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Aug. 21, 2004

On the hottest day yet this summer in Athens, with temperatures soaring over 105 degrees, USC saw its first athlete into the finals tonight with Aleen Bailey finishing fifth in the 100m for Jamaica with a time of 11.05. Otis Harris advanced to the finals of the 400m on Monday night with a runner-up finish in tonight’s semi-finals. In addition, Lashinda Demus advanced to the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles earlier today.

Competing tomorrow are the following: USC volunteer coach Melissa Morrison in the 100m hurdles – she won the bronze in 2000; Lashinda Demus in the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles and Tonique Williams-Darling in the 400m. IN addition to Williams-Darling, Columbia native and former USC volunteer coach Monique Hennagan will also compete in the 400m semi-finals.

“Aleen started the race well and put her self into position to medal. Fifth place at your first Olympic games is something to be very proud of,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “She still has an excellent chance to make the finals in the 200m this week.”

Harris ran a 44.99 to finish as the runner-up in the 400m semi-finals, making Monday night’s final. It is Frye’s first athlete to ever make the Olympic final in the 400m.

“It felt good,” said Harris, a native of Edwards, Mississippi. “I came around the curve and was a little behind so I sped up. I shut it down the last 20 meters or so I would have something left for the finals. The other two Americans and I have talked since the trials – we want to go 1-2-3 in the 400m here. We are all three in the finals so we are on pace.”

“Otis ran a nearly perfect race,” said Frye. “He followed the race plan, didn’t overrun and got out driving the first eight steps. I told him to stay close enough to the front. He shut it down the last 20 meters and the field got up on him but he has an excellent chance to medal on Monday.”


Demus, Williams-Darling Advance at Athens Olympics

Athens, Greece – USC saw three Gamecocks, Lashinda Demus, Shevon Stoddart and Tonique Williams-Darling, on the track today with two advancing this morning to the next rounds.

In addition, former USC volunteer coach and Columbia native Monique Hennagan (a UNC graduate) won her heat of the 400m with a time of 51.02 to advance.

“Lashinda ran a nice race. She didn’t try to overrun, she just ran smooth,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “Shevon had a difficult time. She didn’t get out well and so it was a tough race. It’s a great experience for her and hopefully she will run on the 4×400 relay for Jamaica.”

Tonight, Aleen Bailey will run in the semi-finals of the 100m (with the finals being run later tonight) and Otis Harris runs in the semi-finals of the 400m.

Lashinda Demus was second in her heat, the opening round of the 400m hurdles with a time of 54.66. She will run in the semi-finals on Sunday night. USC’s Shevon Stoddart did not fair as well, running a 56.61 to finish fifth in her heat. She did not advance.

“I am happy to the have the first race out of the way,” said Demus. “Technically I think I ran a good race. All three of us USA hurdlers didn’t feel we ran our best race, but were happy to advance.”

Tonique Williams-Darling, a USC graduate, won her heat of the 400m, hitting 51.20 on the clock.

“Tonique looks so good,” said Frye. “She is going to medal.”