June 20, 2005
Columbia, S.C. – Twelve University of South Carolina track and field athletes, four men and eight women, will compete at the USATF Senior and Junior National Championships June 23-26 in Carson, Calif.
All-Americans Rodney Martin, Leroy Dixon and Jason Richardson, will compete for the men after leading the Gamecocks to a 26th-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Also competing is South Carolina sprinter Keith Hinnant, a freshman from Bay Shore, N.Y.
Martin will be leading the Gamecocks in the men’s senior championships set to begin on Thursday. With a seventh-place finish in a time of 10.42, Martin (Las Vegas, Nev.) earned USC’s first All-America honors at the outdoor championship in the 100m since Terrence Trammell in 2000. He also placed fifth in the 200m after breaking the school record in the semifinal with a time of 20.43, earning his second All-America honors of the outdoor season and the third of his career. Also competing in the senior competition is Dixon, a junior from South Bend, Ind., who earned All-America honors in the 100m after placing ninth with a time of 10.48.
Among the country’s top junior athletes are Richardson and Hinnant. Richardson, a freshman from Cedar Hill, Texas and the 2004 National Gatorade Athlete of the Year, placed third in the 110m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championship with a time of 13.50 and was named an All-American for the second time. His first honor was earned during the indoor season with a third place finish in the 60m hurdles. Hinnant, a 2004 High School All-American qualified for the NCAA East Regional where he finished ninth overall in the preliminaries, just missing advancing to the finals.
The women’s team, that captured the SEC and East Regional titles, will be represented by eight athletes this week in Carson, including freshmen All-Americans Natasha Hastings and Amberly Nesbitt in the juniors competition, and seniors All-Americans Tiffany Ross-Williams, Stephanie Smith, Shalonda Solomon and Erica Whipple, who led the Gamecocks to a tie with UCLA for the runner-up spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Also competing in the senior championship are sprinter All-American Khalilah Carpenter (Columbus, Ohio) and jumper All-American Kemesha Whitmire (Spartanburg, S.C.).
Hastings (Rosedale, N.Y.), Ross-Williams (Miami, Fla.) and Smith (Macon, Ga.), three members of the 4x400m relay, earned All-America honors with a close second-place finish in a time of 3:27.22, a season best for the Gamecocks, at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Ross-Williams, along with Whipple (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Solomon (Inglewood, Calif.), were three members of the 4x100m relay team that finished second in a time of 43.00.
Smith (third) and Hastings (sixth) also earned All-America honors in the 400m with personal-best times of 50.93 and 51.87, respectively. Ross-Williams also collected All-America honors in the 400m hurdles with a third-place finish in a personal-best time of 54.46, while teammate Solomon also earned honors in the 200m with her personal-best time of 22.86, good for second place.
Whitmire earned the program’s first jump title at the SEC Championship with a leap of 43’7 in the triple jump. Earning the second best mark in school history, Whitmire led the Gamecocks to their third SEC title in six years.
The Gamecocks will begin USATF competition on Thursday, June 23 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Results will be available at www.usatf.org.