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June 10, 2005

Carolina collected six All-American honors today, with a runner-up finish in the women’s 4x100m relay, a third place finish in the men’s high hurdles and a seventh-place finish in the men’s 100m as highlights of the day. In addition, USC placed seven athletes plus the 4x400m relay in the tomorrow night’s finals.

“We had a great day. People advanced that needed to advance. We are still in the position to do the best we can. We finished where we should have in the 4x100m relay (second seed),” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye, in his ninth year at Carolina. “We have nine points on the board for the women. It is going to take 55 points so we have to find the way to win. We have the capability to do that. Texas’ women have had a perfect meet and have not made mistakes. They are on target, we are on target. If we stay where we are we will stay in the top two and still be able to win. We also still have Rodney Martin in the 200m on the men’s side.”

Friday’s results and Saturday’s qualifiers follow below. USC’s women have scored nine points and sit in 11th place, while the men have scored eight points and sit in 17th place heading into tomorrow’s finals.

The women’s 4x100m relay, undefeated this season, was nipped at the finish line by Texas. Carolina finished at 43.00, a season best and the second-fastest time in school history.

In the 4x100m relay, Tiffany Ross-Williams handed off to Erica Whipple who ran the straight away perfectly before handing off to Alexis Joyce who handed off to anchor Sholonda Solomon. All four ladies collected All-American honors with their runner-up finish, which netted them eight points towards the title. It was Whipple’s final race as a Gamecock and she leaves USC collecting nine All-American honors and one NCAA relay title (4x100m relay in 2002).

“It’s tough to not win the title here. We are in it to win it just like the other teams,” said Whipple. “I was proud of my teammates because we put our hearts on the line. We may not have won the title, but we leave the track all winners.”

Freshman Jason Richardson proved his third place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet was no fluke, finishing third again outdoors in the 110m hurdles. Richardson ran a personal-best 13.50 to finish third over the 10 hurdles. With two seniors from the SEC going 1-2, he returns as the top hurdler in the country.

“It felt surreal, I don’t remember much of the race. For me to run with this field is a true reflection of the pace I was at – keeping up with them. The 110m hurdles is one of the most competitive races of the meet. When you get next to good competition you have to step it up and I am lucky I have been blessed with the ability to step up when the competition calls for. I guess that is the mental toughness Coach Frye talks about,” said Richardson, a member of the USC Honors College.

Rodney Martin collected USC’s first All-American honors in the 100m since 2000 (Terrence Trammell) with his seventh place finish. Martin ran a 10.42, collecting his second All-American honors of his career. Leroy Dixon was ninth with a time of 10.48.

“It was a blessing to be healthy and just be here (not able to compete last year due to injury),” said Martin.

Carolina advanced two women to tomorrow night’s final in its signature events, the 400m and the 400m hurdles. In the 400m, Stephanie Smith won her heat of the 400m with a time of 51.51 – the second fastest time of the day. Natasha Hastings qualifed for the finals by finishing fourth in the second semifinals with a time of 52.28. Smith’s time is the fifth fastest all-time in Carolina history.

“The run felt good. I went into it tired and restless – the race was heavy on my mind all day,” said Smith. “I wanted to make the finals. I’m hurting, but relieved. Now I just have to run well in the finals.”

In the 400m hurdles semi-finals, Ross-Williams easily own her heat at 55.37 – her fastest time since 2002 when she was the NCAA runner-up. Shevon Stoddart also qualified for tomorrow’s finals with a time of 56.61, finishing third in her heat.

“I am glad that I made it through. Coach Frye said to advance and run through the line. I am glad I could run 55.37. It was a season best. My goal was to advance to tomorrow’s final and I did that,” said Ross-Williams, the 2005 SEC Champion in the event.

Friday Results (all-time All-American honors)

Women’s 4x100m relay – second place (43.00) – all four are All-American

Ross-Williams (11-time AA)

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 (2-time AA)

Leroy Dixon – 10.48 – ninth place

400m Semi-Finals

Stephanie Smith – 51.51 – 1st in first semi-final

Natasha Hastings – 52.28 – 4th in second semi-final

400m Hurdles Semi-finals

Tiffany Ross-Wiliams – 55.37 – 1st in second semi-final

Shevon Stoddart – 56.61 – 3rd in second semi-final

Saturday’s Gamecocks in the finals


Stephanie Smith

Natasha Hastings

400m Hurdles

Tiffany Ross-Wiliams

Shevon Stoddart

Women’s Pole Vault

Cheryl Terrio

Women’s 200m

Shalonda Solomon

Men’s 200m

Rodney Martin

Women’s 4x400m relay