Carolina Athletics returns home for Gamecock Invitational


COLOMBIA– Gamecock Athletics return to their home track on Saturday for the Gamecock Invitational. It’s the second of three home games for Carolina this season. The Gamecocks return after most of the squad had a week off last weekend.

The only entrants for Carolina were Anass Essayi and Sean Peterson, who raced at the Joe Walker Invitational. Gamecock athletes will look to set up regional qualifying marks on their home track this weekend against a field that includes Ohio State, Virginia Tech and East Carolina.

The Gamecocks will also retire Dawn Ellerbe’s jersey at 11:50 a.m. You can read more about that event here.

Follow the meeting
Live results are available at Fans can come and watch the Gamecock Invitational for free on the Sheila and Morris Cregger track. Fans can follow updates on Twitter @GamecockTrack. A full recap will be posted on Twitter, Facebook and

Calendar of meetings
The Gamecock Invitational kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. On the track, the men’s 5,000 meters start the day. On the court, it’s the women’s hammer throw that will kick things off at the Sheila and Morris Cregger Racecourse.

Last outing
The Gamecocks have had two straight weekends of limited competition. Last weekend it was Anass Essayi and Sean Peterson run the 1,500 meters at the Joe Walker Invitational. Essayi again broke the Gamecock school record, running the NCAA’s No. 2 time of 3:39.03 for the victory in Oxford, Mississippi.

The previous weekend, the Gamecocks were at the Florida Relays, but competition was halted in Gainesville, Florida. Before bad weather cut short the Florida Relays for Carolina, the Gamecocks put in some impressive performances in the middle hurdles. Will Spencer Jr. ran a time of 49.56 in the 400-meter hurdles to win the event at the Florida Relays. Rachel Glen ran his personal best and one of the best NCAA times of 56.43. Kayla Root and K.D. Young both broke personal bests in the women’s hammer throw.

Weather report
– Conditions: Scattered thunderstorms
– Temperature: Maximum of 76°
– Chance of precipitation: 58%

Coach Frye at the meeting

What the rest week looked like for his team
“We’re in the last two weeks to get some regional qualifying shots. So many teams raced last week. We lost a few opportunities at the Florida Relays. Hopefully we can regain some of our standings and get some new regional qualifying scores. That’s our focus. How much can you bring to Regionals? How much can you bring to Nationals from Regionals? So it’s going to be a challenge. Hope the weather is okay with us. weather has been a problem for us Everyone we meet We will have to race in the same conditions and I hope they will be good because we need good conditions We had a good practice This week we are going backwards after a good week last week. We’re going to try and get our relay going and some good 400 meter times from our women. Destinee needs a good hurdles time. Our shot put team missed Florida. Our male high jumpers need to get going. Our male long jumpers are looking to get on the board. Filip hasn He didn’t have a chance in a hurdle race, so he will have two chances to have a good race.”

What does athlete preparation look like with Regional Qualifiers
“Their ranking is important. Athletes might not realize it, but it’s something that we have to coach them. They see it as ‘If I’m 24 in the region, I’m more in security.’ But the reality is that 24 doesn’t have as good a seed as 1, 2, 3 or 4. If you’re at the bottom of the list you could find yourself in a loaded innings and if they don’t take any than three in the next round is not good. If you are the first or second seed in a heat, you are a little more comfortable. The lanes are drawn, so you could have a bad lane .But a bad lane and a bad seed make it tough.Every time you get a bad seed, the next round is a tougher race.You have to be sure.The better your seed, the easier it is for you. you in the next round. At nationals, they seed based on regional times. Our analogies are that we take exams, but now you go to graduate school and that’s the exam to get into that medical school or by right.”

Hitting his stride

Anass Essayi grabs national attention after running a time of 3:39.03 at the Joe Walker Invitational to win the 1,500 meters and defeat Mile champion Mario Garcia Romo.

Essayi earned SEC Runner of the Week honors for his performance at the Joe Walker Invitational over the weekend.

Essayi won the 1,500 meters at the Joe Walker Invitational on Friday night. He picked up a win with the NCAA’s No. 2 time of 3:39.03. Essayi’s time leads the SEC, which helped him win his first career SEC Weekly Award.

Essayi beat defending NCAA Mile champion Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss on a windy, chilly night at the champion’s track in Oxford, Mississippi. The Essayi-beaten group was responsible for six of the NCAA’s top 50 times this season at 1,500 yards.

The Moroccan’s time of 3:39.03 set the school record in the 1,500 meters, eliminating Essayi’s time from the previous week at the Florida Relays. Prior to Essayi’s performance at the Florida Relays, the school record was set in 1974 by Jim Schaper.

Essayi is the fifth Gamecock athlete to win weekly SEC awards this year. Anthony Greenhow, Jr., Carson Lenser, Jayla Jamisson and Frasier Land all won SEC Freshman of the Week awards this year.

A look at the ranking
The Gamecocks have 16 NCAA top-50 performances after two weekends of competition, including six top-10 performances.

Makenzie Dunmore is 7th in the women’s 400 meters. Dunmore ran a time of 52.38 to win the event at Weems Baskin and finish in the top 10. Dunmore also has one of the best times in the country in the NCAA in the 200 meters. She ran a time of 23.24 at the Tiger Track Classic for the 21st time in the NCAA this season.

Rachel Glen had the third-best performance in the country in the women’s high jump. She cleared 1.90m/6-2.75 to win the high jump invitational section at Weems Baskin. It is the highest bar she has cleared since her high jump title in June 2021.

The women’s 4X100 meters and 4X400 meters relay teams are both ranked in the top 11. The 4X100 meter relay team ran a time of 43.83 at Weems Baskin to place 11th in the nation. The 4X400 meter relay team posted the ninth fastest NCAA time in the nation at the Tiger Track Classic with a time of 3:31.84.

Evan Miller also has a top 15 in the country. He ran a time of 20.51 in the 200 meters at Weems Baskin to rank 15th in the nation. Miller is coming off an indoor season in which he earned his first-ever All America first-team honor with a sixth-place finish at the Indoor Nationals.

The Gamecocks have three top 50 finishes in the women’s 200 meters. Dunmore, Frasier Land, Jayla Jamisson and Frank Angel all place in the top 50 of the event.

The Carolina women also have three top 50 finishes in the women’s 400 meters. Dunmore, Alysia Johnson and Frank are all in the NCAA top 50.

Regionally, the Gamecocks have 25 qualifying times and marks to qualify for the Eastern Regional, which is the first step to qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.

Carolina track and field athletes have another opportunity this weekend to put on some of the best performances in the country.

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