Jan. 23, 2004
South Carolina travels to Gainesville, Fla., Sunday for the SEC Invitational. Track and field events are scheduled to begin simultaneously at 11 a.m. at the O’Connell Center. Other teams scheduled to compete are Auburn, Mississippi, Tennessee (women only) and the host Gators.
Last weekend, the Gamecocks totaled six victories and four runner-up finishes at the Kentucky Invitational, including a pair of wins by All-American Erica Whipple. The freshman duo of Ronnetta Alexander and Stephanie Smith each notched their first collegiate victories and Jonathan Fortenberry won his first race of 2004.
Results from the SEC Invitational will be updated throughout the day on Florida’s athletics website, www.gatorzone.com.
WOMEN TO WATCH: Erica Whipple is unbeaten in the 200m this season and owns a 60m victory … Freshman Stephanie Smith has finished no lower than second in the 400m, including a win last weekend … Ronnetta Alexander has finished no lower than second in the 60m hurdles, including a victory last weekend.
MEN TO WATCH: Jonathan Fortenberry has finished first and second in the 400m this season, including a win last weekend … Rodney Martin, Jr., won his first race of the season and has placed no lower than second in the 200m … Chris Steddum finished first in the pole vault at North Carolina … William Emase won the 800m in the first meet of the season.
RANK AND FILE: This week’s Trackwire team poll and “Dandy Dozen” individual rankings list the following Gamecocks:
Women – USC (18th); Erica Whipple (5th in 200m, 11th in 60); Stephanie Smith (6th in 400m); Ronnetta Alexander (6th in 60m hurdles); 4×400 relay (6th).
Men – USC (12th); Otis Harris (2nd in 400m); Tony Allmond (3rd in long jump); Fred Townsend (7th in heptathlon); Jonathan Fortenberry (8th in 400m); 4×400 relay (9th).
GETTING TO KNOW GAINESVILLE: South Carolina’s track and field teams might call Gainesville, Fla., its “home away from home” in 2004. The Gamecocks will compete in two indoor meets at the University of Florida, on consecutive weekends, with the SEC Invitational on Jan. 25 and the Gator Invitational on Feb. 1. In addition, USC will return twice during the outdoor season, for the Florida Relays on March 26-27 and the NCAA East Regional on May 28-29.
WHIPPLE WINS WEEKLY: All-American Erica Whipple has recorded victories in each of her first two meets this season, including a double-win last week. The junior sprinter is two-for-two in 200m races, winning with a time of 24.39 at North Carolina and with a provisional time of 23.25 to pace the field at the Kentucky Invitational. Also at Kentucky, Whipple won the 60m with a provisonal time of 7.44. Her two wins in Lexington, Ky., stand as the only dual-victory performance by a USC athlete at a indoor meet this season.