2019 Season Preview - Pole Vault
NCAA qualifiers Sweatman, Woodley anchor veteran group looking for postseason impact
2019 Track & Field Preview – Pole Vault
The University of South Carolina track & field team returns to action January 11 for head coach Curtis Frye’s 23rd season in charge. In the days leading up to the start of the 2019 season, GamecocksOnline.com 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 vault squad.
FROM THE COACH
“Armand has a lot of confidence right now coming into this season, having the experiences that he’s had up to this point, with last year being his best year since he’s been here. He’s looking forward to building on that, and we should see him achieving those goals that he has.”
“Hailey comes in with a lot of leadership for that group and is ready to take her vaulting to a new level. She’s ready to get to the NCAA finals, and she’s training really well. She’s a great leader for that group; they continue to push each other and hold each other accountable as well.” – Assistant Coach Kevin Brown on his returning NCAA qualifiers
2018 REVIEW – MEN’S TEAM
The Gamecock pole vault group was once again led by veteran Armand Woodley in 2018. As a junior, Woodley climbed the SEC podium for the first time, winning bronze at the outdoor championship. He also scored at the conference’s indoor meet.
As a redshirt sophomore, Bryce Simpson had a breakout season, narrowly missing an NCAA regionals bid and collecting his first career collegiate victory, at the USC Open.
RETURNING NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER – ARMAND WOODLEY
Woodley’s run to the 2017 NCAA Championships was a revelation, as the sophomore set a new PR in seven consecutive meets, including the NCAA East Regional, where he entered as the 45th seed but grabbed the 12th and final championship berth. As a junior, Woodley was unable to duplicate that success at regionals, where he finished 16th, but he did net points for the Gamecocks at both conference meets, including a third-place finish outdoors. He also set a new PR of 5.30m, and the sky is truly the limit for the Orlando, Fla., native in his final collegiate season as he looks to make one final push to the NCAA Championships, with the goal of finishing on the podium.
OTHER KEY RETURNERS – MEN’S TEAM
Simpson made noticeable improvements as a junior, adding a fifth-place result at Tennessee and a seventh-place finish at Penn Relays to his USC Open victory. As a redshirt junior, he’ll be in the mix for the postseason in 2019. Nick Couchell returns for his final collegiate season, adding another veteran presence.
KEY NEWCOMERS – MEN’S TEAM
Two newcomers join the pole vault ranks in 2019. Timothy McEvoy competed unattached for High Point last season, hitting a season-best of 4.55m at the USC Open in April. Charlotte native Seth Rabinowitz was a North Carolina high school state champion as a senior at Providence High School.
2018 REVIEW – WOMEN’S TEAM
The Gamecocks bring their entire pole vault group back on the women’s side after Hailey Sweatman, Adele Blalock and Sam Silber competed in 2018. Sweatman’s scoring effort at the SEC Outdoor Championships and subsequent NCAA Regional run was the highlight for a group that showed progress throughout the campaign.
KEY RETURNERS – WOMEN’S TEAM
Sweatman ended her sophomore season ranked in Carolina’s all-time top-five both indoors and outdoors. She cleared 4.10m indoors, the fourth-best effort in Carolina history, then vaulted 4.20m to move to second on the school’s outdoor list. After a sixth-place finish at the SEC outdoor meet and a trip to NCAA regionals, Sweatman has her eyes set on a trip to Austin and her first NCAA Championships bid.
Blalock rebounded from a freshman-season injury to earn a pair of podium finishes last season, and she enters 2019 ranked eighth on Carolina’s outdoor leaderboard. She just missed a regional bid last season, ending the year ranked 52nd on the East leaderboard. Silber, a conference champion in her final high school season, competed seven times as a rookie.