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South Carolina men’s and women’s track and field teams will head to New York City on Thursday, February 3 to compete in the New Balance College Invitational at The Amory on February 4-5 as part of the city’s Super “Week of Track and Running.”

The meet will take place at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Amory in Washington Heights and will showcase some of the most elite collegiate track and field programs in the country. South Carolina athletes will be among 2,000 to participate from schools including Arkansas, Columbia, Duke, George Mason, Illinois, LSU, Manhattan, NYU, Penn State, Seton Hall, Texas and West Chester. Schools from Oxford (England) and France will also be among the participants.

“We’re excited. It’s a great opportunity to see where we are at this point of the season,” USC Head Coach Curtis Frye said. “With Stanford, LSU, Texas, and all those nationally ranked teams, it gives us a different group of people from all around the nation to compare ourselves to and it gives us a chance to display our talents in front of the number one recruiting area in the northeast. “

Gamecocks on the No. 7 ranked women’s team scheduled to compete include All-American Tiffany Ross, who has made a dynamic return from a 2004 redshirt season. Ross, who captured two NCAA provisional qualifying marks at the team’s first meet in the 60m hurdles and the 400m, will compete in the 60m and 60m hurdles on Friday in New York. Joining Ross in the 60m will be All-Americans Khalilah Carpenter and Alexis Joyce, and freshmen standouts Amberly Nesbitt and Shalonda Solomon, 2004 National Gatorade Athlete of the Year. Ronnetta Alexander, World Junior gold medalist in the 100m hurdles, will join Ross along with Chiquita Martin and Reanna Townsend in the 60m hurdles.

The women’s team also expects to make a significant appearance in the 400m on Friday. Scheduled to compete in the event are freshmen Nekiesha Brown, Faraign Giles and Natasha Hastings, along with returning All-Americans Chiquita Martin, Stephanie Smith, Shevon Stoddart and Tawana Watkins. Hastings, Smith and Solomon were part of the record-breaking 4x400m relay team that won the gold medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships, while Stoddart ran for Jamaica in the 400m hurdles in the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens, Greece. Also look to see distance runner and senior team captain Jenny Lake will make an appearance in the one mile, while Rebecca Chain competes in the 3k.

In the field, Reanna Townsend will compete in the long jump, while Monica Bozenski will compete in the high jump. Precious Akins and Keri Groover are scheduled for the weight throw. Chelsea Hammond and Kemesha Whitmire will compete in the Championship long and triple jumps.

For the men’s team, transfer Leroy Dixon and 2005 team captain Rodney Martin will lead the Gamecocks in the 60m. Also competing in the event are 2004 Olympian Adrian Durant (US Virgin Islands) and Aaron Luster. The same foursome will compete in the men’s 200m.

Look for freshman standout Jason Richardson to be the Gamecocks’ top runner in the 60m hurdles. Richardson, 2004 National Gatorade Athlete of the Year, ran a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7.90 in his collegiate debut at the Virginia Tech Invitational on January 22 and will join Thomas Hilliard in the event on Friday. Hilliard, Luster and Richardson, along with freshmen standouts Keith Hinnant and Jamil James will also run the 400m, while both the men’s and women’s 4×400 relay teams will make a run for the top spots. Distance runners Shawn Cunningham and William Emase will make a run for the title in the 800m.

In the field, Derek Pressley will compete in the long and triple jumps, while Jacob Minskey, Tyler Trout and David Zaycek will compete in the weight throw. Greig Cryer will be among the participants in the Championship long and triple jumps.

Trackwire’s Dandy Dozen List Women’s- 200m: Erica Whipple (3), Shalonda Solomon (10); 400m: Stephanie Smith (3), Natasha Hastings (4); 4x400m relay: South Carolina (2); Pentathlon: Chelsea Hammond (4); Long Jump: Kemesha Whitmire (11), Chelsea Hammond (12).

Men’s- 60m hurdles: Jason Richardson (4).

For event entries, a complete schedule and results, go to and click on the New Balance Collegiate Invitational.