Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

The University of South Carolina is headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana this weekend for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. ?The women, ranked No. 3 by Trackwire, are hot off of the SEC title they won two weeks ago in Starkville, Miss. ? The men, who finished seventh at the SEC meet, are ranked No. 7 this week by Trackwire.

Last year USC’s women were fourth and USC’s men finished 19th. ?Tennessee won the meet on the men’s side and Southern Cal will look to defend its title on the women’s side.

? ?The meet, which begins with the heptathlon on Wednesday, May 29, ends on Saturday, June 1.

? ?USC will bring a full contingent of athletes, including its four nationally ranked relays. ?USC has six men qualified individually in five events and both of its relays. ?The women have eight qualified individually in 10 events and both of its relays. (see the list that follows).

? ?Otukile Lekote will look to defend the 800m title he won in Oregon last June, while both teams look to tack on more NCAA titles. ?All told, the USC women have won four NCAA individual outdoor titles and one relay. ?The men have won four NCAA individual titles and two relays.

? ?USC will look to score big points in the men’s and women’s sprints and hurdles. ?Tactia Bass should start the women’s bid off with a bang after winning the SEC title two weeks ago.

? ?”I think our ranking on the women’s side, scored on paper, is about where we should finish. ?But I know you need to run the track meet and that’s just a paper ranking. ?I am glad that we are that high. We are shooting to win, but that’s a very fair ranking,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye, in his fifth year at Carolina. ? “On the men’s side I think our guys are jelling and have had some fantastic practices. If you can get 28 points, you can finish higher than ninth. ?If we get our point total, we won’t worry about our finish.

? ?”UCLA has a tremendous paper lead on the women’s side. ?Tennessee has a huge paper lead but LSU is closing a bit. ?It will be hard for team’s to overcome them. ?But things can happen in the meet that you don’t count on. ?

Freshmen women – are they still freshmen?
? ?”Our kids are going to have some fear factor at the NCAA Championship. They have been through an NCAA Indoor Championship and there were some things they didn’t handle well,” said Frye. ?”Everyone else has freshmen they are depending on. ? I think our kids will do equally as well as any other elite level freshmen at the meet. ?They don’t have to break records or go outside their physical capabilities. ?They know that and they will manage quite well. ?Everybody recognizes their responsibilities and know they belong.”

A few keys to the women finishing in the top five?
? ?”Tacita Bass is a key and how she can manage the meet in the heptathlon,” said Frye. ?”If we can get off to a good start there, we can do well. Antoinette Wilks is on a big roll. She is an upperclassman. ?Our two freshmen intermediate hurdlers will also do well. They can have bad races in the first round (Lashinda Demus and Tiffany Ross) and still make it through. ? We are pretty solid because that is one of our major events.

? ?”Demetria Washington has always done well in this meet. ?I expect them to do well- not putting so much pressure on them. ?We don’t have to win every race we win and they realize that.”

On the men’s side?
? ?”We need to finish top two in the 4x400m relay. We can run with everybody now. I think our men realize that now,” said Frye. ?”Otukile Lekote is managing his races very well and his maturing so well. ?There are things he has to avoid in his race. ? But if he sets us up with a win – we have a number of events we can collect our next 10 points. ?

“Our two 400m runners- Otis Harris and Jon Fortenberry – need to get to the finals. ?They can do that. ?Corey Taylor and Chris Steddum know if they does what it took for him to get to the meet – they will both score.”

? ?”Our 4x100m relay is a bonus but we have always made the finals,” said Frye.

What about the ladies doubling?
? ?”It’s a tremendous double to run the 400m and the 400m hurdles. ?I would never do that to an ordinary athlete, but Lashinda has proven she is an extraordinary athlete,” said Frye. ?”Alison Beckford did it last year and it takes a unique athlete to do that. Tiffany Ross will run the 100m hurdles, the 400m hurdles and the relay. ? Her 100m hurdles race is 30 minutes after the 400m hurdles. ?It’s a gamble, but she really wanted to do that.

? ?”Lisa Barber is a gamble running the 200m and the 400m, but she is strong. ?Very fit. ?She can do it. ?We think she can be top five in the 400m, but she has just one hour rest on the finals day. ?That is a difficult task. ? The short sprint puts a little gamble on her legs and that is why she is running the 200m and the 400m and not the 100m and 200m. ?Her conditioning is right on.

? ?”Erica Whipple is also very fit and ready to run the relay. ?We have had some real good relay practices. ?I am pleased with what I have had seen. ?I like what I have seen the past couple of weeks from both our freshmen and our upperclassmen on both sides.

Gamecock Men's NCAA Outdoor QualifiersName ? ? ? ?    Time/Mark ? ? NCAA list100mAndre Totton ? ? ? ?10.23 ? ? ? 13
110m hurdlesCorey Taylor ? ? ? ?13.74 ? ? ? 14
400mOtis Harris 45.42 ? 8Jon Fortenberry 45.71 ? 12
800mOtukile Lekote ? ? ?1:45.27 ? ? 1
Pole VaultChris Steddum ? ? ? 17' 7 3/4 ? 12
4x100m relay(Duan Barrino, Andre Totton, James Law, Corey Taylor)? ? ? ?39.31 ? ? ? 4
4x400m relay(Jon Fortenberry, Otis Harris, Otukile Lekote, James Law)? ? ? ?3:02.49 ? ? 2
Gamecock Women's NCAA Outdoor Qualifiers100mName ? ? ? ? Time/Mark ? NCAA listAleen Bailey ? ? ?? 11.33 ? ? ? 6
200mAleen Bailey ? ? ? 22.54 ? ? ? 3Lisa Barber ? ? 23.01 ? ? ? 5
400mLashinda Demus ? ? 51.24 ? ? ? 1Demetria Washington ? ? 51.94 ? ? ? 3Lisa Barber ? ? 52.80 ? ? ? 14
100m HurdlesTiffany Ross ? ? ? ? 13.30 ? ? ? 10
400m HurdlesTiffany Ross ? ? ? ? 55.75 ? ? ? 1Lashinda Demus ? ? ? 56.64 ? ? ? ?4Shevon Stoddart ? ? 57.73 ? ? ? 11
Long JumpAntoinette Wilks ? ? ? ? 20' 5 1/4 ? ?9
Triple JumpAntoinette Wilks ? ? ? ? 42' 4 ? 21
HeptathlonTacita Bass ? ? 5598 points ? 3
4x100m relay(Khalilah Carpenter, Erica Whipple, Alexis Joyce, Aleen Bailey)? ? ? ?44.19 ? ? ? 64x400m relay(Tiffany Ross, Lashinda Demus, Lisa Barber, Demetria Washington)? ? ? ?3:26.98 ? ? 1

? ?USC has a number of performances in 2002 in the world’s top 15. ?Otukile Lekote’s performance at SEC Championship is No. 1 in the world in the 800m.

? ?On the women’s side, Aleen Bailey is No. 2 in the 200m with Lisa Barber sitting at No. 5 in the 200m. ?In the women’s 400m, Lashinda Demus’ performance is No. 5 and Demetria Washington’s is No. 7. ?In the women’s 400m hurdles, USC is No. 6 with Tiffany Ross and No. 11 with Lashinda Demus. ?

? ?USC’s women are ranked No. 3 nationally in Trackwire’s final poll this week. ?The men are ranked a season-high seventh. ?

Women's Trackwire      Top 101 ? ?UCLA ? ? ? ? ?     752 ? ?USC ? ? ? ? ? ?    703 ? ?South Carolina ? ? 684 ? ?LSU ? ? ? ? ? ?    525 ? ?Colorado ? ? ? ? ? 376 ? ?Kansas State ? ? ? 26? ? ?Florida ? ? ? ? ?  26? ? ?Arizona ? ? ? ? ?  269 ? ?Nebraska ? ? ? ? ? 2410 ? ?Texas ? ? ? ?     19
MEN'S TRACKWIRE TOP 91 ? ?Tennessee ? ? ? 832 ? ?LSU ? ? ? ? ? ? 713 ? ?Arkansas ? ? ? 374 ? ?SMU ? ? ? ? ? ? 335 ? ?Mississippi State 29? ? ?Florida ? ? ? ? ? 297 ? ?South Carolina ? ?258 ? ?Stanford ? ? ? ? ?249 ? ?Georgia ? ? ? ? ? 21? ? ?Nebraska ? ? ? ? ?21

? ?Otukile Lekote, a native of Ramotswa, Botswana is frequently teased by his American teammates about ”growing up in the wild in Africa, playing amongst the lions, tigers and elephants.” ?All animals Lekote had never seen in person before – until last week.

? ?WIS sports reporter Ric Garnie accompanied OT to the Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo, where Lekote saw, for the first time, a number of animals native to Africa, including a tiger, elephants, giraffes, bears and birds. ?”I was surprised by how open Columbia’s zoo was. ? I thought it would be more like a museum,” said Lekote. ?”It’s a wonderful zoo and I can’t wait to get back there. I still need to see the lions and the gorilla’s – they weren’t out when I walked around.”

His favorite animal: the tiger. ?His favorite time at the zoo: Feeding nectar to a flock of Australian birds, until they got a little rowdy. ?Just ask him about it!

? ?Freshman Lashinda Demus won the SEC’s Female Freshman of the Year Indoors. ?Another USC freshman, Tiffany Ross, might just win the honors outdoors, but not without a fight from Demus. ?

? ?Both put on a quite a show at the SEC Outdoor meet. ?Ross won the 400m hurdles at the SEC Championships with an SEC record time of 55.75. ?Demus was second in the 400m hurdles after winning the 400m at 51.24, defeating indoor champion and teammate Demetria Washington. ? Ross was the later the runner-up in the 100m hurdles with a personal best time of 13.30. ? ?Ross later won a leg of the SEC champion 4x400m relay.