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May 9, 2008

With graduation taking place on the University of South Carolina campus, the Gamecock track and field teams will see nine student-athletes from their teams walk in ceremonies this weekend. The teams are preparing for the SEC Championship next weekend in Auburn, Ala.

The student-athletes set to walk this weekend are:

Name – Major (plans for next season as they finish athletic eligibility)

Johnny Baez – Criminal Justice

Rebecca Chain – Exercise Science; (Will attend PT school)

Jason Cook – Sociology; (Will attend Graduate School – Criminal Justice)

Keith Hinnant – Sociology

David Johannesmeyer – Honors College, Biology and German

Derek Pressley – Sociology

Callie Rabun – Honors College, Exercise Science; (Will attend PT school)

Jason Richardson – Honors College, Sport and Entertainment Management; (Graduate School)

David Zaycek – Retail; (Will attend Graduate School – Retail)

“There are six NCAA regional qualifiers in that bunch, including two All-Americans and three in the Honors College. You can be a great student that is an athlete as well. They fit in line with graduates Garry Martin, Amberly Nesbitt, Gerald Pressley and Keith Hall – who all competed on our track team and went to medical school. They had to be good students to uphold the reputations of those who came before them. Our graduates include many Olympians as well – Terrence Trammell, Dawn Ellerbe, Miki Barber. Lisa Misipeka, Brad Snyder, Shevon Stoddart, Marvin Watts, Tonique Williams-Darling, Aleen Bailey, Adrian Durant and Charmaine Howell – we are so lucky to have been blessed with so many talented students” said South Carolina head coach Curtis Frye.

“These nine have a cumulative GPA of 3.148. We are very proud of their efforts,” said Frye. “We are really pleased with the efforts of Raymond Harrison who heads up our Academic Center. With his energy and enthusiasm for the new-age athletes with the computers, Face book, recorders for books – they are provided with a fair chance to compete vs. those who don’t travel with athletics.

“Renia Edwards, our academic counselor, is our direct contact and is fantastic,” continued Frye. “Raylene Ross, her assistant, has also done a great job. They get our students performing at the highest level. They have used all of the current information needed to help students reach the goal of graduation. We look forward to the Dodie Center being open so we can continue to produce the kind of graduates we have had.”

“When I think of this group of student-athletes that will walk this weekend, the words perseverance and determination come to mind,” said Edwards. “Looking back at the level of growth and maturity that they have developed over their time here is heartwarming. I do not believe many people understand the mental and physical demands of their travel schedule during the spring and their ability to use good time management to stay on course academically. It is our goal to graduate all of our student-athletes within a four year time frame, if not sooner. Their accomplishments are a testament to the support from this university, their academic departments, professors and coaches that have provided them this opportunity. As they leave to become positive contributors to our society, I am excited to continue to work with Rebecca, Jason Richardson, Jason Cook and Dave as they return to work towards their Master degrees while completing their eligibility.”