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July 3, 2008

EUGENE, Ore. – Former South Carolina standout Natasha Hastings’ run at the U.S. 400-meter dash title ended Thursday night as she placed fifth in finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials held at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. Hastings, who will compete Friday for an Olympic berth in the 200-meter dash, is now eligible as a 4×400-meter relay member.

In her first season as a professional, Hastings ran a 51.13 Thursday to place fifth in the event. American record holder Sanya Richards won at 49.89 with Mary Wineberg (50.85) and Dee Dee Trotter (50.88) taking second and third to secure spots to the Olympic Games.

Gamecocks competing Friday are Hastings and Shalonda Solomon in the women’s 200-meter dash and Leroy Dixon and Rodney Martin in the men’s 200-meter dash. The men’s event will begin at 9:50 p.m. (EST) with the women’s beginning at 10:20 p.m. (EST) as the athletes attempt to advance out of the qualifying round.

Television coverage of the Olympic Trials will begin at 11 p.m. (EST) on the USA Network.