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Feb. 23, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina men’s and women’s track and field teams leave Wednesday to head to the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships to be held February 25-27 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Heading into Friday’s competition, the women’s team is ranked No. 8 in the country, behind SEC’s LSU (2), Tennessee (4), Florida (5) and Auburn (7). The men’s team is currently not ranked.

“It’s that time again and our athletes are excited and I’m excited,” USC Head Coach Curtis Frye said about this week’s SEC Championships. “To get in the top-five on the women’s side would be a great accomplishment for our women’s team, and to get in the top-eight for the men would also be great for us. We’re taking a good team, not necessarily are best because we have a few injuries that are holding us back. But they’re excited about competing and giving it their very best.”

Competition begins at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas on Friday afternoon with the heptathlon and pentathlon events at 4 p.m. Field events kick-off Saturday’s competition with the men’s weight throw at 10 a.m., followed by the women’s pole vault at noon. Activity on the track begins at 1:30 p.m. with the men’s 60m hurdles preliminaries. The championship concludes with the women’s 4x400m relay final at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Results will be available at the end of each day of competition at


-Natasha Hastings, Tiffany Ross, Stephanie Smith, and Shevon Stoddart make up USC’s 4x400m relay team that is currently ranked No. 2 in Trackwire’s Dandy Dozen. Their fastest time this season is 3:32.72, which earned them a second place finish behind LSU in the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory in New York earlier this month. Look to see these women fight for the No. 1 spot in the SEC this weekend at the Indoor Championships.

-Tiffany Ross has returned this year and is having a great indoor season. Ross, who ran NCAA provisional qualifying times in the 60m hurdles and the 400m in the first indoor meet of the season, is expected to continue her success and be among the top scorers in the SEC in the 60m hurdles. o Shevon Stoddart is also having a great senior indoor season. Coming off a solid 400m hurdles performance in the 2004 Athens Olympics for her native country of Jamaica, Stoddart is a NCAA provisional qualifier in the 400m and is currently ranked No. 7 in the country.

-Erica Whipple, who set a season best with the fastest time of the meet in the 200m (23.59) at the Armory, also set a NCAA provisional qualifying time in the first meet of the season and will be a top contender for the 200m title this weekend in Fayetteville. Whipple is ranked at No. 3 in this week’s top-12 for the second week in a row.

-Hastings continues to have an unbelievable indoor freshman season. For two weeks in a row, Hastings set a personal best in the 400m. Her most recent was a time of 51.85 earning second place in the 400m championships at the Tyson Invitational two weeks ago in Fayetteville. Hastings is currently ranked No. 3 in Trackwire’s Dandy Dozen in the 400m. She also ran a personal indoor best in the 200m with a time of 23.62 at the Tyson Invitational. Expect to see Hastings light up the track as she too prepares for a record-breaking freshman indoor season finish for the Gamecocks.

-Distance runner Shay Shelton is on a comeback after an impressive performance in the Tyson Invitational college 800m. Shelton ran a season best of 2:09.19 to claim first place in the event.

-In the field, Kemesha Whitmire continues to make her mark in the long and triple jumps. Whitmire, also an NCAA provisional qualifier in the long jump, finished fifth in the Tyson Invitational long jump championship with a leap of 20’0 1/4. Look to see Whitmire make a significant impact as a scorer at the SEC Indoor Championships this weekend in Fayetteville.


-Rodney Martin recently competed against professional runners in the Tyson Invitational 200m. Finishing third in the meet with a personal best and USC indoor record of 20.67, Martin is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation in the 200m. Expect Martin to be among the top contenders in the SEC for the 200m title.

-Freshman Keith Hinnant had an outstanding college 400m performance in Arkansas two weeks ago, earning fourth place in the event with an NCAA qualifying time of 47.33. He too looks to be among the top scorers at SECs.

-Jason Richardson, 2004 High School All-American and National Gatorade Athlete of the Year, continues to have a great start to his collegiate career. Richardson is ranked in the nation’s top-12 in the 60m hurdles and joins Aaron Luster and freshmen Hinnant and Jamil James for the Gamecock 4x400m relay team that is currently ranked in the nation’s top-12.