Feb. 6, 2004
NEW YORK, N.Y. – South Carolina track stars of the past, present and future were showcased at the 97th Verizon Millrose Games Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Carolina connections collected victories in four events, including a sweep of the men’s and women’s 4×400 relays, at America’s premier indoor track meet.
The first Gamecock win of the night came when the foursome of Stephanie Smith, Shevon Stoddart, Tawana Watkins and Lashinda Demus posted a time of 3:43.78 for a 4×400 triumph. Stoddart gained the lead for USC in a back-and-forth battle with Florida before Demus capped the victory after Gator exchange miscue.
USC’s men’s 4×400 squad also notched a victory as Rodney Martin, Derron Flood, Adrian Durant and Aaron Luster ran a time of 3:21.22. Martin gained a strong Carolina lead and the remaining trio protected the advantage to cross the line first.
Reigning indoor world champion and current volunteer assistant coach Allen Johnson dominated the 60m elite hurdles field with a winning time of 7.43. His time was 12-hundredths of a second better than second-place and marked a new Millrose Games and Madison Square Garden record. Johnson was named the meet’s outstanding performer for his efforts.
Erica Whipple finished fourth in the women’s collegiate 60m dash with a time of 7.57 while Stoddart, a native of nearby Uniondale, N.Y., finished fourth in the collegiate 60m hurdles with a time of 8.60 in her homecoming. Charles Ryan placed fourth in the men’s collegiate 60m hurdles with a time of 8.10 to round out the current Gamecocks competing in the meet.
Current volunteer assistant coach Melissa Morrison placed third in the women’s 60m elite hurdles with a time of 8.03, finishing behind only Gail Devers, who ran a world-leading time of 7.76, and Perdita Felicien.
Former USC star Demetria Washington placed third in the women’s 500-yard run.
Former USC star Demetria Washington placed third in the women’s elite 500-yard run with a time of 1:05.47 while former Carolina standout Otukile Lekote placed sixth in the men’s elite 800m run with a time of 1:53.42.
Dawn Ellerbe placed third in the women’s weight throw with a distance of 73’2″.
Carolina signee Natasha Hastings led her high school team to the girls’ 4×400 title, running the anchor leg for A. Philip Randolph High.
The Verizon Millrose Games will be aired by NBC on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. EST. Complete results from the Verizon Millrose Games can be found at the meet’s official website: www.verizonmillrosegames.com.