NCAA Outdoor Championships Await for Gamecock Track
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina track & field team reaches the grand finale of the 2021 collegiate season as it competes at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships, to be held June 9-12 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The University of Oregon serves as host, with Carolina sending nine different entires to the national meet.
Individually, Carolina is represented by Rachel Glenn (women’s high jump) Aliyah Abrams (women’s 40m), Stephanie Davis (women’s 400m), De’Andreah Young (women’s 400m hurdles), Ashton Lindley (women’s 400m hurdles), Eric Favors (men’s shot put), Malik Paul (men’s discus) and William Spencer Jr. (men’s 400m hurdles). The Gamecocks will also compete in the women’s 4x400m relay.
The preliminary action begins on Wednesday, with the first Gamecock in action at 10 p.m. ET, while the women’s prelims begin Thursday with Carolina in action starting at 8 p.m. ET. Men’s finals are scheduled for Friday, and the competition concludes with women’s finals on Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT – NCAA EAST REGIONALS
The South Carolina track and field team punched seven different event tickets to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., with a total of nine student-athletes at the NCAA East Regionals in Jacksonville, Fla., from May 26-29.
The meet began with Eric Favors securing his spot for the second time in his career in the shot put. Favors used a shot put mark of 19.06m (62-6 1/2) to advance to his second NCAA Outdoor Championships, taking seventh overall in the event. Another pair of men added their names to the list two days later with Malik Paul (Discus) and William Spencer Jr. (400m hurdles) both earning their first career trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
All of the women’s qualifiers came on the final day of of the four-day event starting with SEC champion Rachel Glenn securing her first spot to outdoor nationals in the women’s high jump. Glenn cleared three heights and then retired after clearing 1.82m without missing. Stephanie Davis and Aliyah Abrams added their names to the national meet in the 400m, securing automatic qualifying spots by finishing first and second in their respective heats. In the 400m hurdles De’Andreah Young and Ashton Lindley both qualified for their first NCAA Outdoor Championships with outstanding performances on Saturday. The women’s 4x400m relay capped off the final day by winning their heat to secure a spot on the national stage this weekend.
LINEUP/QUALIFIERS (click to expand)
The 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships are being held in Eugene, Ore., for the first time since 2018. It’s the first time the new Hayward Field will host the event after undergoing renovations after the 2018 championships. The meet’s format will run similarly to the NCAA East Regionals where only one gender will compete each day. The men will begin action on Wednesday while the women will begin competition on Thursday. The men will conclude their meet on Friday while the women will finish up on Saturday. In regards to attendance, as of May 30, Hayward Field will have a capacity of 4,400 fans per day for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships from June 9-12.
In addition to prioritizing guests of participating student-athletes and coaches, there will be a limited number of tickets available for purchase starting on Friday, June 4. For more information on the meet, including heat sheets, please visit the NCAA website here.
GAMECOCKS AT THE NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
South Carolina reached the pinnacle of collegiate track & field in 2002, when the Gamecock women’s program won the NCAA outdoor national championship in Baton Rouge, La. Guided by a collegiate record in the 4x400m relay, Carolina scored 82 points at the 2002 championship, topping UCLA by 10 points.
The national title in 2002 is one of 12-consecutive top-10 finishes earned by the Gamecock women between 1995 and 2006. Carolina tied for second in 2005, finished third in 2003 and 2006 and came in fourth in 2001 at outdoor nationals.
The Gamecock men have placed in the top-10 four times, reaching a high watermark of sixth in 1999, 2002 and 2009. At the last contested NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2019, the men finished with 23 points, good for 12th place overall. That was the best men’s finish for the Gamecocks since 2010. The Carolina women finished with 20 points in 2019, good enough for a tie for 10th place. It was the team’s first top-10 finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since a third-place result in 2006.
The women’s program has tallied 15 event national titles, the most recent coming in 2019 when Wadeline Jonathas was the 400m winner. Miki Barber and Aleen Bailey were each part of three NCAA outdoor crowns, tops in program history.
The Carolina men’s program owns 11 event national championships since 1948, when Norman “Scooter” Rucks made Gamecock history by winning the 400m dash. Brad Snyder broke a 50-year outdoor national drought when he captured the shot put title in 1998. Otukile Lekote and Terrence Trammell were each part of a program-record three outdoor event national championships.
ALIYAH ABRAMS – R-SR – GRAYSON, GA. – 400 METERS
Abrams enters the NCAA Championships with some of her most consistent performances coming in her past two meets. She clocked her season-best time of 51.46 at the SEC Championships to finish fourth overall which ranks 11th overall on the 2021 NCAA leaderboard.
The Grayson, Ga., native is headed to an NCAA Championships met for the sixth time. With the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships cancelled, Abrams’ last nationals appearance came in 2019. The five-time All-American finished fifth overall at that meet with her current lifetime best of 51.13, and aided in Carolina’s outdoor 4x400m relay team to a third-place finish at 3:26.90 which is the second-best time in school history. Abrams also boasts a national runner-up finish in the 400m back in 2018 and was a member of the Gamecocks indoor 4x400m relay national championship team in 2019.
ERIC FAVORS – R-SR – POMONA, N.Y. – SHOT PUT
Favors peaked at the right time once again this season, setting a new personal record in the shot put, 19.85m (65-1 1/2) at the SEC Championships and then easily qualifying with a 19.06m (62-6 1/2) at the NCAA East Regional. He was seventh at the regional meet and earned a silver medal at the SEC Outdoor Championships. His season-best toss has him ranked 15th in the country.
This is the second-straight NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance for Favors, who qualified for the meet in 2019. It’s the fifth season in a row the Gamecocks will field an outdoor entry in the men’s shot put after Josh Awotunde qualified for the national finals from 2016-18.
RACHEL GLENN – FR – LONG BEACH, CALIF. – HIGH JUMP
Glenn enters her first NCAA Outdoor Championships with the nation’s second-best high jump mark at 1.91m (6-3 1/4). Glenn’s mark she set back at the UNF Invitational, is also the second-best leap in South Carolina history and qualified her for the U.S. Olympic Trials that will take place the week after outdoor nationals.
This is Glenn’s second time at the NCAA Championship level. Glenn qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and used three personal records to propel herself to a national runner-up finish. Glenn’s momentum continued into the outdoor season where she claimed an SEC title in the high jump as a freshman and won all but one competition. The competition for her will also mark the first time she returns to the west coast, where the Long Beach, Calif., native hails from. Glenn earned plenty of awards during her impressive first outdoor season including most recently the USTFCCCA Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year, the first such honor for a Carolina student-athlete since 2014 when high jump school record holder Jeannelle Scheper earned the distinction.
MALIK PAUL – SR – CHARLESTON, S.C. – DISCUS
Making his first NCAA Championships appearance, Paul has cemented himself as one of the nation’s most consistent performers in the discus this season. His lifetime best of 57.42m (188-4) came at the Weems Baskin meet back in March, but he nearly matched that performance at the NCAA East Regional with a 57.30m (188-0) to qualify for outdoor nationals. He was fourth at the SEC Outdoor Championships in the event and his season-best mark ranks him 31st in the country this year.
No mention of Paul’s journey to the NCAA Championships would be complete without a look back at his first three seasons as a collegiate student-athlete. Paul started his collegiate career at USC Beaufort where he twice qualified for the NAIA Championships and was the Sun Conference’s field MVP in 2018. He transferred to South Carolina in 2019 and earned his way onto a scholarship before making his way to this year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. For a full story on Paul, click here.
DE’ANDREAH YOUNG – SR – MIAMI, FLA. – 400 METER HURDLES
Young’s second season in the Garnet and Black easily surpassed her first half season in 2019-20. After her first outdoor season was cancelled, Young made good in her first outdoor campaign by qualifying for her first NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m hurdles. Young’s time of 57.45 is the 15th best mark in the nation this year and was 10th best at the NCAA East Regional where she was the fastest time qualifier.
The Miami, Fla., native began her career on the west coast, competing for two seasons at California State University at Northridge before joining the Gamecocks in 2019-20. Young qualified once for the NCAA West Regionals before breaking through this season to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Young, along with her teammate Lindley, are the first Gamecocks on the women’s side to qualify for the national meet in the event since Tyler Brockington in 2016.
WILLIAM SPENCER JR. – FR – HENRICO, VA. – 400 METER HURDLES
Spencer Jr.’s first outdoor season as a Gamecock has been a true journey. He will make his first trip to the NCAA Championships with the eighth-best 400m hurdles time in the nation this year. He makes it two-straight appearances for the Gamecock men in the 400m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Spencer Jr. aiming to give Carolina back-to-back national titles in the event after Quincy Hall won the event in 2019 at the last contested outdoor nationals.
Spencer Jr.’s year in the 400m hurdles was nearly perfect until his mishap at the SEC Outdoor Championships where he fell over the final hurdle. The outdoor rookie responded with impressive performances at the NCAA East Regionals, finishing second overall with a new lifetime best of 49.68.
ASHTON LINDLEY – FR – SMYRNA, GA. – 400 METER HURDLES
Lindley comes into her first NCAA Outdoor Championships as the nation’s top freshman in the 400m hurdles with a time of 57.35 that came at the USC Open back in April. Lindley was the SEC’s top freshman finisher, earning All-Freshman team honors for her fifth-place performance of 57.76. Her first NCAA East Regional was encouraging, finishing 10th and earning an automatic qualifying spot with times of 57.52 and 58.25.
Lindley heads to Eugene with some experience at the national level, during the indoor season the true freshman earned an All-America honor for her contribution to the women’s 4x400m relay team. Lindley, along with her teammate Young, are the first Gamecocks on the women’s side to qualify for the national meet in the event since Tyler Brockington in 2016.
STEPHANIE DAVIS – JR – GAITHERSBURG, MD. – 400 METERS
Davis is a contender to make the NCAA final in the 400m after the senior dropped nearly a full second off her lifetime best at the NCAA East Regional in May. Davis, who is a six-time All-American, posted a 51.36 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Davis, who was a part of the Gamecocks national championship indoor 4x400m relay team in 2019, is making her individual debut at the outdoor nationals. Davis did qualify for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships in the 400m, but the event was cancelled.
Davis enters this year’s outdoor nationals with the ninth-fastest 400m time and is aiming to become the 18th woman to earn seven different All-America honors in a career at South Carolina.
Women’s 4x400m Relay
The Gamecocks come in with a top-10 time in the nation in the women’s mile relay, as Stephanie Davis, Aliyah Abrams, Ashton Lindley and Alysia Johnson posted a time of 3:28.73 at the SEC Outdoor Championships in May. That same quartet won their heat at the NCAA East Regionals (3:29.15) just a couple of weeks later in Jacksonville, Fla.
Curtis Frye’s program owns seven national titles in the women’s 4x400m relay, including indoor crowns in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2019 and outdoor titles in 2000 and 2002. Olympian Demetria Washington was part of four of those winning relays.
This is the third-straight season that Abrams and Davis will run the mile relay at outdoor nationals. The duo was part of the Carolina 4x400m relay that won the NCAA indoor title in 2019 with the duo combining for 11 All-America honors in their careers.
ALL ESTIMATED START TIMES ARE IN EASTERN TIME:
|JUNE 9-12 • NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS • MEN’S LINEUP|
|William Spencer Jr.||Wednesday 10 p.m.|
|Malik Paul||Friday 7:35 p.m.|
|Eric Favors||Wednesday 10:10 p.m.|
|JUNE 9-12 • NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS • WOMEN’S LINEUP|
|Aliyah Abrams||Thursday 8 p.m.|
|Stephanie Davis||Thursday 8 p.m.|
|De’Andreah Young||Thursday 8:30 p.m.|
|Ashton Lindley||Thursday 8:30 p.m.|
|Team A||Thursday 9:48 p.m.|
|Rachel Glenn||Saturday 5:30 p.m.|