June 11, 2005
Sacramento, CA – Collecting three runner-up finishes on the women’s side – the 400m hurdles, the 200m and the 4x400m relay, the South Carolina women tied as the runner-up with UCLA with 48 points at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. It’s the 10th straight year the Gamecocks have finished in the top 10, matching UCLA and Texas as the only three teams nationally to accomplish this feat. It is the women’s highest finish since they won the title in 2002.
The South Carolina men finished 26th with 12 points. The men finished 19th indoors and the women finished fifth.
Carolina collected 18 All-American honors overall at the four-day championship.
“I am very proud of the performance we had. We are proud that our women finished second in the nation. They represented our institution well – it’s an outstanding finish. We would have loved to won, but we take our hats off to Texas and to UCLA. They have outstanding programs and it’s an honor to be among these teams,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye.
Texas won the women’s title (55 points) and Arkansas won the men’s title (60 points). Carolina’s Saturday results and a complete list of All-Americans follows below.
In the last event of the meet, South Carolina’s women finished as the runner-up in the 4x400m relay with a season-best time of 3:27.22. The time, put up by Shevon Stoddart, Natasha Hastings, Tiffany Ross-Williams and Stephanie Smith, was the third fastest in school history. Smith, who took the baton in fourth place, put up a 50.5 split as the anchor leg. It was the seventh straight year the Gamecock women have scored in the 4x400m relay.
“WE knew it was going to come down to the 4x400m relay,” said Stoddart. “We all went out there and gave it our best and finished second. I am a senior going out and we have a great team who will hopefully come back next year and get it done.”
Running through the tape, Shalonda Solomon was the NCAA runner-up in the 200m with a time of 22.86. It’s USC’s highest finish in the event since Aleen Bailey won the 200m at the 2003 NCAA Championships. It’s Solomon’s second All-American honors of the meet and her fourth of her freshman year.
“I didn’t start as well as I would like, but in the middle I was able to make up what I lost to start. My team was counting on me to score high points and I did the best I could,” said Solomon.
Both running life-time personal bests and under 55 seconds for the first time in their careers, Shevon Stoddart and Tiffany Ross-Williams went 2-3 in the 400m hurdles. Stoddart was the NCAA runner-up with a time of 54.47. Tiffany Ross-Williams finished third at 54.56. Their previous life-time bests were 55.30 (Stoddart) and 55.22 (Ross-Williams). The two are also 2-3 on the all-time 400m hurdles list, only running behind former 16-time All-American and US Olympian Lashinda Demus who ran a 53.43 at last year’s US Olympics Trials to garner an Olympic berth.
“When I got to the straight away (300m), I saw I was in a good position to win and tried with all my heart to get that to that finish line,” Stoddart said “She (Shauna Smith) got that win, but I ran one of the best races I’ve ever ran.” Stoddart finishes as a three-time All-American in the 400m hurdles.
“I can’t complain with my finish because I asked God to be with me and we was,” said Ross-Williams, the 2005 SEC Champion. “I’m not going to settle for third because I’ll be back next year.”
Rodney Martin was fifth in the 200m at 20.61 – collecting his second All-American honors of the championships. Last night he finished eighth in the 100m.
Stephanie Smith finished third in the 400m with a lifetime best 50.93 – going under 51 seconds for the first time in her career. Natasha Hastings was sixth, also running a lifetime best, at 51.87. It is the seven career All-American honor for Smith and the second for Hastings. This is the seventh straight year South Carolina has garnered at least one All-American honor in the 400m.
“(winner) Monique (Henderson) definitely sped up the race. I didn’t know she would come out that fast, but she did and kept the pace,” said Smith. “I just knew I had to get to the line and close – not get to it, but through it. I didn’t think I would PR by that much so that was a big jump for me (51.51 is her former PR). I feel good and relieved. I didn’t know I could run a 50.”
“I’m excited to finish the race this time and get All-American honors in college,” said Hastings, the 2004 World Junior Champion and 2005 SEC Champion (she was injured indoors in the 400m finals).
Cheryl Terrio was 12th in the pole vault, jumping 13′ 1 1/2.
All-American honors collected at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (all-time All-American honors)
Saturday’s Results and All-Americans
Stephanie Smith – 50.93 – third place – personal best
Natasha Hastings – 51.87 – sixth place – personal best
Women’s 400m Hurdles
Shevon Stoddart – 54.47 – second place – personal best
Tiffany Ross-Williams – 54.46 – third place – personal best
Rodney Martin (3-time AA) – 20.61 – fifth place
Shalonda Solomon (4-time AA) – 22.86 – second place
Women’s 4x400m relay – second place – 3:27.22 – all 4 are All-American
Shevon Stoddart (10-time AA)
Natasha Hastings (3-time AA)
Tiffany Ross Williams (13-time AA)
Stephanie Smith (8-time AA)
Women’s 4x100m relay – second place (43.00)
Whipple (9-time AA)
Joyce (4-time AA)
Solomon (3-time AA)
Men’s 110m hurdles Final
Jason Richardson – 13.50 – third place (2-time AA)
Men’s 100m Final
Rodney Martin – 10.42 – seventh place
Chelsea Hammond – eighth place (AA)