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Jan. 25, 2018

Indoor Meet #3 – Track & Field at the Columbia Challenge

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina track & field program competes on the big stage this weekend when it heads to the historic Armory Track & Field Center in New York City for the 2018 Columbia Challenge. The meet begins Friday at approximately 5:40 p.m. ET and continues Saturday, with events starting at 9:30 a.m. ET.

South Carolina tussles with another loaded field of competitors this weekend at The Armory. The Gamecocks and hosts from Columbia will line up against Albany, BYU, UConn, Duke, Georgetown, Missouri, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn, St. John’s, UCLA, Villanova and Wisconsin. On the men’s side, Oregon (No. 14), BYU (No. 19) and Ohio State (No. 24) enter the event ranked in the latest USTFCCCA national poll, while ranked women’s squads include No. 1 Oregon, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 15 Ohio State and the 19th-ranked Gamecocks.

A live webstream will be available throughout the weekend of action. Also, NBCSN will televise two hours of tape-delayed coverage beginning Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

The Columbia Challenge is one of two meets running concurrently this weekend at The Armory. A limited number of Gamecocks will take part in the other meet, the Dr. Sander Invitational; those Gamecocks are noted on Carolina’s tentative meet schedule.


“We just stay focused. We make our student-athletes aware of the reason why we’re there. Of course we’re giving them a quality experience by visiting New York, but the reason why we’re there is to line up and compete. We have an opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the country, and we want to make sure we line up and do our best, to see where we measure up at this time of the season.” — Assistant Coach Kevin Brown



South Carolina’s season continued in the Palmetto State, where the Gamecocks took on a loaded field at the Clemson Invitational. Five nationally-ranked teams were featured on both the men’s and women’s side and the Gamecocks fared well, collecting eight podium finishes. The star of the show for Carolina was Ncincilili Titi. The senior won the 200m with a time of 20.45. That’s the fastest indoor mark in the entire world this season, the fastest mark in the NCAA, the second-fastest indoor mark in African track & field history and the second-fastest indoor 200m in Carolina history. Titi also set a PR in the 60m, where his time of 6.69 placed third at the event and ranks 19th in the country. Other Gamecocks to finish on the podium include Otis Jones (800m), Tye Williams (high jump) and Armand Woodley (pole vault), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump), Jordan Fields (pentathlon) and KD Young (shot put), Allie Mueller (mile run) and Hanifah Abdulqadir also continued their climbs up the program’s all-time top-10.


Accolades came rolling in for senior Ncincilili Titi after his 20.45 indoor 200m effort Jan. 20 at the Clemson Invitational. The time is the fastest effort in the world this season and the second-fastest indoor 200m in African history. It’s also the second-fastest indoor 200m in Carolina history; Titi already owns the outdoor record after running 20.14 at the 2017 Gamecock Invitational.

Titi also ran a 60m PR at Clemson, a time of 6.69 that ranks seventh in Gamecock history. For his efforts, the Butterworth, South Africa, native was named SEC Men’s Co-Runner of the Week.


The South Carolina women claimed the team title last season in their trip to New York City, winning the Armory Invitational with a team score of 89 points. Carolina finished 12 points ahead of Ohio State and 17 points clear of Oklahoma.

Among current Gamecocks, Precious Holmes, Briana Haith and Aliyah Abrams were victorious in the 4x400m relay, while Holmes took the individual title in the 400m Invitational.

The Gamecock men led the team competition after one day and finished second overall behind Ohio State. Ncincilili Titi won the 200m competition, running 20.88 in the final.


The South Carolina women’s team is ranked 19th in the latest USTFCCCA National Poll, released Jan. 22. Six members of the Gamecocks have combined for six individual USTFCCCA listings: Lissa Labiche (High Jump — 4th), Aliyah Abrams (400m — 7th), Rougui Sow (Long Jump — 7th), Jordan Fields (High Jump — 10th and Pentathlon — 22nd), Precious Holmes (400m — 13th) and Hanifah Abdulqadir (Triple Jump — 17th and High Jump — 25th).

The Gamecock men hold down the No. 30 spot this week, with Ncincilili Titi‘s world-leading 200m time of 20.45 leading the way. The senior is also ranked 41st in the 60m. Other Gamecocks ranked on the men’s side include Josh Awotunde (11th — Shot Put), Tye Williams (12th — High Jump) and Isaiah Moore (16th — 60mH).

The USTFCCCA’s latest rankings include a combination of preseason marks and new personal bests achieved during the first two weeks of the 2018 season. A complete listing of the marks used to determine this week’s poll can be found here.


Through two weeks of indoor competition, the Gamecocks have 13 individual student-athletes accounting for 15 NCAA Division I top-50 marks in their respective events.
• Ncincilili Titi holds the top 200m time in the nation, a time of 20.45, and his 60m time of 6.69 ranks 19th. Both marks came at the Clemson Invitational.
• Jordan Fields is ranked second in the high jump, at 6-0 ¾, and fourth in the pentathlon, at 3,967. Both efforts came at Clemson.
• Josh Awotunde achieved a shot put mark of 63-4 at Navy and is ranked sixth in the NCAA.
• Rougui Sow is ranked seventh in the long jump; her effort at Clemson was 20-8.
• Tye Williams holds the No. 8 spot in the high jump after posting an effort of 7-2 ½ at the Navy Winter Invitational.
• Hanifah Abdulqadir achieved a triple jump mark of 42-9 ¾ at Clemson, which is 10th-best in the NCAA. Her high jump effort of 5-10 ¾ from Navy is the nation’s 11th-best mark.
• Yann Randrianasolo jumped 24-11 at Clemson, which is listed 16th.
• Freshman Stephanie Davis ran a time of 54.58 in her debut 400m at Clemson, which is 22nd-best in the USA.
• Otis Jones ran his first 800m of the season at Clemson, and he’s ranked 22nd with a time of 1:50.69.
• KD Young is listed 32nd in the shot put after throwing 51-11 at Clemson.
• Hailey Sweatman‘s pole vault effort of 13-1 ½ at Clemson is the 34th-best mark in the nation.
• Eric Favors is ranked 46th nationally with a mark of 57-5 ½, achieved at Navy.


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 include 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. Carolina returns to action Jan. 19-20 at the Clemson Invitational.


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. 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.


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. He is scheduled to make his season debut this weekend at The Armory.


South Carolina heads to Lynchburg, Va., next week, where it competes at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational. Liberty hosts the meet, which runs Feb. 2-3.