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Aug. 18, 2009

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BERLIN – Tuesday was an exciting day for fans of South Carolina track and field as two former Gamecocks qualified for the women’s 400-meter hurdle finals with strong showings in day four at the IAAF World Championships held in Berlin. Lashinda Demus and Tiffany Ross-Williams will look to bring home medals for the United States after taking fourth and sixth, respectively, in the semifinals.

The world leader in the event, Demus had a strong first round Monday and followed with a time of 54.25 to win her heat in Tuesday’s semifinal round. However, she took fourth overall after the top three finishers in the first heat posted the fastest three times on the day.

“I wanted to run good through the 300m mark, and I did that tonight,” Demus said. “I just practiced on my race for the finals. I’m gonna put it together and have a good race.”

Ross-Williams, a 2008 Olympic finalist and U.S. Olympic Trials champion, finished second in her heat at 54.79 to place sixth overall and advance. A 12-time All-American while at South Carolina, Ross-Williams advances to the finals in her second consecutive trip to the World Championships and will look to improve on her seventh place finish in 2007 at Osaka, Japan.

“Technically, it was a great race,” Ross-Williams said. “It was much better than my first round. I was thinking about staying relaxed, but I probably got a little too relaxed. But, I did make the final, and that’s all that counts. I’m excited, and very grateful to be in this final. I have a day to rest, and I just have to get that second half of the race down. I have to attack the critical zone a lot harder. It’s going to take 53-low or 52-high to get a medal.

Competition resumes Wednesday when three-time Olympian and South Carolina Hall of Fame member Terrence Trammell takes the track for the first time. The two-time Olympic silver medalist will compete in the 110-meter hurdle heats at 5:35 a.m. EST. He will run in lane eight of the fifth heat. The World Championships will be broadcast on Versus from 1-3 p.m. EST.

110m Hurdles – Terrence Trammell
Heats: Wednesday, August 19 – 5:35 a.m. EST (Heat 5)
Semifinal: Thursday, August 20 – 12:15 p.m. EST
Final: Thursday, August 20 – 2:55 p.m. EST

400m Hurdles – Johnny Dutch & Jussi Heikkila

Heats: Saturday, August 15 – Dutch 49.38 (3rd heat, 11th overall), Heikkila 51.42 (8th heat, 24th overall)
Semifinal: Sunday, August 16 – Dutch 49.28 (6th heat, 12th overall)


400m Hurdles – Lashinda Demus & Tiffany Ross-Williams
Heats: Monday, August 17 – Heats: Monday, August 17 – Demus 54.66 (1st heat, 1st overall), Ross-Williams 55.25 (2nd heat, 5th overall)
Semifinal: Tuesday, August 18 – Demus 54.25 (1st heat, 4th overall), Ross-Williams 54.79 (2nd heat, 6th overall)
Final: Thursday, August 20 – 2:15 p.m. EST

4x100m Relay – Shalonda Solomon & Aleen Bailey
Heats: Saturday, August 22 – 12:10 p.m. EST (Heats TBA)
Final: Saturday, August 22 – 2:00 p.m. EST

4x400m Relay – Natasha Hastings
Heats: Saturday, August 22 – 2:15 p.m. EST (Heats TBA)
Final: Sunday, August 23 – 11:50 a.m. EST

The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.

August 19: 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Versus
August 20: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 21: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus
August 22: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. NBC
August 23: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. NBC