-09.25