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July 20, 2002

Kingston, Jamaica – USC’s Lashinda Demus and Tiffany Ross have to look back at their freshmen season with a smile as they will close out their first year of college on Team USA’s 4x400m relay at the World Junior Championships.

Consider this about the twosome: * They paired to help USC win its first NCAA title in women’s outdoor track and to aided USC’s effort in winning the SEC outdoor title. They also helped USC to a fourth place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet.

* They have a World Junior record, a World Junior title, two USATF Junior titles, an NCAA individual title, two NCAA relay titles, two SEC relay titles, three SEC records and a bevy of school records.

* All told, the twosome collected eight All-American honors in their freshmen season.

Today, after a luncheon and photo shoot with the IAAF, Tiffany and Lashinda sat down to talk about Jamaica, their freshmen year and what’s up for them next.

First, Tiffany, expand how your day today. I got up about 8:30 and did a shake-out (light running and drills on grass) and then ate breakfast. Lashinda and I then went upstairs, after our team meeting, and got ready for the luncheon.

The luncheon was really nice. It made us feel really special. I have never done a photo shoot and the four of us were striking poses, having a good time with the photographer (other two on the relay – Monique Henderson and Sanya Richards).

What are you plans in the 100m hurdles tonight? I just want to run a good enough time to make the finals. In the finals, I just want to run a PR. No predictions though.

Has Coach Frye given you and Lashinda any advice with the relay yet? No, not yet. I am sure he will tell us to go out there and run our hearts out.

What is the best part of being in Jamaica? Being with the fans and my USA teammates. The athletes we are competing with are world-class athletes. They will be at the World Championships in the next few years.

It’s also great how we all get along our team. We have had a great time getting to know each other.

What was your goal when you came in your freshman year? My first goal was to PR in my hurdles race. I had never been to the junior meet because of my high school schedule but I am glad that I had a chance to this year. I am glad I made the team and I have a chance to represent the United States.

Why did you improve so much this year? I trained really hard this year. It helps to train with Lashinda, Demetria, the Barbers – everyone. Coach Frye is a great coach. He does a great job with us.

I also trained with Melissa (Morrison, USA’s bronze medalist in the 100m hurdles in 2000) in the 100m hurdles. She really helped me a lot. Going across the hurdles with her was great. She could tell me when I made a mistake or what I was doing wrong and it helped me improve a lot. She is a wonderful person to work with.

What was the best moment of your freshman year? Winning SECs in the 400m hurdles and setting the SEC record. Also winning the SEC team title because everyone was so excited. We worked together and that made it even more special.

After your team won the NCAA title, you came back and were welcomed by the Gamecock fans at the baseball stadium. Where you surprised by the welcome of the Gamecock fans? I was just glad to see they came out to support. I feel like they really appreciated us that night. I was just very glad that we won and that the Gamecock fans are always there to support us.

Next up was Lashinda Demus. Lashinda, how soon after the 400m hurdles race did you talk to your dad? I called him about 15 minutes after my race. He was thrilled. I didn’t talk to my mom until this morning because she wasn’t there when I called last night. She answered the phone ‘Hello world record holder’.

After looking back at last night, setting the World Junior record? It was a relief feeling because that was a lot of stress on one person. I was relieved and the tension went away.

Did you feel a lot of pressure entering your freshman year? No, because I wasn’t picked to win. I was picked fourth in the 400m hurdles. That was fine with me. I felt no pressure.

Coming out here today and doing this photo shoot with a big time photographer from the IAAF – was it fun? I didn’t realize all the work he’d done. It was a lot of fun. I like having my picture taken. It was a nice memory.

What is your most special moment in Jamaica? We got a lot of royal treatment here. The crowd and the people have been great. I will always remember that. Winning the 400m hurdles was great and I am excited about running on the A relay of the 4x400m relay. I also liked the photo shoot a lot. This is a meet that will be set in stone in my mind for a long time.

What special memory of your freshman season will you carry with you to your sophomore year? Winning the SEC title at the 400m. That’s when I figured out how to run that race and it felt good.

Goals for next season? I plan to take it a day at a time. No predictions.

How well have the Gamecock fans received you since you won the NCAA title? They love the football team, but they have opened their eyes more and more to track. They are proud of us and know we did good.