March 10, 2017
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Friday was a banner night for the University of South Carolina track & field program as two Gamecocks earned first-team All-America honors and a third booked a spot in the national finals at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Josh Awotunde finished fifth in the shot put, Rougui Sow placed sixth in the long jump and Ncincilili Titi came in sixth in the in 200m prelims to earn a shot at a national championship.
Awotunde and Sow both set PRs in their final attempt of the evening after rallying to make the finals in their respective events. Both Gamecocks were outside of the top-nine heading into their third attempt but stepped up with a big effort to qualify for the second session. Once in the finals, both Gamecocks etched their names in Gamecock history as NCAA All-Americans.
Both South Carolina teams are ranked in the top-25 after one day of the NCAA Championships. The Carolina men occupy 19th, with four points, and the women are 24th with three points.
Titi was the first of the Gamecocks to finish his evening. The junior turned in a time of 20.79, finishing second in his heat and sixth overall. It’s the first time that the three-time NCAA indoor qualifier has made the finals at nationals, and in the process he is assured of first-team All-America accolades for the first time.
Awotunde stood in 11th place with one throw left in prelims and needed to move into the top-nine to continue. He posted a mark of 63-0 to advance up to sixth and earn three more throws, and things only got better from there. His last throw, 64-6, is the second-best effort in Carolina history and a new personal best.
With his effort, Awotunde joins four-time honoree Brad Snyder as the second indoor shot put All-American in Gamecock history. His finish is the highest for a Carolina shot put thrower at the NCAA Indoor Championships since Snyder won the national title in 1999. The Franklinville, N.J., native finished seventh last season at the NCAA outdoor meet to capture All-America status for the first time.
Like Awotunde, Sow stood in 11th position heading into her third jump and needed to make the top-nine to earn three more. She responded to the challenge, with a leap of 20-10 that moved her into the finals. The Le Havre, France, native notched a mark of 20-10 Â¾ with her fifth jump and set a new PR of 21-2 Â½ on her last attempt to finish sixth.
Sow is the third Gamecock in history to go over 21 feet indoors in the long jump. She is the second Gamecock in history to earn indoor All-America honors in the long jump and the first to do so since Antoinette Wilks achieved the feat in 2003.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
“Anytime you get your personal best, you have to be happy with it. For Josh to get fifth in the country is a good step forward for us, and we’re excited about it. Josh always competes big in championships, so we’re proud of him.” – on the effort of Josh Awotunde
“We tell the kids all the time — if you do your very best, we can’t ask for more. Rougui was very competitive. She had a hard time making finals, but she did it, and once she was in there she competed really tough. On the last jump, she moved herself into the sixth spot, and we’re excited about it. We’re on the scoreboard at the NCAA Championships with two scoring All-Americans.” – on the performance of Rougui Sow
“All we know is that Titi goes into the finals ranked sixth tomorrow, and he came in today ranked eighth. To get into sixth is quite the accomplishment. The SEC Championship is tough, and NCAAs are tougher.” – on Ncincilili Titi, who runs for a national championship on Saturday
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks will finish the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships tomorrow. Natasha Dicks will compete in the triple jump beginning at 3:30 p.m. CT, and Titi will run for a national title in the 200m at 5:50 p.m. CT. Last but not least, the Carolina women’s 4x400m relay team runs for their seventh national title in the meet’s final event, beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT.
|FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017 â€¢ NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS â€¢ MEN’S RESULTS|
|5. Josh Awotunde||19.66m | 64-6|
|6. Ncincilili Titi||20.79q|
|FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017 â€¢ NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS â€¢ WOMEN’S RESULTS|
|6. Rougui Sow||6.46m | 21-2 1/2|