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May 14, 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Three medals were the highlights for South Carolina track and field Saturday in the final day of the SEC Outdoor Championships. The Gamecocks collected eight more scorers on the men’s side and five for the women. The men finished 11th overall in the final team standings, and the women finished 13th.

The final day couldn’t have started much better for Carolina, as Natasha Dicks went out and medaled in the triple jump. The junior opened her competition with a personal-best jump of 44 feet, two inches.

That tied her with Rodena Barr’s 16-year-old program record for the event, and she would carry that high through the competition for a bronze medal. It was her best finish ever at a conference championship, improving on her fourth-place finish indoors. On top of all those accolades, the mark also qualified Natasha for a spot at the United States’ Olympic qualifiers this coming July, giving her a chance to punch her ticket to Rio.

The track events broke through with its first individual scorer of the weekend in a big way, thanks to three scorers in the men’s 110m hurdles final. Dondre Echols matched his best time of the season with a finish in 13.54 to earn the silver medal, coming just a thousandth of a second off the winning time. Right behind him would be Jermaine Collier in fifth (13.92) and Isaiah Moore in sixth (13.97).

Freshman Aliyah Abrams kept the momentum going immediately after Echols’ performance, as she hit an impressive personal best to take fourth in the 400m. Abrams ran 52.04, almost eight-tenths of a second better than her PR coming into the weekend; that time also shot her all the way up to ninth in school history for the outdoor quarter mile. Overall, her time is the best by a Gamecock since Brandi Cross in 2008.

Back in the hurdle events, the Gamecocks had a finalist for the men’s and women’s 400m intermediate race. Jussi Kanervo finished fifth overall with a time of 50.81, and in the women’s race, Tyler Brockington finished seventh in 58.06.

South Carolina was able to sneak on to the top eight for two more field events before the day’s end. Simon Gyllensten reached 16 feet, 7 ¼ inches to earn a tie for eighth place. Josh Awotunde scored in his second event in as many days after finishing eighth in the discus. Despite nearly two months removed from his last competition in the event, Awotunde threw 175-7 to earn the men another point.

As always, the relays brought the excitement on the meet’s final day, starting early with the 4×100. The men’s foursome of David Winters, Dondre Echols, DeVon Lewis and Ncincilili Titi finished seventh in 39.74. The women’s group of Makyla Stanley, Tyler Brockington, Ahtyana Johnson and Gabby Gray finished eighth in 44.71.

Capping Saturday was the mile relay. The women’s team of Abrams, Brockington, Erika Rucker and Precious Holmes made sure the team left Tuscaloosa on a high note, running the team’s best time since 2007 to earn silver. Abrams and Brockington the team out to an early lead, and Rucker passed off the final baton still in first.

Holmes found herself in a dual down the final 100 meters with Florida, who came into the meet with the top team in the country. She would be passed right at the line, with the final time of 3:29.54 just .22 seconds off the Gators. Despite coming out on the wrong side of the showdown, Carolina moved themselves all the way up to sixth in the country thanks to the time.

The men’s mile relay closed the meet. Dondre Echols, Jussi Kanervo, Otis Jones and Ryan Bermudez scored the team’s final point of the weekend thanks to an eighth place finish. In the overall team standings, Arkansas swept the men’s and women’s titles.


The team will now wait and see how the rest of the weekend shakes out across the country, with regional seeds still to be determined. The Gamecocks who qualify will compete at the NCAA East Regional Championship in Jacksonville from May 27-28.

4x100m Relay (Final)
7. Winters, Echols, Lewis, Titi 39.74
4x400m Relay (Final)
8. Echols, Kanervo, Jones, Bermudez 3:09.67
110m Hurdles (Final)
2. Dondre Echols 13.54
5. Jermaine Collier 13.92
6. Isaiah Moore 13.97
400m Hurdles (Final)
5. Jussi Kanervo 50.81
Discus (Final)
8. Josh Awotunde 53.52m | 175-7
High Jump (Final)
10. Tye Williams 2.05m | 6-8 ¾
Pole Vault (Final)
t8. Simon Gyllensten 5.06m | 16-7 ¼
–. Armand Woodley NH
–. Bryce Simpson NH
400m (Final)
4. Aliyah Abrams 52.04
5000m (Final)
22. Mary Reiser 17:13.56
28. Christine Kent 17:28.99
36. Monica York 18:01.44
37. Kaylee Wessel 18:01.72
4x100m Relay (Final)
8. Stanley, Brockington, Johnson, Gray 44.71
4x400m Relay (Final)
2. Abrams, Brockington, Rucker, Holmes 3:29. 54
400m Hurdles (Final)
7. Tyler Brockington 58.06
Triple Jump (Final)
3. Natasha Dicks 13.46m | 44-2
22. Funlayo Oluwole 11.27m | 36-11 ¾
High Jump (Final)
12. Sarah Graham 1.65m | 5-5
1. Arkansas 121.0
2. Texas A&M 101.0
3. Alabama 88.0
4. LSU 86.0
5. Ole Miss 66.5
6. Florida 64.0
7. Georgia 58.0
8. Missouri 55.0
9. Tennessee 53.5
10. Kentucky 48.5
11. South Carolina 33.5
12. Mississippi State 29.0
13. Auburn 15.0
1. Arkansas 126.75
2. Texas A&M 82.0
3. Kentucky 80.0
4. Tennessee 76.0
5. LSU 75.0
6. Alabama 67.25
7. Florida 61.0
8. Georgia 59.0
9. Mississippi State 49.5
10. Auburn 37.0
11. Ole Miss 32.75
12. Missouri 29.75
13. South Carolina 26.0
14. Vanderbilt 16.0