July 16, 2002
Kingston, Jamaica – In the first day of competition at the World Junior Track and Field Championships, USC’s rising sophomore Jon Fortenberry advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m. Also competing today were two of USC’s signees, Kenneth Ferguson and Bershawn Jackson, who also advanced. Ferguson paced the field with the fastest time of the day.
USC will compete in the 400m hurdles tomorrow for the men and the women. The women’s first round, with Tiffany Ross and Lashinda Demus, was cancelled. Fortenberry will also compete in the semi-finals of the 400m. Ferguson and Jackson will compete in the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles
Fortenberry, who said he felt sluggish during the race, ran a time of 47.16 to advance to the semi-finals. He won his heat out of lane one, considered difficult due to his height.
“I am glad to win my heat. It’s pretty tough for someone tall like me (6’3) to run in lane one,” said Fortenberry, a native of Marietta, Ga., who will also run on the USA’s 4x400m relay. “It’s so exciting running in this stadium with so many people.”
USC signee Kenneth Ferguson ran the fastest time of the day in the 400m hurdles with a time of 50.35, a personal best. His previous personal best was 50.52.
“I had a little trouble in the back stretch so I stretched out my stride a little bit,” said Ferguson, a native of Detroit Mich. and a product of Mumford High School. “I wanted to run a 50. race to get the semi-finals so I would get a good lane. I want to run the backstretch more smoothly in the semi-finals.”
Another Gamecock signee, Bershawn Jackson of Miami, Fla., also won his heat. Jackson ran a time of 51.29, the fourth best time of the day.
“I wanted to run the race nice and smooth. It felt great,” said Jackson, who won the USA Junior title. “I haven’t ever run in front of this many people – this is great. I wanted to do good today so I could return again and do well.”