Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

May 27, 2016


JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Four more Gamecocks earned a bid to the national championships on day two of the East Regional at Hodges Stadium Friday. Four others will aim for Eugene tomorrow after advancing in their respective preliminary races Friday afternoon.

Kaleb Zuidema will make his second trip to nationals in the javelin, after getting in as the 11th-ranked thrower on the day. He would have to sweat out the final round of throws, but his mark of 223 feet will move him on. After the competition, Zuidema said that he had one mentality throughout his flight:

“I remember last year here I had a little injury and I think I got 14th and it was just upsetting to not be able go to nationals again after going my freshman year,” Zuidema said. “Coming out today, I was just determined, I never had a doubt in my mind that I wasn’t going to make it to nationals.”

In his freshman year, he earned honorable mention All-American honors at nationals. Now two years later, he has another shot to move up the standings at Hayward Field.

Also in the field events Saturday, Josh Awotunde reached a season-best distance of 184-9 in the discus, but came one place off qualifying. He will be back at it again tomorrow evening in the shot put.

The women’s team added its second qualifier of the weekend when Aliyah Abrams ran ninth overall in the finale of the 400. The freshman crossed the line in 52.30 seconds to clinch an automatic qualifying time. She will run again tomorrow as part of the team’s 4x400m relay.

“The race was a very interesting race, I can definitely say I’m happy I made it through. I know I have more left in my tank and overall I’m just happy I made it to nationals,” Abrams said. “My mentality was to just get out, and I know my finish is strong enough. Coming home, I just gave it everything I had left and it felt good.”

In the 400m hurdle finals, not only did the Gamecocks send two runners on to nationals, but both would do it in a commanding way. In the women’s race, Tyler Brockington set a new personal best with a time of 56.45 to place 10th overall and clinch her third career trip to Eugene. The time ranks fifth in school history, making her the fastest Gamecock in the event since 2007.

“It feels amazing, I feel like all the preparation I put into running this race has come to fruition today,” Brockington said. “All you can do is work through all your problems and all the dings of the season and hope that it puts you in a better place in the end and I feel like I can go in to nationals confident that I can place and even win.”

Jussi Kanervo will make his third-straight appearance at nationals in the 400m hurdles after running his best race of the season. The junior from Finland ran 49.87 to take fifth overall in the final round of races. He’s hunting for another podium finish at nationals after taking sixth in 2015.

“I didn’t think about it — I just went,” Kanervo said. “Probably the biggest thing is just confidence, getting my confidence back, because I know I can run sub-50 any time I’m on the track.”

In the preliminary races, three Gamecocks set themselves up nicely heading into Saturday’s final of the 110m hurdles. Dondre Echols led the way with the top overall time of 13.58, followed by Isaiah Moore in fourth and Jermaine Collier in 11th. It was a moment of redemption for Echols, who injured himself in warm-ups at last year’s regional and was robbed of a chance at his first trip to Oregon. He and his teammates could get the monkey off their back in a big way tomorrow at the 7:20 p.m. finale.

Closing out the night was the men’s 200m preliminary round. Ncincilili Titi earned one more race after running 20.77 in his heat and finishing 16th overall. His race for nationals will go off at 7:50 p.m. tomorrow night.


The regional comes to a close Saturday with five individuals and three relay teams still with a chance to punch their ticket. The day starts with the 4x100m relays for both the men and women and Josh Awotunde competing in the shot, all coming at 6 p.m. Also in the field events Saturday will be Natasha Dicks, who is hoping to build off her SEC triple jump bronze medal with her first bid to Eugene.

Back on the track, the three men’s hurdlers hope to all qualify for nationals — it would be Echols’ and Moore’s first trips. Titi will run his 200m final at 7:50, and closing out the meet at 9:25 p.m. will be the women’s 4x400m relay.

100m (Top 12 to Nationals)
19. David Winters 10.47 (0.4)
21. Ncincilili Titi 10.51 (1.3)
200m (Prelims)
16. Ncincilili Titi 20.77 (1.0) Q
27. David Winters 21.00 (1.2)
110m Hurdles (Prelims)
1. Dondre Echols 13:58 (0.5) Q
4. Isaiah Moore 13.68 (0.3) Q
11. Jermaine Collier 13.86 (0.9) Q
400m Hurdles (Top 12 to Nationals)
5. Jussi Kanervo 49.87
14. Greg Chiles 51.40
Discus (Top 12 to Nationals)
13. Josh Awotunde 56.31m | 184-9
Javelin (Top 12 to Nationals)
11. Kaleb Zuidema 67.98m | 223-0
400m (Top 12 to Nationals)
9. Aliyah Abrams 52.30
20. Erika Rucker 53.46
100m Hurdles (Prelims)
32. Chalese Davis 13.622 (1.0)
400m Hurdles (Top 12 to Nationals)
10. Tyler Brockington 56.45
High Jump (Top 12 to Nationals)
t-21. Sarah Graham 1.71m | 5-7 ¼