“The Penn Relays are a great thing and anything can happen here. I was happy to win but I should have ran faster with better weather.”
“We ran for the experience here. It was great. The crowd was really into it. It reminded me of the World Championships in 2001. The crowd is a great help and I was glad I could help my team win.”
Q & A with the Shuttle Hurdle Team that set the World Record
Question: You guys ran a decent race out there, how does that make you and the team feel? Corey Taylor: The race was good. We had a couple of injuries when we ran up at Queen of Peace last weekend. We had to make a couple of adjustments and those helped us come up with the win today.
Q: Can you comment on how it felt to bring you’re A-game to the Penn Relays? Corey Taylor: I love the Penn Relays. Our fans always come out with strong support and our team is pumped for the event weeks before time. When we came out here, it just felt right. We came out running with our heads up.
Q: How was this race different from your last few? Charles Ryan: Our performance at this run felt great. We came out two weeks ago and didn’t run up to our expectations. We came out here to win the event and I mean we blew it out. I know we ran strong and our time is going to show it.
Q: It must feel good to have this kind of performance at the Penn Relays Charles Ryan: I’ve never been here before. I’m from California and this is just amazing. Coming out here really makes the team pull together. We did that today.
Q: You guys had a good time today. How did the changes help you get to that time? Fred Townsend: The changes we made really helped us come out here and win today. It’s a great feeling.
Q: You guys had good timing with the changes for the Penn Relays. How does it feel to have that kind of performance in front of this crowd? Fred Townsend: The Relays are crazy, I love them. Our team had some pretty good performances earlier today, and right now is definitely an improvement from some other times I’ve been here.
Q: How’d the changes affect the team’s performance? Head Coach Curtis Frye: To run as fast as we did today, to run as fast as Allen Johnson and those caliber people, to break an American record, it is a great honor. I was there the day Allen’s team won. It’s an honor to have the same feeling his team did too.
More Quotes from Coach Frye
On scratching the men’s 4x400m relay team from the Championship heat: We had to scratch our men’s 4x400m relay team because Otukile Lekote is ill and Kenneth Ferguson has strained a hamstring a bit. They both could run, but it’s too early in the year and there’s too much left for them to go out and end our season by getting hurt in this cold weather.
Comments on the 109th Penn Relays: The meet went well; the women ran a great 4x200m relay. In that relay, we had splits of 22.5, 21.9, 23.8 and 22.7. That split of 21.9 is one of the top split times in Penn Relays history. We know that Miki runs a 22 flat so if she runs, we can win that relay race. We had a great effort by a lot of people. Corey Taylor did a good job by stepping up and getting into the mix in the hurdles. We’ve found some people that can do some different things, and that’s just what this meet does. People step up and you find out who you can count on so when you get to the national championships, you know exactly what you have.
Coach Frye on the men’s shuttle hurdle relay team setting a world record: The Gamecocks won the College Men’s Shuttle Hurdles Championship of America as USC’s quartet of Corey Taylor, Fred Townsend, Charles Ryan and Kenneth Ferguson ran an American and World-Record time of 53.94. It eclipsed the previous collegiate record of 54.40 set by the 1981 Tennessee team that featured Willie Gault on the anchor leg and surpassing the world record previously held by a foursome that featured current Carolina Volunteer Assistant Coach Allen Johnson, set in 1999.
“Our men were great today,” said Carolina Head Coach Curtis Frye. “It’s not that we ran a record, it’s who ran the record and who previously held the record. Our kids, a bunch of college kids, ran great and we beat a time set by Allen Johnson, Terry Keese, Duane Ross, and Steve Brown. They also beat the collegiate mark set by Tennessee. For me, who favors the hurdles, it’s fantastic. I never anticipated us setting the record.”
“We just tried to be the number one college team. Tennessee has beaten us earlier this year at the Florida Relays and at the Sea Ray Relays. It was phenomenal. I didn’t think that would happen. We had a group consisting of a freshman, two juniors, and a senior – sometimes you just catch the right day.
On Lashinda Demus and the Women’s Shuttle Hurdle: “Lashinda Demus was just so passive on the second time we ran the shuttle hurdles. The first time, she was very aggressive. Having to run again because of the error with the hurdles was very disconcerting to everyone. Our women’s relay teams are as good as our men. You have to give your hat off to LSU – they swept today’s relays and ran a great race.”
On both 4x400m Relay teams’ performances on Friday: “All you can do here is advance. We go out and try and run a good race by our standards. Today, we gave a lot of people the opportunity to run that usually don’t run. Adrian Durant came through today – he’s been running great lately. Durant ran a 46 second split in his leg of the 4x400m relay. Thomas Lewis has never scored at a big meet before and he’s taken us into the finals. It’s great experience for Durant and Lewis, a freshman and a sophomore, respectively. They got us into the championship. Otis Harris had a fantastic lead-off in the 4x400m relay as well.
On Lashinda Demus’ injury: “Lashinda has a strained arm but still came through. We’re just trying to do the best we can. Our women are in the championship of the 4x200m and 4x400m relays. We won the 4x100m and 4x400m relays last year, so we’re doing well. We’re a little beat up but our younger kids are stepping up. They are gaining some valuable experience this weekend.”
Head coach Curtis Frye is wearing the “yellow hat” this weekend, a prestigious honor for serving as the honorary college women’s referee. He is one of only five honorary referees at the Penn Relays. “The yellow hat is representative of the meet referee, the person who overturns or upholds officials’ rulings,” said Frye. “For college coaches, it’s an honorary award. It goes to the coach who has the most wins who hasn’t been awarded the honor before. In 100 years, only 100 other people have been given such an honor and I am proud to have been selected.”
“I used to think that the honor was just who was the favorite coach, but I found out this week that it is an earned honor. I’ve always seen LSU, Texas, and Florida coaches wear the hat in years past, but this year I found out it was awarded another way.”
On Day One of the Penn Relays: “Today was a good day. We made the finals we were expected to make. Our women have a challenge ahead of them – we will see how much they can accomplish when they don’t have their top star Miki Barber. Last year we won four out of five and I expect us to be in the top three in the relays. We had a big day out of Keri Groover and Antoinette Wilks. They both performed well today.”
On Miki Barber: “Miki Barber has a strained hamstring. We don’t want to push her and we want her to be healthy. Our goal for her is to be ready for the Southeastern Conference meet on May 16-18. She’s just not physically able to compete this weekend.”
On the cold weather and chance for rain affecting the athletes this weekend: “If it is cold and wet, it is cold and wet on everybody. It is just a preparation for something to come. I remember a few years ago we competed at Buffalo, N.Y. where it was 37 degrees and the wind chill factor in the 20s, and that was the national championships. You just have to be prepared, you have to adjust, you have to be flexible. Those who adjust and are flexible are the ones that will be successful. We’ve got a bunch of tough athletes and they are the defending national champions for a reason. Adversity brings out winners.”