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April 27, 2016


Dates: April 28-30

Start Time (Eastern): Thursday @ 10 a.m. | Friday @ 9 a.m.| Saturday @ 11:15 a.m.

Location: Philadelphia, Pa.

Venue: Franklin Field

Live Results: Penn Relays Home Page

Live Video: FloTrack ($)

PHILADELPHIA, PA. – After a weekend off the track, the South Carolina track and field prepares for its final regular season meet of 2016 as it heads north for the 122nd Penn Relays. The world-famous meet will feature not only the top collegiate teams from coast-to-coast, but also athletes from around the world. Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, the meet begins with women’s competitions on Thursday and runs through Saturday at Franklin Field.

South Carolina has a proud history at the meet, owning 19 relay championships dating back to 1971. The team added to its collection last year when the quartet of Jermaine Collier, Dondre Echols, Jussi Kanervo and Isaiah Moore won the shuttle hurdle relay. It was the men’s team’s first relay win since 2003, and the team’s time was the third-fastest in program history. Along with the relay titles, the Gamecocks have also claimed the Athlete of the Meet honors five times and have two Wall of Fame inductees (Dawn Ellerbe and the 2003 shuttle hurdle relay team).

Coming into this final regular season meet, the Gamecock men rank 17th in the nation in the USTFCCCA poll. Individually, six men, two women and four relay teams stand in the top 25 nationally for their respective events. With the regional meet now just a month away, the Gamecocks have 13 men, six women and eight relays in the top 25 of the east region.

The team spent its last weekend of competition down in Tallahassee for the two-day Seminole Invitational April 15-16, hosted by Florida State, and saw major gains from their middle distance and distance runners through the entire weekend, and brought home two wins despite missing a number of key athletes. A pair of top-10 times in program history and six personal bests set the tone for the Gamecocks on Friday. The men’s 800 started the hot streak for the team, led by Otis Jones. The freshman finished fourth overall with a time of 1:49.81, setting a new personal best by more than a second. His time moved him up to seventh in school history for the outdoor 800, and it was the best time by any Gamecock since 2005. Drew Galang and Michael Elwood also hit new personal bests in the race.

The women’s 5,000 followed right after, and more top times would follow. Mary Reiser finished second overall in the race with a time of 17:07.22, and broke a personal best that was hit back in 2014 by almost two full seconds. She improved a mark that already ranked fifth in school history. Monica York came five-thousandths of a second from entering the program’s top 10 with a fourth-place finish in 17:24.63 and Kaylee Wessel finished sixth.

The field events held their own as well on Friday, starting with Clarence Gallop in the hammer throw. He would hang in the top two throughout his series of throws, topping out with a mark of 207 feet, 11 inches to finish second.

In the jumps, the Gamecock women’s long jumpers packed the top 10 with some solid results. Natasha Dicks cracked the six-meter mark again to finish tops among her teammate in fifth. She was followed close behind by Chalese Davis in sixth (5.89m) and Alexis Murphy in seventh (5.87m).

On Saturday, Shelby Freedman notched the team’s first win of the weekend right from the start, leading wire-to-wire in the women’s javelin. The sophomore hit her top mark of 151 feet, seven inches on her final throw to clinch the win over teammate Amy Suttmeier (at 141 feet). Kaleb Zuidema finished second in the men’s javelin, reaching 224 feet, two inches.

Also in the field events, Natasha Dicks hit a new season best to finish second overall in the triple jump. She reached 13.01 meters (42-8 1/4) on her sixth and final jump to finish as the top attached athlete in the field of 19. On the men’s side, Michael Wamer put himself on the cusp of not making the final round of jumps after fouling his first two attempts, but he shot up to fourth overall after reaching 51 feet, 9 1/4 inches on his last preliminary jump and settled in fourth through the finals.

The men’s winner on Saturday came on the track, where Jussi Kanervo reached a season-best in the 400m hurdles to beat out the field. He ran in a time of 50.10, which ranks fourth nationally coming out of the weekend. In the high hurdles, Dondre Echols continued to gain momentum with a second-place finish in 14.04 seconds with a head wind.

A prevailing theme from the weekend was the development of the distance and middle distance runners. All five of the 1500m runners on the men’s and women’s team reached season highs on Saturday, and all four women reached personal bests as well. The women packed the top 10, led by Alexis Malmberg in fifth place at 4:38.41 that shaved more than six seconds off the team’s previous best time this season. In the men’s 1500, Alex Sullivan improved by more than six second off his previous 1500 time and finished 12th overall.

Back on the women’s side, Aliyah Abrams improved her time in the quarter mile sprint for the third straight weekend, and flirted with a record time in the process. She finished fourth with a new personal best of 52.79, just seven thousandths of a second away from entering the program’s top 10 for the 400.

In the relays, the Gamecocks made the podium in all but one race on Saturday. For the 4×100, the men placed second overall with a time of 40.29, and the women came third in 45.31. Closing out the meet was the 4x400m relay, the women ran the second-fastest time of the season with a 3:34.40 finish to take second. The men finished fifth in 3:10.96, the team’s third-fastest time of the year.

Live results and a paid live video link from FloTrack are available at the top of this page. For up-to-the-minute information all weekend, follow @GamecockTrack on Twitter.