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May 18, 2003

Recap?|? Complete Results?|? Notes

Head Coach Curtis Frye

“Our kids are at a level where we expect to have a number of champions. “We finished off the meet is a great way and are very happy about that. Both the men and women picked it up and took it to a different level despite the fact that we were fighting a number of injuries. They battled back and showed their resiliency.”

“We’re competing tough right now. Our kids have set some good times today and we’re in it. Our women are fighting for the top three spots right now. We’ve had some good things happen today. We are sending two women to the finals in the 400m dash and three women to the finals in the 100m dash; that’s more than expected.”

“I’m a little disappointed in our hurdles today; however, Antoinette Wilks did make the finals. We still have a lot of bullets left, we still are fighting, but we need some things to happen. On the women’s side, Florida and Arkansas are both doing really well and Florida is dominating the meet right now with their throwers.”

“We didn’t get the points we wanted in the long jump, but we’ve had some other good things happen. Erica Whipple set a personal best in the 100m dash and Aleen Bailey easily won her heat in that event.”

“Our men have had a great day. We’re sending at least three to the finals tomorrow. Corey Taylor and Kenneth Ferguson both set great marks in the hurdles today. Our men had two very good times in the 100m dash. Shamus Singletary and Adrian Durant did well and both are on our 4x100m relay team. It makes our 4x100m relay team look good when two of our runners get sub 10.50 times in the 100m dash. We’re are looking for a big day from our 4x100m relay team tomorrow.”

“William Emase had a very good 1,500m run today. He’ll be competing in the finals tomorrow. Jonathan Fortenberry and Otis Harris both made the finals of the 400m dash. Those are two good guys in the finals of that race that have a good shot of winning. Adam Bishop made the finals of the shot put and will get us some points there. We put some points on the board today.”

“Our men are doing well right now. Tennessee has had an incredible meet at home. We still have a shot at the top five, but it’s only a shot. Anything can happen when it’s only a shot, when there’s still a chance. Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State and South Carolina will all compete for the top five spots. This truly is the greatest conference in America.”

On Fred Townsend’s SEC record in the 110m hurdles of the decathlon: “Fred had a great run. He has run faster but not during the decathlon. Even after that performance, he is in a tough fight as the field in this decathlon is the best the SEC has seen in some time. If he can finish in the top five it was be great.”

On day two of competition: “It was a day that saw its ups and downs. We had third and fourth place finishes in the heptathlon by our women and that puts some points up on the scoreboard for us. A number of our women advanced in the 200m dash and the 400m hurdles. On the men’s side, Kenneth Ferguson had a good time that was the best of the preliminaries. Otukile Lekote is battling a calf injury, but was able to qualify for the finals in the 800m run.”

On the overall race for the championship: “We will be in a battle for the top three on the women’s side and for the top-five on the men’s side. It will be a tough road. Some people need to step up for us and work through the challenge and competition.”

Otis Harris

On winning the 400m dash, his first SEC Championship: “This is all I have dreamed of, ever since I entered the SEC. South Carolina was the only SEC school that recruited me, so this truly is a blessing from God, from my coach, from the trainers, from everyone. This truly is a family atmosphere and the trainers and all my teammates have helped me.”

On setting his personal record, as well as a school record: “I knew I was going to have to run a personal record if I was going to win the race. I just did the best that I could. I broke those records last year, broke them again last week at Clemson, so it’s not a big deal breaking the records that I did. I just want to get my time to 44 seconds.”

On Tennessee’s Gary Kikaya finishing a close second: “I knew that he was coming behind me. At home [at the SEC Quad Meet], he ran me down on the home stretch and beat me. He’s a tough competitor and I knew I had to get in front and just try to hold on and I was able to do that.”

Erica Whipple

On her winning the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy: “I didn’t expect to win it all. I was off doing my cool-down and I just heard my name being called. I was so tired, I could barely run over to accept the trophy. I’m just so happy to win the trophy, to win the championships, but everyone on my team is a champion. I think I’ve finally lived up to my billing out of high school. Last year, I didn’t make the finals of the 200m dash and barely made the finals of the 100m dash (and won them both this year). I don’t think it’s all sunk in yet. I know winning the 100 (meter) sunk in right away. But winning the 200 (meter) and the Commissioner’s Trophy hasn’t sunk in at all. It’s great to be the second athlete in a row from South Carolina to win it (Antoinette Wilks won the trophy last year), and it means a lot to win the MVP out of what is by far the best conference in the nation.

On setting a new personal record and school record in the 100m dash: “I’m so excited. I just wanted to come out here and do well. Of course I wanted to win, but I always want to just do my best. Whatever I was going to have to do, then I was going to do it. We were down there for a while before the race and I just prayed to God and I am just so happy with my time.

On setting the school record in the 100m dash twice in the past two days: “I didn’t know I broke the school record [either day]. It feels great to break the school record in this race twice in two days.”

On her win and personal record set in the 200m dash: “Anytime you can win a championship, of course it is going to feel great. I’m just glad I was able to do so in a great time. Stephanie Durst is a great competitor and to beat her, the defending champion, it’s great. I’m very excited. I knew I had set a personal record and that made it better.”

On her setting two personal records on Sunday within an hour of each other (100m and 200m dashes): “I’m excited. We have all these 4x200m relays that we run in and Coach Frye is always pushing us to do well.”

Kenneth Ferguson

On setting a personal record and school record in the 400m hurdles: “I wasn’t going out there to set a personal record, but I got a great start. I just pushed it from there and I can’t complain. I was having second thoughts about my race, going into the blocks for the 400m hurdles. I was very tired – it had been less than 45 minutes from when I ran the 110m hurdles and I barely had time to rest. But in the race, something got into my head and coming up on the last 200m, I heard my team calling for me and I just shifted into second gear.

“My goal today was to go for a 48.5 which I think I could have gotten had I not ran any other races and concentrated on the 400m hurdles, but I’m happy with what I have.”

“It feels great because a lot of people doubt me because I’m young and am only a freshman, so I’m just trying to prove that I can do it as a freshman and silence the skeptics.”

Tiffany Ross

“I’m just glad to be a part of the SEC – the best conference in the nation and I’m glad to get the win. It wasn’t my best race, but I got the time I needed to win. It’s been tough – I’ve been out a couple of meets, but I’m back and I’m just trying to lower my times with each race.”

“My goal is every year to just get better and better. Hopefully I’ll just take it one year at a time but my goal is to win the 400m hurdles again next year. I hope to go three for three, but it just feels great to get my second straight win in the 400m hurdles as a sophomore.”

Otukile Lekote

On winning the 4x400m relay: “We came out and tried our best. Most of us have been running in other events today so we are all pretty tired. It was a great race – we tried to give it our all. It’s great to defend our title. It pushes you even more because of that. The title was ours and we want to keep it.”

Adrian Durant

On winning the 4x400m relay: “It feels great. I’ve personally been looking for this since I didn’t make the finals of the 100m and 200m dashes. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to run in this race. I knew we could win. I wasn’t thinking about last year and defending our 4x400m relay title. That was last year and it is in the past. Today was all that mattered and we went out and won.”