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June 12, 2004

Austin, TX – USC finished off the NCAA Championships with two runner-up finishes on the women’s side – finishing in the top 10 for the ninth straight year.

South Carolina junior Lashinda Demus ran a personal best to finish as the runner-up in the 400m hurdles tonight in the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and in the last event of the night USC’s 4x400m relay was the runner-up with a time of 3:28.09.

USC’s women finished seventh with 24 points. The USC men were 31st with eight points. UCLA won the women?s title with 69 points to LSU?s 68 points. Arkansas won the men’s title with 65.5 points with Florida finishing as the runner-up with 49 points.

The top 10 finish by USC’s Women was it’s ninth straight top 10 finish outdoors. They are joined by only Texas and UCLA to boost this honor.

“Finishing in the top 10 seventh- improving on our indoor finish is incredible,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye.

“I am really pleased with how well those two young ladies did in the 400m hurdles – Shevon and Lashinda,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye, an assistant coach with the USA women’s Olympic team this year (sprints, relays). “Sheena (Johnson of UCLA) and Lashinda are two great athletes that should make the Olympic team. Lashinda doesn’t take losing well but it’s all preparation for the Olympic Trials for both of them, I am encouraged by the way both ladies ran. I have nothing negative to say.”

The women’s 4x400m relay was the runner-up to LSU with a time of 3:28.09. The relay, with all four garnering All-American honors, included Shevon Stoddart, Lashinda Demus, Stephanie Smith and Khalilah Carpenter.

“Before the race we just said let’s get it done and said a prayer together to help us get it through it,” said Stoddart.

Giving the crowd a preview to next months’ US Olympic Trials in Sacramento, UCLA’s Sheena Johnson and Demus ran neck in neck with Johnson clocking 53.54 to Demus’ 54.22. Demus had been battling a sore hamstring from the NCAA regional.

Demus’ chopped .30 seconds off her own personal best to finish second after winning the event her freshman year. She did not compete at the NCAA meet last year.

Teammate Shevon Stoddart was sixth with a time of 57.16 in the 400m hurdles. She was fifth her freshman year.

“I didn’t get out like I wanted,” said Demus. “I felt tight coming home. It was a good race, a good effot and Sheena won fair and square. I am normally a better finisher than that. I have more training and more meets prior to Olympic Trials next month.”

“I got out a little slow,” said Stoddart. “I have a week of training and then I will compete at the Jamacian Olympic Trials.”

Gamecocks in the Final Day

Women’s 400m hurdles
Lashinda Demus – 2nd place – 54.22 – personal best – school record
Shevon Stoddart – 6th place – 57.16

Women’s 4x400m relay
NCAA runner-up — 3:28.09
(Shevon Stoddart, Lashinda Demus, Stephanie Smith, Khalilah Carpenter)