Jan. 9, 2015
|GAMECOCK TRACK & FIELD|
|Curtis Frye 2015 Season Preview|
CLEMSON, S.C. – The 2015 indoor season begins Saturday, Jan. 10 as the Gamecocks head up to Clemson for the Orange and Purple Classic. The one-day event will be Carolina’s first trip to its in-state rival since the Tiger Paw Invitational in the 2013 season.
The team will compete will see some rivals from both the conference and state level on Saturday, as it Tennessee and host Clemson highlight the field of 12 teams that will square off with the Garnet and Black. Fans will get their first look at what promises to be a deep women’s squad and a men’s side that is adding talented newcomers to a solid group of returners.
One group to keep an eye on in the early part of the season is the talented sophomore trio of Marisa Bellamy, Briana Haith and Precious Holmes. In their first seasons of competition, they teamed with fellow returner Tyler Brockington to claim All-American honors. The group looks to keep the proud tradition of standout relay teams alive and well in 2015. As one of the team’s best all-around athletes, junior Sarah Graham also finished with All-American status in the 2014 indoor season in the pentathlon and aims to finish even higher in 2015.
The distance events will see a big boost this season as well on the women’s side, as an impressive recruiting class that has already shown flashes of talent in the cross country season will make its way to the track this winter. Led by proven commodities in Anna Todd, Stephanie Berger and Mary Reiser, the group will also add freshman standouts like Hannah Giangaspro, Emily Harding and Monica York, among many others.
On the men’s side, three-time All-American Clayton Gravesande returns after redshirting both the indoor and outdoor season last year and looks to boost an already strong sprint team in his final go-around. Kendall Kee, Brandon Sanders and Eric Winfrey are also top performers both in relays and individual events, while athletes like Jermaine Collier, Dondre Echols and Jussi Kanervo are poised to break out after promising 2014 seasons in sprints and hurdles.
Though perhaps overlooked with all the proven talent in the sprints, the throws may be the reason South Carolina’s men will break out this season. Josh Awotunde redshirted in his first year on campus, but the freshman had a busy summer. At the 2014 USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, he finished fourth in the discus and third in the shot put, making him a name to watch as his career begins to blossom.
Clarence Gallop transferred to Carolina from Charleston Southern, where he set a school record in the hammer throw and finished second at the Big South championships. Last summer, he finished second at the USA Track and Field Junior Outdoor Championships and 24th at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Earning the role of captains for the opening meet will be Graham and Erika Rucker on the women’s side, and Chris Walker and Collier for the men. Rucker is a six-time All-American who is returning after injuries cost her much of the 2014 season. Graham had a breakout year in 2014, earning the silver medal at the SEC Outdoor Championships in the high jump and earning All-American status in the pentathlon.
Collier is a hurdler who posted a top-10 60-meter hurdle time in program history last season at the SEC indoor championships (7.80) and also competed well at the USATF Senior Outdoor Championships. Walker is a sprinter who competes in multiple events, from relays to experience in the 60- 200- and 400-meter sprints.
For updates and results throughout the day, be sure to follow @GamecockTrack on Twitter.