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June 7, 2018

2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships — Day #1

EUGENE, Ore.Josh Awotunde‘s collegiate career came to a close Wednesday night as the senior earned a shot put silver medal at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Awotunde’s All-America performance was one of three collected by the University of South Carolina track & field team on the opening day at Hayward Field.

Awotunde earned his fourth-career first-team All-America finish on Wednesday, while Yann Randrianasolo (long jump) and Ncincilili Titi (200m) grabbed second-team laurels.

Through one day of the men’s competition, the Gamecocks have eight points, which is currently good for 14th place. The women’s competition begins Thursday, with the majority of men’s finals scheduled for Friday.

Awotunde got off to a slow start in his final collegiate meet, but he grabbed the ninth and final qualifying spot with a mark of 64-6 ¾. He improved to 66-1 ¾ with his fifth attempt, then uncorked an effort of 67-6 on his final throw. That moved him up to second place, just 1-½ inches behind Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia, and he finished with a silver medal in his final competition as a Gamecock.

Awotunde’s second-place finish is the best by a Gamecock in the men’s shot put since 1999, when Brad Snyder took silver a year after winning the national championship.

“It’s been an awesome career here. Today went well; I wanted to come out with the win, but Denzel is a tough competitor,” Awotunde said. “Competing as a Gamecock was fun; I had a lot of fun every meet. The fans and everyone supporting us, and the alumni — it was great. Today I fell short, but I had a good career.”

Randrianasolo opened the day for the Gamecocks, competing in the long jump for the first time at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Toulouse, France, native posted his best mark on his second attempt, checking in at 25-4 ½. That was good for 13th place, giving Randrianasolo second-team All-America honors for the second time this season. It’s his best ever finish at an NCAA Championships event.

Titi ran in the second heat of the 200m and finished third in the flight, at 20.45. That time was the seventh-fastest of the day in Eugene, but third among non-automatic qualifiers, denying the Butterworth, South Africa, native a trip to Friday’s final. The Carolina record-holder in the event, Titi ends his Carolina career as an eight-time All-American, third in men’s program history.


“Coach (Mike Sergent) has really grown Josh. The weight room and the staff there helped develop him, along with the nutritionists and the psychologists. Everything helped put that young man together. Josh, in high school, was a 6-2, 235-pound quarterback that became one of America’s top shot put throwers. We’re really proud of him and proud that he loves his university.”

“Tomorrow could be a big one, and everyone has got to have a big meet. Watching today, people were running their season-bests in the rounds, and that’s what it’s going to take — your season best tomorrow. We’ve got to come with our `A’ game and can’t have any kind of lapse. We’ve got to be ready when they shoot the gun.”- Head Coach Curtis Frye


The 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships continue Thursday with the start of the women’s competition. Aliyah Abrams (400m), Rougui Sow (long jump) and the 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads will make their 2018 Eugene debuts beginning at 4:02 p.m. PT.

Long Jump
13. Yann Randrianasolo 7.73m | 25-4 1/2
Shot Put
2. Josh Awotunde 20.57m | 67-6
200m Semifinals (Top 8 Advance to National Championship Final)
9. Ncincilili Titi 20.45 (+1.0)