April 14, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina track & field program returns to Sheila & Morris Cregger Track on Saturday for the 2017 Gamecock Invitational. The one-day meet begins at 9 a.m. ET, and admission is free.
Another large field will join South Carolina at Cregger Track. Joining with the Gamecocks to bring over 750 student-athletes to Cregger Track are Alabama State, Allen, Armstrong State, Army West Point, Benedict, Bob Jones, Campbell, Claflin, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Columbia International, Converse, Delaware State, George Mason, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Hampton, Illinois, Kingsborough CC, Liberty, Limestone, NC State, Paine, St. Andrew’s, Savannah State, South Carolina State, USC Beaufort and Voorhees.
QUOTING HEAD COACH Curtis Frye
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got some great teams coming in. I think it will be a great event for people to come out and watch all levels of athletes. Cregger Track is providing an atmosphere for the people of Columbia to get out and see kids who go away from school and kids who stay in South Carolina. I am excited to see what we can all bring this weekend.”
LAST WEEK — SOW POSTS WORLD’S BEST LONG JUMP MARK AT SPEC TOWNS INVITATIONAL
South Carolina was in Athens, Ga., for the Spec Towns Invitational April 7-8, with Rougui Sow making history to highlight the weekend at Georgia. Sow won the long jump competition with a mark of 6.72m (22-0 Â¾), a new South Carolina program record and the top outdoor mark in the world this season. Sow is the first woman in the NCAA ranks to jump over 22 feet this season.
Overall, South Carolina recorded 17 podium finishes and set 20 new personal bests at Georgia. Carolina achieved five new PRs in the women’s 5000m alone, setting the tone for a great weekend.
Senior Markus Leemet competed in his first decathlon of the season last weekend, finishing fourth against a very strong field. Leemet set a PR in four of the 10 events and totaled 7,382 points.
GAMECOCKS RISE IN USTFCCCA NATIONAL POLLS
Both Gamecock track programs continue to hold spots in the latest edition of the USTFCCCA national poll, which was released April 10. The Carolina women moved up four spots this weekend to No. 19, while the men checked in at No. 24. For the Gamecock women, it’s the highest ranking since Week 4 of the 2010 season.
This week’s poll continues to use a composite of new personal bests achieved in 2017 and old collegiate PRs from the 2016 season. The Gamecock women’s team vaulted four spots this week thanks entirely to Rougui Sow, whose long jump mark of 22-0 Â¾ is listed third in the USTFCCCA’s composite rankings.
The first poll to use data only from the 2017 outdoor season will be released April 24. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week’s poll can be found here.
GAMECOCK INDIVIDUALS IN THE NCAA EAST REGION RANKINGS
South Carolina features 13 individuals and three relays in the NCAA East Region top-20 through four weeks of outdoor competition. The Gamecocks also have six marks in the national top-10.
â€¢ Rougui Sow’s long jump mark of 22-0 Â¾ achieved at the Spec Towns Invitational not only leads the East Region, it is the top mark in the entire NCAA this season.
â€¢ Josh Awotunde is ranked second both regionally and nationally in the shot put, at 64-10 Â¾. He is also 19th in the region in the discus, at 180-3.
â€¢ Tyler Brockington led the nation in the 400mH after two weeks, at 56.35. That time is now third regionally and sixth nationally.
â€¢ In the triple jump, Natasha Dicks is ranked fourth in the region and fifth in the NCAA at 43-9.
â€¢ Nakita Gray matched a PR of 5-11 Â½ in the long jump at the Florida Relays. That height ranks fourth in the East and eighth in the NCAA.
â€¢ In the 100mH, Isaiah Moore is listed fourth in the region and ninth nationally with a time of 13.73.
â€¢ Markus Leemet took part in his first decathlon of the season at Georgia and scored 7,382 points, the fourth-best total in the region.
â€¢ Ncincilili Titi ran a PR of 10.21 in the 100m at the Florida Relays. His time is the fifth-best in the East.
â€¢ Carolina’s 4x100m relay team of Darrell Singleton Jr., David Winters, Titi and Ryan Bermudez is ranked fifth in the region with a time of 39.43. The quartet of Singleton, Winters, DeVon Lewis and Titi also ran the 11th-best time in the region, 39.71.
â€¢ Ben Bonhurst holds the region’s eighth-best shot put mark, 61-7.
â€¢ Clarence Gallop is ranked 11th regionally in the hammer throw, at 219-1.
â€¢ The women’s 4x00m relay quartet of Sow, Brockington, Taranisha Taylor and Maiya Dendy is listed 11th in the East with a time of 44.48 from the Spec Towns Invitational.
â€¢ Yann Randrianasolo jumped 24-10 Â½ at the Spec Towns Invitational for the region’s 12th-best mark in the long jump.
â€¢ Winters checks in 14th in the region in the 100m, at 10.34.
MARCH 30 — APRIL 1 — BROCKINGTON STEALS THE SHOW AT FLORIDA RELAYS
South Carolina competed March 30 — April 1 at the Florida Relays. Senior Tyler Brockington was the star, winning the women’s 400mH with a time of 56.35 that goes down as a personal best, the third-fastest time in the nation this season and the fifth-best mark in Gamecock history. It’s the second consecutive week that Brockington has won her featured event.
Brockington was one of four Gamecocks to finish on the podium in Gainesville. Rougui Sow took second in the long jump invite with a mark of 20-9, and Natasha Dicks grabbed second in the triple jump at 43-9. The women’s shuttle hurdle relay squad added a third-place result.
Carolina also saw several student-athletes leave a mark on the Gamecock all-time record book, as seven different Gamecocks achieved a mark that ranks on the school’s top-10. Ben Bonhurst (shot put), Brockington (400mH), Clarence Gallop (hammer), Nakita Gray (high jump), Hailey Sweatman (pole vault), Ncincilili Titi (100m) and the men’s 4x200m relay team all posted new Carolina top-10 efforts in Gainesville.
LAST HOME MEET — MARCH 24-25 — 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.
GAMECOCKS 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.
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 back at Sheila & Morris Cregger Track next weekend for the 2017 USC Open. The meet begins at 9 a.m. ET, and individuals interested in volunteering can register here.