June 22, 2003
PALO ALTO, Calif. – USC Freshman Kenneth Ferguson swept the USA Junior Championships in the men??s hurdles by recording victories in both 110m and 400m finals and freshman Tawana Watkins won the women??s junior 400m hurdles championship on the final day of competition at the USATF Championships on the campus of Stanford University. Both athletes will represent the U.S. at the Junior Pan American Games during July competition in Barbados.
“This was a great meet for us, and in particular the outstanding performances by Kenneth and Tawana,?? said head coach Curtis Frye. ??Some of our collegians were a bit tired after a long season but we had a great finish to an excellent season.??
Ferguson ran a time of 13.60 to win the 110m hurdles final after placing second in the event a year ago. The Detroit native??s time was 0.15 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher and just seven-hundredths of a second off his own personal best.
“I felt good during the race and I am starting to get some confidence back now after fighting injuries,?? said Ferguson. ??I wanted to forget about my injuries, come here and make the team. The NCAA??s were disappointing for me but I learned how to do a better job of staying healthy and that is something I can take into next year.??
Later in the day, Ferguson posted a time of 50.70 in the junior men??s 400m hurdles final to complete the sweep. He was the only multi-event winner in the USATF Junior Championships.
“It feels great to win the 400m race and it is nice to win two gold medals,?? added Ferguson. I am putting them on my awards stand in front of last year??s silver medals.??
Watkins won her 400m race with a time of 58.38, just one-one hundredth of a second in front of the event??s second-place finisher.
“Winning the U.S. Junior Championship means a lot,?? said Watkins. ??I am excited about the race. I feel like I could have run better but I am pleased with the result.??
Greig Cryer followed up his third-place finishes in Saturday??s junior long jump by placing seventh in Sunday??s junior triple jump competition with a mark of 48??6.25??.
Carolina signee Stephanie Smith placed first in the junior women??s 400m dash final with a time of 52.04 after a fifth-place finish in Saturday??s junior women??s 200m dash final. Her 400m finals time was the nation??s leading junior time this season.
USC volunteer assistant coach Melissa Morrison placed fourth in the women??s 100m hurdles final with a time of 12.70. The Bronze medallist at the Sydney Olympics was just two-hundredths of a second out of finishing in third place and qualifying for the World Championships. Her time was nine-hundredths of a second off the pace set by Gail Devers, who claimed her ninth U.S. title. Earlier in the day, Morrison ran a semifinal time of 12.70 to advance into the final round.