Gamecocks Earn Four More Bids on Final Day of Regionals
The NCAA East Regional
preliminary round came to a close Saturday, and the Carolina track and
field team qualified for nationals in four different events. The men's
4x1 and 4x4 relay teams earned a bid, as did a pair of women's high
jumpers. In all, the Gamecocks will send four individuals and two relay
teams to the national meet in Oregon.
Despite the absence
of Dondre Echols and Eric Winfrey due to injury, the men's 4x1 team
relied on senior leadership to punch their ticket to nationals and
start the day strong for Carolina. Ryan Bermudez moved in to the group
and ran the final leg, and seniors Chris Walker and Clayton Gravesande
set him up for a strong finish with the middle legs. They would not
leave their bid up to chance, finishing third in their respective heat
to earn an automatic bid to Eugene, Ore. with a time of 39.60 that was
close to a season best in the event.
The women's 4x1 came
close to joining them, but would miss out despite a season-best
performance. With a time of 44.42 out of the first heat, the women
would need to qualify as one of the three best times to not receive an
automatic bid. It would come down to the final race, but they would be
edged out by a hundredth of a second by Central Florida.
the final round of the hurdle events, Chalese Davis would come in 23rd
overall for the 100, running a 13.68. In the men's 110, Isaiah Moore
was pushed out of qualifying in the final race and finished 14th
overall (13.92). Jermaine Collier finished behind him in 19th (14.04).
women's team earned its first qualifiers of the weekend via the high
jump, putting through Jeannelle Scheper and Nakita Gray to nationals.
Scheper would go without a miss until 1.82 meters, where she needed two
tries. She would not have to attempt another bar, as she was one of
only seven women to make the height. Gray would have to sweat out her
bid as one of ten who finished at 1.79 meters, with only five spots
remaining. She would qualify thanks to just one miss through the first
four heights and will make her first trip to nationals.
the other field events, Natasha Dicks finished 27th in the triple jump
(40-7.75) and Josh Awotunde took 22nd in the shot put (58-5.25).
out the night was the much-anticipated 4x400 relay, and the men again
answered the bell despite the absence of Echols, Winfrey and Jussi
Kanervo from the pool of available runners. Gravesande led off and ran
out to a strong start, and through the first three legs the team sat in
third. Bermudez, as he has done for much of the Spring season, closed
the race with great results. He moved the team from third to second in
the heat to clinch the automatic bid for nationals.
South Carolina Head Coach Curtis Frye
Thoughts After the Weekend
just the beginning of the return back to greatness for this program.
This team is a unit that shows what the university is all about. It has
throwers and jumpers, blacks and whites, women and men, distance and
sprints. It makes it easy for me when I have quality students and
people when I come into an atmosphere like this and we didn't fold.
We're beat up, but today's efforts have me overjoyed about what we've
done and what we're going to do in the future.
On the Relay Performances
ran 39.60 with two substitutes on it. We ran 3:05 missing a guy that
can run 46 seconds in the 400 and not having to use Jussi so he can
rest and be ready for nationals. We found something today in Ryan
(Bermudez) as a sprinter. With Dondre coming back we can do some
special things at nationals. Jermaine didn't make it in the hurdles and
he could've put his head in the sand, but he didn't and got us through
in the 4x4.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships begin June
10 in Eugene, Ore. and will run through June 13. For the men, Jussi
Kanervo (400mH) and Markus Leemet (decathlon) will compete individually
along with the two relay teams. For the women, Scheper aims for her
first national title in the high jump and will compete alongside her