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June 29, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina track and field All-American Tiffany Ross-Williams has ended her collegiate career with the Gamecocks with one year of eligibility left to accept a professional contract with Reebok, announced Wednesday by USC track and field.

“I’m real excited for Tiffany and our program to have had a young lady of her caliber,” said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. “This opportunity only comes to a few athletes- to have a professional career in our sport.”

“It was an unexpected decision,” Ross-Williams said. “I didn’t plan to leave. I had planned on coming back to school, but it was a decision I had to make for me and my family. I saw it as an opportunity to take my career to the next level, so I’m excited. “

Ross-Williams, who sat out last year to have her now one-year old daughter Samya, had a remarkable return this season. A member of the 2002 National Championship team, Ross-Williams won another national title as a member of the winning 4x400m relay at the NCAA Indoor Championship in Fayetteville, Ark. However, Ross-Williams really came alive during the outdoor season and shifted her comeback in full gear.

Named the 2005 Penn Relay Most Outstanding Athlete of the Meet, Ross-Williams won the 400m hurdles title, finished second in the 100m hurdles, and ran on the winning 4x400m relay and shuttle hurdle relay. Ross-Williams went on to the SEC Outdoor Championship in Nashville, Tenn. to claim the 400m hurdles title and run the third leg of the winning 4x400m relay that sealed the conference title for the Gamecocks. Ross-Williams was named the USTCA Athlete of the Week (5/2/05) and continued on as a major contributor in the Gamecocks first NCAA East Regional title two weeks later in New York City.

Ross-Williams ended her collegiate career finishing third in the 400m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Sacramento, Calif. with a personal best performance of 54.56. She also ran the third leg of the runner-up 4x400m relay that led the Gamecocks to a second place finish overall. As a result of her outstanding accomplishments during the 2005 outdoor season, Ross-Williams was named the USTCA Women’s Outdoor Athlete of the Year for the Southeast District.

Ross-Williams, who was married to Steven Williams earlier this year, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in retail after earning her highest grade point average of her collegiate career this season with a 3.6.

“Tiffany graduated from college this past May and it is a major goal for our athletes to have a degree. I’m so thankful that she could live out her dream and I can have my dream.,” Frye added. “My dream is that all of our athletes have a college degree and if they have the opportunity to extend their athletic careers, then that’s wonderful. Tiffany has fulfilled my dreams. She was an honor student, is going be a wonderful parent and an excellent athlete who will represent our country well. I think every Gamecock wishes her well and will continue to support her.”