March 16, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina Track & Field team begins the 2017 outdoor season this weekend when it takes part in the Hurricane Invitational. The meet runs March 17-18 at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla. Start time on Friday is booked for 2 p.m., with Saturday’s action commencing at 10 a.m.
The meet is hosted by Miami (Fla.), and along with the Hurricanes, Carolina will compete against Boston University, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, FIU, Florida Memorial, Harvard, Howard, LIU-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nova Southeastern and Warner.
WATCH THE GAMECOCKS LIVE ON WATCHESPN
Live video coverage of Saturday’s action is available through WatchESPN. Coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
“We’ve been planning this trip all year. This is a reward for great effort and for some seniors that have never really had a spring break. This is an opportunity for kids who have paid a price — including lots of walk-ons who love the sport, and they’ve never been off on spring break because they had to stay here and train. This is something every college kid should get the opportunity to do. We want great effort, and we want to stay healthy. Our entire outdoor season is based on how we can train and still stay healthy. Our season is based on the SEC Championships, but we need to get our kids there fresh and healthy.”
LAST WEEK — EIGHT GAMECOCKS EARN ALL-AMERICA STATUS AT NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Carolina is coming off of a highly successful week at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, held in College Station, Texas. Gamecocks Josh Awotunde (shot put), Natasha Dicks (triple jump), Rougui Sow (long jump) and Ncincilili Titi (200m) each finished as First Team All-Americans, while the women’s 4x400m relay team grabbed Second Team laurels.
Dicks finished third in the triple jump, her second consecutive podium finish at the NCAA indoor meet. The senior jumped 44-2 Â½ on her second attempt, breaking her own school record from last season’s NCAA Championships.
Awotunde placed fifth in the shot put after spending much of the competition outside of the points. The junior stood in 11th place with one prelims throw left, but he moved into the finals with an effort of 63-0. On his last attempt, the Franklinville, N.J. product vaulted into fifth with a PR of 64-6, second-best in Carolina history.
Sow was also in 11th with one preliminary effort left, and she made the finals with a jump of 20-10. Three jumps later, the Le Havre, France, native moved up to sixth with a PR mark of 21-2 Â½, third in school history.
In his fourth appearance at an NCAA championship event, Titi qualified for finals for the first time. His prelims run of 20.79 was sixth-best, and in the finals he finished eighth at 21.03.
LAST TRIP TO MIAMI
The Gamecocks last competed at the Hurricane Invitational in 2013. South Carolina achieved 10 event victories at the first meet of the 2013 outdoor season, with alumna Ceci Kryst winning both the long jump and the triple jump. The lone current Gamecock to compete in 2013 was then-freshman Tyler Brockington, who was part of the winning 4x100m relay team, took third individually in the 100mH and placed fourth in the 400mH.
The Gamecocks return a slew of All-Americans from a very successful 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships. On the women’s side, Tyler Brockington (400m Hurdles, 4x400m), Precious Holmes (4x400m), Aliyah Abrams (400m, 4x400m), Natasha Dicks (Triple Jump) and Shelby Freedman (Javelin) were honored at outdoor nationals last season. For the men, Jussi Kanervo (400m Hurdles) and Josh Awotunde (Shot Put) grabbed outdoor laurels a season ago.
THE COACH FRYE FILE
â€¢ The 2017 season is head coach Curtis Frye’s 21st season in charge of the Gamecock program.
â€¢ One of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Frye brought South Carolina its first team NCAA championship in any sport when his women’s team captured the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championship crown.
â€¢ In 2008, Frye was bestowed the Order of Ikkos Medallion, presented by the United States Olympic Committee.
â€¢ During his tenure, Frye has coached over 60 NCAA champions, 117 SEC champions, 15 Academic All-Americans and more than 460 NCAA All-Americans.
â€¢ Following the 2016 collegiate season, Frye served as an assistant coach for the United States national team at the 2016 Rio Olympics. With Frye as one of their leaders, Team USA earned 32 track & field medals in Rio, including 13 gold medals.
â€¢ Frye is a three-time SEC Coach of the Year with the honor coinciding with his three women’s outdoor conference championships in 1999, 2002 and 2005.
MEET THE COACHES
â€¢ Delethea Quarles is in her 20th year with the South Carolina program and her 27th year as a collegiate coach entering the 2017 season. Promoted to assistant head coach in 2005, her primary responsibilities include coaching the multi-event performers and jumps. Quarles has extensive international experience, none more impressive than her 2015 post as the head women’s coach for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
â€¢ Kevin Brown enters the eighth year of his second stint with the Gamecocks in the 2017 season. His primary responsibility is working with the pole vaulters in addition to working with South Carolina’s well-respected relay teams and sprinters. Brown is also the program’s recruiting coordinator. In the summer of 2016, Brown served on the Team USA coaching staff at the NACAC U23 Championships in El Salvador.
â€¢ Mike Sergent enters his 20th season with the Gamecock track and field program in 2017. His primary responsibilities are coaching the throwers and coordinating the strength and conditioning program. Sergent has coached 28 All-Americans, 45 NCAA qualifiers, 14 SEC champions and five NCAA champions at South Carolina.
â€¢ A 30-year veteran of distance coaching, Andrew Allden serves as the assistant track coach for distance and cross country. Allden has extensive international experience; in 2004, he served as a men’s assistant coach for distance in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Hungary. He was the practice track director for distance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and spent the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons with the USOC as an endurance team coach.
â€¢ Hadrien Choukroun joined the full-time staff as an assistant coach for sprints and hurdles for the 2016 season and enters his second full-time year in 2017. Choukroun has been with the program since 2013, and spent 2015 as a graduate assistant. In his time with the program, Carolina has crowned 24 All-Americans (13 men, 11 women) in the sprint and hurdle events.
HASTINGS’ GOLD HIGHLIGHTS CAROLINA’S IMPACT AT RIO OLYMPICS
Five members of the South Carolina track & field program represented the Gamecocks and their native countries at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Leading the charge was Natasha Hastings, who won her second Olympic gold medal as part of the 4x400m relay. Hastings ran the second leg of the 4×400 final, with the United States posting a time of 3:19.06 to narrowly defeat Jamaica’s 3:20.34. The Olympic medal was the 14th earned by a Gamecock in the program’s track & field history. Hastings nearly won an individual medal, finishing fourth in the 400m dash.
Head coach Curtis Frye served as an assistant coach for Team USA, helping the Americans earn 32 medals in Rio, including 13 gold medals. Three other Gamecocks competed in Rio: current student-athlete Aliyah Abrams (Guyana) placed 38th in the 400m dash, graduate assistant Jeannelle Scheper (Saint Lucia) finished 25th in the high jump and alumna Kierre Beckles (Barbados) came in 24th in the 100m hurdles.
GAMECOCKS TO HOST SEC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP
South Carolina is proud to host the 2017 SEC Outdoor Championship at the brand new Morris and Sheila Cregger Track. The event runs May 11-13, and tickets go on sale soon. In addition to hosting the meet, the Gamecocks will hold several alumni events throughout the week. Gamecock alumni wishing to participate should contact associate head coach Delethea Quarles at DQUARLES@mailbox.sc.edu or (803) 777-1617.
GAMECOCK SUPERSTARS EXCEL IN THE CLASSROOM
Gamecock juniors Isaiah Moore and Ncincilili Titi have already achieved great success on the track this season, and that comes on the heels of outstanding academic semesters from both student-athletes. Moore and Titi each finished with a 4.0 GPA for the fall 2016 semester, anchoring a Carolina program that has long prided itself on academic excellence. Overall, the Gamecock women finished with a 3.449 GPA last semester, while the Carolina men finished at 3.140.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina officially opens the brand-new Sheila & Morris Cregger Track next weekend, when they host the Weems Baskin Invitational. The meet runs March 24-25, and Gamecock fans interested in volunteering at the event are encouraged to register here.