Originally created 12/14/03

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College football

Gamecocks hire assistant coach

Ron Cooper, who was defen sive coordinator at Mississippi State this season, has been hired to coach defensive backs at South Carolina.

Cooper, 41, has nine years of head coaching experience. He has worked for South Carolina coach Lou Holtz before, coaching the secondary at Notre Dame in 1991 and 1992.

"I've known Ron for a long time," said Holtz. "He's a very smart football coach and he maintains great relationships with his players."

Holtz fired four assistants after the Gamecocks went 5-7 this season. Cooper will replace former defensive backs coach John Gutekunst.

Mississippi State finished 2-10 this season, the school's worst record since 1988.

Women's college golf

Augusta State signs Bragg, three others

Four players took advantage of the early signing period to join Augusta State, including Kristen Bragg of Evans High.

Bragg, the medalist in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament in 2003, will be the first area golfer to play for the Lady Jaguars, who are in their second year of existence.

First-year coach Trelle Kite's other signees are Lauren May of St. Charles, Ill., Lise Botha of South Africa and Garrett Phillips of St. Simons Island, Ga.

"This recruiting class has unlimited potential and talent," Kite said. "I'm very pleased with this class, and I know that the future of this program is bright with these young ladies."

Skiing

German's streak comes to an end

In Val Di Fiemme, Italy, Ronny Ackermann's Nordic combined winning streak ended Saturday when the German finished fourth in a World Cup event won by Finland's Hannu Manninen.

Todd Lodwick of the United States was eighth.

Ackermann had captured all four World Cup competitions before this latest test - a 10-kilometer cross-country race with a mass start combined with ski jumping from the K95 hill.

Horse racing

Hospital releases hall of fame jockey

Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone was released from an Inglewood, Calif., hospital Saturday after suffering severe bruises to her upper chest and right shoulder in a spill at Hollywood Park.

Krone was thrown to the ground Friday when her horse, Clover Situation, collided with Skidoo.

There were no fractures of her vertebrae or ribs, Dr. Steven Schwartz, an orthopedist at Centinela Hospital Medical Center, added in a prepared statement issued by Hollywood Park.

It was unclear how long the 40-year-old jockey would be sidelined.

In the statement, Krone described her status as "day to day" until she gets a more complete diagnosis. She planned to see her personal orthopedic surgeon early next week.

Olympics

Russian earns spot in Athens Games

In Athens, Greece, Russia's Rustam Sabirhuzin won the modern pentathlon world championship Saturday to earn a spot at this summer's Olympics.

Sabirhuzin sealed the victo-ry in the last of the five events - the 1.8-mile cross-country run.

He was two minutes behind race winner Chad Senior of United States but gained enough points to overtake Mar-in Horbacz of Poland, 5,468 to 5,464. Horbacz also qualified for the Athens Games on Aug. 13-29.

These championships are part of a series of test events leading to Olympics, which could help determine modern pentathlon's future. The sport features running, pistol shooting, fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming and horse riding.