Essayi, Demsar Claim Gold to Lead Gamecocks at SEC Indoor Championships
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Feb. 25, 2023) – A pair of Gamecock men stole the show for South Carolina on the final day of the 2023 SEC Indoor Championships. Anass Essayi and Filip Demsar each captured a gold medal in their respective events, posting 20 combined points between the two of them.
Essayi began the day with a victory in the men’s mile, turning in a time of 4:01.20 to hold off Davis Bove (4:02.67) of LSU. Essayi’s win secured 10 points for the Gamecocks as he became the first male South Carolina representative to defend his indoor title since Otukile Lekote did so in the 800m race in 2001 and 2002. He also joins Brad Snyder as the third Gamecock to repeat at the SEC Indoor Championships. Snyder did so in the men’s shot put for four consecutive years (1996-99). Essayi also earned six more points in the 3,000-meter race after placing third with a mark of 7:53.73, bringing his points total to 16 for the day.
Demsar won the men’s 60-meter hurdle out of lane two when he stopped the clock at 7.71, becoming the first Gamecock since Jason Richardson (2009) to win this event at the SEC Indoor Championships. This is the first SEC Indoor title for the Slovenia native. Demsar outlasted Rasheem Brown (7.72) of Tennessee and Connor Schulman (7.73) of Texas A&M. The veteran hurdler joined Essayi in the winners stand as the duo become the first Gamecock pair to win gold medals at the SEC Indoor Championships since Terrence Trammell won two gold medals in 2000 in the 60-meter sprint and the 60-meter hurdles.
Three more Gamecocks score points for the men on the final day. Kobe Franklin picked up two points in the high jump when he cleared 2.10m (6-10.75). Rogerio Amaral and Dylan Targgart each secured one point as Amaral did so in the 3K (8:04.04) and Targgart in the shot put (18.62m/61-1.25).
On the women’s side, South Carolina scored points in each event that they competed in. Silan Ayyildiz scored for the Gamecocks in the women’s mile as the Turkey native finished with a program record and silver medalist honors (eight points) following a time of 4:32.14. She also earned five more points in the women’s 3K after placing fourth with a mark of 9:17.06.
KD Young jumped all the way into second all-time in program history in the indoor shot put when she launched a throw 16.84m (55-3) for a new personal best to place seventh and secure two points. That throw bested her previous PR of 16.27m set earlier this season.
The women’s 4×400-meter relay team of Angel Frank, Aalliyah Francis, Alysia Johnson and Jahnile Registre turned in a silver medal performance after posting a season-best mark of 3:32.35, winning heat two in the process.
Both the men and women’s team finished 11th overall, with the men tallying 33 points and the women scoring 26 points. This is the most points by the men since scoring 34 in 2018 and the most by the women since 2016 when they scored 26. On the final day alone, the Gamecock men’s team posted 30 points, while the women scored 23 points in just four events.
The Gamecocks will await the NCAA Indoor Championship announcement early next week to determine which South Carolina student-athletes/relays remain inside the Top 16 to qualify for the national championship. The 2023 NCAA Indoor Championships will be held in Albuquerque, N.M. on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11.
Men’s Team Standings
1. Alabama – 100.25
2. Florida – 73
3. Alabama – 63
11. South Carolina – 33
Men’s Individual Results
1. Anass Essayi – 4:01.20
3. Anass Essayi – 7:53.73
8. Rogerio Amaral – 8:04.04
60-Meter Hurdes (Finals)
1. Filip Demsar – 7.71
14. Blair Brooks – 14.38m/47-2.25
7. Kobe Franklin – 2.10m/6-10.75
8. Dylan Targgart – 18.62m/61-1.25
Women’s Team Standings
1. Arkansas – 130.5
2. Florida – 82
3. Kentucky – 59.33
11. South Carolina – 26
Women’s Individual Results
2. Silan Ayyildiz – 4:32.14*
4. Silan Ayyildiz – 9:17.06
33. Ella Zeigler – 10:07.10
38. Anna Boyd – 10:25.80
39. Hayden Withers – 10:33.81
4×400 Meter Relay
2. Frank, Francis, Johnson, Registre – 3:32.35
7. KD Young – 16.84m/55-3*
* – denotes indoor PR