March 29, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina track & field program continues the 2017 outdoor season this weekend when it participates in one of the outdoor season’s marque events: the Pepsi Florida Relays. The three-day event begins Thursday night with the men’s and women’s 5000m runs and continues throughout the day on both Friday and Saturday.
The annual Florida Relays event features one of the largest fields of the season. Joining Carolina and the host Gators are SEC rivals Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt as well as Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alabama-Huntsville, Albany, Allen County CC, Appalachian State, Austin Peay, Belmont, Bethune-Cookman, Campbell, Charleston Southern, Charlotte, Columbia, Columbus State, Connecticut, Coppin State, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Elon, FIU, Flagler, Florida Atlantic, Florida College, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Memorial, Florida Southern, Florida State, Florida Tech, Franklin Pierce, Georgetown, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Howard, Iowa, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Kingsborough CC, Limestone, LIU Brooklyn, Loyola (Ill.), Marshall, Maryland, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Mercer, Miami, Milligan, Mobile, Morgan State, N. Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, North Florida, North Greenville, Northern Iowa, Nova Southeastern, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Princeton, Saint Leo, Samford, Savannah State, Shorter, South Alabama, South Carolina State, South Florida, Southern Maine, Southern Wesleyan, St. Augustine’s, Syracuse, Tampa, Towson, Troy, UAB, UCF, UL-Lafayette, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Georgia, Western Kentucky, Winthrop, and Youngstown State.
WATCH THE GAMECOCKS ON SEC NETWORK+
Fans can watch coverage of the Florida Relays throughout the day on Friday and Saturday through their SEC Network+ subscriptions. Friday’s stream runs from 12:10 p.m. – 4:10 p.m. ET. and Saturday’s coverage is from 2:35 p.m. – 7:10 p.m. ET. Links for each day can be found here.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
“This meet has the current outdoor national champions in Florida as well as the current indoor national champions, Oregon, plus Kentucky and their world-class athletes, along with former Olympic medalist Justin Gatlin. So it’s going to be a different arena. Our kids have to step up and compete. We have to overcome some things, because we’re off to a great start, but any time you’re in that kind of arena it leads you to better times. We have high expectations.”
LAST WEEK — GAMECOCKS OPEN CREGGER TRACK WITH WEEMS BASKIN INVITATIONAL
South Carolina began a new era of its storied track & field history March 24-25 with the Weems Baskin Invitational, the first meet ever on the brand-new Sheila & Morris Cregger Track. The Gamecocks welcomed over 1,100 student-athletes to Cregger Track and combined to win 13 different events at the historic meet.
On the first day of competition, Carolina walked away with five victories. Markus Leemet became the first event winner in the history of Cregger Track when he took the javelin B flight, and later in the day the senior won the B flight of the pole vault. Olivia Hassler (javelin), Rougui Sow (long jump) and the women’s 4x800m relay squad also earned victories to start the meet.
The Gamecocks grabbed eight more wins on the second day at Cregger Track. Alycia Springs led the way for the Gamecocks, winning both the shot put and the discus on the women’s side. Seniors Tyler Brockington (400mH) and Natasha Dicks (triple jump) also added victories in their first appearance at Cregger Track, as did junior Tye Williams (high jump), while both 4x100m relay teams and the women’s 4x400m squad also found the winner’s circle.
Cregger Track long promised to be one of the finest competition venues in track & field during its construction, and it lived up to that billing at the Weems Baskin. Two Gamecocks posted efforts that lead the NCAA after two weeks: Brockington’s 56.93 stands as the top 400mH time in the nation, and Josh Awotunde, who was the top collegiate finisher in the shot put, leads all collegiate throwers with a mark of 64-10 Â¾.
The Gamecocks posted five new marks that rank on Carolina’s all-time outdoor top-10 list at the Weems Baskin Invitational. Sow (long jump), Springs (shot put), Clarence Gallop (hammer throw), Funlayo Oluwole and the 4x800m quartet of Maya Evans, Maddie Beaubien, Anna Kathryn Stoddard and Allie Mueller all achieved a new mark in the program top-10 at Cregger Track.
Overall, Gamecock student-athletes combined to set 33 new personal records at the Weems Baskin Invitational, the most of any meet so far this season.
GAMEOCKS HONORED WITH SEC WEEKLY ACCOLADES
Josh Awotunde became the fourth Gamecock this season to be honored with an SEC Athlete of the Week award when he was named Men’s Co-Field Athlete of the Week on March 28. The junior from Franklinville, N.J., was honored after posting a mark of 64-10 Â¾ at the Weems Baskin Invitational, the top collegiate shot put mark of the outdoor season to date.
Awotunde joins Darrell Singleton Jr. (Men’s Freshman of the Week — March 21), Eric Favors (Men’s Freshman of the Week — Feb. 21) and Taranisha Taylor (Women’s Runner of the Week — Feb. 21) as Gamecocks honored by the SEC this season. Additionally, Favors and Alycia Springs were both named to the SEC Indoor All-Freshman Team in the shot put.
LAST SEASON AT THE FLORIDA RELAYS
The Gamecocks had great success last season at the Florida Relays. Clarence Gallop was victorious in the hammer throw, while the shuttle hurdle relay squad, including current Gamecocks Alexandre Asselin and Isaiah Moore, also took the gold. Individually, Moore was the top collegiate finisher in the 100mH.
Hurdles were strong throughout the weekend for the Gamecocks, with Jussi Kanervo placing second in the men’s 400mH and Tyler Brockington going third on the women’s side. Carolina also earned third-place finishes in the men’s 4×200 (including current Gamecocks Ryan Bermudez, Ncincilili Titi and David Winters) and the women’s 4×400 (with Brockington, Briana Haith, Aliyah Abrams and Marisa Bellamy on the track).
GAMECOCK INDIVIDUALS IN THE NCAA EAST REGION RANKINGS
South Carolina features 17 individuals and four relays in the NCAA East Region top-20 through two weeks of outdoor competition. Leading the way is a pair of Gamecocks with the top marks in the nation in their events.
â€¢ With a time of 56.93, Tyler Brockington holds the number one spot in the country in the 400mH.
â€¢ In the shot put, Josh Awotunde ranks first in the country with mark of 64-10 3/4.
â€¢ Currently first in the East Region, Isaiah Moore ran 13.89 in the 110mH at the Weems Baskin Invitational.
â€¢ Natasha Dicks ranks in first place in the NCAA East Region in the triple jump, holding a mark of 43-3 1/4.
â€¢ The Gamecock men’s quartet of Darrell Singleton Jr., David Winters, Ncincilili Titi and Ryan Bermudez owns a time of 39.43 to rank first in the 4x100m relay.
â€¢ Rougui Sow is listed second in the long jump, at 21-2 1/2.
â€¢ With the third-best high jump in the region, Nakita Gray posted a mark of 5-10 at the Weems Baskin Invitational.
â€¢ The Gamecock women’s 4x400m relay team is third place in the region with a time of 3:38.39, led by Maya Evans, Precious Holmes, Kara Lyles, and Brockington.
â€¢ Clarence Gallop currently holds the fourth-best hammer throw mark with an effort of 217-3.
â€¢ David Winters is ranked fourth in the 100m, at 10.34.
â€¢ Ben Bonhurst led the East Region after one week and now ranks fourth with a shot put mark of 61-3.
â€¢ The Gamecock women’s 4x100m relay is ranked fifth, with Sow, Brockington, Taranisha Taylor and Maiya Dendy clocking in at 44.86.
â€¢ Dendy posted a time of 11.60 at the Weems Baskin Invitational, currently ninth in the 100m.
â€¢ Individually, Holmes is listed 11th in the region in the 400m, at 54.07.
â€¢ With a time of 47.14, Bermudez is ranked 14th regionally in the 400m.
â€¢ Kara Lyles holds the region’s 15th-fastest mark in the 400mH with a time of 59.80.
â€¢ Otis Jones posted a time of 1:50.14 in the 800m, putting him 16th in the East.
â€¢ With a shot put effort of 50-9 1/4, Alycia Springs is ranked 17th in the region.
â€¢ Darrell Singleton Jr. ran the 100m in 10.53 in his collegiate debut to hold the 17th spot in the region.
â€¢ Makyla Stanley is ranked 17th in the long jump, at 19-9.
â€¢ The men’s 4x400m team is ranked 20th, with Titi, Jones, Markus Leemet and Bermudz stopping the clock in 3:12.35.
MARCH 17-18 — GAMECOCKS WIN 10 EVENTS AT HURRICANE INVITATIONAL
South Carolina opened the outdoor season March 17-18 by dominating the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla. Clarence Gallop (hammer throw) and Simon Gyllensten (pole vault) were victorious on Friday, while Maddie Beaubien (800m), Ben Bonhurst (shot put), Precious Holmes (400m), Jussi Kanervo (800m), Isaiah Moore (110mH), Alycia Springs (shot put) and David Winters (100m) took individual events on Saturday. Also, the Gamecocks were victorious in the women’s 4x100m relay, with Makyla Stanley, Tyler Brockington, Taranisha Taylor and Maiya Dendy racing to the win.
Overall, the Gamecocks set 21 new collegiate personal bests at the meet. Bonhurst was perhaps the top performer, with his mark of 61-3 leading the NCAA East Region through one week and ranking fifth in Carolina shot put history.
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.
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.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks are in Athens, Ga., next week as the 2017 outdoor season rolls along. Carolina competes at the Bulldog Multis April 5-6 and the Spec Towns Invitational April 7-8.