March 9, 2002
USC COMES HOME TOMORROW AT 11:15 AM TO COLUMBIA AIRPORT, FLYING THROUGH DALLAS
Faytteville, Ark – The USC women’s 4x400m relay, running the fastest time in the world in 2002, repeated as the NCAA champions and leading the men’s 800m wire to wire, sophomore Otukile Lekote won his first indoor title at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships tonight.
The USC women finished fourth, bringing home hardware for the third straight year with 31 points, while LSU won the title with 57 points. The USC men were sixth with 17 1/2 points while the men of Tennessee repeated, winning the title with 62 1/2 points. The men’s finish was its best since 1999 when they were fourth. The SEC went 1-2-3-4-6 on the men’s side with the SEC women going 1-3-4 on the women’s side. Both Gamecock teams finished tops in state as well.
“I’m elated with both finshes. We are very young on the men’s side and sixth place is just outstanding,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “On the women’s side, fourth place is OK. We came here to win, we won’t be satisfied until we do, but I proud of our effort. After yesterday, we didn’t give up. We kept fighting today and I am so thrilled with the effort of Tacita Bass on the relay and the rest of the ladies. I am proud of both of these teams. We can’t wait until outdoors!”
Lekote ran the NCAA’s top time at 1:46.88, a seasonal best to win back to back NCAA title (he won the NCAA outdoor title). Lekote ran a quick 51 second 400m running in the lead from start to finish. His time ranks at No. 16th in the world in 2002.
“I knew from watching the competition in the prelims and at the SEC Championships, that they ended the race in the sprint. I wanted to establish a very fast pace and get out front so I didn’t have to go around anyone or get spiked,” said Lekote, a native of Botswana, Africa. “I wanted to win this title. It was my goal in January after losing it last year. I am happy I could add 10 points to our team’s score.”
The women’s 4x400m relay also led from wire-to-wire, winning its second straight NCAA indoor title at 3:3036 – the fastest time in the world in 2002 and the third fastest time in collegiate history (USC already owns the collegiate record set last year). The relay was made up of senior Tacita Bass, freshman Lashinda Demus, freshman Shevon Stoddart with anchor junior Demetria Washington.
Washington finished as the runner-up in the 400m at 52.41. She led most of the race as Rice’s Allison Beckford caught her in the last 20 meters. Washington collects her 16th All-American honors with the finish, tying Miki Barber for the most All-American honors in school history.
Sophomore Chris Steddum finished eighth in the pole vault at 17’6 ?, collecting his first All-American honors.
Freshman Shevon Stoddart won her heat of the finals of the 400m, finishing fifth overall at 53.75. With the finish, Stoddart collects her first All-American honors. Junior Aleen Bailey finished eighth in the 60m at 7.42, collecting her second All-American honors of the meet.
Name Time/Mark Results Women’s Finals
60m Aleen Bailey 7.42 8TH – All-American
400m Demetria Washington 52.41 2nd – All-American Shevon Stoddart 53.75 5th – All-American Lisa Barber did not start due to injury
4x400m relay (Bass, Demus, Stoddart, Washington) USC 3:30.26 – 1st – fastest time in the world in 2002
Men’s Finals 800m Otukile Lekote 1:46.88 Won NCAA title – NCAA’s top time in 2002
Pole Vault Chris Steddum 17′ 6 3/4 8th – All-American
4x400m relay (Jon Fortenberry, Otukile Lekote, Otis Harris, Gerald Pressley) USC 3:07.16 3rd – All-American