April 9, 2005
Knoxville, Tenn. – In an exciting two days of track and field action at the 33rd Gatorade Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., South Carolina men’s and women’s team played a major role in the SEC’s 420 to 298 defeat of the Big Ten for the men and a 379 to 310 defeat for the women. The Gamecocks totaled 12 titles and over 30 regional qualifying times and marks in the two-day competition.
The excitement kicked off early on Saturday for the Gamecocks as USC women’s 4x100m relay broke a seven-year Gatorade Classic record with a first place finish time of 43.58 in only the second running event of the day. The old record of 43.99 was set by Tennessee on May 2, 1998. The record-breaking 4x100m relay that consisted of Khalilah Carpenter, Shalonda Solomon, Alexis Joyce and Amberly Nesbitt, ran a season best and tied the eighth fastest 4x100m time in school history.
However, this was only one of the highlights for South Carolina on Saturday. The Gamecocks finished the day even better than they started when the women’s 4x400m relay, Shevon Stoddart, Tiffany Ross-Williams, Tawana Watkins and Stephanie Smith, ran 3:32.14, breaking an 18-year old Gatorade Classic record and recording the second fastest time in the world so far this season. The previous record was 3:32.67 ran by Alabama on May 23, 1987.
“We had a very good weekend,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “This was the first time that we were able to compete in non-inclement weather and our athletes were really excited about competing. I’m really happy with our performances. We’re a better team than we were last week, but the key is to keep the momentum going.”
USC also ran a second women’s 4x100m relay that ran a regional qualifying time of 44.27, the second fastest time of the day, with Ross-Williams, Erica Whipple, Stoddart and Smith. For the men, Gamecocks Rodney Martin, Leroy Dixon, Adrian Durant and Jamil James finished second in the 4x100m relay with a regional qualifying time of 39.79.
In the first running event of the day distance runner Steve Mance finished sixth in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:38.87. Matt Hoffman finished 11th in the men’s 1,500 with a time of 4:02.98, while Amy Wike finished 18th for the women with a time of 4:52.61.
South Carolina hurdlers put on a spectacular performance once again this week, claiming the victory in the men’s 110m and women’s 100m hurdles, both events putting the SEC ahead of the Big Ten for the first time in the competition. In the women’s event that was dominated by Gamecocks, USC hurdlers swept the top three spots, as well as finished fifth, 11th, 12th and 16th places, putting the SEC women ahead of the Big Ten for the first time after seven events with a score of 139.50 to 132.50.
Leading the Gamecocks with a solid performance for the win was junior Ross-Williams with a time of 13.40. Sophomore All-American Ronnetta Alexander followed in second place with a time of 13.48, while All-American Chiquita Martin ran 13.83 for a third place finish. All of these times were regional qualifiers. Finishing fifth was Stoddart with a time of 14.15 and in 11th and 12th places were Reanna Townsend and All-American Chelsea Hammond with times of 14.47 and 14.71, respectively. Junior All-American Tawana Watkins finished 16th with a time of 15.18.
In the 400m hurdles, the Gamecocks took the top four spots, sweeping 1-2-3-4. Earning her second title of the day was Ross-Williams with a time of 56.51. Finishing in second place with a time of 58.47 was Stoddart, followed by Watkins in third with a time of 58.87 and Martin in fourth with a time of 59.41, all regional qualifying times.
For the men’s team, Jason Richardson who injured his hamstring last week at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, returned this week for a strong performance and the win in the 110m hurdles. Richardson, who was in a close second place after clearing the last hurdle, took the lead when Tennessee’s Aries Merritt stumbled just a couple feet before crossing the finish line. Richardson’s time of 14.03 was a regional qualifying time. Richardson also finished second in the 400m hurdles with a regional qualifying time of 51.27.
After Richardson’s and Merritt’s performances in the 110 hurdles, along with two other Tennessee top-five finishes, the SEC men took the lead for the first time after five events with a score of 98 to the Big Ten’s 87 points.
The Gamecocks sprinters also put on impressive performances on the track in Knoxville on Saturday, totaling three title wins. In the men’s 100m dash, Martin and Dixon led the Gamecocks with a very close first and second place finish, both running regional qualifying times of 10.315 and 10.320. Durant followed in fifth place with a time of 10.41, also a regional qualifying time, while freshman Nick Lytle came in seventh with a time of 10.90.
The women dominated the 100m dash finishing in first, second fourth, fifth, sixth 12th and 15th places. Leading the Gamecocks, Solomon claimed the win with a regional qualifying time of 11.37, followed by Whipple in second place, also with a regional qualifying time of 11.39. Nesbitt, Carpenter and Joyce finished in fourth, fifth and sixth places with times of 11.42, 11.44 and 11.50, respectively, all qualifying times. USC’s Sharee Howze and Monica King finished in 12th and 15th places with times of 12.45 and 12.74, respectively.
The 200m dash also proved to be a great competition for the Gamecocks, as the both the men’s and women’s team claimed the title. Martin led the Gamecocks 1-2-3 sweep for the men winning his second title of the day in the men’s 200m dash with time of 20.71, a regional qualifying time and sixth fastest time in school history. Finishing in second place was Dixon with a time of 20.87 and Durant in third with a time of 20.91, both regional qualifying times. Lytle finished strong in 11th place for the Gamecocks.
For the women, Solomon also claimed her second title of the day with a regional qualifying time, personal best and third fastest time in school-history of 22.72 in the 200m. Carpenter, Smith and Nesbitt finished in third, fourth and fifth places, while Joyce finished in seventh, all with regional qualifying times.
In the men’s 400m dash, freshmen Keith Hinnant and Jamil James had strong performances with second and fourth place finishes. Hinnant, who won the title at the Yellow Jacket Invitational last week, finished second with a time of 46.78, while James ran 46.92, both regional qualifying times. Freshman Faraign Giles finished fourth in the women’s 400m with a time of 56.23.
Junior Shay Shelton had one of the best runs of the season in the women’s 800m on Saturday. Shelton finished second in the event with a time of 2:09.46, a season best and regional qualifying time. Kaczmarek finished 13th with a time of 2:19.94. Distance runner Jenny Lake finished second in the women’s 3,000m with a time of 9:53.27.
In the field, sophomore thrower Precious Akins earned her first win of the season with a first place finish in the women’s discus. Akins threw a distance of 165’9 for a season best in the event, while also finishing sixth in the shot put with a distance of 45’7 Â¾. Monica Bozenski had a second place performance in the high jump with a leap of 5’5, while senior Chelsea Hammond finished sixth and sophomore Reanna Townsend in ninth, both with jumps of 5’3.
The Gamecock jumpers also had impressive performances. For the men, Greig Cryer claimed his first title of the season with a first place and regional qualifying mark 24’6 Â½ in the long jump, while freshman Derek Pressley finished fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 47’11. Junior All-American Kemesha Whitmire also had a great day in Knoxville, earning second place in the women’s long jump with a leap of 20’5 and winning the triple jump with a distance of 42’2 Â¾, both distances were regional qualifying marks.
Also in the field, Joseph Schroeder finished fourth in the discus with a distance of 158’2, while Tyler Trout finished ninth with a throw of 151’4. Jason Cook and Anthony Faulkner finished in 15th and 18th places. Cook also finished 13th in men’s shot put with a throw of 45’9 Â¾.
Pole vaulters Trey Bell and Cheryl Terrio had another good meet this weekend in Knoxville. Bell finished second in the pole vault with a height of 16’6 Â¾ -his second regional qualifying mark this season, while Terrio also vaulted her second consecutive qualifying mark of 12’5 Â½ for second place.
The Gamecocks will be traveling back to Knoxville, Tenn. next weekend for the Tennessee Sea Ray Relay held April 15-16.