Big Weekend For Gamecock Spring Sports!

The University of South Carolina had a huge weekend as a program in the Spring Sports with baseball taking two of three on the road, with an individual National Championshop won, and with the track team racking up honors ...

Tara Brothers Wins the 2004 Hunter Seat National Championship

Brothers becomes second individual to win an individual national championship this year for USC.

Columbia,S.C. - Tara Brothers won the equestrian Hunter Seat National Championship at the IHSA Nationals in Murfreesboro,Tenn this past weekend. Brothers defeated 28 other competitors during the three day competition to earn the title.

Brothers began the competition on Thursday by placing seventh in the flat phase. Coach Duncan's and Brothers' plan was to be in the top ten after the flat phase, knowing that the next days' competition would be her strongest phase.

Trailing the leader Megan Palmer, of Miami of Ohio by seven points, Brothers was in position to win if she could produce a solid jumping round. During Friday's jumping phase, Brothers put in the best round of the day with a score of 95, besting second place finisher Meredith Houx of Texas A&M by three points.

The combination of Brothers' scores for the first two days put her in the lead by four points over Houx. The final phase of competition took place on Saturday when the top five were asked to perform a demanding test over a shortened jumping course.

The top five were Brothers, Houx, Amy Lowery of University of Massachusetts, Vanessa Stevenson of Conneticut College and Jill Douglas of Lehigh University. Brothers once again put in a solid performance that kept her on top and allowed her to capture the Cacchione Cup and in the process become the first USC athlete to win a National Title in the sport of equestrian.

Brothers is the second individual to win a national title this year at USC. Diver Allison Brennan won the one meter springboard competition at the 2004 Swimming and Diving competition in March.

"Tara was extremely confident this past weekend" Coach Boo Duncan said. "She was really on top of her game in all three parts of the competition. Her relaxed demeanor and ability to focus under extreme pressure allowed her to concentrate on the details of her performance that put her ahead of the others. There was no question she had won the National Title before the judges' decision was announced- she was that good."

"I had a lot of confidence going into the championship" Brothers said. "I was very fortunate to draw wonderful horses. It was a very competitive group of riders."

1. Tara Brothers - USC

2. Jill Douglas- Lehigh University

3. Vanessa Stevenson - Conneticut College

4. Amy Lowery - Umass

5. Meredith Houx - Texas A&M


USC wins 7 events, set two facility records and 1 school record in SEC Championships tune-up.

Traveling to the up-state for a final tune-up prior to the SEC Championships next weekend, South Carolina's track and field teams proved their own mettle today - winning seven events, shattering two Clemson facility records, a school record and bringing home 20 NCAA Championship qualifiers.

"This was a great meet for us on both sides," said USC Head Coach Curtis Frye. "I am really pleased with our results. This was a final tune-up as we prepare to compete in the SEC Outdoor Championships - considered the premier conference meet in the country. It was good to get the rust off after exams and hopefully this meet will make for a big send-off to SECs next weekend."

USC won both long jumps with huge jumps in the NCAA. Fresh off her win at Penn Relays, Chelsea Hammond jumped a school record 21' 6 1/4, breaking Antoninette Wilks' record by more than 3 inches. Hammond's mark, breaking a five-year old facility record as well, is the No. 1 mark in the country. Kemesha Whitmire was second with a personal best 20'3 - also an NCAA qualifier.

On the men's side, Tony Allmond won the men's long jump, hitting a season-best 26'2 - his mark is the No. 2 mark in the event in the NCAA.

Lashinda Demus continued to prove why she is one of the top female athletes in the country - winning both the 100m hurdles (13.19) and the 400m hurdles (55.80) - with NCAA qualifying times. Her time in the 400m hurdles was a facility record - shattering a record from 1992.

In the 400m hurdles - USC went 1-2-3 with Shevon Stoddart (57.27) and Tawana Watkins (59.17) finishing 2-3 with NCAA qualifying marks.

In the 100m hurdles, Demus won at 13.19, while Ronetta Alexander, who ran the fastest prelim time at 11.26, was fourth and Chiquta Martin was seventh at 13.76. All three marks are NCAA qualifiers.

Rodney Martin posted an NCAA qualifying mark in the 200m at 20.96 and Adrian Durant also won the consolation finals - posting an NCAA qualifying time of 10.45 in the prelims in the 100m.

The Penn Relays champion, Brook Anotonio, won the discus with a personal best and NCAA qualifying mark of 176' 9.

Erica Whipple won the 200m with a time 23.20 - an NCAA qualifying time. Whipple and Khaliah Carpenter posted the top times of the day in the 100m, with both qualifying for the NCAAs with times of 11.53 and 11.56, respectively. Alexis Joyce was third in the same heat, hitting 11.61 - also an NCAA time.

Stephanie Smith won the 400m with an NCAA qualifying mark of 53.12 and Fred Townsend posted an NCAA qualifier in the 400m as well, running a 47.80.

Katie Desin was third in the javelin with a mark of 125' 3. Steve Mance was third in the steeplechase with a time of 9:41.32. Third overall, Shay Sheldon was the first collegiate in the 800m, running a 2:10.92.

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