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May 13, 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The South Carolina track and field team opened competition at the SEC Outdoor Championships Thursday. Weather and a power outage would push the first day of action late into the night, but when the dust and rain settled the Gamecocks came away with several positive results.

The day would mainly focus on the opening events of the multis, with Alexandre Asselin competing in the decathlon and Sarah Graham going in the heptathlon for Carolina. Asselin set two new personal bests in his opening five events. One came early in the shot put, as he threw 42-1 ¾ on his opening attempt to improve by more than an inch on his preview high set in 2014. He closed day one with a one-second PR in the 400, running 49.39 to finish fourth. Through the first five events, he sits 11th overall, just under 100 points off a top-eight position.

Graham also reached a new best in the shot put during her multi-event competition, finishing in the top eight for three of the four Thursday events, with a top finish of fifth in the high jump. With her 3,303 points, the senior is in eighth place overall.

Thursday also kicked off a handful of individual events, with three preliminary races and two finals. In the early prelims, Tyler Brockington and Jussi Kanervo clinched spots in the 400m hurdles final Saturday behind strong times. Brockington ran her best time of the season, 56.96, and placed sixth in the prelim. Kanervo ran 50.31, the second-fastest preliminary time for the men.

The Gamecock men came just shy of qualifying in the 200 and 800 finals, but posted solid times. Ncincilili Titi had the team’s top 200 time, but came .11 seconds off the cut time for the final. Otis Jones made a surprising bid for the 800 final despite entering the weekend with the 20th-fastest time in the SEC for the event. The freshman kept pace from start to finish with a talented field, and celebrated his 20th birthday in style by taking over a full second off his career-best time. He ran 1:48.52, just .18 seconds off the ninth and final qualifier, but his mark now moves him up to sixth in school history.

There was a three-hour window in the schedule between events for the team late in the afternoon, and in that time severe thunderstorms made their way into the area. The second flight of the men’s hammer throw would be delayed for two hours before getting the all-clear. Clarence Gallop qualified for the finals on his last preliminary attempt, and settled into ninth with a top throw of 211-6, reached on his last attempt in the final.

The last track event Thursday would be the 10,000m for the men and women. The weather cleared out before the race, and the rains cooled the air to facilitate a quality race for the men and women. First up would be Mary Reiser and Christine Kent, and the duo continued to make their edits to the program record books.

The two had already set new PRs and top-10 program times in the 3000m and 5000m this season, but the 10k would be an entirely new event for Kent and Reiser had yet to run the distance since last year’s conference meet. It would make no difference, as Reiser finished 10th in 35:41.08 to beat her 2014 time that ranked third in school history. Kent joined her in the all-time ranks, as her time of 36:38.20 is sixth-best.


Along with the conclusion of the multis, Friday will see more preliminary races on the track, including the high hurdles, 100m and 400m. Out in the field events, there will be finals in the shot put, long jump and javelin throw. The day begins with the multis at 9 a.m. CT with the heptathlon long jump and 10:30 a.m. with the decathlon 100m.

200m (Prelims)
11. Ncincilili Titi 20.74 (1.9)
15. David Winters 20.82 (1.9)
36. DeVon Lewis 21.62 (1.3)
800m (Prelims)
10. Otis Jones 1:48.52
10,000m (Final)
19. Drew Trusty 33:05.24
400m Hurdles (Prelims)
2. Jussi Kanervo 50.31 q
10. Greg Chiles 52.13
Hammer Throw (Final)
9. Clarence Gallop 64.47m | 211-6
100m (Decathlon)
11. Alexandre Asselin 11.37 (0.6) (780)
400m (Decathlon)
4. Alexandre Asselin 49.39 (843)
Long Jump (Decathlon)
10. Alexandre Asselin 7.01m | 23-0 (1.7) (816)
High Jump (Decathlon)
14. Alexandre Asselin 1.78m | 5-10 (610)
Shot Put (Decathlon)
9. Alexandre Asselin 12.83m | 42-1 ¾ (657)
Decathlon (Day One)
11. Alexandre Asselin 3,706 points
200m (Prelims)
30. Ahtyana Johnson 24.25 (1.5)
800m (Prelims)
23. Irene Vian 2:14.57
24. Allie Mueller 2:14.73
26. Ashley Miller 2:20.48
–. Maya Evans DNF
10,000m (Final)
10. Mary Reiser 35:41.08
14. Christine Kent 36:38.20
400m Hurdles (Prelims)
6. Tyler Brockington 56.96 q
200m (Heptathlon)
9. Sarah Graham 25.79 (0.5) (816)
100m Hurdles (Heptathlon)
8. Sarah Graham 14.06 (0.1) (970)
High Jump (Heptathlon)
5. Sarah Graham 1.72m | 5-7 ¾ (879)
Shot Put (Heptathlon)
8. Sarah Graham 11.65m | 38-2 ¾ (638)
Heptathlon (Day One)
8. Sarah Graham 3,303 points