Spring Sports Updates - A Lot Is Going On At USC

<IMG SRC=http://media.TheInsiders.com/Media/Other/201143_softball.GIF HEIGHT=76 WIDTH=120 align=right>A breakdown of happenings with many of the USC Spring Sports teams this weekend. Many noteworthy events are taking place ...

Track Heads To Clemson For Saturday Meet

Orange and Purple Classic will serve as a tune-up for next weekend's SEC Outdoor Championships

South Carolina travels to the Orange & Purple Classic hosted by Clemson University. The meet was not originally on USC's schedule, but was added to prepare for next weekend's SEC Outdoor Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. Competition at Clemson is slated for Saturday, May 10 at the Rock Norman Track Complex. USC's women's team is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation by Trackwire Online while the men's team is No. 6.

The Gamecocks had a solid weekend of performances at the Penn Relays despite the rainy and cool weather in Philadelphia.

USC's men's shuttle hurdle team lit up the Franklin Field track by posting an American and World-Record time of 53.94. The quartet of Corey Taylor, Fred Townsend, Charles Ryan and Kenneth Ferguson eclipsed the previous collegiate record held by the 1981 Tennessee team that featured Willie Gault on the anchor leg and surpassed the world mark previously held by a 1999 foursome that featured current Carolina volunteer assistant coach Allen Johnson.

Top-ranked Lashinda Demus proved worthy of her ranking by winning the 400m hurdles with a time of 56.90 on day one of competition. Teammate Tiffany Ross ran a season-best time of 57.72 to place third in the event.

Ferguson highlighted the final day of the Penn Relays by winning the 400m hurdles championship with a time of 49.63. He also qualified for the finals of the 110m hurdles but did not race.

Head coach Curtis Frye wore the "yellow hat" during the weekend, a prestigious honor for serving as honorary college women's referee. He was one of only five honorary referees at the Penn Relays.

Five current USC athletes are ranked among the world's elite in six events according to the IAAF World Rankings.

Lashinda Demus is the highest ranked Carolina athlete and the only one ranked in multiple events. The sophomore sensation is 13th in the 400m hurdles and 37th in the 400m dash. Antoinette Wilks is the other USC female athlete ranked, holding the 43rd spot in the long jump.

Otukile Lekote leads a trio of USC men, ranked 23rd in the 800m run. Jonathan Fortenberry holds the 41st spot in the 400m run while Kenneth Ferguson owns the 43rd ranking in the 400m hurdles.

USC Women's Golf Team Tees It Up Thursday morning at NCAA East Regional

Gamecocks are seeded seventh in the 21-team field competing over the weekend

The 15th-ranked South Carolina women's golf team tees it up Thursday morning at 8:30 in the first round of the 2003 NCAA East Regional at Salem Glen Country Club in Clemmons, North Carolina. The Gamecocks are the seventh seed in the 21-team field and will participate in the three-round, 54-hole tournament to determine the eight teams who advance to the NCAA Championships to be held in Lafayette, Indiana, May 20-23rd.

South Carolina is making its fifth consecutive postseason visit and 10th NCAA Regional appearance. Head coach Kristi Coggins has earned a postseason berth in eight of the her nine years at the helm of the USC golf program. If USC were to advance to the NCAA Championships, it would mark the seventh visit for the Gamecocks.

Last year, South Carolina ventured to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the 2002 NCAA East Regional. The Gamecocks earned a sixth-place finish and advanced to the NCAA Championships. in Auburn, Washington, where they finished 23rd.

South Carolina is coming off a fourth-place outing at the 2003 SEC Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, back in April. Two-time SEC Individual Medalist Kristy McPherson captured third place while teammate Adrienne Gautreaux finished in a tie for eighth place.

After a Wednesday practice round, the Regional will begin on Thursday and continue each day through Saturday. First-round play starts on Thursday morning with South Carolina teeing off from 8:30 to 9:10 a.m. along with Tulane and North Carolina. Each team is comprised of five golfers with the best four scores counting each day towards the team's total score.

The Gamecocks will enjoy veteran leadership as four of the five golfers participated in last year's Regional and Championship. USC will be represented by seniors Kristy McPherson and Kacy Thompson, juniors Adrienne Gautreaux and Marci Robinson and sophomore Tiffany Catafygiotu. This is the first NCAA postseason tournament for Catafygiotu.

Results from each day's competition will be posted on the South Carolina website (www.uscsports.com). Fans can also follow the NCAA Regional by watching the live hole-by-hole coverage on www.golfstat.com.

Curtis Frye To Speak At Former Community College Graduation

USC coach to give commencement address at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - USC head coach Curtis Frye will give the commencement address at his former community college on Saturday, May 10. He will speak to the class of 2003 at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C., where he graduated before completing his Bachelor of Science degree at East Carolina University.

"Sandhills Community College has made a big difference in our family," said Frye. 'I graduated from the school as did my wife Wilma, my mother, my sister, my little brother and my nephew. It will be an honor to speak at their commencement."

Frye has also addressed the graduating class at his former high school, Union Pine High in Cameron, N.C.

USC Prepares For Regional Match With Rice

Gamecocks begin NCAA Tournament play on Saturday in Austin, Texas

No. 18 South Carolina faces No. 33 Rice in the first round of NCAA Regional play at Austin, Texas on Saturday, May 10 at 3 p.m. EDT. The winner of the match will meet the winner of the Texas-St. Bonaventure match on Sunday, May 11 for the right to advance to the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.

USC's 17-7 dual match record for a .708 winning percentage, was the school's best since an .724 clip in 1998 (a 21-8 mark), Carolina was 11-2 at home this season, including an 11-match home win streak, 10-6 against ranked opponents and 8-0 against Region II foes. The Gamecocks finished in a three-way tie for fifth in the SEC.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Live scoring updates along with ticketing and other information about the Austin Regional can be found on the University of Texas athletics website at http://www.texassports.com/mainpages/tn_pages/2002_03/m_regional/index.html. Information on the 2003 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship can be found at http://www.ncaasports.com/tennis/mens.

USC AGAINST THE AUSTIN REGIONAL FIELD: The Gamecocks hold a 2-0 advantage over Rice in the all-time series. USC defeated the Owls 6-1 in the last meeting between the schools on March 8, 1999. Texas leads South Carolina 4-2 in their all-time series and the Longhorns won the last match between the school back in 1991. USC and St. Bonaventure have never met in men's tennis.

USC AT THE NCAA REGIONALS: USC is making its tenth consecutive NCAA appearance as a team, its 17th regional in the last 19 years. Carolina reached the second round of the 2002 regional in Knoxville, defeating Georgia Tech 4-2 before falling to eventual national runner-up and then top-ranked Georgia, 4-0. The Gamecocks last advanced out of a regional and on the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1998. That year, USC defeated a trio of ACC opponents, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia to advance before a loss to fourth-ranked Mississippi State.

ROSE SELECTED TO SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP: Seth Rose has been selected to the NCAA Singles Championship field of 64, beginning May 21 in Athens, Ga.. The senior will compete from the Mideast Region. It marks the second-straight year at the NCAA Individual Championships for Rose. Last season, he fell to Lance Mills of Nebraska in the round of 64.

SENIOR DUO EARNS ALL-SEC ACCOLADES: USC seniors Seth Rose and Angelo Niculescu each earned 2003 All-SEC honors. Both players were named to the conference's second-team. Rose earned all-SEC accolades for the second consecutive season after posting 13 dual match victories and combing for 11 doubles wins during his final campaign. Niculescu, notched 14 dual match victories and totaled 14 doubles wins during the season.

RALLYING AGAINST THE RANKED: The Gamecocks have recorded a 10-6 record against ranked opponents during the 2003 dual match season. No. 64 Furman, No. 36 Mississippi State, No. 23 LSU, No. 20 Arkansas, No. 39 North Carolina, No. 30 Clemson, No. 23 Georgia Tech, No. 18 Georgia, No. 42 Tennessee and No. 21 Wake Forest all have fallen to the Gamecocks this season. The victory total against ranked teams includes three road wins (Mississippi State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech) USC has won eight of its last 12 matches against ranked opponents.

A PAIR OF PLAYERS RANKED BY THE ITA: Two Gamecocks are listed among the ITA singles rankings: Seth Rose (No. 48) and Angelo Niculescu (No. 69). Rose plays at No. 1 singles and has 13 dual match victories this season, 11 at No. 1, while Niculescu began 2003 with a 12-match winning streak and is second on the team with 14 dual match triumphs. USC had three players ranked in the preseason, Rose at No. 31, Niculescu at No. 37 and Marcus Westman at No. 89. In the 2002 final rankings, Rose was 49th and Niculescu 62nd.

Gamecock Softball Heads to SEC Tournament

No. 19 South Carolina Earns No. 4 Seed

Columbia, S.C. - The 19th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (37-16, 18-10 SEC) finished second in the SEC East to earn a No. 4 seed at the SEC Tournament May 8-11. USC will face fifth seed Florida (38-21, 19-11 SEC) on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Fla. This will mark the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. Carolina swept the Gators 3-0 back in April in Columbia.

Carolina ended the regular season with a split doubleheader against Coastal Carolina last Wednesday. The Gamecocks closed out SEC play with a 2-1 series win over Ole Miss in Oxford. Florida is coming off of a 2-1 series win over No. 12 LSU.

This berth marks USC's seventh straight appearance in the SEC Tournament and the second time Carolina has played Florida in the first round. In 1997, the Gamecocks defeated the Gators 6-1. For the SEC Tournament, Carolina has a 14-8 record and is 2-1 against Florida. For the entire series against the Gators, the Gamecocks lead 22-11.

Carolina will be led by senior third baseman Danielle Quinones who is hitting .349 for the Gamecocks. The Gators leader at the plate is Mylin Prieto who is hitting .386. In the circle for USC is Stacey Johnson (16-7) with a 1.30 ERA. Against SEC teams this season, she posted nine wins and a 1.53 ERA, the third best among SEC pitchers. Jenny Gladding (20-12) is Florida's weapon with a 1.41 overall ERA and 13 SEC wins.

Carolina has two SEC tournament titles. The first came in 1997 and the second came in 2000, when this year's senior class was freshmen.

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