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May 15, 2015

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STARKVILLE, MS. – Senior high jumper Jeannelle Scheper wrote a new chapter in her historic career Friday afternoon, earning gold at the SEC Outdoor Championships. She was joined on the medal stand by Markus Leemet to cap off a big day for the track and field team.

As has been the case for the last few years, Scheper squared off with Georgia’s Leontia Kallenou in the finals, and both athletes were flawless in the early heights. After the third-place competitor dropped out at 1.80 meters, the two traded perfect jumps all the way up to 1.96 (six feet, five inches). Kallenou missed her first attempt of the day, giving Scheper a chance to apply pressure. Despite entering the day with a lifetime best of 1.95 meters that was set earlier in the Spring, Scheper cleared 1.96 on her first try. After Kallenou missed on her final two tries, Scheper secured her first outdoor gold medal.

“It was an incredible competition, and she (Scheper) just executed very well,” said assistant head coach Delethea Quarles. “In the SECs, there is nothing you can take for granted, from one jump to the next things can change. She maintained her rhythm and looked good throughout the whole competition.”

As for the superlatives that come with the jump, the list is a long one. Scheper sets the new meet record by an inch and a half, tied Australia’s Eleanor Patterson for the top mark in the world, and now holds claim to the sixth-best mark in collegiate history. Nakita Gray would place eighth in the event to provide a huge boost to the women’s team’s score.

“It was a tough competition with many ups and downs but at the end of the day I feel great,” Leemet. “It’s the best feeling in the world to finish all ten events in the decathlon, no matter how good you do.”

The Gamecocks saw even more scorers in the field events as day two winded down, coming from a pair of personal bests. In the long jump, Alexis Murphy added 4.5 inches to her previous best and finished eighth in a talented field for the long jump. The junior hit 20-5 flat on her fifth attempt, and moves to fifth in program history for the event. Josh Awotunde set a PR as well, posting a quarter of an inch to his previous long shot put. His best of 60-10.25 led all underclassmen by at least two feet and was the best freshman thrower by well over four feet.

It was another day of qualifiers on the track, highlighted by the 110-meter hurdle trio of Jermaine Collier, Dondre Echols and Isaiah Moore. They set the men’s team up for a big day Saturday after all three qualified for the finals. It was a small redemption for Echols and Moore, who barely missed the cut for the 60mH indoors but now have a chance to score in the finals.

Echols finished fourth overall (13.66 seconds), Moore went sixth (13.81, season-best) and Collier was the final qualifier. His time of 13.97 beat out the tenth-place runner by two hundredths of a second. In the women’s 100 hurdles, Chalese Davis matched her personal best with a time of 13.42 and finished 13th overall.

Clayton Gravesande was on the wrong side of .02 in his 400m race. The senior ran in 46.98, but finished tenth – just one spot out of qualifying for Saturday’s final. Briana Haith and Aalayah Faulcon also came less than a half second from qualifying for the women’s 400. Haith’s time of 54.31 was the team’s best time in the event all season.

Kendall Kee ran his best 100 of the season, but strong tailwinds led to strong qualifying times and the junior would finish 14th with a time of 10.39. It was the team’s fastest 100 of the season.


  • Jeannelle Scheper’s previous finishes at the SEC Outdoor Championships were fourth in 2011, fifth in 2012 and second in 2013. She did not compete in the 2014 outdoor season.
  • Jermaine Collier is no stranger to making it in under the wire. Indoors, he was the slowest qualifier in the 60mH, but rebounded to earn bronze in the finals.
  • Through the first two days of competition, the men are tied for sixth in the team standings with 16 points. The women moved up and are tied for tenth with 12 points .

QUOTABLE South Carolina Head Coach Curtis Frye

On Scheper’s High Jump Gold
Everything comes together at the right time and I think right now we’re looking at something special in the history of South Carolina. She’s a role model for what athletics is about and what South Carolina is about. This is a team win from the President to the Athletic Director on down, because her confidence comes from other people believing in her.

On Leemet’s Decathlon Bronze
Markus has got a lot left in him, and Coach (Kevin) Brown has brought him along. He’s only been here for six months, but he has adopted this team, adopted the team spirit and he’s a team player. He knows this team is battling to get into the top half of the conference and to get there it takes a person who is willing to fight not just for themselves but for their teammates.

Senior Jeannelle Scheper

On winning her first outdoor SEC gold medal
Today I was just thinking about being extremely focused. Leontia (Kallenou) is a really good competitor… I’m glad I came out with the win. I knew that it was going to be close and I knew that she would fight until the end, so I just made up my mind that I was going to fight harder today.


Saturday will bring the final events as teams jockey for final positioning in the standings. The day starts with the women’s javelin and men’s and women’s triple jump, and the 4×1 and 4×4 relays will be contested. The team will have finals in the 110 hurdles and the women’s 5000 in the individual races as well.

May 15, 2015 • SEC Outdoor Championships – Men • Starkville, MS. •
110m Hurdles (Prelim)
4. Dondre Echols 13.66 (+1.5)
6. Isaiah Moore 13.81 (+1.5)
9. Jermaine Collier 13.97 (+1.5)
100m (Prelim)
14. Kendall Kee 10.39 (+2.3) q
16. Chris Walker 10.56 (+2.3) q
400m (Prelim)
9. Clayton Gravesande 46.98
18. Ryan Bermudez 47.77
Shot Put (Final)
5. Josh Awotunde 18.57m/60-11.25
Long Jump (Final)
11. Michael Wamer 7.31m/23-11.75
110m Hurdles – Decathlon
7. Markus Leemet 15.14 (+2.0)
1500m – Decathlon
7. Markus Leemet 4:45.46
Javelin – Decathlon
2. Markus Leemet 56.91m/186-8
Discus – Decathlon
11. Markus Leemet 36.00m/118-1
Pole Vault – Decathlon
6. Markus Leemet 4.40m/14-5.25
Final Standings – Decathlon
3. Markus Leemet 7,372 points
May 15, 2015 • SEC Outdoor Championships – Women • Starkville, MS. •
100m Hurdles (Prelim)
13. Chalese Davis 13.42 (+1.5)
100m (Prelim)
18. Alexis Murphy 11.64 (+1.6) q
26. Ahtyana Johnson 11.90 (+1.2) q
27. Gabby Gray 11.91 (+1.6) q
400m (Prelim)
11. Briana Haith 54.31
12. Aalayah Faulcon 54.61
1500m (Prelim)
34. Allie Sprague 4:47.31
35. Martha McCoy 4:48.81
Long Jump (Final)
8. Alexis Murphy 6.22m/20-5
12. Chalese Davis 6.06m/19-10.75
16. Natasha Dicks 5.83m/19-1.5
High Jump (Final)
1. Jeannelle Scheper 1.96m/6-5
8. Nakita Gray 1.70m/5-7
Pole Vault (Final)
NH. Megan Wall NH