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May 31, 2002

Baton Rouge, LA – South Carolina begins competition later today in the third
day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The following is a
list of who will compete tonight:


Aleen Bailey enters the semi-finals in the sixth position … Bailey was the
SEC runner-up two weeks ago.

100m hurdles
Tiffany Ross will run in the semi-finals of the 100m hurdles 30 minutes after
the 400m hurdles … Ross enters the semi-finals in the ninth position …
She was the SEC runner-up in the event two weeks ago at SECs.

400m hurdles
Lashinda Demus – has the fastest time entering the finals … finished second
to teammate Tiffany Ross at the SEC meetTiffany Ross – enters the finals with the third fasest time … won the SEC
meet, shattering an 11-year old SEC record
Shevon Stoddart – enters the finals in the No. 7 position … was fourth at
the SEC meet.

Otukile Lekote – has the fastest qualifying time … the defending champion,
who won the SEC meet two weeks ago, has the fastest time in the world in 2002
at 1:45.24 … goal is to 1. defend 2. break the NCAA record

women’s 4x100m relay
Erica Whipple, Demetria Washington, Lisa Barber and Aleen Bailey will attempt
to improve on USC’s third place finishes the past two years.

men’s 4x100m relay
Shamus Singletary, Andre Totton, James Law and Corey Taylor enter the finals
seeded No. 6.

pole vault
The 2001 SEC Outdoor Champion, Chris Steddum, enters the competition seeded
No. 12 with a jump of 17′ 7 3/4 … Was eighth indoors at the NCAA
Championships and finsihed as the runner-up two weeks ago at the SEC meet.


The talk of the meet yesterday was USC freshman Jon Fortenberry.
Fortenberry dropped the stick after receiving the hand-off from Otis Harris.
He had to step off the track to pick it up and then started to run. Quite a
ways back he passed a Clemson runner about the 200m mark. With about 100m to
go, Fortenberry made his move from dead last to third place at the finish
line. His team made the finals with Fortenberry smiling. “I have never seen
a collegiate athlete pick up the stick, run and finish like that. Just
simply amazing,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye.


If Tiffany Ross, Lashinda Demus or Shevon Stoddart win the 400m hurdles
tonight, they will be the first Gamecock freshmen woman to win an NCAA title.
Otukile Lekote became the first Gamecock freshman male to win an NCAA title
when he won the 800m outdoor title in 2001.


Lashinda Demus and Otukile Lekote both had the same idea after the team
meeting today – more rest! USC’s athletes, on race day, like to nap, hang
out and watch tv in their rooms and relax in the few hours before they race.
“I want to sleep today,” said Demus. It must be working because both enter
the finals with the No. 1 time.


USC’s women would like nothing better than to win the NCAA title tomorrow
night. “We want the meet to come down to the last event – the 4x400m relay,”
said Frye. If so, you have to like the Gamecocks who came in with the
collegiate record of 3:26.98.

Each morning the two Gamecock teams meet at 8:30 am for a ‘shake-out’.
Then they eat breakfast and meet as a team at 10 am. Coach Frye talks with
the team about the day ahead, schedules, etc. Each meeting ends the same
way: Coach Frye asks: “If it’s to be …” The team responds “It’s up to me.”
Coach Frye says: “Who Can?” The team responds: “I Can!” Coach Frye then
says “What’s ta do?” The team responds: “Let’s do it.”

Today Coach Frye asked Coach Rosenthal if he had anything to add and
Coach Rosenthal yelled out “Who’s spikes?” and the entire team yelled back
“Who’s spikes?” The team, coaches and staff all laughed until some were
crying. Guess you had to be there.