Gamecocks Qualify for Six NCAA Indoor Championship Events
COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 1, 2023) – The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Committee announced the participants that will compete in the upcoming 2023 NCAA Indoor Championships. The championships, hosted by the University of New Mexico, will be held March 10 and 11 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
South Carolina found itself qualified for six different events in the upcoming championship in New Mexico. Anass Essayi has qualifying marks for both the Men’s Mile and the Men’s 3,000-meter race. Evan Miller will line up to compete in the Men’s 400-meter sprint. On the women’s side, Jayla Jamison will compete in the Women’s 200 meter, while Silan Ayyildiz will take part in the Women’s Mile. The final event featuring the Gamecocks will be the Women’s 4×400 meter relay.
Essayi enters the championships with the fastest mile time in the NCAA with a program-record mark of 3:50.46, sitting 1.44 seconds ahead of Washington’s Joe Waskom. Essayi is coming off defending his SEC crown in the men’s mile, earning All-SEC First Team honors, and currently has the fourth fastest mile in the world. The sophomore runner will look to cap off his indoor season with the first NCAA Mile winner in Gamecock history. The Morocco native has also qualified for the 3K, ranking fourth in the NCAA with a time of 7:41.93.
Miller ranks 15th among qualifiers in the field for the 400m sprint, holding a time of 45.91 that he set back in December at the Clemson Opener. The veteran sprinter has primarily competed in the 200m, having won three events this indoor season. Miller will look to become the program’s first indoor 400m champion.
Jamison also enters as the 15th-ranked athlete in the 200m, posting a qualifying time of 23.05 at the Tiger Paw Invite. The Columbia, S.C. native has won a pair of 200m races this season, while also racking up four wins in the women’s 60m dash. Jamison ran 23.16 at the SEC Championship, narrowly missing out on advancing to the finals. Jamison will look to join Miki Barber (2000) and Shalonda Solomon (2006) as NCAA Indoor 200m champions.
Ayyildiz is in her first season with the Gamecocks and her impact has been felt immediately. Heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships, Ayyildiz holds the program record for both the mile (4:32.14) and the 3K (9:10.54). The Turkey native will be competing in the mile race, currently ranking eighth in the pack that will line up on March 10. Ayyildiz achieved her qualifying time at the David Hemery Valentine Invite in Boston, Mass. She looks to become the first NCAA Indoor Mile champion in Gamecock history.
The final group is the women’s 4x400m relay squad of Angel Frank, Aalliyah Francis, Alysia Johnson and Jahnile Registre. The quartet of Gamecocks finished with silver medal honors at the SEC Championship, each earning All-SEC Second Team, after running 3:32.35 to earn a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships. The South Carolina relay team enters the meet as the 12th-ranked relay squad and will look to become the sixth relay team in program history to win the NCAA Indoor 4×400 crown. The previous group to win was in 2019 with Stephanie Davis, Aliyah Abrams, Tatyana Mills and Wadeline Jonathas claiming the title.