Women Place Second, Men Third at SEC Indoor Championships|
March 2, 2003
Gainesville, Fla. - The South Carolina women's team finished second and the men's team third with strong showings at the 2003 SEC Indoor Championships. Both the women's and men's finishes were their highest at the SEC Indoors since each placed second in 1999.
"It feels good right now, coming off a second place finish for the women and third for the men," said head coach Curtis Frye. "We expected to win the women's side, but this meet is tough. It is one of the toughest conferences in the nation and to finish where we did is great. Last year our men finished ninth and they finished third this year. That is a great improvement. Last year our women finished fourth and moved up this year to second. Both teams were outstanding this weekend."
USC swept the 4x400 relay events. The women ran away from the field as the quartet of Tiffany Ross, Miki Barber, Demetria Washington and anchor Lashinda Demus ran an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:32.90. Carolina's men's quartet of Kenneth Ferguson, Otukile Lekote, Otis Harris and Jonathan Fortenberry ran an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:07.09. On the anchor, Fortenberry made a late charge down the final stretch to help lead his quartet to victory.
"Our 4x400 meter relays were excellent," said Frye. "We did well today. Our women ran a great relay. We want to be placed in the top seeds for nationals, and to race against the top relay team, the Texas women."
Fortenberry and Harris both ran NCAA automatic qualifying times in the 400 meter dash. Fortenberry finished second with a time of 46.38 while Harris placed fifth with a mark of 46.69. Ferguson posted a time of 47.76 to finish seventh.
In the women's 400 meter dash, Demus finished second with a NCAA automatic time of 52.91 and Washington posted an automatic time of 53.79 to place fourth. Ross finished fifth with a provisional time of 54.15 and Shevon Stoddart ran a provisional time of 54.33 to place seventh. The times for Demus, Ross and Stoddart were all season-bests.
Martin Jackson finished fourth in the 200m dash, recording a provisional qualifying time of 21.48, which is also a season best for him.
The Garnet and Black recorded a 2-3-6 finish in the 200m dash, with Aleen Bailey leading the way. Bailey ran an automatic qualifying time of 23.54. Bailey was closely followed by Barber, who finished third with an automatic qualifying time of 23.65. Erica Whipple set a provisional qualifying mark of 23.76, finishing sixth.
The tandem of Corey Taylor and Ferguson placed third and fourth in the 55 meter hurdles. Taylor's time of 7.28 was a provisional mark while Ferguson ran a 7.40 in the final.
Barber finished third in the 55 meter dash with a time of 6.82, a provisional mark that equaled her best time of the season. Bailey followed, placing fourth in the event with a time of 6.86, also a provisional mark.
Otukile Lekote was the runner-up in the 800m run with a time of 1:47.58, an automatic qualifying time. The second place finish by Lekote was the only race that he has not won this year.
Ross finished third in the 55 meter hurdles, running an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 7.63. Demus ran a provisional mark of 7.84 to finish seventh and Stoddart placed ninth.
Fred Townsend placed seventh in the men's high jump with a mark of 6'07.00 while Chelsea Hammond finished in a tied eighth in the women's high jump with a mark of 5'08.50.
South Carolina finished second in the women's distance medley relay, anchored by co-captain Jenny Lake, with a time of 11:30.72.
"Our women's DMR team had an excellent performance today," said Frye. "Our distance runners are not well known. I was thrilled by Jenny Lake's performance today. We were picked to finish seventh in the DMR and we were the runner-up. They ran great today."
The Gamecocks will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Last Chance Meet next week. The NCAA Indoor Championships will take place on March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark.