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June 29, 2004

South Carolina sent four rising sophomores to the USA Junior Championships last weekend at Texas A & M University and each athlete returned with All-American honors (top 6) – pulling down one gold and three bronze medals. With the finishes of Ronetta Alexander and Stephanie Smith both have qualified for the World Junior Championships.

The top two make the USA’s World Junior Championship team, but USATF is expected to release a final list of those traveling on Thursday, June 30 and that list could include additional Gamecocks on the team. The IAAF World Junior Championships are July 13-18, 2004 in Grosseto, Italy.

“It was a great effort by our four Gamecocks that competed. They stepped up for their university and as first-timers they worked to give themselves the opportunity to run for their country as well. They took a lot of pride representing their university with class and also finishing strong. That does us all good,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye — an assistant with the 2004 USA women’s Olympic team (sprints and relays).

Alexander won the 100m hurdles, clocking a 13.51 in the prelims and then a personal best 13.22 to win the finals. Alexander will represent the USA in the 100m hurdles at the World Junior meet in July. It is expected that Alexander will also run a leg of the USA’s 4x100m relay – she ran USC’s lead-off on its All-American 4x100m relay that finished fourth at the NCAA Championship.

Rising sophomore Stephanie Smith was third in the 400m, running a time of 53.05. She is an alternate on the USA’s 4x400m relay at the World Junior Championships. She was an All-American on USC’s 4x400m relay indoor and outdoors at the NCAA Championships.

Rising sophomore Precious Akins was third in the discus, throwing 159′ 8. The Summerville native qualified for the NCAA Championships this year after finishing as the runner-up at the NCAA Regional in May.

Rising sophomore Chiquita Martin was third in the 400m hurdles, running a 1:00.31 in the finals.