2003 SEC Track & Field Championships

May 18, 2003

Recap?|? Photo Gallery

John McDonnell - Arkansas Men's Head Coach
(Arkansas Won Men's Team Championship With 149 Points)
" It was a great team effort, and they competed so well. From top to bottom, the individual pride is what really did it. It's always nice when you lose something (SEC outdoor title), to get it back--especially at Tennessee."

Tom Jones - Florida Women's Head Coach
(Florida Won the Women's Team Championship with 159 Points)
" After what our team endured this year injury-wise and emotionally, this is probably the sweetest victory I've ever had in 33 years of coaching. Our team came through in every department--in every facet. Of course, you always have your ups and downs. This is an exceptional group."

Gabor Mate - Auburn - Men's SEC Commissioner's Trophy Co-Winner
(26 Points)
" I wanted come out and put up enough points for the Commissioner's Trophy. I competed in three events to help the team. I'm excited to take the trophy home. This was a good way to end my senior year at SECs."

Erica Whipple - South Carolina - Women's SEC Commissioner's Trophy Winner
(21.50 Points)
" I didn't expect to win it at all. I was off doing my cool-down and I just heard my name being called. I was so tired, I could barely run over to accept the trophy. I'm just so happy to win the trophy, to win championships but everyone on my team is a champion. I think I finally lived up to my billing out of high school. Last year, I didn't make the finals of the 200-meter dash and barely made the finals of the 100-meter dash (and won them both this year). I don't think it's all sunk in yet. I know winning the 100 (meter) sunk in right away. But winning the 200 (meter) and the Commissioner's Trophy hasn't sunk in at all. It's great to be the second athlete in a row from South Carolina to win it (Antoinette Wilks won the trophy last year), and it means a lot to win the MVP out of what is by far the best conference in the nation."



Otis Harris - South Carolina - Men's 4x400m Relay Champions
(Durant, Ferguson, Lekote and Harris Had a Winning Time of 3:04.66)
" Once again, it's a blessing from God that I'm here and able to do this. When you think about USC, you think about team. We're a strong team in a lot of places. Just like any other team, we've got weaknesses, but we're strong. We're stronger than anybody. Everybody's done their individual events and it's easy to give the excuse we're tired or worn out. The 4x100 doesn't mean much but it takes the team to come together. The relay championship shows how the team comes together. There was a lot of problems, but we're an experienced team. That's going to happen. It happens indoor and it's going to happen outdoor. You just have to, as a team, work through it and keep the race going. There was a slight change in our relay because one of our regular guys got hurt. But we're veterans. We worked through it and came up with a victory. Back-to-back--it feels good to get out there and repeat. It was harder to win the first one, but we've got to do now, is go out and win a third one."

Novlene Williams - Florida - Women's 4x400m Champions
(Robinson, Benjamin, Bratton and Williams Had a Winning Time of 3:32.58)
" We had the attitude that we were going to try to place near LSU, but after the anchor leg, we were ahead. There were no problems in the exchange. It was O.K. Coming in here, we knew we could win the team championship, and that's exactly what we did. We didn't need the 4x400 for us to win, but we did it, and we're happy. We will go home as a champion."

Tiffany Ross - South Carolina - Women's 400m Hurdles Champion
(Winning Time of 57.13)
(On Winning SEC Titles in Back-to-Back Years)
" I am glad I came here. The SEC is the best conference in the USA. I'm glad to be here in the SEC. Technically, it wasn't a very good race for me, but I got the win. My time dropped because I have been out with an injury for a couple of weeks, but I'm back."

Kenneth Ferguson - South Carolina - Men's 400m Hurdles Champion
(Winning Time of 48.78)
" I was the favorite in the race, but I was having second thoughts about it coming in. I hadn't caught my breath from the 110 (hurdles). Coach said to be strong and focused. In the last 200 meters, I hit a second gear and brought it home."

Leigh Smith - Tennessee - Men's Javelin Champion
(Winning Throw of 236-6)
(On Winning in 2001 and Again This Year)
" Last year (not winning) was disappointing. My mental state was off last year so I tried to refocus myself. This gives me a lot of confidence going into NCAAs. It feels great going in. Our team has done great. It is too bad we couldn't get a little more, but our guys have done great out here."

Sharon Dickie - Tennessee - Women's 5000m Champion
(Winning Time of 16:40.36)
" I wanted to do my best. My coach had given me some splits, but it was too hot to go for a personal best, so I didn't meet those goals. The NCAA Regionals and Championships overshadow the SECs as far as my focus is concerned. I took the lead early, lost it and then went ahead for keeps after about a mile. It was very nice to run on my home track, with the fans behind me. Their support helped, because I was getting tired."

Alistair Cragg - Arkansas - Men's 5000m Champion
(SEC Meet Record Time of 13:41.04)
" It was fun. It was a lot better than last year. Last year, I didn't feel well and ran behind (teammate) Dan (Lincoln). This time I wanted to go for it and get a good weekend out of it. It was fun. I'm happy with my performances."

(On Pulling Away From the Pack)
" That was the plan. I wasn't sure if Dan (Lincoln) was going to come with me, follow and try to get a decent time. He's had a lot harder weekend than I had. I wanted to get a good run at it today."

(On Breaking the SEC Meet Record)
" It was more of an aim in this than in the 10k. Daniel (Lincoln) and I had not even looked at the records. We didn't know I had a chance at a record until I crossed the line in the 10k. Unfortunately, Daniel didn't look at it before the steeplechase. He was just off it, by like three-hundredths of a second or something ridiculous."

Erica Whipple - South Carolina - Women's 200m Champion
(Winning Time of 22.82)
" The race went great. I don't know if I should say this or not, but I didn't expect to win. I just went out and ran my best."

(On Defeating the Defending Champion Stephanie Durst of LSU)
" Anytime you defeat the defending champion it's great. I did it with a great time. Stephanie Durst (finished second) is a great competitor to run against. She really pushes the rest of us. I am really excited. I am ready for regionals. I am ready for NCAAs. I'm going to call my Mom."

Tiffany McWilliams - Mississippi State - Women's 800m AND 1,500m Champion
(Winning Times of 202.74 in the 800m and 412.18 in the 1,500m)
(On the 800m)
" It went good for me. The first 100m went a little slow, but the second lap, I felt really good about it. "

(On Her SEC Record Time in the 1,500m)
" It went well. It was a PR for me so I feel good about it. I'm glad I could run well and help the team score. I didn't know it was a record until I heard it over the intercom. So I feel good about it. I'm surprised. I didn't know what the record was."

Karen Freberg - Florida - Women's Shot Put Champion
(On Her School Record Throw of 55-9.75)
" It was awesome. I really felt on that throw that it was really good. When I saw the mark, I was really excited. It really pumped me up. The girls in the first flight got two PRs and I'm pretty happy for our team performance. This was my first outdoor championship so I'm really excited to achieve that."

(On Her Team's Goal of a Championship)
" That was our goal coming in. We all wanted to win a championship, or at least try to. If we had enough girls finish in the top 5 or top 8, we knew we had a chance. I'm very happy for my team."

Marquis Davis - Mississippi State - Men's 200m Champion
(Winning Time of 20.49)
" You could hear the footsteps coming down the stretch. I knew I had to pick it up. Running the 100m and 200m double is very difficult, so I knew I had to really be focused. The 200m is my best race, I guess because strength is a factor. It was pretty cool on the track. As for the NCAA Regionals in Ohio, I don't know who will be competing. Regardless, I'll be there to run my best."

Muna Lee - LSU - Women's 100m Champion
(Winning Time of 11.12)
" Actually, I just ran to win. I had to think about one part of my race, and that was the start. After that, I just opened up and ran. It had been a long time since I had run. Knowing that I ran so fast and knowing that I am not run out like I was last year makes me feel more confident going into NCAAs."

Josh Reed - Georgia - Men's High Jump Champion
(Winning Jump of 7-.5)
" I'm starting to get in a groove. My form's been shaky all season, but I've been working on it. I wanted to go out and compete and not let anything bother me. I did 7-1.5 last season, and should have made 7-1.75 today. I'm pretty confident I can do that. Our region has a lot of good jumpers. It will take a lot of work to get ready. Over the next two weeks, I'll work on form--the way I go over the bar. I've been progressing each meet. I think I'll do pretty well."

Marc Sylvester - Tennessee - Men's 800m Champion
(Winning Time of 146.56)
" Some guys really blew by me. I didn't know what was going on. But I remember what Coach (George) Watts told me before the race: `You know how to run this race. Trust yourself.' So I looked for opportunities where I could get through. They started spreading out, and I was able to go around them. I've raced against all of them. They're a great group of runners. This competition is mostly about training. It will help us get ready for the NCAAs."

Chris Mulvaney - Arkansas - Men's 1500m Champion
" It felt great to defend my title in a really tough race. My teammates pushed me along and the other guys ran great. I knew I'd have to hang in there and be tough at the end."

April Steiner - Arkansas - Women's Pole Vault Champion
(SEC Meet Record Vault of 13-7.75)
" The key was staying focused and warmed up. After that, I just had to [vault] higher than anyone else. I started vaulting in junior college four years ago. My high school coach told me he thought I'd be good at it. I won my first (conference) championship four years ago with a vault of 11 feet. I'm excited for the regionals. I had an O.K. week of practice, but I was still nervous. I try not to let a good practice or a bad practice be a factor in my competition. The humidity didn't bother me; in fact, it was a nice little break (in the weather)."

Otis Harris - South Carolina - Men's 400m Champion
(Winning Time of 45.28)
" This is all I've dreamed of since I came to the SEC. USC was the only SEC team that recruited me. It's just a blessing from God. From my coach down to the team and the trainers, it's just a whole team and family effort. I'm truly blessed. I knew I had to run a personal record to win. I just wanted to come in and do the best I could and show everybody I was one of the best in the SEC."

(On Second-Place Finisher Gary Kikaya of Tennessee)
" I knew he was going to come from behind. He ran me down on the backstretch. I know the kind of athlete he is. I just wanted to run out there, hold on and do the best I could."

Marquis Davis - Mississippi State - Men's 100m Champion
(Winning Time of 10.13)
" I had to get out and not pop-up early. You can't stride for 80 meters. I had to stay down, be relaxed and fluid. Pierre Browne is my training partner and is not easy to beat. You can't play with him. I knew I had to be focused. I'm starting to get back in shape from an injury. I had a year off and had to work hard last fall to get back where I wanted to be. I ran a 10.10 at the Texas Relays, and I run 10.1 consistently. I'm shooting for 9.9, and won't accept anything less. I'm confident I'll do pretty well in the regionals and nationals."

Lolo Jones - LSU - Women's 4x100m Relay Champions
(Durst, Hall, Jones and Lee had a Winning Time of 43.22)
" We haven't run it in two to three weeks. It was a little rusty. It was good we took a break so we weren't nagging each other. We'll be ready for the Regionals."

Lolo Jones - LSU - Women's 100m Hurdles Champion
(Winning Time of 13.05)
" I'm really happy; I'm not going to lie. I sprained my ankle last week and I didn't know if I was going to run when we had to declare."

Dee Dee Trotter - Tennessee - Women's 400m Champion
(Winning Time of 51.65)
" My main goal Saturday was to get myself a good lane for today. That worked out fine. I got out to a good start today, and followed the race pattern set by Coach Caryl (Smith). I needed to be faster at the start and the backstretch so I could finish strong. Coach Caryl gets you mentally into it, and that really helps. She and I talked for a long time before I was convinced to take a shot at the 400m."

Jabari Greer - Tennessee - Men's 4x100m Relay Champions
(Greer, Kikaya, Lambert and Wade had a Winning Time of 38.92)
" Coach Vince Anderson put us in position to do our best. We're excited. We were underdogs and tried to do our best. We can take it as fast as anybody. These guys are competitors; our chemistry is amazing. The way we react on and off the track is a real contribution to our success. (Sean) Lambert and (Jonathan) Wade are easy to run with. All of us believed we were going to do it today."

Jabari Greer - Tennessee - Men's 110m Hurdles Champion

(Winning Time of 13.31)
" I always believe I can set a standard. I didn't know when I had it; I just tried to do my best. I did not know what I could do after the 4x100m (just 40 minutes earlier), but I think I have some momentum going to the regionals."

(On His Football Teammates Supporting His Track Endeavors)
" My cheering section helps me know I picked the right place. It's good to know my teammates support me. I love running on this track and I love seeing the orange."

Gabor Mate - Auburn - Men's Discus Champion
(Only the Second Man to Win Four SEC Men's Discus Titles)
" I redshirted last year because I knew we would have far more firepower this season--hurdlers, decathletes and others. Auburn has bullets and more bullets in the chamber. The plan today, was to come out and just win and get points for the team. After warming up at 20-5, I opened at 19-5 and felt 19-7 would be enough. There was no point in busting my rear, but I did want points towards the commissioner's trophy, so I admit I slacked off with some of my throws. I felt I worked hard in the hammer and shot put. I deserved a break. I'm through with the shot, but in the NCAAs I might try the hammer in addition to the discus. Everybody was exhausted from the long weekend, which explains why there were so many fouls."

Leevan Sands - Auburn - Men's Triple Jump Champion
(Winning Mark of 55-2)
" (On Saturday) I told John Moffitt (long jump champion from LSU) I'd get him in the triple jump, and that's how it worked out. The triple jump is my event. I had been coming off a knee injury and doing a lot of rehab and did my thing today. I'm self-motivated--I don't think anyone can beat me. The weather didn't affect me. I can jump in snow, rain or hail--it doesn't matter."

Nicole Toney - LSU - Women's Triple Jump Champion
(Winning Mark of 43-11.75)
" I was more comfortable and confident than I was a year ago. The confidence has had the effect of allowing me to improve my technique. My hope is that I continue to improve. The rain showed up early, but we finished in sunshine, which is the way I like it. My winning jump was the first one in the finals. Not having (long jump champion) Elva Goulbourne (of Auburn) in the event was not a factor. I was focused."

Krista Woodward - Georgia - Women's Javelin Champion
(Winning Mark of 163-9)
" I'm pretty excited to win. It's something you'd like to win because it's conference and it's a really great conference. I had a little problem going in with a shoulder injury so I'm trying to come back from that. I only got to pull out one good throw. I've had some rhythm problems all year long but I'm looking forward to regionals in two weeks so hopefully I'll be able to get it together. I've been taking care of it but I've just got to get my rhythm down. It adds 10 points and I know a lot of our girls are doing really well. I think we can pull up so hopefully people can recognize Georgia Track and Field."



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