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

Jan. 9, 2003

Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina track and field teams get its season underway Saturday, Jan. 11, at the George Mason University’s Father Diamond Open in Fairfax, Va. A total of 22 schools are expected to compete in the meet. Teams expected to compete include Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and Georgetown.

“The purpose of this meet is to get the team on a facility that is a flat track like what we will run on at the SEC Championships in Florida this year,” said head coach Curtis Frye. “We also want to introduce our freshmen to major college competition and we want our senior class to start off with a solid season opener.”

The meet will wrap up an intense week of training for the Gamecocks. The Garnet and Black began preparing for the indoor season on Sunday with two-a-day practices.

“Overall for the indoor season, our expectations are that the women will be a top five team and the men should be a top 10 team,” said Frye. “Our women are the defending outdoor national champions, but we finished fourth and the men sixth, in the indoor season last year. We are looking for improvement at the NCAA Indoor Championships this season.”

This indoor season, Demetria Washington returns for her final stint as a Gamecock. A five-time All-American (20 total) in the 2002 season alone, Washington aims to lead Carolina to an indoor national title.

“We are very excited about the meet this weekend. It is a good time for us to spend together as a team,” said Washington. “I am excited because of our new team members. We had a good recruiting year and it will be fun to see us all come together.”

Also headlining the way for the women is Lashinda Demus (400m), Tiffany Ross (400m) and Aleen Bailey (60m/200m). Senior Miki Barber returns to the lineup after recovering from a broken foot, and will compete slowly in the early weeks but should be able to handle a full load by the Kentucky meet.

On the men’s side, SEC and NCAA champion Otis Harris is expected to help guide the Gamecocks.

“Our relay finished third at indoors last year so we are focusing on claiming the title this time around,” said Harris. “We want to do what the women did and win a national title. The difference between us, and the women, is that we are not expected to win. We are underdogs. As long as we stay healthy, hopefully we can prove doubters wrong.”

Harris will also look to the contributions of Jonathan Fortenberry (400m) and Otikule Lekote (800m) to keep the Gamecocks competitive, in addition to newcomers Kenneth Ferguson (hurdles) and Tony Allmond (jumps).