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Feb. 24, 2002

With both Demetria Washington, Otukile Lekote and the women’s 4x400m relay defending their SEC titles, the South Carolina women finished fourth while the men were ninth at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Washington collected her seventh SEC title – the most in school history.

Florida won the women’s title, while Arkansas upset Tennessee to win the men’s title.

USC set a school record in the men’s 4x400m relay. USC also put up seven NCAA automatic times and seven NCAA provisional times with six athletes collecting personal bests.

“We had a good finish. We can’t ask for more than the effort than our men and women put forth. This is the nation’s No. 1 conference and there were so many fine performances,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “There are four women’s team’s here that will compete in two weeks for a national championship. On the men’s side, what we brought to meet, they competed. Our 4x400m relay ran a world-class time. I am thrilled to have so many fine young performances, we only lose Andre Totton next year. I am pleased with our kids.

“We will be a force at nationals,” said Frye. “We have to have an excellent nationals and get our points and realize that so many of the SEC teams can win it. On the women’s side Florida, LSU and Arkansas will compete for the title. On the men’s side, there is so much talent in this conference. But, I wouldn’t trade my teams for anybody’s. I like what we have.”

USC’s women won its sixth straight 4x400m relay, its third indoors, putting up an NCAA automatic time of 3:34.74. The relay included three freshmen and a senior: freshman Tiffany Ross to freshman Shevon Stoddart to senior Tacita Bass to freshman Lashinda Demus.

The men’s 4x400m relay was third at 3:05.90, shattering the school record and running the country’s third best time in 2002. The relay included Jon Fortenberry, Otukile Lekote, Otis Harrs and Gerald Pressley.

USC had three runner-ups including freshman Lashinda Demus finishing as the runner-up in the 60m hurdles and 400m, Aleen Bailey was the runner-up in the 60m.

Washington led USC to a 1-2-4-8-9 finish in the 400m. Washington’s time of 52.13, the fastest by an American in 2002 and the ninth fastest time in the world, clinched her third straight SEC title in the 400m. In fact, in an event owned by USC the last four years, it is the seventh straight 400m title for a Gamecock. Both running personal bests and NCAA automatic times, Demus was second at 52.57 and Lisa Barber was fourth at 52.62. Sheveon Stoddart was eighth with a personal best 53.71 and Tacita Bass was ninth at 54.06, both hitting the NCAA provisional standard.

“I’m happy to have won but I am so proud we had five in the finals. And three under 53 seconds, that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Washington, a Fayetteville, N.C. native. “I was tired in the 200m. I was a little flat because I had just 20 minutes after the 400m to prepare for the 200m. It’s a hard double but I am really happy to have our team competing so hard and running well today.”

Lekote won his second straight title with a time of 1:47.46. The time is the fastest in the NCAA in 2002 and the 19th fastest time in the world. It is Lekote’s third straight 800m title.

“I am satisfied with the win,” said Lekote. “:I was a bit surprised I wasn’t more nervous today because I was nervous yesterday. My goal in the next two weeks, before NCAAs, is to work on my speed. I am happy.”

Demus was the runner-up in the 60m hurdles with a personal best of 8.32. She later finished as the runner-up in the 400m, also tacking on another personal best, 52.57 -an NCAA automatic time. “This is a great meet, it just makes you want to run faster with so many great times,” said Demus, a two-time National Athlete of the Year. “I was nervous but it was worth it. I didn’t mind getting beat, I just wanted to do well. I’m happy for the PR’s because this meet is so different than high school. Every race is fast.”

“Lashinda is a great competitor. Maybe one of the best freshmen in the country and as time will prove, one of the best ever in this sport,” said Frye.

Aleen Bailey was the runner-up in the 60m, running a personal best 7.32, bettering her NCAA provisional time. Bailey was later third in the 200m with a personal best 23.10, an NCAA automatic time. Washington finished seventh in the race at 25.21 and Barber was eighth at 27.11.

Corey Taylor was sixth in the 60m hurdles at 7.86, an NCAA provisional time. In the women’s 60m hurdles, USC went 2-5-6 with Demus in second, Tiffany Ross in fifth (8.47) and Shevon Stoddart in sixth (8.48).

Andre Totton ran a 21.12, an NCAA provisional time, to finish sixth in the 200m.

Lori Tvarkunas was sixth in the pole vault with a season best vault of 12′ 3 ?. Kylene Nixon was ninth, hitting 11′ 9 ?.

In the men’s 400m, USC went 6-8 with Otis Harris running a 46.57 to finish sixth and Jon Fortenberry running a personal best 46.88 – an NCAA provisional time – to finish eighth.

The women’s DMR was seventh at 11:58.89 while the men finished 11th at 10:32.89.

Chris Vanderbrink was ninth in the shot put with a toss of 50′.


Place Name Mark/Time

Women’s Finals on Sunday 60m 2. Aleen Bailey 7.32

60m Hurdles 2. Lashinda Demus 8.32 P PB 5. Tiffany Ross 8.47 6. Shevon Stoddart 8.48

200m 3. Aleen Bailey 23.10 A PB 7. Demetria Washington 25.21 8. Lisa Barber 27.11

400m 1. Demetria Washington 52.13 A – 9th in the world in 2002 2. Lashinda Demus 52.57 A PB 4. Lisa Barber 52.62 A PB 8. Shevon Stoddart 53.71 P PB 9. Tacita Bass 54.06 P

5000m 16. Rachel Smith 18:45.43

4x400m Relay 1. Tiffany Ross, Shevon Stoddart, Tacita Bass, Lashinda Demus – 3:37.74 A

2. DMR 7. Kinsey Eschenburg, Khalihah Carpenter, Mikisa Lewis, Jenny Lake 11:58.89

Pole Vault 6. Lori Tvarkunas 12′ 3 ? 9. Kylene Nixon 11′ 9 ?

Triple Jump 10. Antoinette Wilks 39′ 7 ?

Men’s Finals on Sunday 60m Hurdles 6. Corey Taylor 7.86 P

200m 6. Andre Totton 21.12 P

400m 6. Otis Harris 46.57 P 8. Jon Fortenberry 46.88 P PB

800m 1. Otukile Lekote 1:47.46 A – best in NCAA 4x400m Relay 1. Jon Fortenberry, Otukile Lekote, Otis Harris, Gerald Pressley – 3:05.90

DMR 10. David Machemer, James Law, Garry Martin, Mark Howell 10:32.59

Shot Put 9. Chris Vanderbrink 50′ 0