The USC men’s track and field team posted a program-best, third-place finish at the SEC Outdoor Championships at Tom Black Track on Sunday.
Coach Curtis Frye’s team posted 89 points to edge Auburn by one point after a wet day at the league championships. Heavy rain and lightning in the Knoxville area led to two delays of at least an hour on Sunday.
Trailing Auburn by five points with only the men’s 1,600 relay remaining, the USC relay team of Obakeng Ngwigwa, Quentin Moore, Aaron Anderson and Johnny Dutch needed to finish third or better to claim the No. 3 spot in the team standings. The quartet finished third with a time of 3:04.19.
“This is fantastic,” Frye said. “We came in (after Saturday) ranked sixth, and the guys picked it up. We got points from everywhere. It was a total team effort. The biggest was the relay. Each of the guys picked each other up.”
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The women’s team finished eighth with 48.5 points.
In the individual standings, Dutch finished fourth with 17.50 points in three events.
“It’s been really hard to be able to run through the really because it’s been wet, stormy and windy, but no excuses. I still gave it my all,” Dutch said. “I didn’t run as well as I wanted to in the 400 hurdles and 110 hurdles, but it happened for me. I’m so proud of our guys team right now.”
USC senior Elliott Haynie earned the first pole vault double crown in Gamecocks history by winning an SEC title in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault events. Haynie was the sole competitor to clear 17’3¾ to become just the second SEC outdoor pole vault champion at Carolina. His title broke a four-year streak of champions from Tennessee.
Dutch continued the trend of back-to-back champions in the 400-meter hurdles with his second straight title. Also, Booker Nunley and Dutch earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles.
In the men’s 200, USC’s Antonio Sales and Obakeng Ngwigwa claimed silver and bronze, respectively.
On the women’s side, USC’s 400 relay team (Breehana Jacobs, Shayla Mahan, Gabrielle Glenn and Tatianna Fisher), which had medaled every year since 1999, kept the tradition alive with a second straight silver medal. In the 100 hurdles, Kettiany Clarke earned the bronze for the Gamecocks.
In late Saturday action delayed by rain, USC sophomore Beatrice Biwott won the program’s first SEC title in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase while senior Vica Shobe took bronze in the women’s pole vault.
USC will return to action in two weeks for the NCAA Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C.