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May 10, 2002

Starkville, MS – Headed into the last event of the heptathlon, USC senior Tacita Bass found out she had to beat Arkansas’ Dee Dee Brown by 4.6 seconds in the 800m to win the title. Bass beat Brown by almost six seconds, running a personal best, to win her first SEC heptathlon title. Then just an hour and half later Bass qualified for the finals of the 400m hurdles – an event she won last year.

USC went 1-3-5 in the heptathlon with junior Antoinette Wilks finishing third and freshman Chalsea Hammond finishing fifth.

USC also advanced eight individuals in three events with defending champion Otukile Lekote advancing with the fastest time of the day in the 800m (1:47.34). On the women’s side, freshman Tiffany Ross put up the fastest time of the day in the women’s 400m hurdles at 57.27. (see complete results below).

The SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships run through Sunday, May 12.

Bass scored 5588 to win the title, while Wilks scored 5194 to finish third and Hammond scored a personal-best 5009 points to finish fifth.

Bass ran a 2:16.64 to win the 800m, while Brown ran a 2:22.10. Wilks came out like gangbusters in the first lap of the 800m to help pace Bass and she finished the race at 2:23.65.

Bass is currently ranked No. 5 in the world in the heptathlon. Bass follows up former Gamecock All-American Erin Narzinski who won the SEC heptathlon in 1997 and ’99.

“I was real nervous about the whole heptathlon because I thought anybody could win,” said Bass, a senior from Mobile, AL. “”I knew I had to come out and be consistent and do what I knew I could do. I am glad my teammates were here with me to help me keep my spirits up for me through the whole event.”

“I knew I had to get Tacita through, so I just ran. I was real nervous before the gun went off and I just said, ‘Lord, help me. Help me get through it’,” said Wilks. “I came out fast in the 800m and I knew that I had to bring her around in 65 seconds. I hate that race.”

“The plan was for the three to work together and it really worked in the 800m,” said USC multi event coach Delethea Quarles. “The competition is never given to you and you have to work for everything you get. But Tacita competed like a solider and she knew she would have to do something spectaular and she did that. Antoinette and Chalsea competed so tough – so well. It sets us up for a good future. After having some disappointing times maybe at this meet for Antoinette, she is very excited she was able to contribute so well today.”

USC went 1-2-3 in the hepathalon long jump with Wilks hitting 20′ 1/4, Hammond going 19′ 9 1/2 and Bass hitting 19′ 2 3/4.

Bass was second in her heat at 59.81. Teammate Tiffany Ross who ran a 57.24 to qualify for the final in the 400m hurdles = the fastest time of the day. Freshman Lashinda Demus ran a 59.01 to win her heat and qualify for the finals. Another freshman, Shevon Stoddart ran a 59.01 to win her heat and also advance to the finals.

“I stuttered in the 400m hurdles, but gutted it out,” added Bass.

Aleen Bailey ran a 23.08 to win her heat of the 200m and qualify for the finals wiht teammate Lisa Barber finishing second in her heat to also qualify at 23.67. Demetria Washington was second in her heat to qualify as well at 23.66

Aisha Grant threw a personal best 174′ 1 to finish ninth in the hammer.

USC's Heptathlon Results - Day TwoTacita Bass - finished first; scored 5588 pointslong jump - 19' 2 3/4javelin throw - 122' 0800m - 2:16.24 - won the event
Antoinette Wilks - finished third; scored 5194 pointslong jump - 20' 1/4 --- won the long jumpjavelin throw - 75' 6800m - 2:23.65
Chalsea Hammond - finished fifth; scored 5009 points - personal bestlong jump - 19' 9 1/2javelin throw - 81' 5800m - 2:33.25
USC Results from Day TwoWomen's 200m - USC advances 3 to finals
Demetria Washington - 23.70 - 2nd in heat - advancesAleen Bailey - 23.08 - 2nd time overall - won heat - advancesLisa Barber - 23.28 - fourth time overall - second in her heat - advancesErica Whipple - 23.80 - 12th overall - no finalsKhaliah Carpenter - 24.01 - 14th overall - no finalsMechelle Lewis - 24.45 - 20th overall - no finals
Women's 400m hurdles - USC advances four to finalsTiffany Ross - 57.27 - won heat - adavances to finals - top time of the dayTacita Bass - 59.81 - 2nd in heat - advances to finalsLashinda Demus - 59.40 - won heat - advances to finalsShevon Stoddart - 59.01 - won heat - advances to finals
Women's 800mSheneka Griffin - 2:18.40 - 19th
MEN'S TIMESMen's 200mMartin Jackson - 21.34 - 14th overall - no finalsDuan Barriano - 21.41 - 17th overall - no finalsGerald Pressley - 21.51 - 18th overall - no finalsJames Law - 21.57 - 20th overall - no finalsThomas Lewis - 21.77 - 22nd overall - no finalsShamus Singletary - 21.93 - 24th overall - no finalsAndre Totton - 22.11 - 26th overall - no finalsChris Campbell - 22.58 - 28th overall - no finals
Men's 800mOtukile Lekote - 1:47.80 - fastest time of the day