Paul Becomes Highest Discus Finisher in Gamecock HIstory at NCAAs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior Malik Paul saved the best performance of his career for his first NCAA Outdoor Championships on Friday, earning First Team All-America honors for the South Carolina track and field team. Paul finished in fourth overall at Hayward Field, scoring for the Gamecocks and helping the team finish 42nd in the nation as a team.
“This really could not have happened to a better person,” South Carolina Curtis Frye said. “A man of faith, and a family of faith, a mother who supports him and is calling him right after. His commitment, his dream, it was something he was willing to put forth the work to reach. He came out of Charleston, a small school, walked on and worked to become an All-American by his third year. His heart is big, and if there is any weakness it is that he’ll help everyone out. If you can take anything from this, it’s that if you do good, the good guy will win in the end.”
Paul’s fourth-place mark, which is the highest finish ever by any Gamecock in the event, came on his third throw of the first flight. Paul’s 58.35m (191-5) propelled him to the top of flight one and was forced to wait until the conclusion of the second flight to find out if he had reached the top nine to earn three additional throws in the final. Paul’s performance was good enough for fourth place when he returned to the Hayward Field infield.
— Gamecock Track & XC (@GamecockTrack) June 12, 2021
Paul’s mark did not improve in his final three throws, throwing 56.78m (186-3) as his best throw in his final three attempts. Paul’s lifetime best of 58.35m (191-5) puts him sixth all-time on the Gamecocks top-10 list. His First Team All-America honor is the first for a Gamecock in the discus since Brad Snyder in 1998 when Snyder finished eighth place.
“Unbelievable man,” assistant coach Mike Sergent said. “Malik has been just a joy to work with the past few years. He came as an unrecruited walk-on, and his story is just one of work ethic. He’s coachable and he loves this sport. To see it come together for him like this at the national championships is just really a story you want to share with everyone and every student-athlete in your program. How hard work can pay off and I’m just so overjoyed for him.”
For more information on Paul, check out his journey here in a feature story after he qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Jacksonville, Fla.
South Carolina’s final day in Eugene begins tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3 and the ESPN app when SEC Champion Rachel Glenn competes in the high jump. All events can be watched on ESPN’s family of networks or on the ESPN app.
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ALL ESTIMATED START TIMES ARE IN EASTERN TIME:
|JUNE 9-12 • NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS • MEN’S LINEUP|
|William Spencer Jr.||13th. 50.57 (Second Team All-American)|
|Malik Paul||4th. 58.35m (191-5) (PR) (First Team All-American)|
|Eric Favors||–. DNS (injury)|
|JUNE 9-12 • NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS • WOMEN’S LINEUP|
|Aliyah Abrams||16th. 52.43 (Second Team All-American)|
|Stephanie Davis||21st. 52.98 (Honorable Mention All-American)|
|De’Andreah Young||11th. 57.96 (Second Team All-American)|
|Ashton Lindley||7th. 57.39 (Qualified for Final at 7:27 p.m. on Saturday)|
|Johnson, Abrams, Davis, Lindley||5th. 3:30.09 (Qualified for Final at 8:21 p.m. on Saturday)|
|Rachel Glenn||Saturday 5:30 p.m.|