Carolina Women Earn Seventh Straight Top-10 Finish
March 11, 2006
Fayetteville, Ark. - The University of South Carolina women earned their seventh straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, as the meet came to a close Saturday on the University of Arkansas campus. Today's finals were held in front of an announced crowd of 5,596, the second largest at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
The USC women collected 20 points to tie Northern Arizona for 10th place in the final team standings. Texas won the women's team title with 51 points, finishing ahead of Stanford (36), Arizona State (30) and North Carolina (29). Georgia was the top Southeastern Conference finisher, tying Miami (Fla.) for fifth place with 27 points. LSU (25), Auburn (21) and Southern California (21) also finished ahead of the Gamecocks.
On Saturday, the women got All-America performances from Shalonda Solomon in the 60-meter dash, Cheryl Terrio in the pole vault, Chelsea Hammond in the pentathlon and from the 4x400 meter relay unit of Natasha Hastings, Chaquita Martin, Shay Shelton and Solomon. Solomon, who earned three certificates over the weekend, was crowned the 200-meter national champion on Friday.
The South Carolina men finished in a tie with Notre Dame, Villanova and Akron for 33rd place, getting six points from Greig Cryer in the long jump competition on Friday. Arkansas, who won the SEC title two weeks ago, claimed the men's team title with 53 points, ahead of LSU (45), Florida State (41), Texas (35) and Tennessee (25). Cryer was the only USC male athlete to gain All-America accolades, doing so in both the long and triple jump events.
On Saturday, Solomon got the Gamecocks in the scoring column with a sixth-place finish and three team points in the 60-meter dash. Crowned the 200-meter champion on Friday, Solomon, a sophomore from Inglewood, Calif., turned in a 60-meter time of 7.25 seconds. Marashevet Hooker from Texas won the tightly-contested race with a time of 7.20 seconds. The top seven runners all finished within six-hundredths of a second.
Cheryl Terrio also earned the Gamecocks three team points with a sixth-place finish in the pole vault competition. Terrio, who finished fifth at the SEC Championships two weeks ago, cleared 4.10 meters (13-5.25) before bowing out at 4.20 meters (13-9.25). The senior from Florence, S.C. set the indoor school record at 4.12 meters (13-6.25) earlier this season. It was the first time she's earned All-America recognition.
In the pentathlon, Hammond, competing in her final collegiate event, took seventh place with 4,086 points. The senior from Elmont, N.Y. used a first-place finish in the long jump competition to score 899 points and propel her onto the awards stand. She leaped 6.16 meters (20-2.50), one centimeter further than she jumped in the open long jump competition on Friday. Hammond also finished third in the 60-meter hurdles, stopping the clock in 8.45 seconds to garner 1,028 points. She tied for fifth in the high jump portion of the pentathlon competition, netting 891 points after clearing 1.73 meters (5-8.00). After fouling on her first two attempts, Hammond tossed the shot put 10.17 meters (33-4.50) on her final attempt, which placed her in a tie for 16th place and gained her 541 points. In the final event, she covered the 800-meter distance in 2:27.30 to place 18th, earning 727 points. Hammond did not compete in the indoor season a year ago due to injuries and was a fifth-place finisher in the pentathlon at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships with 4,144 points. She finished her career with four All-America certificates.
The women's 4x400 meter relay won the first of the three heats and finished seventh overall in a season-best time of 3:31.86 it the meet's final race. Hastings ran the leadoff leg and quickly gave USC a lead they would not relinquish. The sophomore from Rosedale, N.Y. handed the baton to Martin with about a meter advantage. Martin, a junior from Anderson, S.C. opened up the margin and, despite a shaky handoff, gave Shelton about a five meter cushion. Shelton, a junior from Mesquite, Texas who competed in the 800 meters on Friday, held that advantage and handed to Solomon on the anchor. The sophomore would not be denied her third All-America certificate of the meet and seventh in her brief career at South Carolina, as she held off a late push from Houston.
Greig Cryer, who finished third in the long jump Friday, placed ninth in the triple jump competition with a best mark of 15.73 meters (51-7.25) to earn his second All-America certificate of the meet. He went 15.98 meters (52-5.25) in last week's Last Chance Meet to earn a spot in the national meet.
The Gamecocks will get right back on the track next week, as they open the 2006 outdoor season at home with the Weems Baskin Relays, March 17-18 on the USC campus in Columbia.
SATURDAY'S USC RESULTS:
60 meter dash: 6. Shalonda Solomon 7.25.
Pole Vault: 6. Cheryl Terrio 4.10m (13-5.25).
Pentathlon: 7. Chelsea Hammond 4,086 points.
60-meter Hurdles: 3. Hammond 8.45 (1028 points); High Jump: T5. Hammond 1.73m (5-8.00) (891 points); Shot Put: T16. Hammond 10.17m (33-4.50) (541 points); Long Jump: 1. Hammond 6.16m (20-2.50) (899 points); 800 meters: 18. Hammond 2:27.30 (727 points).
Triple Jump: 9. Greig Cryer 15.73m (51-7.25).