Jan. 9, 2004
The South Carolina men’s and women’s track teams begin their 2004 season with an indoor meet Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. Eight other schools will compete, including host North Carolina, in the Carolina Big 12 meet at the Eddie Smith Field House.
Saturday’s meet begins at 10 a.m., with the final event slated for 5:05 p.m. Results will be available following the meet on USCsports.com as well as UNC’s website, TarHeelBlue.com and on www.flashresults.com/UNC.
WHO TO WATCH ON THE MEN’S SIDE: USC features Jonathan Fortenberry in the 400m, who looks to rebound after an injury-plagued 2003. Healthy and running strong during the indoor season, Fortenberry earned Southeast Co-Athlete of the Year honors (with teammate Otukile Lekote) from the U.S. Track Coaches Association. He turned in a second-place SEC finish and finished fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
After an outstanding first season at USC, long jumper Tony Allmond returns to chase SEC and NCAA titles. Allmond saved his best for last in 2003, shattering the school’s long jump record and finished second in his first NCAA Outdoor Championships meet after an All-American indoor season.
Senior Fred Townsend returns to lead the men’s decathletes after earning his first All-American honor in the decathlon last season, capping a solid outdoor season with a ninth-place NCAA Outdoor finish and a sixth-place finish at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
Former NCAA pole vault runner-up Chris Steddum returns for the indoor season in 2004. Last season, he earned SEC Outdoor Athlete of the Week honors in May after winning the Orange and Purple Classic at Clemson and was runner-up at the SEC Indoor Championships.
WHO TO WATCH ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE: Leading Carolina’s women’s returnees is sprinter Erica Whipple, who earned the SEC’s Commissioner’s Trophy for her performance at the league’s outdoor championships. The junior won her first conference crown with a personal-best time of 22.82 in the 200m and posted a school-record 100m time of 11.15 on her way to finishing second.
The women will also feature Lashinda Demus, the reigning NCAA Indoor Champion in the 400m, and talented returnee Tawana Watkins, the 2003 U.S. Junior 400m hurdles champion. Shevon Stoddart, a four-time All-American, will also be a factor in relay success and in the 400m and 400m hurdles.
Chelsea Hammond returns to lead USC in the heptathlon and jumps. The junior earned the first All-American honors of her collegiate career with a 10th-place NCAA Outdoor finish in the long jump.
USC NAMES 2004 TEAM CAPTAINS: The Gamecock track and field captains for 2004 include Tony Allmond, Adam Bishop, Otis Harris, Chris Steddum and Fred Townsend for the men, and Rhashida Abdul-Malik, Jenny Lake, India Odum, Shevon Stoddart and Erica Whipple for the women.