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Jan. 4, 2018

2018 Track & Field Preview ââ’¬” Pole Vault

The University of South Carolina track & field team returns to action in January for head coach Curtis Frye’s 22nd season in charge. In the days leading up to the start of the 2018 season, will preview each section of the Carolina squad, taking a glance at key returners and highlighting key newcomers who could make their names as the next great Gamecock superstars. Today’s preview focuses on Carolina’s pole vaulters.


“We’re really excited about Armand (Woodley) coming back this year, because what he comes with is a lot of confidence. Last year, he was very young to the event, and he still is, but to have the experience of getting to the national finals in Eugene, to have seven PRs in a row, you can’t help but be excited about that.”

“With our women’s pole vault, I come to practice every day with them and I’m very excited, because they bring a level of enthusiasm and excitement, but everything is new. They’re making improvements in leaps and bounds.” ââ’¬” Assistant Coach Kevin Brown


A pair of freshman served as Carolina’s pole-vaulters in 2017. Hailey Sweatman won her collegiate debut and went on to post the eighth-best pole vault effort in school history both indoors and outdoors, while Adele Blalock saw action in three meets.

TOP RETURNER ââ’¬” Hailey Sweatman

Hailey Sweatman opened her collegiate career vaulting 12-5 ½ to win the Clemson Invitational, and she upped that effort to 12-9 ½ later in the indoor season, eighth-best in Gamecock history. She finished 17th at the SEC Indoor Championships, then turned her attention outdoors, where she earned a second-place finish three times during the regular season. Her top outdoor effort of 12-7 ½ also ranks eighth in program history, and Sweatman looks to use her freshman success to springboard into SEC scoring contention as a sophomore.


Blalock competed in the first three meets of the indoor season before an injury sidelined her for the remainder of the campaign. The Charleston native’s top mark was 11-5 ¾, and she maintained freshman eligibility outdoors after taking a redshirt for the second half of the season.


Sam Silber joins the Gamecocks from Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio. Silber was a conference champion as a senior and earned All-State honors as a senior by hitting a new PR of 12-0.

2017 REVIEW ââ’¬” MEN’S TEAM

Few Gamecocks showed as much improvement as Armand Woodley in 2017. Then a sophomore, Woodley crossed a major threshold in the outdoor season, adding almost two feet to his PR in a two-month stretch, scoring at the SEC Championship and earning a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Sweden native Simon Gyllensten was consistent in 2017, winning regular-season titles at Clemson and Miami, and he placed 10th indoors at the SEC Championships. Chris Cochran set a new PR and earned a pair of podium finishes in his second season of full competition.

TOP RETURNER ââ’¬” Armand Woodley

Woodley had set a PR in six consecutive events, including a fifth-place effort at the SEC Championships, when he arrived at the NCAA East Regional in May as the No. 45 seed. But the Orlando native wasn’t deterred by his low seed, clearing yet another new personal best two separate times at the regional meet to finish 12th and grab the final spot to the NCAA Championships. Now an upperclassman with big-stage experience, Woodley is in position to make major noise on the national scene in 2018.


Gyllensten was an NCAA Regional qualifier in 2016 and looks to combine with Woodley to create a fearsome duo in his senior season. Cochran, Nick Couchell and Bryce Simpson also return to the vault squad.