Byrd Blazes New 60-Meter Personal Best

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By Sports Department

BLACKSBURG, VA (USC SID) -- Sophomore Damiere Byrd won the 60-meter dash on Friday night with a new personal best 6.66 to highlight four Gamecock wins in the first day of the Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. In addition to Byrd, junior Clayton Gravesande won the men’s 300-meter and redshirt junior Dorian Johnson won the men’s triple jump. Senior Kierre Beckles won the women’s 60-meter hurdles for the No. 20 South Carolina women's squad.

Byrd ran a 6.70 in the qualifying heats, which at the time tied his personal best, but the mark didn't stand long. His 6.66 in the finals ranks him fourth all-time in South Carolina history and is the fourth fastest time run in the country this season. The two-sport athlete, who already ranked first amongst football players in the 400-meter with his time of 47.91 from last week, is now the fastest football player in the 60-meters this season.

“It felt good especially because it was my first meet back as far as running the 60-meters. I was excited to get out there and run. In the prelims, I went out and ran a 6.70, which tied my PR coming out of high school. I figured I would be able to run faster going into the finals and I ended up doing it,” said Byrd of his record-setting night.

Byrd led a 1-2 punch in the 60-meters, with sophomore Kendall Kee finished in second with a PR of his own at 6.72 to rank him 10th in the country. Junior Chris Royster gave the Gamecocks their third athlete in the top five with his 6.87 time to rank to finish in fifth place.

On the women’s side, freshman Alexis Murphy improved upon her 60-meter dash time, finishing third with a season best time of 7.53. Freshman Gabrielle Gray qualified for the finals as well, posting a 7.65 to finish seventh. Murphy’s previous best this season was a 7.70 while Gray’s was a 7.81.

The Gamecocks had a solid outing in the 300-meters as well. Gravesande collected his second win in as many weekends, running a 33.62 to carry the section. Sophomore Eric Winfrey was second with a time of 34.37. Gravesande’s time is fourth in the country in the event and Winfrey’s ranks 15th. Gravesande is already in the top-five in the nation in the 400-meters.

Sophomore Christal Green’s 14th ranked time of 39.07 in the 300-meters led South Carolina to a 2-3-4 finish on the women’s side. Sophomore Tamera Harris (39.55) and junior Vashti Bandy (40.01) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Freshman Anna Todd ran a season best in the mile run at 5:02.18 to finish fourth, giving the Gamecocks another top-five finish. Redshirt senior Robert Razick finished fifth in the men’s mile run at 4:22.30.

Freshman Dondre Echols continued his solid freshman campaign, running a 7.95 in the 60-meter hurdles final to place third. His classmate Jermaine Collier also advanced to the finals and placed fifth, turning in an 8.17.

The All-American Beckles picked up her first 60-meter hurdle win of the season, running an 8.28 in the finals. Beckles’ 8.27 from last weekend ranks her 12th in the nation in the event. Sophomore Chalese Davis ran a new personal record of 8.52, finishing third in the finals. Freshman Tyler Brockington ran a season best of 8.79 in the finals to grab seventh place.

Redshirt junior Dorian Johnson claimed a win in the triple jump with a mark of 49’1 ¾ (14.98m). Redshirt sophomore James Adams placed fourth, recording a new personal record of 46’8 (14.22m).

In the final event of the day, senior Breanna Radford improved upon her personal best in the weight throw with a mark of 57’2 (17.42m). Radford, who moved into the ninth spot in the South Carolina record book, is closing in on Nicole Kendrick’s eighth-place mark in school history at 58’10. Redshirt sophomore Kaysee Sullivan also set a new personal record, improving her mark by nearly five feet. Sullivan’s 53’2 ¾ (16.22m) placed ninth in the competition.

Redshirt sophomore Andrew Seay placed sixth in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 55’5 ½ (16.90m).

Tomorrow’s events include the 200-meters, the 400-meters and the 800-meters as well as the 4x400-meter relays. Pole vault and long jump action will also be included on the schedule. Senior Breanna Radford will go for her third straight win in the shot put and junior school record holder Jeannelle Scheper, who currently is tied for the top high jump clearance in the nation, will compete.

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