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Feb. 12, 2004

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South Carolina returns to the “Big Apple” for its second consecutive weekend in New York. The Gamecocks will compete at the Armory Collegiate Invitational, held at the Armory Track Center. USC is part of a field that includes some of the nation’s top track and field teams in Purdue, Texas (men), and Seton Hall, as well as SEC foes Georgia, LSU and Tennessee (women). The meet begins Friday and continues through Saturday.

ON THE WEB:For schedules, results and more information on this weekend’s meet, click on the Armory Collegiate Invitational Page of

WOMEN TO WATCH: Erica Whipple has won three of four 200m races this season and finished second in the other … Lashinda Demus has won both of her 400m races this season, each at Florida … Freshman Stephanie Smith has finished second or better in three of four 400m races this season, including one victory.

MEN TO WATCH: Rodney Martin Jr., has two wins and a second-place finish in the 200m … Tony Allmond has recorded two runner-up finishes in the long jump.

RANK AND FILE: This week’s Trackwire team poll and “Dandy Dozen” individual rankings list the following Gamecocks:

Women – USC (14th); Lashinda Demus (3rd in 400m); Erica Whipple (7th in 200m); Ronnetta Alexander (7th in 60m hurdles); Chelsea Hammond (7th in pentathlon); Shevon Stoddart (8th in 400m); Stephanie Smith (10th in 400m); Kemesha Whitmire (12th in the long jump); 4×400 relay (4th).

Men – USC (18th); Tony Allmond (3rd in long jump); Rodney Martin, Jr., (5th in 200m); Fred Townsend (8th in heptathlon); 4×400 relay (9th).


Lashinda Demus owns the SEC’s top 400m time and is ranked third nationally in the event.



BEST IN THE SEC: USC owns two of the SEC’s top times this season and both were recorded on the same day. Lashinda Demus ran a league-best 400m time of 52.64 at the Gator Invitational on Feb. 1. Also in that meet, the women’s 4×400 relay team bested their own league-leading time with a new best of 3:33.15.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: South Carolina makes its second of two consecutive weekend appearances in New York City with the Armory Collegiate Invitational. USC athletes also competed at the Millrose Games on Feb. 6 at Madison Square Garden. New York City is one of three locations in which Carolina will compete twice during the indoor season, with double doses of Lexington, Ky., and Gainesville, Fla., also on the schedule.

THE BIG APPLE: Competing in New York City means a homecoming for several Gamecocks who hail from the New York metro area and the Empire State. The area’s Carolina contingent includes All-Americans Chelsea Hammond (Elmont, N.Y./Memorial High), Shevon Stoddart (Uniondale, N.Y./Uniondale) and Tawana Watkins (Newark, N.J./John F. Kennedy). Other native New Yorkers on the USC women’s roster include: Rhashida Abdul-Malik from Springfield Gardens, Ronnetta Alexander from Williamsville, Akilah Bates from Flushing and Julie Reale from Wallkill. The men’s roster includes New Jersey natives Adrian Durant from Teaneck and Matt Schreiber from Little Silver.

USC SWEEPS RELAYS AT MILLROSE GAMES: The USC men’s and women’s 4×400 relays completed a sweep of the events at the Millrose Games, 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 the 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.

Allen Johnson TAKES BITE OF BIG APPLE: USC volunteer assistant coach Allen Johnson posted a record-setting performance at the Millrose Games in New York City. The reigning indoor world champion 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 earned the meet’s outstanding performer accolade for his efforts.