March 13, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – The South Carolina track and field team brought home two first-team All-America honors Saturday to wrap up competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Natasha Dicks finished third in the triple jump, and Dondre Echols placed sixth in the high hurdles to help both programs score at nationals.
Dicks would embrace the pressure of her first national meet, coming out and taking fourth overall through the prelims on the merits of her opening mark of 13.20 meters. She settled in at fifth heading into the final round of three jumps but well within striking distance of her competitors above her in the standings.
The junior from Aiken, S.C. appeared to crack the competition wide open with a huge mark on her fifth attempt, but she was called for a foul and went into her final jump still in fifth. She broke through with a mark of 13.35 meters on her final attempt, tying her school record of 43 feet, 9 Â¾ inches and vaulting all the way up to third for the bronze.
Echols found himself in a chaotic, physical race in the finale. Running on an outside lane, the group was first put off by a false start, then after a successful start the hurdles were flying. Echols took seventh initially, but moved up to sixth later in the afternoon after a runner ahead of him was disqualified. His points ensured that the men scored at the national meet for the first time since 2012.
In the final team standings, the women placed 33rd overall and the men were 51st. Oregon swept the team titles.
The Gamecocks will kick off the outdoor season next weekend, heading to the coast for the Shamrock Invitational. The meet, hosted by Coastal Carolina University, starts Friday.
- This is the first time since 2011 that both the men and women have scored at indoor nationals.
- Dicks is now just the second indoor All-American in the event for the Gamecock women, matching Antoinette Wilks’ efforts back in 2002..
- Echols’ sixth-place finish is the team’s best since 2010, when Booker Nunley won silver and Johnny Dutch finished sixth.
QUOTABLE: HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
Looking Forward After Nationals
“… This gives us a lot of hope for when we go outdoors. We brought kids here that can go back and lead others, we’re looking forward to starting this weekend to get started on that mission to get to Jacksonville and the first round of the NCAA Outdoors. There’s a lot of hope there… I’m glad to get started this weekend and thrilled to get some people out there that hadn’t been running for quite some time to help us get to nationals and get top 10 for men and women.”
QUOTABLE: ASSISTANT HEAD COACH Delethea Quarles
On Dicks’ Performance
“It took us a while to get going today, she wasn’t in her normal flow early but she listened really well, she made changes every time I asked her to. I’m very proud of her, to be her first time at this meet and to come in third is phenomenal. Most people just have trouble controlling their emotions in a national meet, she did an outstanding job, she continues the jump legacy here at South Carolina and is re-writing the record book.”
March 12, 2016 â€¢ NCAA Championships â€¢ Men’s Results â€¢ 60m Hurdles – Final 6. Dondre Echols 7.88 March 12, 2016 â€¢ NCAA Championships â€¢ Women’s Results â€¢ Triple Jump 3. Natasha Dicks 13.35m | 43-9 Â¾