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Dec. 8, 2004

Columbia, SC – Leading the way nationally year in and year out, USC’s track and field program is the only one to have both the men’s and women’s freshman classes ranked in the top five nationally.

According to the December issue of Track and Field News, the Gamecock women’s recruiting class ranked No. 2, behind LSU and ahead of Stanford, USC and Tennessee. The men’s team ranked fifth behind Cal, Georgia, Texas and Florida State who hold the top four spots.

“We’re thrilled to have two top five national ranked recruiting classes,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “It’s a great honor for our staff, our team and our university. It’s probably an even bigger honor that these students are not only outstanding athletes, but outstanding students as well.”

USC’s freshman class is led by, both the boys and girls, National Gatorade Athletes of the Year Jason Richardson and Shalonda Solomon. Richardson, of Cedar Hill, Texas, was also an All-American and holds the top spot in the 300/400-meter hurdles. Also in the men’s freshman class is All-American Keith Hinnant, of Bay Shore, N.Y., who was ranked No. 4 in the 400m and No. 16 on the yearly 800m list, as well as Trinidadian Jamil James and from JC ranks, Leroy Dixon.

Solomon, of Long Beach, Calif., was a high school All-American, holding the No. 3 and No. 1 spots in the 100 and 200 meters, respectively. The women’s class also consists of All-American Natasha Hastings, who holds the top spot in the 400 meters, as well as Nikiesha Brown, Faraign Giles and Amberly Nesbitt. Solomon and Hastings also set World Junior Championship records last summer in the 200m and the 4x400m relay, respectively, winning gold medals in the events. According to Track and Field News’ Dan Lilot, “Curtis Frye will have no trouble fielding potent relay squads from his new talent alone.”

The Gamecock track and field indoor season kicks off in Orlando, Fla. on Jan. 3rd and at the Virginia Tech Invitational on Jan. 14.