The Daily Gamecock

Jeffrey Linta, Walker Selby capture first collegiate wins

Gamecocks prepare for Florida Relays today

Freshman pole vaulter Jeffrey Linta finally turned a corner when the South Carolina track team hosted the Gamecock Outdoor Invitational Wednesday afternoon.

Linta earned his first collegiate win with a clearance of 4.75 meters, coming close to the personal best he set while competing for North Myrtle Beach High School.

“Today he started on that track where things are starting to click,” assistant coach Kevin Brown said after the meet. “He was jumping at his personal best, and he almost made it twice. I was pretty happy with that.”

Brown said Linta has made strides in both the technical and mental aspects of his pole vaulting. Wednesday’s meet was the first time his coach saw him pull the elements of his training together in a meet.

“When you’re a freshman, you have high expectations, and then when you get out there, you realize you’re human and you still need to put in the work to do it,” Brown said. “His expectations are high, and that’s right in line with [our] expectations for him.”

Linta was one of seven South Carolina athletes who won their events at the invitational, which pitted the Gamecocks against nearby schools such as Benedict College, Charleston Southern University, The Citadel and Francis Marion University.

In the women’s pole vault, sophomore Megan Wall took first place, clearing 3.65 meters, while redshirt freshman Ashley Cady took second. The Gamecocks also won both the men’s and the women’s 400-meter hurdles, men’s hammer throw, men’s triple jump and women’s discus.

For redshirt sophomore Walker Selby, who took first place in the hammer throw and second in the discus, the win was the first of his collegiate career.

Brown said the meet was an opportunity for training at a high level because “it’s difficult to imitate the adrenaline” of competition in a practice.

But many of USC’s top athletes did not participate in preparation for the Florida Relays, where the team will compete today and Saturday against some of the top teams in the country. Senior Kierre Beckles and junior Chris Royster will head to Gainesville looking to maintain their undefeated seasons.

At the Raleigh Relays last weekend, where South Carolina athletes won five events on the second day of competition, Beckles won the 100 hurdles with a new collegiate season best time of 13.09 seconds. Royster, whose season best time ranks No. 27 in the nation, won the 100 dash.

After this weekend’s meet, only two meets remain before the SEC Championships in the middle of May.

Brown said Beckles and Royster do not have particular goals for times this weekend, but he is confident that if they focus on placing well, the times will take care of themselves.

“We don’t go into any competition having the idea that we’re not going to compete,” Brown said. “We go in there to compete to try to win. We’ve been training hard, and to have those kinds of times with the training that we’re doing says that when we get into championship season, we should see some significant drops.”