May 12, 2004
“It’s gonna be a heck of a track meet on both sides,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye.
USC will travel to Oxford, Mississippi to compete in the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 13-16. Last year the women finished fourth and the men were sixth. In addition, sophomore Erica Whipple became the second Gamecock in as many years to win the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy as the high points scorer. Whipple was the sixth Gamecock to win this award since 1996. Arkansas won the men’s title last year, with Florida winning the women’s title.
USC will then rest next weekend prior to competing in the NCAA East Regional May 28-29 in Gainesville, Fla.
South Carolina won seven events last weekend at the Clemson Purple and Orange Classic. In the meet prior to CU, Penn Relays, USC won three titles: the women’s 4x400m relay, the women’s long jump (Chelsea Hammond) and the men’s discus (Brook Antonio).
COACH COMMENTS ON THE TEAM RACES:
“The women’s team race will be between Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Arkansas. There is probably a margin of 10 points in anyone of those teams – it will be a tight team race. Arkansas’ women are tough – it’s going to be a lot of fun the next few days.
“I would expect that Florida’s men will be challenged by Arkansas and LSU with Tennessee, Mississippi State and Georgia all fighting it out as well. USC will have to fight to with Kentucky and Ole Miss to move ahead of the top pack. Arkansas’s men are very good as well as Florida and LSU. It’s going to be a heck of a track meet on both sides – the best conference meet in the country no question.”
COACH COMMENTS ON THE WOMEN’S INDIVIDUALS:
“The team race is going to be very tight – between four teams most likely: Arkansas, Florida, LSU and South Carolina,” said Frye.
“Individually we need to get a lot out of Lashinda Demus, Erica Whipple and Shevon Stoddart. They are our veterans, they have all come a long way. They, along with Chelsea Hammond, are the building blocks of this team right now. We need the upper classmen to do what they are capable of and for the young people to step up. I expect that Khalilah Carpenter and Alexis Joyce will also continue to run well in both the 100m and the 200m. Kemesha Whitmire is improving with each meet as is Cheryl Terrio.
“Jenny Lake is very bright and should score at the conference meet. We just need everyone to step up and do what they are there to do – not try to do anything crazy. Rhashida Abdul-Malik in the triple jump should also score.
“The freshmen class has to do a good job with Stephanie Smith (fourth in the 200m, fifth in the 400m indoors), Precious Akins (discus), Ronnetta Alexander (hurdles), Chiquita Martin (hurdles) – they all have to step up and show their maturity for us to finish well as a team. Ronnetta and Chiquita ran the hurdles very well at Clemson last weekend – they are ready.
“The list goes on and on – we just need to perform.”
COACH COMMENTS ON THE MEN’S INDIVIDUALS:
“On the men’s side we have to piece together our team,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. We aren’t a star-studded team – we don’t have one person that will go to the meet and score 20 points. But if we work hard, do what we are capable of, we hope we can finish 7th or 8th which would be a good finish for us.
“We are a little beat up, a little short-handed without Jon Fortenberry, Otis Harris and Kenneth Ferguson, but we put forth great efforts on the men’s side.
“Individually, we look for Tony Allmond to continue to jump well. He is No. 2 nationally. Fred Townsend is a bit dinged up, but hopefully he will be able to compete in the decathlon, hurdles and high jump. Tony Antonio has been throwing the discus well and we look for him to score in the hammer as well. On the track, Rodney Martin should score in the 200m, Aaron Luster could make the finals of the 100m and the 200m. We need both relays to do reasonably well – we have always been known for the 4×1 and the 4×4. I know that Greig Cryer and Greg Royster are both young, but we hope they can do some nice things in the long and triple jump and the decathlon and pole vault (respectively). I think Scott Alsup (javelin) and Adam Bishop (shot put) could help us as scorers. This bunch of young men has come a long way this year and I look forward to watching them mature more at the SEC meet.”
South Carolina’s women return nine athletes in seven events that scored at last year’s SEC Outdoor Championships. The men return five athletes in four events that scored in 2003. The men’s 4x400m relay and the women’s 4x100m relay and 4x400m relays also scored.
South Carolina’s women are ranked No. 5 this week in the Trackwire.com poll. The men are currently not ranked in the top 25.
CAN YOU SAY STRONG?:
In the latest Trackwire.com poll, Arkansas’ men are No. 1 with LSU, Florida and Auburn following in the 2-4 spots. There are six men’s teams in the top 25.
On the women’s side, LSU has taken over the No. 1 spot from UCLA. Six of the top 11 teams are from the SEC.
Further proving the strength of the conference – LSU’s men and women won the NCAA Indoor title in 2004 with Florida finishing as the runner-up on both sides!
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE:
Of the athletes currently competing for USC in 2004, three own SEC titles, including three with individual titles. Erica Whipple won the 200m dash at the 2003 outdoor championships en route to earning the Commissioner’s Trophy. Lashinda Demus won the 400m at the 2002 outdoor championships and has earned two additional titles in the 4×400 relay, including one at the 2003 indoor championships. Shevon Stoddart also owns two titles as part of 4×400 relay teams, including one at the 2002 indoor championships.
Demus did not compete last year at the SEC or NCAA Championships in 2003.
REGIONALS – NOT JUST A CONCEPT ANYMORE:
USC will compete in the NCAA East Regional Championship – May 28-29 in Gainesville, Fla.
Thus far the Gamecocks have qualified 28 women, nine men and relays on both sides (4x100m, 4x400m relays for both teams). The entire list of qualifiers can be found on page 7.
Last year, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships the Gamecock women were fourth, while the Gamecock men finished 10th. The women have been in the top 10 the past eight years, while the men have enjoyed top 20 finishes each of the last six years, including three finishes in the top 10.