May 13, 2015
STARKVILLE, MS. – After enjoying two weekends off from competition to prepare for final exams and graduation, the Carolina track and field team will now refocus for its final exam on the track with the SEC Outdoor Championships. The meet begins Thursday, May 14 with the multis kicking things off at 11 a.m.
Last season, the men finished 12th at the SECs, as did the women. The men’s top finish in the conference meet came in 2010 when they came in third. The women are three-time outdoor champions, winning in 1999, 2002 and 2005.
Date: Thursday, May 14 – Sat., May 16
Start Time: Thu. – 11:00 a.m. CT | Fri. – 10:00 a.m. CT | Sat. – 1:00 p.m. CT
Location: Starkville, Ms.
Facility: Carl Maddox Track
Video: Friday – SEC Network + and WatchESPN
Saturday – SEC Network + and WatchESPN
Thursday, May 21 – ESPNU (Highlight Show) – 8-10 p.m. ET
The Carolina track and field team had no competitions this past weekend as it prepared for final exams. In the final regular season week of the USTFCCCA top 25 poll, the men moved back to 22nd thanks to the time off.
In its last time on the track, the team enjoyed a stellar weekend at the 121st Penn Relays, earning five total wins for the meet. That total is the most since winning six in 2002, and it included the men’s team’s first relay wheel since 2003. The shuttle hurdle relay team of Jermaine Collier, Dondre Echols, Jussi Kanervo and Isaiah Moore cruised to the win with the third-fastest time in program history at 55.53. It was the fastest time in the event at Penn since 2012.
Friday was big for individual efforts as well, starting in the morning with Jussi Kanervo. In his first time at the relays, Kanervo lit up the track for a win in the 400-meter hurdles in the first race of the day. He led wire-to-wire and beat Pitt’s Desmond Palmer for the top time in the field of 50. He crossed in 50.18 seconds, his second fastest time of the season.
The field events would continue the domination, beginning with Josh Awotunde winning the discus. He rewrote both the Carolina and Penn Relay record books, setting a new event record for the college division. In his second attempt of the morning, he went for 191 feet, three inches. It would stand as the winning mark, beating out Brown’s Courtland Clavette (188-8). It was almost four feet better than the previous event record, set back in 2005 by Villanova’s Robert McDade. In Carolina’s record book, he moves up to number five all-time, with the best mark by any Gamecock in the event since 1999.
Following the discus, Josh competed in the shot put and took third overall. His throw of 18.13 meters (59-5.75) is his second best mark of the Spring. For his efforts, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week.
The women would also earn a win in the throws, with freshman Shelby Freedman closing out the day with a win in the javelin. She hit 150 feet, eight inches on her second attempt of the night, and it would hold up for her second win of the season. The Danville, Pa. native now has four of the team’s top five marks for the season for the javelin.
Jeannelle Scheper continued her unbeaten season in the high jump, winning the Championship Division with a mark of 1.86 meters (6-1.25). The senior earned her first career victory at the meet and passed on the final bars as she sets her eyes on the postseason. She was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Week for the third time this season after the win. Teammate Nakita Gray was impressive in her own right, setting a new personal record with a jump of 5-11.75 to tie for the second-best height. She bumps up from third on the program top 10 to a tie for second with Chelsea Hammond.
To cap off the meet, the men sent the 4×1, 4×2 and 4×4 relay teams to the Championship of America finals where they would finish sixth, fourth and ninth, respectively.
Exciting news went out last Monday, as it was announced that assistant head coach Delethea Quarles will be the head coach for Team USA at this summer’s World Championships in Beijing. It will be the seventh international coaching position for Quarles, who has been with the team for 18 seasons.
Serving as team captains for the weekend will be Clayton Gravesande and Kevin Keating for the men and Jeannelle Scheper and Chalese Davis for the women. Gravesande will compete in the 400 and the two relay teams, Keating will run the 800, Scheper will aim for gold in the high jump and Davis will run both hurdle events and the long jump.