March 11, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The South Carolina track and field team opened competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships Friday evening. The Gamecocks ran in three events overall, with Dondre Echols berth into the finals of the men’s 60m hurdles as the highlight.
Echols was in a stacked field that featured five of the top 10 fastest hurdlers in the country. The senior closed strong and ducked into a fourth-place finish at 7.77 seconds, outside of the top two auto-qualifiers for the heat. He would need to sweat out the second heat, needing a faster time than half the field to earn a spot.
It would be one of the slimmest margins possible, but Echols clinched a bid to his first career NCAA final after finish after edging out Youngstown State’s Chad Zallow by six thousandths of a second (7.761 to 7.767).
“I’m excited, I finally got that monkey off my back,” Echols said after the race. “For four years I’ve been missing that spot to be an All-American… and now I’m finally in the race. The finals is anybody’s show, I got a good chance to make it my show, so I’m going to give it my all and we can see what happens.”
Those fractions of a second would play against the Gamecocks in their other semifinal for the men. In the 200m, Ncincilili Titi and David Winters would find themselves just outside the final eight. Titi claimed 12th overall at 21.13, four hundredths of a second off the final qualifying time. Winters came in right behind him, taking 13th overall (21.19).
The women opened competition with Briana Haith in the 400m dash. The junior ran 13th overall at 53.41, just .32 seconds off the number-eight finalist in the event. She clinched second-team All-America honors, her first time achieving that as an individual. She was a second-team All-American in 2014 as part of the 4x400m relay team.
Two Gamecocks will compete on the final day of the NCAA championships. First up will be Echols in the 60m hurdles final at 5:25 p.m. ET, then Natasha Dicks will begin competition in the triple jump at 6 p.m.
- With his qualification for the final, Dondre Echols will be the team’s first first-team All-American in the 60m hurdles since 2010 (Booker Nunley and Johnny Dutch).
- Titi also earned second-team All-American status in the 200m at last season’s indoor championships. He will make his collegiate outdoor debut for the team next weekend, after sitting out the 2015 outdoor schedule.
- Briana Haith is the women’s team’s first All-American indoor since Erika Rucker in 2013.
March 11, 2016 â€¢ NCAA Championships â€¢ Men’s Results â€¢ 60m Hurdles – Semifinal 8. Dondre Echols 7.77 q 200m – Semifinal 12. Ncincilili Titi 21.13 13. David Winters 21.19 March 11, 2016 â€¢ NCAA Championships â€¢ Women’s Results â€¢ 400m – Semifinal 13. Briana Haith 53.41