June 10, 2005
Sacramento, Calif. – South Carolina women’s track and field team remains a top contender for the national outdoor title, as the men continue to have success in the sprints after day two of the NCAA Championship in Sacramento, Calif. on Thursday.
Starting off the action for the women’s team was senior All-American Chelsea Hammond. Hammond, who advanced after leaping 20′ 3 Â½ in Wednesday’s long jump qualifying round, returned hoping to experience a similar performance in the high jump. Although Hammond did not find the same success, having jumped 5’8 Â½, not enough to advance to the final, she was not out of the competition. Set to return for the long jump final, Hammond regrouped and set out to put the first points on the board for the Gamecocks. Leaping 20’5 1/4, Hammond earned the first point for the women’s team for eighth place and All-America honors at her last NCAA Championship.
“It’s not quite the mark that we desired, but we’re glad that we that scored,” said Assistant Head Coach Delethea Quarles.
Also making a significant contribution in the field is junior pole vaulter Cheryl Terrio. Terrio, who made her first NCAA appearance Thursday, made her trip to Sacramento with while. Vaulting a height of 13’1 Â½, Terrio qualifed for Saturday’s pole vault final and a chance to earn her first All-America honors.
In sprint action, the Gamecocks came ready to compete in true championship spirit. Starting off the running events for the Gamecocks was freshman All-American Shalonda Solomon and senior All-Amerian Erica Whipple. Although, the freshman-senior duo had a disappointing semifinal of the 100m dash on Wednesday, they returned to show the NCAA what they were capable of in the 200m. Whipple started things off in heat one running a time of 23.41, finishing second and earning an automatic advancement to the semifinal. Solomon, who was ranked No. 1 going into the event, flew out of the blocks running the fastest time in round one of 23.00. But it did not stop there. The two returned to the semifinal to light up the track one more time on Thursday. Solomon, once again, ran the fastest time of the round of 22.82, placing herself in Saturday’s final. Whipple, who ran a solid 23.36 in the same heat as Solomon, missed qualifying for the final by one spot.
Junior All-American Tiffany Ross-Williams, 2005 SEC 400m hurdles champion, returned Thursday to take another stab at the national title. Ross-Williams, who ran in the first heat of the event, finished the first round with the top time of 55.90, automatically advancing to the semifinal.
“I was really upset about not advancing to the finals of the 100m hurdles yesterday, so I really wanted to get out there and put up a mark in the 400m hurdles and that’s what I did,” said Ross-Williams. “Now, my goal is to win the 400m hurdles title.”
Making her first appearance of the meet in the 400m hurdles was senior All-American and 2004 Olympian Shevon Stoddart. Stoddart also won her heat and automatically advanced to the semifinal with a time of 57.22. Both Gamecocks will compete in the semifinal on Friday evening.
Wrapping up running events for the Gamecocks on day two was the NCAA Indoor National Champion 4x400m relay. The All-American foursome of Stoddart, freshman Natasha Hastings, junior Tawana Watkins and sophomore Stephanie Smith set the tone for the event in heat one with the fastest time of the four heat. With a time of 3:29.79, the 4x400m relay, that was ranked No. 1 coming into the championship, captured the win in their heat and automatically advanced to Saturday’s final. Stoddart ran the lead off in 53.34, while Hastings ran the second leg with a split of 51.55, followed by Watkins’ 52.35. Smith brought it home running the anchor in 51.87.
In the men’s sprint action, junior Leroy Dixon and senior All-American Rodney Martin returned with junior 2004 Olympian Adrian Durant for a repeat performance in the 200m dash. Each running in separate heats, Martin automatically qualified to advance to the semifinal with a second place finish in his heat with a time of 20.75. Dixon and Durant also advanced with times of 20.86 and 20.93, respectively. In a fast semifinal that included a 19.93 performance by Arkansas’ Tyson Gay that marked the fastest collegiate time in NCAA history and the third fastest time in the history of the NCAA Championship, Martin was the only Gamecock to advance to Saturday’s 200m final. Martin, who finished third in his heat behind Gay and LSU’s Xavier Carter (20.14), ran a smoking 20.43 breaking Terrence Trammell’s school record of 20.45, set in 1999.
The Gamecocks will kick-off action on Friday with the women’s 4x100m relay final at 6:35 p.m. and will conclude with the women’s 400m hurdles semifinal at 9:10 p.m. Results are available at www.ncaasports.com.
Thursday Men’s Results
Leroy Dixon – 200m, 20.86 – advanced to semifinal
Adrian Durant – 200m, 20.93 – advanced to semifinal
Rodney Martin – 200m, 20.75 – advanced to semfinal
Leroy Dixon – 200m, 20.68 – did not advance
Adrian Durant – 200m, 21.15 – did not advance
Rodney Martin – 200m, 20.43, broke school 200m record, advanced to Saturday’s final
Thursday Women’s Results
Chelsea Hammond – High Jump, 5’8 Â½ – did not advance
Tiffany Ross-Williams – 400mH, 55. 90 – advanced to Friday’s semifinal
Shalonda Solomon – 200m, 23.00 – fastest time in round, advanced to semifinal
Shevon Stoddart – 400mH, 57.22 – advanced to Friday’s semifinal
Erica Whipple – 200m, 23.41 – advanced to semifinal
Cheryl Terrio – Pole Vault, 13’1 Â½, advanced to final
4x400m Relay (Stoddart, Hastings, Watkins, Smith)- 3:29.79 – the fastest time of the round, advanced to final
Shalonda Solomon – 200m, 22.82 – fastest time in semifinal, advanced to final
Erica Whipple – 200m, 23.36 – did not advance to final
Chelsea Hammond – Long Jump, 20’5 Â¼ – 8th place, one point