Carolina Opens New Indoor Facility with Gamecock Inaugural
Gamecocks looking for fast times at new indoor track
Indoor Meet #2 – Gamecock Inaugural
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina track & field program celebrates a historic weekend as it hosts the Gamecock Inaugural Jan. 18-19. This weekend marks the first collegiate meet in the new Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex, and events begin at 9 a.m. ET on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
This will be Carolina’s first home indoor track & field meet since the 2016 season. The new indoor home of the Gamecocks, located at 1304 Heyward Street in the old USC Field House, features a banked six-lane 200m Mondo track, a separate throws area, two pole vault areas, two jumps runways and two high jump areas along with an eight-lane 60m straight track on the infield.
A large field with over 30 teams will help South Carolina cut the ribbon at its new facility. Joining the Gamecocks from the NCAA Division I ranks are Bethune-Cookman, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T, North Florida, South Carolina State, South Florida and USC Upstate.
OLYMPIC MEDALISTS ENTERED INTO GAMECOCK INAUGURAL FIELD
In addition to the collegiate entries, a pair of recent Olympic medalists will be on hand this weekend to run at the Gamecock Inaugural. Jamaica native Omar McLeod, who won gold in the 110m hurdles at both the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2017 IAAF World Championships, has entered the field, as has Bahamas native Steven Gardiner, who won a bronze medal in Rio as part of the 4x400m relay and a silver medal in the 400m at the 2017 World Championships.
Gardiner is scheduled to compete in the 300m, which will take place Friday at 2:40 p.m. ET. McLeod will run in the 200m Invite, which is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Admission to the Gamecock Inaugural is $5 for adults and $3 for children 17 and under. University of South Carolina students receive free admission with their Carolina Card. Everyone must purchase a ticket to enter, and reentry is permissible throughout the day with an appropriate wristband.
Seating is first-come, first-served. After seats have been filled, standing room only admission is available until the building reaches capacity. Each fan is allowed to bring one folder chair, as long as it is placed in a safe and approved location that does not impede walkways.
The Athletics Clear Bag Policy will be in effect throughout the weekend. No outside food or beverage will be allowed, though a concession stand will be on-site for most of the weekend.
Free parking is available at the Heyward Street Garage, located at 1300 Heyward Street. Additional parking is available on the street-level spaces on Heyward, Marion, Whaley and Bull Streets.
A limited number of handicapped parking spaces will be available in the parking lot located next to the indoor facility, accessed off Marion Street, with the proper decal. Handicapped patrons may also drop off in the Marion Street lot and may also enter the facility via the ramp located on the Bull Street side of the facility.
FROM THE COACH
“I’m just glad to be here. I’m glad that, after 22 years, we have one of the world’s best tracks. This weekend will give us the first opportunity to put our kids on their home track, like they have at other universities. I’m excited that the University of South Carolina is presenting this opportunity, not only to collegiate athletes but also to the kids in the state of South Carolina, so that they have the same opportunities that other kids around the country have. This was a dream of mine when I first got here… and now it’s come to fruition. We have a great academic institution here, we have great athletic facilities, and we have an outstanding track.” – Head Coach Curtis Frye
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LAST TIME OUT • JANUARY 11 • GAMECOCKS WIN NINE EVENTS AT ORANGE & PURPLE ELITE
South Carolina won nine events at the Orange & Purple Elite, held Jan. 11 in Clemson, S.C. The Gamecocks finished tied with Florida State for the most victories at the six-team event.
Leading the way for Carolina on the women’s side was redshirt junior Aliyah Abrams, who captured the 400m title with a time of 52.78 and anchored Carolina’s winning 4x400m relay team, which stopped the clock in 3:34.43. Additional women’s event winners include Adele Blalock (pole vault) and Macie Kavanaugh (600m).
Like Abrams, Otis Jones was a two-time winner on the men’s side. The redshirt senior won the 600m with a late closing stretch to post a time of 1:18.77, and he led off the 4x400m relay that took the victory in 3:11.23. Other men’s winners for the Gamecocks included Arinze Chance (300m), Yann Randrianasolo (long jump) and Armand Woodley (pole vault).
ABRAMS NAMED SEC WOMEN’S RUNNER OF THE WEEK
South Carolina redshirt junior Aliyah Abrams was honored as SEC Women’s Runner of the Week on Jan. 15 for her efforts at the Orange & Purple Elite. Abrams won both the 400m and the 4x400m relay. Her times of 52.78 and 3:34.43, respectively, top the NCAA leaderboard through one week of competition. It’s the second SEC weekly honor for the Grayson, Ga., native.
PREVIOUS HISTORY AT CAROLINA INDOOR TRACK & FIELD COMPLEX
This will be Carolina’s first collegiate meet in the newly-remodeled Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex. The Gamecocks last held an indoor meet in 2016, in the old USC Field House.
Several Gamecock veterans were on the roster in 2016, competing in the old facility. Isaiah Moore (55m hurdles) and Allie Mueller (800m) each earned victories at the old track; they’re two of the 10 current Gamecocks who have experience competing at Carolina’s past indoor home.
GAMECOCKS IN THE NCAA INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS
Through one week of the 2019 season, the Gamecocks feature 12 student-athletes and two relays with NCAA top-50 rankings in their individual events. The top-16 student-athletes in each event will qualify for the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships, to be held March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.
• Most impressively, the Gamecocks hold the top two spots in the women’s 400m. Aliyah Abrams leads the way at 52.87, and Wadeline Jonathas ranks second, at 53.00.
• Carolina also holds the nation’s top 4x400m relay time on the women’s side, with Stephanie Davis, Jonathas, Tatyana Mills and Abrams posting a mark of 3:34.43.
• On the men’s side, Yann Randrianasolo is the top-ranked Gamecock, with his long jump mark of 7.74m (25-4 ¾) checking in sixth.
• The Carolina men’s 4×4 squad of Otis Jones, Ty Jaye Robbins, Jeremiah Talbert and Arinze Chance ranks eighth overall, at 3:11.23.
• In the women’s 60m hurdles, Caitlyn Little is up to ninth, with a time of 8.28. Milan Parks checks in 18th at 8.35.
• Darrell Singleton Jr. currently rests just outside an NCAA spot in the men’s 60m, with a time of 6.73, good for 18th. Evan Miller ranks 28th at 6.75.
• 2017 All-American Isaiah Moore ranks 21st in the 60m hurdles at 7.89.
• In the women’s 200m, Davis is listed 26th with a mark of 24.11.
• Junior Eric Favors holds down the 30th position in the men’s shot put at 17.92m (58-9 ½).
• Two Gamecocks hold top-40 rankings in the women’s 60m. Maiya Dendy is ranked 37th with a time of 7.48, and Makyla Stanley is 40th at 7.49.
DECEMBER 8 • GAMECOCKS DOMINATE CLEMSON OPENER
South Carolina took its sprinters and hurdlers to the Clemson Opener on Dec. 8. The Gamecocks dominated, winning seven of the nine events they entered.
Two returning All-Americans were victorious at Clemson, as Aliyah Abrams took the women’s 300m in 37.45, and Isaiah Moore won the men’s 60m hurdles, his first race as a Gamecock since June of 2017, with a time of 7.89. Abrams led the 4x400m relay team to a victory, and Darrell Singleton Jr. set a huge PR in the men’s 60m, with a winning time of 6.73.
Other winners at Clemson included Maiya Dendy (women’s 60m), Stephanie Davis (women’s 200m) and Milan Parks (women’s 60m hurdles).
FIVE GAMECOCKS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS BY FLOTRACK
Five Gamecocks were selected as Preseason All-Americans by FloTrack as the organization picked its top-16 student-athletes in each event over the holidays. Leading the way was junior college transfer Quincy Hall, who was picked third in the nation in the men’s 400m. Hanifah Abdulqadir was picked ninth in the women’s triple jump, while fellow jumps squad members Yann Randrianasolo (11th, men’s long jump) and Jordan Fields (12th, women’s high jump) were also selected. Last but not least, senior 800m specialist Otis Jones was picked 15th in his signature event.
GAMECOCKS RETURN 10 WITH ALL-AMERICA EXPERIENCE
South Carolina returns 10 student-athletes with past experience as NCAA All-Americans in 2019. Leading the way is redshirt junior Aliyah Abrams, who was part of Carolina’s third-place finish in the women’s 4x400m relay in 2016 and also earned top-16 finishes in the 2016 outdoor 400m and 2017 indoor 4x400m. Long jumper Yann Randrianasolo earned second-team status twice last season, as did high jumper Lissa Labiche, and Isaiah Moore was a first-team All-American in the outdoor 110m hurdles in 2017.
Other returning second-team All-Americans from last season include Hanifah Abdulqadir (indoor triple jump), Jordan Fields (indoor high jump), and the outdoor 4x100m relay team of Stephanie Davis, Maiya Dendy, Milan Parks and Makyla Stanley.
In addition to the on-track All-Americans, the Gamecocks welcome back 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American Allie Mueller for her final college campaign. Mueller sported a 4.00 GPA in pharmacy last season and finished 11th in the SEC in the indoor mile.
SENIORS RETURN FROM INJURY FOR ONE FINAL SEASON
South Carolina was missing two key veterans on the 2018 men’s roster due to injury, but the duo is back and ready for big things in 2019. Isaiah Moore was an All-SEC honoree and a first-team All-American in the 110m hurdles in 2017 before missing 2018 with a foot injury. Fellow fifth-year senior Ben Bonhurst grabbed All-SEC laurels and qualified for the NCAA East Regional in the shot put in 2017 before missing last year with knee issues. Both veterans are back to 100 percent and plan to be key cogs in the 2019 charge.
INCOMING TRANSFERS BRING NATIONAL SUCCESS TO CAROLINA ROSTER
Carolina’s 2019 roster is bolstered by five transfers that already sport experience competing at the highest levels of collegiate track & field. Leading the way is College of the Sequoias transfer Quincy Hall, who enters as a junior and is a prime candidate to compete for national titles in the 400m and 400m hurdles. Hall is a former Pan American Games and U.S. Junior national champion in the 400mH, and he never lost a race in two seasons at Sequoias.
Two new Gamecocks join the men’s roster after competing at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships as freshmen. Kennesaw State transfer Tyler Jones qualified for the meet in the long jump, while Carlos Wilson represented Texas State in the 4x100m relay. Wilson was also an individual NCAA West Regional qualifier in the 100m, and USC Upstate transfer Noah Walker qualified for the NCAA East Regional in the 400m hurdles.
On the women’s side, Carolina welcomes Wadeline Jonathas to the family after two outstanding seasons at UMass Boston. The Haiti native won nine individual NCAA Division III national championships in her two seasons with the Beacons, earning indoor 400m and outdoor 200m and 400m titles in 2017 along with indoor 60m, 200m, 400m and long jump titles and outdoor 200m and 400m titles in 2018. Jonathas scored enough points at the 2018 NCAA DIII indoor meet to single-handedly win the team national title for UMass Boston, and she set DIII national records in six different events.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks compete inside of the newly-remodeled Carolina Indoor Track & Field Complex for the first time Jan. 18-19, when they host the Gamecock Inaugural. The indoor home meet is the first for Curtis Frye’s team since the 2016 season.