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May 22, 2015

Regional Championships Event Schedule

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Qualifiers for next weekend’s NCAA East Regional Championships were announced Thursday afternoon. South Carolina track and field will send 13 individuals and two relay teams on the men’s side, and nine individuals and two relay teams for the women. Regionals will be held May 28-30 in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted by the University of North Florida.

In all, the Gamecocks are scheduled to compete in 20 events for a chance to make it to the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 10-13 in Eugene, Ore.

In order to qualify for the regional championships, an athlete must have a mark or time that ranks in the top 48 of the region. To make the national championship, you must finish in the top 12 of your respective event at regionals.

The men’s side has athletes ranked in the top ten in five different events, led by Dondre Echols in the 110m hurdles who owns the top-ranked time in the region. Jermaine Collier (No. 15) and Isaiah Moore (No. 17) will also run for a shot at nationals in the event, and Jussi Kanervo (No. 8) will run in the 400m hurdles race.

Michael Wamer is ranked second in the triple jump thanks to his program-record mark from earlier in the Spring, and the men’s 4×1 and 4×4 relay teams are coming off season best times at the SEC Championships and are ranked sixth and third, respectively. Finally, in keeping with the strong outdoor season from the throws team, Carolina will send an athlete in each discipline; the shot put and discus (Josh Awotunde, the hammer (Clarence Gallop), and the javelin (Kaleb Zuidema).

Fresh off a bronze medal at the conference meet, Markus Leemet has already qualified for nationals in the decathlon. He will arrive in Eugene as the 18th-ranked athlete in the field of 24.

“I think, in terms of getting into the top 12 to get to nationals, we have a really good chance in a lot of events,” head coach Curtis Frye said. “If they perform the way that they did at the conference meet, show that same effort, we can do well. Our guys have got to be ready to go.”

The women’s team is led by high jumper Jeannelle Scheper, who is fresh off a gold medal at the conference meet thanks to a world-leading mark of six feet, five inches that earned her the top seed for regionals. Nakita Gray, who is currently 13th in the region, joins her to represent another potential national qualifier. Triple jumper Natasha Dicks rocketed up to 9th the regional rankings after a new personal best at SECs, and with another solid performance she may too make nationals.

Others ranked in the top 25 regionally for the women include Alexis Murphy in the long jump and the 4×1 and 4×4 relay teams.

Many of the qualifying marks and times for the Gamecocks have come in recent meets, leading Frye and his coaching staff to think that the best performances are still to come.

“A lot of teams peaked early and set these qualifying marks a while back, but we’ve progressed weekend by weekend and we feel that our schedule fit to the demands of what we’re trying to do,” Frye said. “Our kids have been running through some tough competitions and tough conditions. We know what we have to do. Our coaches are prepared, our kids are locked in to training and preparing to be their best.”

Competition in Jacksonville begins Thursday afternoon.

NCAA East Regional Championships – Men’s Qualifiers
24. Kendall Kee
23. Eric Winfrey
29. Chris Walker
17. Clayton Gravesande
36. Ryan Bermudez
110m Hurdles
1. Dondre Echols
15. Jermaine Collier
17. Isaiah Moore
400m Hurdles
8. Jussi Kanervo
4x100m Relay
6. South Carolina `A’
4x400m Relay
3. South Carolina `A’
Triple Jump
2. Michael Wamer
Shot Put
20. Josh Awotunde
16. Josh Awotunde
18. Clarence Gallop
23. Kaleb Zuidema
NCAA East Regional Championships – Women’s Qualifiers
43. Alexis Murphy
47. Ahtyana Johnson
100m Hurdles
26. Chalese Davis
4x100m Relay
19. South Carolina `A’
4x400m Relay
20. South Carolina `A’
High Jump
1. Jeannelle Scheper
13. Nakita Gray
Long Jump
21. Alexis Murphy
45. Chalese Davis
Triple Jump
9. Natasha Dicks
33. Shelby Freedman
38. Olivia Hassler