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May 12, 2005

Nashville, Tenn. – South Carolina track and field teams will kick-off their championship season today in Nashville, Tenn. at the 2005 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship hosted by Vanderbilt.

The nationally ranked No. 3 women’s team is coming off a dominating performance at the Penn Relays, where they brought home a total of six titles, including four relay wins. Senior All-American Chelsea Hammond won the long jump for the fourth consecutive year, while junior All-American Tiffany Ross-Williams claimed the 400m hurdles title and ran on two winning relays. Ross-Williams was named 2005 Penn Relays Most Outstanding Athlete.

This weekend the women’s team will be competing for the top spot in the SEC, starting with the heptathlon this evening and field events kicking-off the schedule on Friday. Following the women’s team in the national rankings is Tennessee, who is currently ranked fourth.

The men’s team is also coming off a good performance at the Penn Relays. Leading the Gamecocks is freshman All-American Jason Richardson, who finished second in the 110m hurdles and fourth in the 400m hurdles in Philadelphia and currently ranked in both events. Richardson also ran the lead off leg of the men’s 4x200m relay with Adrian Durant, Rodney Martin and Leroy Dixon that finished fourth at the Penn Relays. Although the men’s team is not currently ranked, expect the Gamecocks to contend for one of the top spots in the SEC this weekend.

Women’s Highlights:

Leading the SEC, freshman Shalonda Solomon holds the top spot in the 200m dash (22.72), while also listed at No. 2 in the 100m (11.37). Seniors Erica Whipple and Khalilah Carpenter are also listed in the top-12 in both events, with Whipple at No.3 in the 100m (11.39) and No. 8 in the 200m (23.45) and Carpenter listed at ninth in the 100m (11.44) and fourth in the 200m (23.32). Freshman Amberly Nesbitt is seventh in the conference in the 100m (11.72), while senior Alexis Joyce is 11th (11.50). Sophomore Stephanie Smith holds the No. 2 spot in the 400m (52.65), while freshman Natasha Hastings is sixth (53.45). Junior LaShay Shelton is listed second in the SEC in the 800m (2:07.84), while freshman sophomore Karen Wigal has the 12th spot in the 10,000m.

South Carolina athletes dominate the hurdle events in the SEC with Ross-Williams ranked at No. 2 in the 100m hurldes (12.99) and No. 1 in the 400m hurdles (55.70). Sophomore Ronnetta Alexander holds the fifth spot in the 100m hurdles (13.39), followed by sophomore Chiquita Martin in seventh (13.66). Also listed among the SEC’s top 400m hurdlers are senior Shevon Stoddart at No.3 (57.37), junior Tawana Watkins in fifth (57.87) and Martin in seventh (59.41). Both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays are listed as No. 1 in the SEC.

In the field, junior Monica Bozenski is listed at No. 10 in the high jump (5’7), while junior Cheryl Terrio is third in the SEC in the pole vault (13’1 ½). Junior jumper Kemesha Whitmire is listed as No. 2 in the triple jump (42’2 ¼) and No. 6 in the long jump (20’5), with Chelsea Hammond following in eighth (20’1 ¾). Sophomore thrower Precious Akins holds the SEC’s No. 9 spot in the shot put (47’11 ¾) and fifth in the discus (172’5), while Abbie Christianson is ranked No. 9 in the javelin (124’4). Senior Chelsea Hammond is ranked No. 4 in the SEC in the heptathlon.

Listed in this week’s Trackwire Dandy Dozen, Akins entered the rankings for the first time at No. 12 in the discus. Also ranked this week are Carpenter (11, 200m), Hastings (7, 400m), Ross-Williams (5, 100mH; 3, 400mH), Smith (12, 200m; 3, 400m), Solomon (8, 100m; 4, 200m), Stoddart (7, 400mH) and Whipple (9, 100m; 7, 200m). South Carolina’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays are also ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Men’s Highlights:

Listed among the SEC’s top performers in the 100m dash are Martin and Dixon at No. 5 (10.25) and No. 7 (10.30), respectively. Martin and Dixon are also ranked fourth (20.47) and 10th in the 200m dash (20.47), followed by Durant in 12th (23.96). Junior William Emase is ranked No. 3 in the SEC in the 800m (1:49.71), while junior Steve Mance is 12th in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Richardson holds the No. 5 spot in the SEC in the 110m hurdles (13.81) and sixth in the 400m hurdles (51.27), while junior Thomas Hilliard is 11th (52.67). The men’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays are ranked fifth and sixth in the SEC.

In the field, junior Trey Bell is ranked fourth in the SEC in the pole vault (16’7), followed by Dan McKenzie in 11th (16’0). Junior jumper Greig Cryer is ranked No. 6 in the SEC in the long jump, while Derek Pressley is eighth in the triple jump (48’10 ¾). Thrower Tyler Trout holds the No. 12 spot in the hammer for the Gamecocks.

Included in this week’s Trackwire Dandy Dozen are Martin (7, 100m; 6, 200m), Dixon (9, 100m) and Richardson (5, 110mH; 7, 400mH). USC’s 4x100m relay is also ranked No. 9 in the nation.