July 19, 2002
Kingston, Jamaica – Not disappointing the crowd of more than 15,000 spectators at the World Junior Championships, South Carolina’s Lashinda Demus won the World Junior 400m hurdles title tonight, shattering her own World Junior record. Gamecock signees Kenneth Ferguson and Bershawn Jackson also captured medals, with Ferguson breaking the American high school record.
Demus ran a time of 54.70 to break her own World Junior record (set in June at the NCAAs – 54.85). Demus led from wire-to-wire, winning by almost a second and half.
“I am excited. I made sure not to over exagerate on this race – just to run it like every other race. I wanted to break the record, coming in, but that wasn’t my focus,” said Demus, a native of Palmdale, Calif. “I still have to run the 4x400m relay so this race is behind me. I felt a bit more fatigue in my legs after this race compared to the NCAA meet. I heard the crowd, but not the announcer so I didn’t know the time or how close it was.”
Going into the season did she think about breaking the world junior record twice: “Seriously, coming into the season I didn’t think about the record. I just wanted to make the NCAA Championships. Once I made it there I just gave it all I could. When I broke it the first time I just wanted to come here and break it again. (did she have a time in mind?): Actually I did and it was the time I ran – 54.70. It seemed like a good even time to break the record, not too far off, I didn’t have to try as hard.”
“Lashinda has a lot of upside. I have nothing but good things to say about the race. It was a perfect race. (on counting her steps as she run between hurdles): That’s normal for a great hurdler. Techinically she ran a very good race and a good pattern,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye.
Teammate Tiffany Ross, battling a hamstring strain, finished fourth at 56.52. “Lashinda did a great job. I am so proud of her. I thought I got out hard, but I guess everybody else ran a better race. I gave it my best so I am pleased with my effort,” said Ross, a native of Miami, Fla. on the 100m hurdles race tomorrow: “I will take an ice bath tonight and get ready for tomorrow. I want to be in the finals.”
“Tiffany was afraid to run her race because of her injury but as she moved on in the race she realized she was ok and got more confidence. She just didn’t have enough at the end to catch the two very talented Jamican runners. I am proud of her effort,” said Frye.
On the men’s side Gamecock signee Kenneth Ferguson won the silver medal with a time of 49.38, shattering the American high school record (Patrick Mann, 1984, 50.02).
“I didn’t off really fast, but I relaxed too much in the backstretch and that’s why he got me,” said Ferguson, a native of Detroit, Mich. “This was a real good learning experience for me. It will help me as I train. I am thrilled I got the high school record – I wanted it all year long.”
Another Gamecock signee Bershawn Jackson won the bronze medal with a time of 50.00. Jackson won the USA Junior title in June.
“I am disppointed, but I wanted to win. I had a bad race, but I have had a good experience. I stuttered stepped too much. I need to practice better. I never thought I would lose so I am disappointed,” said Jackson, a native of Miami, Fla.
Earlier in the day, Ferguson won his heat with the second fastest time of the day at 14.04. It was just his second race, lifetime, over the 42 inch hurdles (high school hurdles are 36 inches high). He will compete in the semi-finals tomorrow.
“I felt pretty confident before the race running into a negative headwind. I think I will be even more ready for the semi-finals. I felt strong today and I will be looking for a personal best in the semi-finals,” said Ferguson, a graduate of Mumford High in Detroit. Is there a difference for you, switching to the 42 inch hurdles: “There is a big difference because a lot of these kids have been running over the taller hurdles for awhile and I have just been competing at the high school level. I have practiced high school heights all year and this is my third time competing over this height.”