Gamecock Track continues competition at USA Track and Field Championships
June 22, 2007
In continued action at the USA Track and Field Championships, South Carolina saw Natasha Hastings, Krystal Cantey, Chiquita Martin and Brandi Cross and a number of former Gamecocks advance to the next round - including two who finished in the top six of the finals of the women's 100m. The USA Championships in Indianapolis run through Sunday and the meet will be shown live the following days and times: Sat., June 23 - 2 pm on NBC and 7 pm on ESPN2 and Sun., June 24 - 1 pm on NBC.
"This was a good day to be a Gamecock," said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. "The alums had a great day. Natasha as a little nervous today, but she ran a great race. Chiquita got back to be in the top 16 in the USA is special. Krystal has had a long year for a freshman - gathering All-American honors this year - it's been a long year for the collegians. That isn't an excuse, but the truth. Brandi had a great strategy and ran well today. The one thing about this weekend, the pros are pros for a reason, but this is a great experience for our kids."
Hastings, the 2007 NCAA Track Athlete of the Year, ran a 50.72 to finish as the runner-up and advance to Saturday's final at 2:36 pm on national TV. Hastings was only bested by Sanya Richards, who ran a 50.02 to win her heat and Hastings heat winner, Dee Dee Trotter, who ran a 50.70. Hastings needs to finish in the top three to earn a berth on the USA's World Championship team (late August in Japan).
"I was nervous today because I was excited. I wanna do some special things this weekend and I really want to run well," said Hastings, who was named the SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year last week. "Tonight I will do many of the same things I've done all season: I will call on God first, get my head in the game, take an ice-bath, get a massage - just stay focused and calm. I have done everything I need to do physically - now it's 90% mental.
On today's race: "I didn't feel Dee Dee coming - she is very quiet. I did see Sanya run in the first semis - she looked great," continued Hastings. "My goal tomorrow is my goal all season - to run a 49. It's going to take some greatness to win tomorrow. This is what I have been training for all season."
A trio of former Gamecock NCAA champions and graduates competed in the semi-finals of the 100m with 2005 USA champion Lisa Barber, suffering from injury, finished seventh in her heat with a time of 11.42, twin sister Miki finished second in her heat with a time of 11.22 and one/half of another twin set, Mechelle Lewis, finished fourth in her heat with a time of 11.38.
Miki Barber and Lewis advanced to the finals. Lewis finished fifth in the finals with a time of 11.26 and Barber finished sixth with a time of 11.27. Both will be in the USA's 4x100m relay pool for the World Championships.
An Anderson native, Martin advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.51 - finishing sixth in her heat. The semis are at 1:40 pm on Saturday.
Cantey ran a 58.14 to advance to the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles with a third place finish in her heat. Cantey runs in the semi-finals at 2:02 on Saturday. Cantey was fifth at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago. Former NCAA champion Tiffany Ross-Williams won Cantey's heat with a time of 55.17 and also advanced to the semi-finals.
"It felt fine," said Cantey. "I just wanted to run fast enough to advance."
Brandi Cross ran a 54.26 and won her preliminary heat of the 400m to advance to the finals of the 400m junior Championship at 3:05 on Saturday. If Cross finishes in the top three she will earn a berth on the Pan Am Junior Championship team. Cross was a member of USC's NCAA Champion Indoor 4x400m relay.
"There is more in there (to run faster)," said Cross. "I wanted to win my heat to advance to the finals and get a good lane. It felt good, I felt comfortable and look forward to tomorrow."
USC graduate and former All-American Leroy Dixon advanced to the finals of the 100m by running 10.26 - finishing second in his heat. He finished sixth, running 10.26, and should earn a berth on the USA's 4x100m relay at the World Championships.
Mike Zajac was fourth in the junior hammer championship with a toss of 209' 5.
Former Gamecock National Athlete of the Year Demetria Washington ran a 52.28 in the 400m to finish sixth in her semi-final heat and she did not advance.