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Jan. 18, 2018

Indoor Meet #2 – Track & Field at the Clemson Invitational

CLEMSON, S.C. — The indoor season continues this weekend for the University of South Carolina track & field team as the Gamecocks stay in the Palmetto State to compete at the Clemson Invitational. The meet begins Friday at 9:30 a.m. and continues Saturday at 9 a.m. inside of the Clemson University Indoor Track.

The field in Clemson is a strong one as the Gamecocks face a tough test early in the indoor campaign. Joining Carolina and the host Tigers are Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Johnson C. Smith, Kentucky, Penn State, Purdue and Virginia Tech.

The Gamecock men will tangle with the top two teams in the initial USTFCCCA National Rankings as No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Georgia are joined in Clemson by No. 8 Virginia Tech, No. 18 Kentucky and No. 22 Penn State. The Gamecock women enter the event ranked 17th and will compete against No. 3 Georgia, No. 6 Florida, No. 9 Kentucky and No. 23 Penn State.


“Last week we were on a (heavy training) load. Our legs were heavy from a lot of walking, a lot of training, and this week is more of the same. We are just starting to cut back on training, because our team went (hard) for a month. We expect more of the same this week. We’re still a little tired, but we can’t back off this week, because we’re running against great competition. The people at this meet coming up are some of the top teams in the country, and they’re training through too. I can’t say that our kids are heavy-legged and tired, because so are Georgia, Clemson, Florida and Kentucky. All of those teams are still training heavy, but their great athletes will come through, and our great athletes will come through too.” — Head Coach Curtis Frye



South Carolina opened the indoor season with 16 event victories at the Navy Winter Invitational, which led the way in a field that included Wake Forest, George Mason, Mount St. Mary’s, Penn and the hosts from Navy. The highlight of the day came from senior Tye Williams, whose high jump mark of 2.20m set a new indoor school record. The Gamecock men also got victories from Ncincilili Titi (60m), Otis Jones (500m), the 4x400m relay team, Yann Randrianasolo (high jump) and Josh Awotunde (shot put). On the women’s side, Maiya Dendy was perhaps the most successful Gamecock, winning both the 60m and the 200m. Other Gamecocks to stand in the winner’s circle included Stephanie Davis (400m), Allie Mueller (1000m), Milan Parks (60mH), Jordan Fields (high jump), Hanifah Abdulqadir (triple jump), Rougui Sow (long jump), Hailey Sweatman (pole vault) and KD Young (shot put). Davis and Young were victorious in their very first collegiate meet, while Abdulqadir won on her first day as a Gamecock.


Coming off of a fourth-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships, expectations were high for Tye Williams at the start of the season. The senior lived up to the hype in his first meet of 2018, setting a new indoor high jump school record with a mark of 2.20m (7-2 ½) at the Navy Invitational. The jump broke the previous record of 7-2 ¼, set in 2011 by David Wilkins, and it gave Williams ownership of both Gamecock records in the high jump after he claimed the outdoor mark of 7-4 ½ at the 2017 Penn Relays. Williams is ranked seventh nationally after the first week of the indoor season and is looking to solidify his spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, in the weeks to come.


South Carolina opened the 2017 indoor campaign at the Clemson Invitational, winning a meet-high 10 individual events. Among current Gamecocks, Josh Awotunde (shot put), Simon Gyllensten (pole vault), Isaiah Moore (60mH), Hailey Sweatman (pole vault), Ncincilili Titi (200m) and Tye Williams (high jump) claimed a title at Clemson. Ty Jaye Robbins, Markus Leemet and Otis Jones were part of a winning 4x400m relay and Emily Crounse, Maddie Beaubien, Anna Kathryn Stoddard and Allie Mueller turned in a winning distance medley relay.

Carolina competed twice more indoors at Clemson in 2017. Leemet (heptathlon) and Titi (200m) grabbed event wins at the Tiger Paw Invitational, while Rougui Sow (long jump) and Alycia Springs (shot put) claimed victories at the Tiger Tuneup.


The South Carolina women’s team is ranked 17th in the USTFCCCA Preseason National Poll, its highest preseason listing since 2009. Four members of the Gamecocks are ranked individually by the USTFCCCA: Lissa Labiche (High Jump — 4th), Aliyah Abrams (400m — 6th), Rougui Sow (Long Jump — 6th) and Precious Holmes (400m — 11th).

The Gamecock men hold down the No. 34 spot in the preseason, with senior Ncincilili Titi (3rd – 200m) leading the way. Other Gamecocks ranked on the men’s side include Josh Awotunde (11th — Shot Put), Isaiah Moore (14th — 60mH), Tye Williams (19th — High Jump) and Eric Favors (33rd — Shot Put)

The USTFCCCA’s preseason rankings are compiled using each returning athlete’s top collegiate marks from the 2017 season. In certain cases, collegiate marks from before 2017 are applied, and transfers are eligible with a qualifying junior college or international mark. True freshmen are not eligible for the preseason poll, and marks must come from indoor competition. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week’s poll can be found here.


Through one week of indoor competition, the Gamecocks have 11 individual student-athletes and one relay listed in the NCAA Division I top-50 in their event.
• Josh Awotunde is listed fourth nationally in the shot put after throwing 63-4, his best-ever season opener, at the Navy Invitational
• In addition to breaking the school high jump record at Navy, Tye Williams is listed seventh in the nation, at 7-2 ½
• Hanifah Abdulqadir hit 42-9 ½ in the triple jump in her Gamecock debut, ranking sixth in the nation.
• Abdulqadir and Jordan Fields are each ranked eighth in the high jump, at 5-10 ¾.
• Rougui Sow‘s hunt for a long jump national title began with a mark of 20-4 ½ at Navy, ninth in the country.
• Stephanie Davis is ranked 10th in the 400m after running 54.58 in her collegiate debut
• Yann Randrianasolo jumped 24-5 ¾ at Navy, the 16th-best long jump mark in Division I.
• Hailey Sweatman is ranked 24th in the pole vault after a PR of 13-1 ½ at Navy.
• South Carolina’s 4x400m relay team of Ncincilili Titi, Ty Jaye Robbins, Jordan Griffin and Otis Jones is ranked 32nd at 3:13.27
• Eric Favors holds the No. 38 spot in the shot put, 57-5 ½.
• KD Young debuted with a shot put mark of 50-2 ½ at Navy, currently 39th-best in the nation.


University of South Carolina senior Ncincilili Titi was ranked as FloTrack’s No. 1 200m runner in the nation, the publication announced as part of its preseason event rankings. Titi returns for one more collegiate year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships both indoors and outdoors in 2017. The Butterworth, South Africa, native’s outdoor time of 20.14 was the sixth-fastest qualifying mark in the nation last year, and he earned a pair of All-America finishes as a junior.

Titi ran only the 60m individually at Navy, but he is scheduled to make his 200m season debut Saturday at Clemson. As a junior, he ran his indoor PR (20.67) at Clemson in 2017.

Titi wasn’t the only Gamecock listed in FloTrack’s preseason individual rankings. On the women’s side, two-time All-American Rougui Sow is listed fourth in the long jump after earning a pair of sixth-place finishes nationally last season. For the men, Isaiah Moore is ranked eighth according to FloTrack in the 60m hurdles and Josh Awotunde holds the same ranking in the shot put.


The Gamecocks return five 2017 Indoor All-Americans for the start of the 2018 season. For the women’s Aliyah Abrams and Precious Holmes are back after leading the Gamecocks to a ninth-place finish in the 4x400m at last season’s NCAA Indoor Championships, and Rougui Sow finished sixth last season in the long jump indoors before duplicating that feat in the outdoor season.

On the men’s side of things, Josh Awotunde is a national title contender in the shot put after finishing fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships a year ago. Ncincilili Titi was also a first-team All-America finisher after placing eighth in the 200m.

Sow and Titi went on to earn All-America status outdoors last season, providing plenty of momentum heading into the new year. 2017 Outdoor All-Americans Maiya Dendy (4x100m), Isaiah Moore (110mH), Milan Parks (4x100m) and Tye Williams (high jump) are also back in Garnet and Black this year.


South Carolina’s women’s roster got a huge influx of talent for the new season when two-time Olympian Lissa Labiche joined the program over the winter break. Labiche represented Seychelles at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics, and she’s also a two-time African Championships winner in the high jump.

Labiche is one of two past Olympians on the current Gamecock roster. Junior Aliyah Abrams represented Guyana in Rio, running the 400m, and head coach Curtis Frye led the USA sprinters and hurdlers at the most recent Olympic Games.


Isaiah Moore advanced to an NCAA final for the first time as a junior, finishing eighth in the nation outdoors in the 110m hurdles. Though he’ll have to wait a couple of month to compete at his favored distance, the Burlington, N.C., product has big goals indoors after missing an NCAA berth in the 60mH by just .04 seconds last year. An SEC scorer a year ago, Moore hopes to be a factor at the conference meet again this season while also securing a Nationals bid.


Following a weekend in Clemson, the Gamecocks depart for one of the tentpole events of the indoor season. Carolina will be in New York City Jan. 26-27 for the rechristened Columbia Challenge at The Armory. The Gamecock women won the team title at the 2017 event, with the Carolina men placing second.