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June 26, 2005

Carson, Calif. – South Carolina track and field wrapped up the fourth and final day of the USATF Junior and Senior Championships on Sunday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Starting off the day’s competition for the Gamecocks was junior All-American jumper Kemesha Whitmire. Whitmire, who had a solid first round performance, leaped for 43’1 in flight one. Whitmire finished in fifth place in the flight and 11th overall.

On the track, freshman All-American Shalonda Solomon kicked-off the running events with an impressive performance in the 200m semifinal, landing her a spot in the final. Solomon, who ran 22.83, finished fourth in her heat for an automatic advance. Returning in the final, Solomon came back strong with a time of 22.95 for seventh place.

For the men, junior All-American Leroy Dixon and senior All-American Rodney Martin represented the Gamecocks in the men’s 200m semifinal. Both running in heat one, Dixon ran 21.12 out of lane five for seventh place. Martin, who ran out of lane nine, finished in second place behind Tyson Gay and ahead of Shawn Crawford with a time of 20.53. Martin’s runner-up finished earned an automatic advance to the final. Running one of his best performances this season, Martin finished fifth in the final with a time of 20.46.

“I strained up coming off the curve, so I slowed up.” Martin said. “But, I picked it back up and I feel overall good. I know I could have done better, but I’m happy. I’m in the top five in the country.”

“We had a great national championship,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “We had a lot of people that made it through to the finals. Rodney Martin had a great closing, finishing fifth in the 200m. Leroy Dixon made the semifinal in both races (100m and 200m) and he will return next year to lead the Gamecocks in the rounds. Shalonda Solomon finishing seven in the 200m is big for us. So,we had an overall great meet. South Carolina had a great weekend.

In other action, former Gamecock Tacita Bass completed the women’s heptathlon in sixth place. After a third place finish the 800m run`(2:16.70), the final event of the day and the strongest for Bass, she totaled 5,711 points. Former Gamecock Kenneth Ferguson (adidas) finished sixth in the men’s 400m hurdles final with a time of 49.48.

Gamecocks on USA Junior National Team

Natasha Hasting, 400m, 4x400m relay

Amberly Nesbitt, 100m

Gamecocks on USA National Team

Stephanie Smith, 4x400m relay pool

Former Gamecocks on USA National Team

Lisa Barber, 100m

Lashinda Demus, 400m hurdles

Terrence Trammell, 110m hurdles