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Jan. 15, 2004

Weekly Release in PDF Format
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Complete Kentucky Invitational Schedule in PDF Format
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s track and field teams travel to Lexington, Ky., for the Kentucky Invitational this weekend. The two-day meet opens Friday and continues through Saturday. In addition to the host Wildcats, other schools scheduled to participate include: SEC foes Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, along with Appalachian State, Clemson, Eastern Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio State and Wake Forest.

Competition begins Friday night with the pole vault, high jump and weight throw and concludes that evening with the 4×800 meter relay. Action resumes Saturday beginning with the high jump and track events throughout the day. Results will be available following each day’s events on and on Kentucky’s website,

USC opened its indoor season last weekend at the Carolina Big 12 Meet at Chapel Hill, N.C. The Gamecock men’s and women’s teams are each ranked 10th in Trackwire’s first team poll of the 2004 season.

WOMEN TO WATCH: Erica Whipple won her first 200m competition of the season last weekend at North Carolina. She also recorded a top-five finish in the 60m … Freshman Stephanie Smith is coming off an impressive collegiate debut after placing second in the 400m dash at UNC … Chelsea Hammond placed second in the long jump and fourth in the high jump at UNC.

MEN TO WATCH: Junior college transfer Rodney Martin, Jr., was victorious in his first meet as a Gamecock, winning the 200m dash at North Carolina. He also recorded a top-four finish in the 60m … Chris Steddum began his senior season in style by finishing first in the pole vault, besting the field by nearly a foot … William Emase opened the season with a victory in the 800m.

VAULTING INTO 1ST, 2ND, 3RD AND 4TH: South Carolina dominated the pole vault competition at the Carolina Big 12 Meet, finishing 1-2-4 with a former Gamecock placing third. Chris Steddum paced the field by clearing 16’6.75″ to win the event. Trey Bell was runner-up, former Gamecock Jared Farabee finished third, and Greg Royster placed fourth, all clearing the bar at 15’7″.

INSTANT SUCCESS: Newcomer Rodney Martin, Jr., headlined a bevy of USC track and field newcomers who made an impact in the 2004 opener at North Carolina. Martin won the 200m with a time of 21.55 and finished fourth in the 60m.

A number of athletes showed well in their collegiate debuts, including highly-touted freshmen,Stephanie Smith, who finished as runner-up in the 400m,and Ronetta Alexander, who took second in the 60m hurdles. Redshirt freshman Shay Shelton earned second-place in her first meet and freshman distance runners, Karen Wigal and Nicki Breves, recorded top-five finishes in the 3000m and the mile.

Redshirt freshman Jacob Minskey placeed fourth in the weight-throw while freshman Precious Akins finished sixth in the shot and seventh in the weight throw.

MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME: South Carolina’s trip to Lexington, Ky., for the Kentucky Invitational will be one of two meets in which the Gamecocks compete in the “Bluegrass State” during the 2004 indoor season. Carolina returns to Lexington on Feb. 28-29 for the SEC Indoor Championships, hosted by the University of Kentucky.