South Carolina Sweeps 1500 Meter Finals at SEC Outdoor Championships
BATON ROUGE, La. (May 13, 2023) – South Carolina Track & Field put a bow on the 2023 SEC Outdoor Championships on Saturday evening, walking away with a pair of gold medals in the men and women’s 1500-meter race. The Gamecocks are just the second program in the last 21 years to sweep the 1500m, joining Ole Miss who accomplished the feat last season.
Morocco legend, Anass Essayi, picked up the program’s first ever 1500m SEC Championship when he ran 3:41.52 to secure 10 points for the Gamecocks. Essayi bested Shane Bracken of Ole Miss by more than two seconds and secured his second SEC crown this calendar year. In addition, Essayi earned a spot on the First Team All-SEC.
The Gamecock men saw three more individuals score for the Garnet & Black. Dillon McCarthy had a massive day in the men’s pole vault, scoring for the third consecutive season as he took fifth in the event. McCarthy entered the event with an outdoor personal best of 5.15m. The South Carolina native cleared 5.20m with ease, before vaulting over 5.25m on his third attempt. Fresh off his third attempt, McCarthy turned around to clear a new personal best 5.30m (17-6.5), capturing four points for the Gamecocks and tying Armond Woodley and Matt Shuler for the fifth highest outdoor vault in program history. In addition, McCarthy’s height vaulted him into a tie for 18th in the East Region, all but solidifying a place at the NCAA East Regional at the end of the month.
Filip Demsar and Evan Miller each scored for the Gamecocks, with Demsar placing sixth in the 110-meter hurdles after running 13.85 (0.0) and Miller finishing eighth in the 400m when he ran 45.96.
Silan Ayyildiz made it a clean sweep on the 1500m podium when she captured the women’s 1500 after running 4:17.67. The Turkey native etched her name into the Carolina record books when she edged out LSU favorite Lorena Rangel Batres who ran 4:17.91. Ayyildiz becomes the first Gamecock woman to claim the 1500m SEC gold, earning 10 coveted points.
Sylvia Chelangat joined Ayyildiz on the podium for the women, finishing with silver medal honors in the women’s 800m. The Kenyan freshman ran 2:03.98 to become the first SEC 800m scorer for the Gamecocks since 2005.
“We challenged the team this morning to just go out and fight today,” stated Head Coach Curtis Frye. “There is no quit in Gamecock nation! This is a team that will fight, and they proved that. The world views the 1500 as a marquee event and we were able to win both. I am so proud of Anass and Silan. They have trained so hard this season and to see their work pay off brings great joy to this program. I also am very happy for Sylvia, competing in her first SEC Outdoor Championship and taking home the silver medal in the 800. The success and the mood today were set up by Dillon in the pole vault. He entered the championship just inside the top 48 and was able to jump three personal bests and all but lock his spot in the NCAA East Regional. Today was a great step forward for the regional meet in 10 days. Now we need to get home, take care of our bodies and for those that qualified for regionals, let’s get to work.”
The Gamecocks will make the journey down to Jacksonville, Fla. on May 24-27 for the NCAA East Regional. The field for the regionals will be announced at a later date.
Men’s Team Standings
1. Arkansas – 149
2. LSU – 89
3. Tennessee – 87
12. South Carolina – 32
Men’s Individual Results
400 Meters (Finals)
8. Evan Miller – 45.96
1,500 Meters (Finals)
1. Anass Essayi – 3:41.52
— Rogerio Amaral – DNF
110-Meter Hurdles (Finals)
6. Filip Demsar – 13.85 (0.0)
4×100 Meter Relays
9. Black, Miller, Greenhow, Floyd – 40.00
— Blair Brooks – F
10. Dylan Targgart – 53.23m/174-7
5. Dillon McCarthy – 5.30m/17-4.5*
Women’s Team Standings
1. Arkansas – 134
2. Florida – 112
3. Texas A&M – 86
13. South Carolina – 19
Women’s Individual Results
800 Meters (Finals)
2. Sylvia Chelangat – 2:03.98
1500 Meters (Finals)
1. Silan Ayyildiz – 4:17.67
34. Gabriella Gait-Smith – 18:06.21
4×400 Meter Relays
11. Registre, Chelangat, Frank, Kelety – 3:37.41
* – denotes outdoor PR