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May 29, 2015


JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Friday would be a day for the hurdlers of South Carolina, as the Gamecocks passed three athletes to the quarterfinal round and saw Jussi Kanervo earn the team’s first bid to nationals so far this weekend. In the field events, two others would come on the fringe of a national bid, but still had strong efforts.

The Gamecocks sent three athletes on to the quarterfinals between the men’s and women’s hurdle events to start the day on the track. In the women’s 100, Chalese Davis ran a 13.47 to qualify on time for tomorrow night’s quarterfinals. She finished fifth in her heat and 23rd overall.

The men had an early setback in the 110 event after the top overall seed Dondre Echols pulled out with an injury during warmups, but rebounded strong with its other two entrants. Isaiah Moore ran a personal-best time of 13.72 to win his individual heat and finished sixth overall. He moved up to ninth in the program record book for his efforts. Jermaine Collier would not be far behind, running a 13.77 to earn an automatic bid in the next heat. He finished ninth overall.

Kendall Kee was the team’s other individual running in the quarterfinals Friday. He finished 20th overall in the second round; his time of 10.54 (+0.8) was seventh in his heat but just .17 seconds off the third auto-qualifier from the race.

Kaleb Zuidema caught a tough break in his javelin competition, as he wound up just outside the top 12 qualifiers. He would sit in fifth overall in his flight, the second of three overall, but was pushed to the bubble after the first two throws by each athlete in flight three. Entering the final round of the final flight, he sat in 12th with just two athletes behind him that had an attempt remaining. Both would go for their best throws of the day, pushing him out of a national bid.

In the discus, Josh Awotunde would hit his best mark on the final of three attempts, but was unable to crack the top 12. He closed in 16th place overall, and his mark of 182-10 was his third-best of the entire outdoor season.

Three Gamecocks ran in the first round of the 200 in the final event of the night. Chris Walker and Eric Winfrey finished 27th and 28th, respectively. The seniors were separated by just two thousandths of a second, and missed the quarterfinal round by .17 seconds.


South Carolina Head Coach Curtis Frye

On Jussi’s Goals Heading Into Nationals
99.9 percent of our goals for him is to get healthy. He’s had two good runs and a lot of good warm-ups, so he can recover enough and he’ll be fine. It was a good effort on the first day, and at nationals it’s all about that first day. We know now that he can run a good first round, so we think he can get where he needs to be.

On the Team’s Response to Adversity
Our kids are learning from this event, we brought a lot of kids to this meet so they’re getting an experience. There are going to be injuries and somebody has to step up. I liked the way our hurdlers stepped up because that (Echols’ injury) was an immediate shock to turn an ankle in the warm up with your other teammates there with you. It was a shocking thing for all our kids, to see our best athlete turn his ankle, which affects our 4×1 and 4×4 – two teams that are ranked highly in the country. The kids gathered back together and put forth great efforts. They are a tight group of kids, and when something happens to one of their leaders it affects them, but I like to see that. I like to see that they’re trying hard rather than folding. It was a sign of character for our team.


Relays will be one of the highlights of the final day of competition in Jacksonville. Both the men’s and women’s 4×1 and 4×4 teams will have one race to determine who will advance to nationals. Individual track finals for Carolina will be the 100 and 110 hurdles and the 200. In the field events, Jeannelle Scheper and Nakita Gray aim to impress in the high jump, Awotunde returns for the shot put and Natasha Dicks and Michael Wamer will compete in the triple jump.

May 29, 2015 • NCAA East Regional – Men • Jacksonville, Fla. •
100m (Quarterfinal)
20. Kendall Kee 10.54 (+0.8)
200m (First Round)
27. Chris Walker 21.331
28. Eric Winfrey 21.333
110m Hurdles (First Round)
6. Isaiah Moore 13.72 (+1.7) q
9. Jermaine Collier 13.77 (+2.3) q
DNS. Dondre Echols DNS
400m Hurdles (Quarterfinal)
9. Jussi Kanervo 50.42 q
Discus Throw (Top 12 to Nationals)
16. Josh Awotunde 55.73m/182-10
Javelin Throw (Top 12 to Nationals)
14. Kaleb Zuidema 66.62m/218-8
May 29, 2015 • NCAA East Regional – Women • Jacksonville, Fla. •
200m (First Round)
35. Ahty Johnson 23.98 (+0.8)
100m Hurdles (First Round)
23. Chalese Davis 13.47 (+2.8) q
Long Jump (Top 12 to Nationals)
21. Alexis Murphy 5.93m/19-5.5
40. Chalese Davis 5.62m/18-5.25