Adam Collins / The Daily Gamecock

Numerous Gamecocks heading to NCAA Nationals for first time

Several Gamecocks will soon see the payoff from weeks of anticipation and preparation as they travel to Oregon to compete for the first time at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

South Carolina had a solid season, with six individuals and two relay teams qualifying for the championship.

Still, it has not been an easy journey for Yann Randrianasolo, Josh Awotunde, Aliyah Abrams, Rouge Sow, Ncincilili Titi, Lissa Labiche and Stephanie Davis. 

For Randrianasolo, a senior, the chance to compete is a major thrill. After missing this opportunity last year, she knew that she could do better, and she has proved herself.

This opportunity is a long time coming for many team members. 

"I'm excited," Davis said. "I remember watching the last heat of the 4x100 [regional run], and we're waiting for the times to go through. Once we saw the last time, we were screaming, 'Yes! We're going to Oregon!' We were jumping up and down."

South Carolina's track and field season will be tested for the final time from June 6-9. 

The Gamecocks will have three men competing in the shot put, 200 meter run and long jump Three of their women will compete in the high jump, 400 meter run and long jump. 

"We think all of our kids have a chance of scoring," head coach Curtis Frye said. "If they do well, then the Gamecocks do well. We're looking for a top-20 finish out of our men and our women to be a top-25 finish." 

Despite the fear in some athletes' minds, six-time All-American Titi isn't feeling the nerves. Instead, he uses his past times trips to nationals as fuel for the competition. 

"I think my experience helps me manage the stress better," he said. "This is something that I've done before. You'd think that I'd be more nervous this time, since it's my last time, but the experience definitely helps me be more calm and execute things better this time." 

Last year, South Carolina finished 49th in the men's team standings with 5.5 points and came in 52nd in the women's team with three points. This Gamecock team hopes to surpass those numbers as they take on their many aspirations and goals during nationals.

"It just feels so great to be back," Abrams said. "I know the atmosphere and the environment are going to be off the chain, so there is going to be a lot of energy in the stadium. I am just ready to go and give it my all."


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