Gamecocks Ready to Compete at Tyson Invitational, Clemson Invitational
Feb. 8, 2007
ON TAP THIS WEEK: South Carolina's men's and women's track and field teams will compete at the Tyson Invitational and Clemson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., and Clemson, S.C., over Friday and Saturday. Those heading to Fayetteville on the women's side include: Precious Akins, Krystal Cantey, Brandi Cross, Faraign Giles, Natasha Hastings, Brittney James, Shalonda Solomon, Trier Young, Stephanie Smith and Chiquita Martin. Johnny Baez, Jonathan Fortenberry, Thomas Hilliard, IV, Keith Hinnant, Jamil James, Ray Miley, Tyler Trout, Nick Lytle, Dan McKenzie, Quentin Moore, Derek Pressley and Jason Richardson will compete for the men. The Clemson Invitational, for the women, features: Kelsey Bristol, Nikeshia Brown, Rebecca Chain, Kettiany Clarke, Casey Gale, Sallie Gurganus, Dishari'ck Howze, Lisa McKinney, CaAdrian Norman, Anna Petrov, Callie Rabun, Liza Todd, Reanna Townsend, Tawana Watkins and Karen Wigal. The men's team in Clemson consists of the following individuals: Jason Cook, Anthony Faulkner, Johnathan Hancock, Jay Lucas, Jr., Sean Leyh, Curt McGill, Jim Mitchell, Aaron Searles, Eddie Stoudemire and Daniel Williams.
LAST WEEK'S MEN'S RECAP: Redshirt senior Thomas Hilliard, IV, competed along with several other Gamecocks at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City at The Armory Track. He placed third in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.86 and went on to finish fourth in the finals with a 7.90 time. Hilliard also made an appearance at the 100th Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden while in New York and ran the 60m hurdles there as well. He took home first place with a 7.80 clocking. Hilliard has run an NCAA provisional time in every hurdles race this year. His teammate Jason Richardson finished first in the prelims at the Armory with a 7.79. Richardson did not compete during the second day of the meet after aggravating a hamstring injury while participating in the Millrose Games. South Carolina's 4x400m team took second place at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, running a 3:09.10 for a second straight NCAA provisional time. It also was the best time this year for USC's 4x400m relay.
LAST WEEK'S WOMEN'S RECAP: The Gamecocks were sixth at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City that featured over 200 teams. Junior Natasha Hastings, a native of New York, dazzled the hometown crowd with a 52.12 time in the prelims of the 400-meter dash and then eclipsed that time a day later by running 51.70 to win the event. She is undefeated this year in the 400m. Her 51.70 time was the fastest time by an American this year, was a personal record and the second-fastest time in Gamecock history. To conclude the meet, Hastings anchored the 4x400-meter relay to a meet and Armory track-record time of 3:30.95. She ran 51.2 on the final leg to edge out LSU. Hastings has two automatic NCAA times for the 400 and the 4x400 team's 3:30.95 also was an automatic time. After the meet, Hastings was named Most Outstanding Competitor. In the distance races at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, junior Rebecca Chain improved her time in the mile for the third consecutive week, running a PR 5:06.24. In the 3K, redshirt freshman Casey Gale crossed the finish line in 10:06.89, good for eighth on South Carolina's all-time performance list. In the finals of the 60m hurdles, senior Chiquita Martin led USC with an 8.47 time to finish in seventh place. Sophomores Trier Young and Brittney James were 10th and 13th with times of 8.52 and 8.59.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS FOR THE MEN: The Gamecock men have a pair of All-Americans on the roster this season with redshirt senior Jonathan Fortenberry and junior Jason Richardson. Fortenberry has been hampered by an Achilles' heel injury each of the past three seasons but is hoping to finish his career on a high note. He owns six All-America citations and was a member of the 4x400m relay team that won the 2002 NCAA outdoor championship. Richardson's four All-America awards have come as a result of his work in the hurdles.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS FOR THE WOMEN: Nine women return for 2007 with All-America credentials. Headlining the group is junior Shalonda Solomon, who owns 10 citations in just two years running the sprints and relays. She is the defending NCAA champion in the 200m both indoors and outdoors. Senior Stephanie Smith has eight to her credit and junior Natasha Hastings is a seven-time All-American. Junior Amberly Nesbitt, the 2006 NCAA 100m champion, is a four-time honoree, and senior Chiquita Martin has three to her credit. Redshirt junior Ronnetta Alexander, junior Faraign Giles and redshirt senior Tawana Watkins all have two. Senior Precious Akins earned an All-America award last year in the discus.
PUTTING ON A SHOW FOR THE HOMETOWN CROWD: Junior Natasha Hastings, a native of New York, dazzled the hometown crowd at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational with a 52.12 time in the prelims of the 400-meter dash and then eclipsed that time a day later by running 51.70 to win the event. Her 51.70 time was the fastest time by an American this year, was a personal record and the second-fastest time in Gamecock history. To conclude the meet, Hastings anchored the 4x400-meter relay to a meet and Armory track-record time of 3:30.95. She ran 51.2 on the final leg to edge out LSU. For her efforts, she was named the meet's Most Outstanding Competitor. The following week, she picked up SEC Runner of the Week honors, becoming the second Gamecock in 2007 to snare the award.
DANDY DOZEN RANKINGS: Trackwire's Dandy Dozen rankings currently have junior Jason Richardson listed at No. 2 in the nation for the 60m hurdles, and redshirt senior Thomas Hilliard, IV, is ranked No. 7. The Gamecock men's 4x400m relay is ranked third as well. On the women's side, junior Shalonda Solomon is ranked ninth in the 60 and No. 1 in the 200. Junior Natasha Hastings is No. 1 in the 400 and USC's 4x400 team holds down the No. 1 position as well.
WOMEN LOOK TO EXTEND NCAA STREAKS IN 2007: South Carolina's women's track and field program looks to extend its streak of top-10 finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships to eight this year. The Gamecocks have earned three runner-up trophies at the national indoors (2000, 2001, 2003) and placed 10th last season. Outdoors, the women hope to make it 12 straight top-10 finishes. Carolina won the school's first and only NCAA team championship in 2002, and the women placed second once. In 2006, South Carolina recorded a third-place finish and was just a half-point shy of tying for second. The Gamecocks were third one other time in 2003.
NCAA CHAMPS ON THIS YEAR'S TEAM: The Gamecocks have three women on this year's squad who have won NCAA championships. Junior Shalonda Solomon is the defending champ in the 200m for both indoors and outdoors. Classmate Amberly Nesbitt won the 100m last year at the outdoor meet, and senior Stephanie Smith was a member of the 4x400m relay team that won gold at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships. Solomon was a member of the relay as well. On the men's team, redshirt senior Jonathan Fortenberry won an NCAA title his freshman year in 2002 as the anchor runner of the 4x400m team at the national outdoor meet.
SEC WEEKLY AWARD WINNERS: The following is a list of individual SEC award winners in 2007:
Men's Runner of the Week
Men's Field Athlete of the Week
Women's Field Athlete of the Week
QUEEN SOLOMON: Junior Shalonda Solomon has earned numerous awards during her two years with the Gamecocks. She owns 10 All-America citations and three NCAA titles. Below is a look at many of her career highlights with South Carolina.
10 All-America citations
RICHARDSON LOOKS FOR GOLD: Junior Jason Richardson is looking for his first gold medal in the 60m hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year. As a freshman in 2005, Richardson finished third and he did likewise in the 110m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Richardson was unlucky at last year's indoor meet, clipping a hurdle late in the finals, then falling, and not finishing the race. He took the bronze medal in the short hurdles for the outdoor campaign as well.
NCAA MEN'S CHAMPIONS: A total of 15 Gamecocks have earned NCAA individual championships, with the first coming in 1948 when Norman "Scooter" Rucks won the 400-meter dash. South Carolina's next championship was in 1974 when Don Brown, John Brown, Mike Sheley and Jim Schaper won the 4x800m relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships and helped USC earn a third-place finish. Terrence Trammell owns the most titles with six, five of which were individual and one as a member of the 1999 4x100m. Below is a list of Carolina's champions:
Don Brown - 1974 4x800m (I)
NCAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS: On the women's side of Gamecock track and field, 16 current or former student-athletes have captured NCAA individual championships. Dawn Ellerbe was the program's first in 1996 at the NCAA Indoor Championships when she took gold in the 20-pound weight throw. At the outdoor meet that same year, she was crowned champion in the hammer throw. She repeated the feat again in 1997 before Lisa Misipeka followed suit in 1998. Demetria Washington owns the school record for the most individual titles with six, and Mike Barber is second with five. A list of Carolina's champions follows:
Aleen Bailey - 2003 100m (O); 2003 200m (O); 2002 4x100m (O)
ALL-AMERICA COUNT: A total of 51 Gamecock men have earned the distinction of All-America, collecting 142 certificates. Terrence Trammell received the most awards during his career with 13. For the women, who did not field a full team until 1993, 43 have received All-America praise a total of 225 times. Demetria Washington has the most with 21 citations, followed by Miki Barber with 20.
WHERE THEY RANK: Looking at where South Carolina's marks and times rank among the NCAA, the women have the top time in three events. Junior Shalonda Solomon is first in the 200m, classmate Natasha Hastings is No. 1 for the 400m and Carolina's 4x400m relay is first as well. Solomon also ranks 12th in the 60m and Hastings is 12th for the 200m. Freshman Krystal Cantey has the 15th-best time in the 400m, senior Stephanie Smith is 16th and rookie Brandi Cross is 18th. Senior Precious Akins is 21st for the 20-pound weight and sophomore Kettiany Clarke is 35th in the pentathlon. On the men's side, junior Jason Richardson is second in the 60-meter hurdles and redshirt senior Thomas Hilliard, IV, is fourth. The men also have the No. 3 time for the 4x400m. Senior Dan McKenzie holds down the No. 16 spot for the pole vault as well.