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May 12, 2002

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The South Carolina women won its second SEC Outdoor Track and Field title in four years today with the title coming down to the last event. USC’s men were seventh. Junior Antoinette Wilks won the women’s MVP title – finishing as the runner-up in the long and triple jumps and third in the heptathlon.

Wilks hadn’t scored in the jumps since her freshman year. “If you told me before this meet, I would be the MVP, I would have said no,” said Wilks, a native of Palm Beach, FL. “I came into this meet organized and knew where my marks were in the jumps.”

“This is a great feeling. It took everything we had to win because the SEC is tough,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “We did it working as a team. The seniors and juniors leadership. They led the freshmen. What a great group of freshmen we have. We will celebrate the next couple of days and then get back to work. We want to be celebrating another title in a couple of weeks at the SEC Championships but it’s going to be tough. LSU and UCLA have very very good teams.”

The two teams combined to win five SEC titles including both 4x400m relays. USC broke two SEC records today in the final day of the Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Individual titles were won by Otukile Lekote in the 800m (SEC record), Tiffany Ross in the 400m hurdles (SEC record) and Lashinda Demus (400m).

USC women’s track team poses with the SEC Championship trophy.

The USC men and women both won the 4x400m relays. The men, paced by James Law, Otukile Lekote, Otis Harris and Jon Fortenberry, won with a time of 3:02.81 – an NCAA automatic time. It is the school’s first 4x400m relay.

On the women’s side, USC won its fourth straight outdoor 4x400m relay with a time of 3:30.68. The women’s relay consisted of Mechelle Lewis, Shevon Stoddart, Tiffany Ross and Lisa Barber.

Wilks was the runner-up in the triple jump with a personal best 42′ 1. The mark is an NCAA automatic mark.

Lekote broke the SEC record set by Tony Parrilla in 1991 (1:45.34) to win his fourth straight SEC 800m title. Lekote’s time is the NCAA’s No. 1 time and an NCAA automatic time.

“My goal today was to get the SEC record. I just missed it last year and today I wanted it,” said Lekote, a native of Botswana. “I saw Slvestor’s shadow (Tennessee) coming around the turn, I knew he was there but my strategy was to get out quick so they couldn’t get me at the finish.”

Ross the nation’s top time to win the 400m hurdles at 55.75. Ross broke the SEC, stadium and school record. The SEC record was set in 1991 by Tonya Lee of Tennessee. Demus ran a 56.92 to finish second with Tacita Bass, the defending champion, finishing fourth at 57.78 and Shevon Stoddart finishing fifth at 57.93.

“Coach Frye has been working hard with us in the hurdles the past few weeks,” said Ross. “We want to win the team title so it was important for us to put it on all on the line.”

Demus ran the nation’s fastest time at 52.18 to win the 400m. It is USC’s eighth straight win in this event. Senior Demetria Washington was second at 51.43 – the country’s second-best time. Both were automatic marks.

“I knew it would be between Demetria and I,” said Demus.

Freshman Tiffany Ross was the runner-up in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.47. Ross was fifth at the indoor SEC meet. Another freshman, Shevon Stoddart, was ninth in the race with a time of 14.18. Both were NCAA provisional times.

Junior Aleen Bailey was the SEC runner-up with a time of 11.38 in the 100m. Senior Lisa Barber was also All-SEC, finishing third at 11.44 and freshman Erica Whipple was seventh with a time of 11.64.

Junior Corey Taylor was fifth in the men’s 110m hurdles after finishing eighth in 2001. Taylor ran a time of 13.80. His season best is 13.74.

Sophomore Otis Harris was fifth in the 400m and freshman Jon Fortenberry was sixth. Harris ran a 45.78 and Fortenberry ran a lifetime best time of 45.86. Both were NCAA provisional times.

The women’s 4x100m relay, the 2001 champions, finished second to LSU with a season best and NCAA automatic time of 43.96. The team was made up of Mechelle Lewis, Demetria Washington, Lisa Barber and Aleen Bailey.

On the men’s side, USC was third with a team of Duan Burriano, Andre Totton, James Law and Corey Taylor. The men ran a 39.61 – an NCAA provisional time.

Freshman Heather Nisbet notched a point, finishing eighth with the javelin. Nisbet threw a personal best 124′ 11. On the men’s side, Scott Alsup finished ninth with a personal best 192′ 7.

Women’s Final Results

Aleen Bailey – 11.38 – 2nd place
Lisa Barber – 11.44 – 3rd place
Erica Whipple – 11.64 – 7th place

100m hurdles
Tiffany Ross – 13.47 – 2nd place
Shevon Stoddart – 14.18 – 9th place

Aleen Bailey – 22.54 – 2nd place – NCAA automatic
Lisa Barber – 23.01 – 4th place – NCAA automatic
Demetria Washington – 23.72 – 7th place

Lashinda Demus – 51.24 – 1st – NCAA’s fastest time – personal best
Demetria Washington – 51.43 – 2nd – NCAA’s 2nd fastest time

400m hurdles
Tiffany Ross – 55.75 – 1st place – SEC, stadium and school record – NCAA auto
Lashinda Demus – 56.92 – 2nd place – NCAA automatic
Tacita Bass – 57.78 – 4th place – NCAA provisional
Shevon Stoddart – 57.93 – 5th place – NCAA provisional

4x100m relay
Lewis, Washington, L. Barber, Bailey – 43.95 – 2nd place – seasonal best – NCAA automatic

4x400m relay
Lewis, Stoddart, Ross, L. Barber – 3:30.68 – NCAA automatic – 1st place

Heather Nisbet – 124′ 11 – 8th – personal best

Pole Vault
Rachel Farabee – no height
Karle Butler – no height
Lori Tvarkunas – no height

Shot Put
India Odum – 14.26m – 8th place
Keri Groover – 13.92m – 9th place

Men’s Final Results

110m hurdles
Corey Taylor – 5th place – 13.80

Otis Harris – 45.78 – 5th place – NCAA provisional
Jon Fortenberry – 45.86 – 6th place – NCAA provisional – lifetime best

Otukile Lekote – 1:45.27 – SEC, stadium record – NCAA’s best time

4x100m relay
Burriano, Totton, Law, Taylor – 39.61 – 3rd – NCAA provisional

4x400m relay
Law, Lekote, Harris, Fortenberry
3:02.81 – 1st place – NCAA automatic

Scott Alsup – 192′ 7 – 9th – personal best
Fred Townsend – 162′ 6 – 16th
Garry Martin – 155′ 10 – 17th
Ben Yocum – 133′ 2 – 18th