June 9, 2005
Sacramento, Calif. – South Carolina men’s and women’s track and field teams kicked-off championship action with solid performances at the NCAA Outdoor Championship held at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacrameto, Calif. on Wednesday.
While the men’s team had a number of outstanding day one performances, the challenge is on for the women’s track and field team who experienced both ups and downs during what was a cool and wet day. Although things did not go quite as the Gamecocks would have preferred, with Wednesday’s advances and many more events to go, the women’s team is in no way out of the race for the national title.
Starting off the day for the women, the 4x100m relay of All-Americans freshman Amberly Nesbitt, senior Erica Whipple, senior Alexis Joyce and freshman Shalonda Solomon started off the competition winning the third heat of round one on Wednesday afternoon. The Gamecocks, who have the second fastest collegiate time in the nation, ran 43.92 for the fourth fastest time in the preliminary. Finishing with the top time was Texas (43.60), followed by Tennessee (43.75) and Southern California (43.77) with the third fastest time.
Also on the track, 100m hurdles qualifiers sophomore All-American Ronnetta Alexander and junior All-American Tiffany Ross-Williams, both earned advancements to the semifinal finishing third and fourth in a competitive heat four with times of 13.41 and 13.44, respectively. Disappointment shortly followed, though, as Alexander, who ran 13.43 in the semifinal, and Ross-Williams, who cut her round one time to 13.338 in the semifinal, both missed advancing to Friday’s final by a very close margin.
In sprint action, Gamecocks Joyce, Nesbitt, Solomon and Whipple, members of the 4x100m relay, all competed in the first round of the 100m dash. However, only Solomon and Whipple advanced to the semifinals with times of 11.46 and 11.68, respectively. Joyce, who ran a solid time of 11.70, missed qualifying by one hundredth of a second, while Nesbitt ran 11.74. In the semifinal, Solomon and Whipple ran 11.54 and 11.55, respectively, both missing advancing to the finals.
Adding highlights to Wednesday’s performances were Gamecock quarter milers freshman All-American Natasha Hastings and sophomore All-American Stephanie Smith. Hastings, this season’s SEC 400m champion, started off her competition in true champion fashion, finishing first in heat one of the first round of the 400m dash with the fifth fastest time of the day of 52.75. Smith, who entered the competition with a No. 3 ranking, also finished first in the fifth and final heat with the third fastest time of the day of 52.43.
In the field, senior All-American Chelsea Hammond finished with the tenth best mark in the qualifying round of the women’s long jump, leaping 20’3 Â½. Hammond’s mark earned an advancement to Thursday’s final and a chance to put the first points on the board for the Gamecocks.
Leading the men’s team with impressive performances in the short sprints were junior Leroy Dixon and senior All-American Rodney Martin. In the 100m dash, Dixon continues to step up his performance, running the third fastest time of 10.33 in round one. Dixon advanced to the semifinal where he won his heat with a time of 10.41. Martin also advanced to the semifinal with a time of 10.43 in round one. He finished third in the same heat as Dixon in the semifinal with a time of 10:46, also advancing to Friday’s final.
Freshman All-American Jason Richardson, East Regional runner-up in the 110m hurdles, finished with the sixth fastest time of 13.79 in the preliminary of the 110m hurdles, advancing to the semifinal where he had an outstanding performance. Richardson, just a couple hundredths off his season best, finished second in his heat with the third fastest time of 13.68 in the semifinal. Richardson will go on to compete in the 110m hurdles final and a chance to score for the men’s team on Friday night.
In other action, junior distance runner William Emase ran a competitive first round of the 800m. Though he did not advance, Emase finished strong with a time of 1:49.81, finishing seventh in his heat.
In the field, junior Greig Cryer, who won the East Regional title in the long jump, did not find the same success in the qualifying round in Sacramento. Cryer, who leaped a personal best of 25’1 Â¼ just two weeks ago in New York, jumped 23’9 Â½ in his first jump and fouled the second and third attempts preventing him from advancing in Wednesday’s competition.
The Gamecocks will be back in action on Thursday, June 9th, starting with round one of the men’s and women’s 200m dash at 5:10 and 5:30 p.m. The women’s high jump qualifying round will kick-off Gamecock field action at 2 p.m. Results from Wednesday’s competition are available at www.ncaasports.com.
Wednesday Men’s Results
Greig Cryer – Long Jump, 23’9 Â½ -did not advance
William Emase – 800m, 1:49.81 – did not advance
Leroy Dixon – 100m, 10:33 -third fastest time in round, advanced to semifinal
Rodney Martin – 100m, 10:43 – advanced to semifinal
Jason Richardson – 110mH, 13:79 – advanced to semifinal
Leroy Dixon – 100m, 10:41 – won heat, advanced to Friday’s final
Rodney Martin – 100m, 10:46 – advanced to Friday’s final
Wednesday Women’s Results
Ronnetta Alexander – 100mH, 13.41 – advanced to semifinal
Chelsea Hammond – Long Jump, 20’3 Â½ – advanced to Thursday’s final
Natasha Hastings – 400m, 52.75 – won heat, advanced to Friday’s semifinal
Alexis Joyce – 100m, 11.70 – did not advance
Amberly Nesbitt – 100m, 11.74 – did not advance
Tiffany Ross-Williams – 100mH, 13.44 – advanced to semifinal
Stephanie Smith – 400m, 52.43, won heat, advanced to Friday’s semifinal
Shalonda Solomon – 100m, 11.46 – advanced to semifinal
Erica Whipple – 100m, 11.68 – advanced to semfinal
4x100m Relay (Nesbitt, Whipple, Joyce, Solomon) – 43.92
Ronnetta Alexander – 100mH, 13.43 – did not advance to final
Tiffany Ross-Williams – 100mH, 13.338 – did not advance to final
Shalonda Solomon – 100m, 11.54 – did not advance to final
Erica Whipple – 100m, 11.55 – did not advance