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June 11, 2008

Des Moines, Iowa – With the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships set to start in Des Moines, Iowa today, the Gamecock men’s team has four runners here for the first time outdoors: freshmen Lamar Markett (York, S.C.), Antonio Sales (Durham, N.C.) and Aaron Anderson (Fayetteville, N.C.); and sophomore Johnathan Hancock (Charlotte, N.C.). All four are ready to take the NCAA meet by storm. visited with them prior to their first competition.

Who were you named after?
Lamar: Nobody. Nobody’s name is Lamar. Two people maybe, but I don’t know the other person.
Johnathan: I am named after my Dad.
Aaron: I am named after Aaron in the Bible. My mom wanted Biblical names. It goes along with Anderson really well.
Antonio: Nobody. My older cousin named me.

Do you have a nickname?
Lamar: Marty.
Johnathan: I go by my last name, Hancock.
Aaron: I have so many. I would lead with ASAP. (laughs) I don’t know why ASAP – maybe because I get the job done ASAP.
Antonio: Different variations of my name: Ton, Sales, Tony. It’s all the same.

Who do people say you look like?
Lamar: Nobody. I am an original. First and last to look like this.
Johnathan: I can’t think of anyone.
Aaron: Batman – Bershawn Jackson. They said I act like Leroy Dixon.
Antonio: Nobody has ever said, but many people have said I look like an old man.

What events are you running at the NCAA meet?
Lamar: The 4x100m relay.
Johnathan: the 4x100m relay.
Aaron: 4x400m relay.
Antonio: 4x100m relay.

What are your goals at this meet?
Lamar: Be All-American
Johnathan: To score and place top 4.
Aaron: Top three finish in the 4×4.
Antonio: To win!

What do you expect the relays to do this weekend?
Lamar: Win! Win!
Johnathan: Get a lot of points for the men’s team.
Aaron: I see both men’s relays doing the unexpected: run a PR and do better than they did at regionals.
Antonio: Biggest upset in track and field – winning the 4×1 on the men’s side.

What do you want to accomplish before you graduate from South Carolina?
Lamar: NCAA champion in the 4×1, 100m, 200m, 60m. All of them.
Johnathan: Be an NCAA champion. Take down Terrence Trammell’s 100m school record at 10.04.
Aaron: SEC champion in the 400m and top three finish in the open quarter outdoors at the NCAAs. Win a national championship.
Antonio: 200m NCAA champion indoors and outdoors. Run the school record in the 200m. Win the 4×1 at NCAAs. Win the 4×4 at NCAA possibly and of course a team title.

All of you have lofty goals. Would you say they are realistic?
Lamar: Yes!
Johnathan: Yes!
Aaron: Most definantly!
Antonio: 100 percent yes!

Did you know each other before you came here?
Lamar: No I didn’t know them.
Johnathan: I knew Antonio from summer track.
Aaron: I knew Antonio from high school track and summer track. When I first got here I knew Johnathan was from West Charlotte because he had dreads. Everyone at West Charlotte wears dreads.
Antonio: I knew Aaron in high school. I knew Hancock through summer track. I never heard of Marty.
Lamar: That’s ok – I didn’t know him either (laughs).

Johnathan, you knew Gamecock basketball player Brandis Raley-Ross when he was still Brandis Raley. Any changes besides his name when he came to college?
Johnathan: Still the same guy. I remember watching him play for Myers Park before he went to Gastonia. I knew of him, but I didn’t know him. I know him now. I never could convince him to grow dreads though.

Any good stories about each other?
Lamar: (Big Smile!) ASAP is the funniest man I know. He was break-dancing at a track cook-out.
Antonio: That was hilarious.
Lamar: He has the craziest laugh.
Johnathan: Aaron does a lot of impressions – including Coach Frye. (they all laugh really hard). He sounds just like him. (Aaron does an imitation and they all laughed even more). Coach Frye says ‘Not because of, but despite of’. We look at each other and say ‘Don’t you mean in spite of?’ Coach Frye is good natured, he laughs with you.
Antonio: Coach Frye said he had someone run 20.16 at the NC-2A Double A and finish as the runner-up. Aaron always does that one. When he said ‘NC2A Double A’, we all looked at each other and laughed. That’s four As. Too many As.

You have traveled with your teammates all year long. They probably know everything about you. What is something they don’t know about you?
Lamar: Hmmm. I don’t know – I think they pretty much know everything. I have a Wendy’s High School Heisman for South Carolina High School Football.
Johnathan: I had a football scholarship full ride offer to East Carolina.
Aaron: I just told them yesterday that I had a whole in my lung that could have ended my track career. It healed itself, but I had to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days.
Antonio: I don’t know. I watch the History channel a lot.

What event do you wish you could compete in at a track meet?
Lamar: I would like to compete in the 400m. I haven’t run it since high school. I was the S.C. high school state champion and I haven’t run it since high school.
Johnathan: the long jump.
Aaron: The 3000m steeplechase so I could jump in the water at the meet because it gets so hot.
Antonio: The hurdles, but I am too uncoordinated.

Anything final you would like to say to Gamecock fans?
Lamar: Come to more track meets. Jonathan: I think this is the closest track team we have had here the last few years and the most talented. Our highest ranking this year was seventh – until Johnny Dutch got hurt before regionals.
Aaron: Probably that this track program is one of the best in the nation.
Antonio: Support us more – we want you at our meets.

With that said the speedy and talented, fun loving foursome jogged off laughing.