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Feb. 9, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 2010 season marks the conclusion of another decade, but for the South Carolina track and field programs it could be best described as THE decade. The past 10 years saw Coach Curtis Frye’s program earn the first national title for any sport at the university when his 2002 women’s team earned the outdoor title by a 10-point margin over runner-up UCLA. South Carolina student-athletes won 27 individual NCAA titles in the decade and 20 former Gamecocks competed at one of the three Olympic Games held during the decade. The plethora of athletes that honed their skills at Weems Baskin Track will always be appreciated, and in its “That Was The Decade That Was” feature in the March issue of Track & Field News, the magazine included four Gamecocks as the best in the sport from 2000 to 2009.

In the men’s event rankings, South Carolina Hall of Fame member Terrence Trammell was selected No. 5 in the 110-meter hurdles. Trammell earned seven major medals during the decade, including two Olympic silver medals after competing at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He also earned three silver medals at the World Outdoor Championships (2003, 2007, 2009) and two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships (2001, 2006).

In the women’s event rankings, the Gamecocks were represented in two events. Four-time NCAA champion Lashinda Demus. was selected No. 4 in the 400-meter hurdles of the All-Decade list. A 2004 Olympian, Demus collected three major medals during the decade by claiming gold at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships in the 4×400-meter relay as well as silver in the hurdles at the 2009 and 2005 World Outdoor Championships. She currently holds the fifth-fastest time ever run in the 400-meter hurdles with the 52.63 she ran on July 28, 2009.

Demus also made two other All-Decade lists, getting the nod at No. 8 for the Top 10 U.S. Women and No. 7 for the Top 10 High School athletes. The U.S. ranking in effect describes her as the eighth-best overall track and field athlete competing for the United States over the decade. She earned the high school ranking after setting the still-standing high school record as history’s only sub-40.0 second 300-meter hurdler. She was named the 2000 High School Athlete of the Year.

South Carolina Hall of Fame member Tonique Williams-Darling was selected No. 4 in the 400-meter dash. The Bahamian-native is the first Gamecock and the first person from her country to win an individual Olympic gold medal, a feat she earned by running a 49.42 in the final. Williams-Darling earned four major medals during the decade, claiming gold at the 2004 Olympics and 2005 World Outdoor Championships, silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2004 World Indoor Championships.

Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings was selected No. 9 in the Top 10 Collegiate Athletes list. The ranking reflects the top athletes during their collegiate careers. Hastings was named the 2007 USTFCCCA Athlete of the Year after her record-breaking final season. She swept the 400-meter dash NCAA title honors with gold at the Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Her time of 49.84 at the 2007 US Championships is the fastest time ever run by a collegian. In addition, she earned gold that year as a member of South Carolina’s 4×400-meter relay team, giving Hastings a total of three gold medals in one season.

Gamecocks On The Track & Field News Lists
Lashinda Demus – No. 4 in Women’s 400-meter hurdles, No. 7 in Top High School Women, No. 8 in Top U.S. Women
Natasha Hastings – No. 9 in Top Collegiate Women
Terrence Trammell – No. 5 in Men’s 110-meter hurdles
Tonique Williams-Darling – No. 4 in Women’s 400-meter dash

In calculating its All-Decade lists, honors won (Olympics, World Championships and world ranking positions) were used with quality valued over quantity.