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May 2014 Archives

Gyimes Carrying the Boat

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No. 11 USC women's rowing begins the NCAA Championships today in Indianapolis, and the Women of Troy's hopes will rest in large part on the strong shoulders of junior Krisztina Gyimes who was named All-Pac-12 First Team this week.

Click here for more.

Gyimes is a repeat selection on the all-conference squad as she has locked down the seventh seat on the varsity eight boat since her arrival last year. She has helped the Women of Troy win the last two of four straight Jessop-Whittier Cups at the San Diego Crew Classic as well as a program-best fourth place finish at NCAAs in 2013.

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Heads Up Baseball

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Senior Kevin Swick was named the 33rd First Team Academic All-American in USC history by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Click here for the complete release.

Swick sports a 3.83 G.P.A. as a business administration major with a psychology minor. He was recently honored with a Renaissance Scholarship for distinguishing himself with a major and a minor in widely separate fields of study.

On the diamond, he led the Trojans with 61 hits this season spurring the program's best record in nearly a decade.  He is the first USC baseball player to earn First Team Academic All-American, an honor which has been around since 1952, although John Jackson, who was a two-time winner for football, played baseball as well.

Swick is well prepared for life after college as both a baseball prospect, working his way from freshman walk-on to three-year starter, or as a businessman, where he is very active throughout the Marshall School of Business. He has been President of USC's Value Investing Club since 2011, where members attend Berkshire Hathaway meetings & compete in national pitch competitions, and he interned at Fidelity Investments in Boston.

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Lopes Back Where It Started

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Lopes-Now.jpgUSC senior associate athletic director Steve Lopes is returning to his alma mater, Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, as Sunday's commencement speaker. 

Click here to watch the live stream this Sunday at 10 a.m.

Lopes, who is in the Linfield Athletic Hall of Fame as an All-American offensive tackle on the 1982 NAIA national championship football team, is in the 30th year of a distinguished career at USC working his way from assistant strength coach to administrative assistant to business manager to finance director to assistant athletic director and now to his current role as COO and CFO.

Outside of his athletic department roles, Lopes is the executive director and program coordinator for the Sports Management Institute, a sports management executive education program that has trained more than 70 current or former intercollegiate athletic directors. He holds two Master's degrees from USC, one in physical education and sports administration, and the other in business administration.

Three More Kick Times

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The USC vs. Fresno State season opener at the Coliseum on August 30 will kick off at 4:30 p.m. PT and be broadcast live on FOX.  The following week's Pac-12 opener at Stanford on September 6 will start at 12:30 p.m. and be broadcast live by ABC.

Click here for the complete Pac-12 early TV release.

As was already posted, USC at Boston College in week three will kickoff at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET and be televised live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  The third new kick time to announce is USC vs. Cal at the Coliseum on Thursday, November 13, which will begin at 6 p.m. and be carried live by ESPN.

The rematch is set.
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Women's Volley Loads Up

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For the second consecutive year, USC women's volleyball boasts the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, according to PrepVolleyball.com.  Mick Haley brought in the No. 1 class in 2010, and his classes have made the Top 10 in five of the last six years.

Click here for more.

The Women of Troy, coming off an Elite 8 season, welcomed their new quartet to the program via Instagram.  Clockwise from top left: Brittany Abercrombie, Jordan Dunn, Taylor Wheatley and Lauryn Gillis.


Smart and Talented

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USC women's golf has it all. 

The Women of Troy followed up their national championship with a runner-up finish this season, and Doris Chen took home the NCAA's individual crown.  For the on course success, Chen (pictured) and sophomore Kyung Kim were named First Team All-Americans, while sophomore Annie Park and freshman Karen Chung made the second team.

Plus, Chen and Park, the last two individual national champions, make up half the finalist field for the Honda Sports Award for women's golf.  Park is the reigning winner of women's golf's top accolade.

Off the links, Sophia Popov, who made the All-American honorable mention list, was named to the All-Pac-12 Academic Second Team.  Kim made honorable mention for her academics, while men's senior Ramsey Sahyoun, who boasts a 3.58 GPA in Business Administration, made the All-Pac-12 Academic First Team.

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All-Pac-12 Righties

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Ace right-handers Wyatt Strahan and Kyle Davis represented USC baseball on the All-Pac-12 First Team, which was released Wednesday. 

Strahan led the Trojans in innings pitched (104.1), wins (6), strikeouts (89) and shutouts (1).  He boasted a 3.28 ERA, which was even better in Pac-12 play (2.92) and finished fourth in the league in strikeouts.

Up until the final game, Davis (pictured) served as the team's closer picking up 9 saves on the season and sporting a ridiculous 0.79 ERA in conference games.  He started the season finale twirling a complete game with 14 strikeouts and no earned runs against No. 1 Oregon State.

Click here for the complete release.

USC catcher Garrett Stubbs, freshman DH Jeremy Martinez and 1B Jake Hernandez earned honorable mention.

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Pat's Chats - Cody Kessler (Part II)

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In the second part of his conversation with athletic director Pat Haden, junior QB Cody Kessler explained how he nearly committed to Steve Sarkisian and Washington, and now he enjoys the best of both worlds at USC.  Plus, he is closing in on his degree and eying a playoff spot this season in college football.


Scandalis Makes All-Pac-12

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Update: USC junior Zoe Scandalis was also named to the All-Pac-12 Academic First Team. Teammate Gabriella DeSimone earned academic honorable mention.

USC women's tennis junior Zoe Scandalis was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team after stepping up into the No. 1 position this season when Sabrina Santamaria went down with an injury.  Scandalis went 14-5 in dual match play including 5-2 in the Pac-12.

Click here for more.

Santamaria, who was 10-6 in singles play before the injury, and Giuliana Olmos, who won the conference doubles title with Kaitlyn Christian, were named Pac-12 honorable mention. 

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Win Sark's Seats: Oregon State

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Congratulations to Alex M. who won Steve Sarkisian's seats to the USC vs. Fresno State season opener at the Coliseum.

As a reminder, Sark is giving away midfield seats, VIP parking and VIP tailgate passes to every home game this season.  Fans will have to enter each week to be eligible for that week's prize.

Click here to enter!!

This week's prize package is for the September 27 home game against Oregon State.  Please enter by June 1.

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Yannick, Ray and Ro

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USC men's tennis junior Yannick Hanfmann was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year as well as earning All-Pac-12 First Team and Doubles Team of the Year.  The German import went undefeated in Pac-12 play and 24-6 overall in singles competition.

Senior captain Ray Sarmiento, who makes up the other half of the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, and junior Roberto Quiroz join Hanfmann on the All-Pac-12 First Team. Sarmiento finishes his career with three national championships, while Hanfmann and Quiroz have helped USC win two of the last three NCAA team titles.

Click here for the complete Pac-12 release.

Sophomore Max de Vroome and junior Eric Johnson earned honorable mention.  USC men's tennis, which has won five of the last six NCAA crowns, will return four its six starting singles players.

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Tracking the Prelims

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USC track and field's best athletes are headed to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Arkansas (May 29-31) to see who makes the final cut for the NCAA Championships in Oregon (June 11-14).  The Trojans qualified 27 athletes in 21 events for the prelims led on the men's side by senior Aaron Brown (100m, 200m and 4x100m) and the women's team by Tynia Gaither (100m, 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m).

Click here for the complete preview.

The Women of Troy are ranked No. 9 in the country, while the men's team is No. 14 overall.

Alexis Faulknor is the Women of Troy's lone entry in the long jump.
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Decorated Trojans

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USC women's golf should return two individual national champions next year as junior Doris Chen followed up Annie Park's NCAA title run with one of her own. The Women of Troy will have to bid farewell to Sophia Popov who capped her career with a scintillating 65, which pushed the Trojans to a second place finish as a team.

Here is the recap and final reaction from Tulsa featuring Popov, Chen and head coach Andrea Gaston on the past, present and future of one of USC's top programs:


UPDATE: No. 2 American

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Update: A day later, Steve Johnson completed the five-set comeback by taking the final frame 6-3.  With the first five-set win of his career under his belt, he advances to the second round of the French Open for the first time, where he will play fellow American Jack Sock.

There is one spot left in the second round of the French Open, and Steve Johnson is willing to fight for it. The four-time NCAA champion is 0-5 all-time in five-set matches, but he pulled himself out of a two sets to love hole to force a fifth at Roland Garros when darkness suspended the comeback.

Johnson, who leads 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 3-1, will be second on the court Wednesday morning in Paris looking to put away French qualifier Laurent Lokoli. Johnson is three holds away from tallying his first ever French Open main draw victory and his first Grand Slam win outside of the U.S. Open.

The 23-year-old is playing the best tennis of his professional career ranked No. 64 in the world, which makes him the second best American behind No. 11 John Isner.

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Photo Gallery: Baseball Senior Day

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USC baseball was one of the "first four" teams NOT to be selected to the NCAA Tournament. While the near miss is something of a disappointment, optimism is in growing supply at Dedeaux Field after the Trojans finished off a 29-24 campaign by taking two out of three from No. 1 Oregon State.

The Trojans have not made the postseason since 2005, and while that fact still holds true, the program's arrow is pointing up under second-year head coach Dan Hubbs. USC improved by nine wins over last season, including six more Pac-12 victories, thanks in large part to a strong group of leaders including the 2014 senior class.

The senior six-pack features J.R. Aguirre, James Guillen, Jake Hernandez (the team's leading hitter at .327), Sean Silva, Kevin Swick (the team's leader in hits and runs scored) and Bob Wheatley.  The group was honored before Sunday's season finale (bottom photo gallery).

"Nothing can describe what these seniors have done for the USC baseball program," tweeted junior ace Wyatt Strahan. 

Generally speaking, the roster is still young and the playoff drought is under serious threat with sophomore RHP Kyle Davis (team-best 1.12 ERA) and freshman C Jeremy Martinez (team-high .748 OPS) leading the charge.

Here are the John McGillen photos from Kyle Davis' gem and the senior sendoff:


USC v OSU 05/25/2014 - Images by John McGillen


USC v OSU Senior Day - Images by John McGillen

Team Down, Man Up

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USC men's golf did not enjoy its time at the NCAA Championships finishing 30th as a team, but the Trojans have a real building block in freshman Rico Hoey.  He posted two rounds under par, sandwiched around an ugly second round, to finish tied for 55th in the individual competition.

Next on the calendar, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year will play for Team USA at the Palmer Cup in England.

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Closing the Season

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Kyle Davis left it all on the mound for the Trojans this season. 

USC baseball wrapped up its best season in nearly a decade by taking two out of three from No. 1 Oregon State thanks to the versatile and durable right-hander who closed out Friday's victory and then struck out 14 in a complete game victory on Sunday.  The season finale was his first start of the season, and only the second of his career, but the sophomore gave up just five hits and one unearned run.

For his extensive efforts, which also included a save earlier in the week against Grand Canyon, Davis was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball. 

Click here for the full story.

Davis finished his outstanding season with nine saves and a 1.12 ERA with a 3-4 record. He led all Trojan pitchers with 26 appearances and struck out an impressive 57 batters in 56.1 innings of work.

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Chen's a Champ But Trojans Finish 2nd

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USC women's golf junior Doris Chen made it back-to-back individual national champions, but the Trojans were unable to defend their NCAA title despite a remarkable comeback in the final round. 

Chen was nearly infallible again shooting a 3-under 67 to win by one stroke over Celine Boutier from Duke, which won the team title.  Chen was 6-under for the week with rounds of 67, 68, 72 and 67.

As for the Women of Troy, they looked every bit the No. 1 team in the country in the final round shooting a school record 270 (10-under).  USC started the day trailing Duke by six strokes, and the Trojans surged past the Blue Devils by as many as four strokes.  However, a couple of hiccups and near misses down the stretch proved costly as Duke prevailed by two strokes.  USC has now finished second three times in the last five seasons (2010, 2012 and 2014).

USC defended its title brilliantly this season with a school-record nine wins and a second place finish at the NCAA Championships.  The Trojans only lose one starter, Sophia Popov, who finished her career with a collegiate career best 65 today, and they will be right back in the mix next season led by Chen and Annie Park, the last two individual national champions, plus Kyung Kim, who went 67 and 67 in the final two rounds, and Karen Chung, who finished in the Top 30 as a freshman.

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Final Exam

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USC baseball will close the 2014 regular season against the best college baseball has to offer, No. 1 Oregon State, in a three-game series (Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at Noon) at Dedeaux Field. All three games will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.

Click here for the complete preview.

The Trojans (27-23) have clinched a winning record for the first time since 2005, and they still have an outside shot at a postseason berth, but it would likely take a weekend sweep of the Beavers.  The program's resurgence has been led by a strong group of seniors who will be honored before Sunday's finale.

Plus, Sunday is "Fan Appreciation Day" so all in attendance will be eligible to win prizes throughout the game.  The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a FREE bag of chips, and the second 100 will get a coupon for $1 frozen lemonades.

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Jovanovic to China

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USC men's basketball big man Nikola Jovanovic will be logging the frequent flyer miles this summer.  The Serbian sophomore will head home at some point, but he is also traveling to China with the Pac-12 all-star team as part of its Globalization Initiative.

Click here for the complete story.

The team, coached by Utah's Larry Krystkowiak, will play four games on the 10-day trip which is intended to improve the players' basketball games, but also enrich their lives. They will face some elite competition including three teams from the Chinese Basketball Association and one against a Chinese university all-star team.

Jovanovic played 20 minutes per game as a freshman averaging 8 points and 4.4 rebounds.

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Lacrosse Aces the Classroom

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USC women's lacrosse is building a budding program with all-around student-athletes who not only shine on the field, but also get it done in school.  Nine Trojans earned MPSF All-Academic honors this postseason led by junior captain Kaila Sommi who posted a 3.80 GPA and junior Kaitlyn Couture who owns a 3.13 GPA.

Click here for the complete story.

On the field, USC went 9-9 overall in year two, and 6-3 in conference. USC set a new program record with a four-game winning streak, and earned its first-ever win over a ranked opponent when the Trojans upset No. 13 Stanford, 11-10, on April 20, at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

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100 Days Away...

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USC football is only 100 days away! The "Audi Drive to Kickoff" begins today, and you can follow the countdown on our official Instagram page (@USC_Athletics).

The season kicks off at the Coliseum against Fresno State on August 30. The Trojans are led by All-American DL Leonard Williams.

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Moving Day

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No. 1 USC women's golf needed to make a move on day three of the NCAA Championships, and the Women of Troy did just that by shooting 2-under as a team to climb up to second on the leaderboard.  The defending champs will begin the final round six strokes behind Duke.

Once again, the Trojans were led by junior Doris Chen who shot a 2-under 68 and now sits tied atop the individual standings. She is looking to make it back-to-back individual champions for USC after Annie Park topped the field last year.

While Chen has been the rock all week, senior Sophia Popov (pictured) was the key today. The captain's score was dropped each of the first two rounds after she posted ugly 79s, and she was going down the same road with four bogeys on the front side today, but she caught fire on the home stretch making four birdies in five holes to finish even par for the round.

Sophomore Kyung Kim also found her game today. She made five birdies on the back nine to post the round of the day at 3-under 67.

The Women of Troy are within striking distance with 18 holes to go.

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Happy Day for Anger

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A day after USC men's tennis celebrated its 21st national championship, Trojan great Matt Anger was inducted into the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.  Anger was a three-time All-American at Troy and won the Wimbledon junior singles title.

He went on to play eight seasons on the professional tour, winning three Grand Prix titles, and achieving a career-high singles ranking of No. 23. Anger made the round of 16 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1986, and no American man won more grand slam matches from Australian Open 1985 to Wimbledon 1987 than he did.

Currently, Anger is the men's tennis head coach at the University of Washington.

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Summer Camps With Sark

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Aspiring football players have seven camps to choose from this summer conducted by USC head coach Steve Sarkisian and his decorated coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Clay Helton and defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, on Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Fields, where the Trojans practice.

Click here to sign-up now!!

All campers will receive a USC Football Camp t-shirt and a meal.  Here is the menu of camps for high school and elementary school players:

Mario Danelo Kicking Academy - June 13

All placekickers, punters and snappers who will be seventh graders to high school seniors as of the 2014 fall season. It will be led by ex-NFL kicker Joe Danelo, Mario's father, and USC special teams coordinator Johnny Nansen, along with noted kicking and long snapping coaches Chris Sailor and Chris Rubio.

Skill Positions Camp - June 14

Open to all quarterbacks/receivers/running backs/tight ends/linebackers/defensive backs who will be freshmen through seniors in high school during the 2014 fall season.

"Trojans In Training" Camp - June 20 and July 27

Open to all players from third grade through eighth grade as of the 2014 fall season.

Offensive and Defensive Line Camp - June 21

Open to all linemen who will be freshmen through seniors in high school during the 2014 fall season.

Rising Stars Camp - June 25 and 26

Open to all high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in the 2014 fall season who plan on playing at the collegiate level, is available for both overnight and day campers.

Speed and Power Camp - June 29

Open to players from sixth grade through high school seniors as of the 2014 fall season in USC's new state-of-the-art John McKay Center weight room. Led by USC strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis and his staff, campers will be provided with the knowledge and skills to improve their speed, explosiveness and strength.

7-On-7 Passing Camp - June 22

Open to all high school teams aiming to develop offensive and defensive passing game skills. High school coaches should contact the USC Football Office at (213) 740-4204 or email Scott Thompson at sathomps@usc.edu to enroll their team.

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Boselli to the College Hall

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Two-time USC All-American OT Tony Boselli will be inducted into the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame as part of the 16-man 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class. 

Click here for the complete release.

Boselli was the 1994 Morris Trophy winner as the best offensive lineman in the Pac-10, and a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He shined on and off the field as a team captain and NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

He is the 40th inductee with USC ties, including 31 players, in the College Football Hall of Fame. A Trojan has been elected into the Hall in 11 of the past 15 years.

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National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame - See more at: http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/54778/nff-proudly-announces-impressive-2014-college-football-hall-of-fame-class.aspx#sthash.gdJSNl9p.dpuf
National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame - See more at: http://www.footballfoundation.org/News/NewsDetail/tabid/567/Article/54778/nff-proudly-announces-impressive-2014-college-football-hall-of-fame-class.aspx#sthash.gdJSNl9p.dpuf

USC-Hawks to the White House

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The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks led by head coach Pete Carroll and MVP Malcolm Smith were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House yesterday.

Click here for the complete story.

As you can see in the picture below featuring Carroll, Smith, Michael Morgan and Rocky Seto, the Trojans were well represented.

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21 Percent

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Men's tennis accounts for 21% of USC's 100 NCAA championships.  The easy math is only topped by men's track and field, which owns 26 NCAA crowns, but the tennis Trojans have taken home the big trophy five of the last six years.

Here is the video recap of another golden trip to Athens:


Work To Do

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Now that men's tennis has secured the 100th NCAA team title in USC history, women's golf has a chance to push the Trojans towards their next milestone - 125 national championships (USC has 122 and counting).  But, the Women of Troy have some ground to make up after two rounds at the NCAA Championships in Tulsa. 

No. 1 USC sits in a fourth place tie at the midway point with rival UCLA at +24, which is nine strokes back of the leader, Oklahoma, the school men's tennis just beat for the title.

Click here for the complete recap.

The Women of Troy have been paced by Doris Chen (67-72) who is in fourth place on the individual leaderboard at 1-under. Freshman Karen Chung stepped up with the round of the day shooting even-par 70, and she is tied for 16th individually (74-70).

Meanwhile, the Trojans two highest ranked players, Annie Park and Kyung Kim, are having trouble finding their rhythm in Oklahoma.  Park, the defending individual champion, is at 10-over at the midway point, while Kim is 11-over.  Senior captain Sophia Popov was the dropped score in each of the first two rounds shooting a pair of 79s.

USC is within striking distance and has the championship mettle to ascend the leaderboard.  Thursday is officially moving day in Tulsa.

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From the Top Down

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USC men's tennis won its last national championship with Steve Johnson, one of the greatest players in the history of collegiate tennis, manning the top spot.  This Trojans team came into the NCAA Tournament known for its depth and experience, but not an overwhelming elite talent.

But when it came down to the business end of the season, no player stood taller than Yannick Hanfmann.  The German junior went undefeated in singles play taking out higher ranked opponents in the NCAA semis and final.

In the No. 2 spot, Ray Sarmiento did not enjoy his best season, going 17-7 in dual match play, which was the most losses on the team.  But Sarmiento took the "gamer" torch from legendary Trojan Daniel Nguyen, and he carried it proudly in Athens being named the NCAA Championships Most Outstanding Player.

Hanfmann and Sarmiento have now combined to win five national championship rings.  They proved long ago that they were blessed with the "clutch gene", but by carrying the 2014 team to victory, they cemented their place among the elite talents of collegiate tennis history.

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Men's Tennis Is 100

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The Trojan Family got behind the push for USC's 100th NCAA championship, and the outpouring of pride blanketed social media last night after men's completed the century.

Here is a sampling from Trojans and outside admirers...










Rowing to NCAAs

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No. 8 USC women's rowing made the NCAA Championships field for the sixth consecutive season, and the Women of Troy will compete for the program's first national title in Indianapolis (May 30 to June 1).  The Trojans were one of 11 at-large selections to go along with 11 automatic qualifiers.

Click here for more.

USC's best NCAA finish came last year when the Women of Troy placed fourth.  The 1998 varsity four boat won an individual national title.

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A Century of Winning

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Not only did the USC men's tennis team capture its fifth NCAA title in the last six years by defeating the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners, but the legendary program will also go down in history as the team that clinched USC's 100th NCAA title. Appropriately, the program which has won 21 percent of Troy's NCAA titles was the one to seal the deal in what is now a century of wins for the university.  

Like any legendary match, the Trojans did not earn number 100 easily. USC started slowly in all three doubles matches as the Sooners took the doubles point giving them the early 1-0 lead. Thus, the Trojans would have to rally during singles play and pull out four victories - a feat they have done in two of their last four titles. 

However, Oklahoma continued to spoil the Trojans' pursuit of another title by taking the first singles match in dominant fashion (6-1, 6-2) between USC's Roberto Quiroz and Oklahoma's Dane Smith. With the Sooners up an early 2-0 lead, the Trojans relied on experience to get them back into the match with two clutch performances from junior Yannick Hanfmann and senior Ray Sarmiento. Hanfmann never seemed phased by the fifth-ranked Guillermo Alcorta as he handled him in straight sets (7-5, 6-2). While over on court two, Sarmiento magically pulled out a two-set victory [6-4, 7-6 (4)] despite several moments where it looked like this match could be headed for a decisive third set. 

With the score now 2-2, the crowd flocked to the lower courts where the match would be decided. Eric Johnson, who has been a rock for the Trojans at the number five position all tournament, cranked out another two-set victory [6-1, 7-6 (2)] to give the Trojans the slight edge. Meanwhile, courts four and six were exhibiting legendary tennis as sophomore Max de Vroome and senior Michael Grant battled to see who was going to clinch the title for the Trojans.  De Vroome, appearing in his first NCAA final, was up a break 4-3 in the third set and had managed a 40-love lead in his service game before Andrew Harris rallied to break de Vroome and tie things up at four apiece. De Vroome swiftly broke Harris allowing him the chance to serve for the championship which he did with an emphatic volley to clinch the 100th NCAA title for the university and the nation-best 21st title for the men's tennis program. 


USC men's tennis now has 21 national titles under its belt which is second only to USC men's track and field which has racked up 26 NCAA titles since 1926. Though the Trojans have finally clinched number 100, the USC men and women's golf teams along with women's rowing and men and women's track and field are still competing for NCAA titles hoping to add the first title on the road to 200.

Here is the post-match presser from the 2014 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship...

Win Sark's Seats

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian is giving up a pair of midfield seats plus a Trojan Athletic Fund experience for all six home games over the next six weeks.  The giveaway, which includes two premium tickets, two Cardinal & Gold pregame tailgate passes, and one Coliseum parking pass, starts this week with the Fresno State season opener.

Click here to enter now!!

You must enter each week to be eligible for that week's prize pack. Information for all the dates is on the graphic below.

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Baseball Progress Report

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USC baseball guaranteed the program's first winning season since 2005 by defeating Grand Canyon 6-3 last night at Dedeaux Field.  The Trojans stand at 27-22 with four games to go starting tonight at Cal State Fullerton (6 p.m. PT).

Click here for the recap.

While the Trojans have bigger dreams than staying above .500, including an outside shot at a postseason berth this year, the program has made some clear strides forward under the leadership of second-year head coach Dan Hubbs (pictured).

USC finishes the regular season with a three-game series against No. 1 Oregon State this weekend, which will all be carried live on Pac-12 Networks, culminating in Senior Day on Sunday at Noon.

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USC Wins Gauntlet

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The Crosstown Gauntlet will return to Troy after a one year stay in Westwood as USC has officially won the 2013-14 rivalry series over UCLA.  The Trojans have claimed the Gauntlet in nine of the 13 years since the competition's inception.

Click here for the complete recap.

USC's spring sports are to thank for digging the Trojans out of a deep early season hole (down 40-20 on February 10) and making a remarkable charge past the Bruins. Since March 10, USC won 30 of a possible 37.5 points.

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Kickoff Time at BC

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The USC at Boston College game on Saturday, September 13, will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. 

The primetime showdown, which is the Trojans' third game of the season, is the first to reveal the start time.  Click here for the complete schedule.

USC wrapped up the Eagles 35-7 at the Coliseum last season.
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Aqua Woman

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USC senior Kaleigh Gilchrist pulled off a rare double last year winning the women's water polo NCAA championship for the Women of Troy and the collegiate surfing national title. 

The aquatically inclined Gilchrist was beautifully profiled by Pac-12 Netwoks.


The Best Defense...

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...is a good offense.  USC women's golf has been defending its national championship all season in the best way it knows how by attacking every course and every field.

With nothing but dominance in their wake, including a school-record nine tournament victories in 12 tries, the Women of Troy have a chance to close the circle with another ring.  USC begins the four-day NCAA Championships today in Tulsa, Oklahoma, paired with rival UCLA and Vanderbilt.

Click here to follow the action live.

The Trojans have only improved on the lineup that blasted the field last year as individual national champion Annie Park is now a year older and wiser boasting a school record 71.16 stroke average.  Fellow sophomore Kyung Kim is ranked No. 6 in the nation, while senior captain Sophia Popov has a chance to be USC's second four-time All-American.

Junior Doris Chen is a two-time All-American and is ranked No. 14 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.  Freshman Karen Chung has ascended to the final spot in the lineup behind an All-Pac-12 second team season which included winning the SDSU Farms Invitational.

Click here for a complete team and tournament preview.

Unlike the men's tournament, the women's NCAA Championships is a traditional 72-hole stroke play event with each team counting its four best individual scores per round. While golf is a naturally unpredictable sport, USC is the clear favorite having been ranked No. 1 in every poll since October 2012.

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Will They Be 100?

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The Trojans pulled out another hard-fought victory Monday against the defending champions, the No. 4 ranked Virginia Cavaliers, which they have faced in five of the last six NCAA tournaments. The USC men's tennis team will now seek its fifth title in the last six years and the university's 100th NCAA title as the Trojans take on No. 2 Oklahoma for the first time ever in the title match at 5:00pm ET on Tuesday in Athens, Georgia. 

In order to return to the familiar title match, the Trojans had to first overcome a tough battle against the Cavaliers that literally came down to a simultaneous finish. Junior Yannick Hanfmann clinched the victory for the Trojans in a dramatic three-setter seconds before senior Michael Grant rallied to secure the 5-1 victory for USC. In fact, Hanfmann won two points during Grant's extended match-point rally to clinch the victory. 

The Trojans started things off on a high note by winning the doubles point as Connor Farren and Roberto Quiroz held strong with an 8-5 victory, while the other two pairs battled through tough tiebreakers with Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson edging out a victory giving USC the early 1-0 lead. 

During singles action, Hanfmann ground out another exhausting victory from the No. 1 position bouncing back after losing the first set to No. 6 ranked Alex Domijan and fighting to stay alive during the epic second set tiebreak before clinching the victory for the Trojans in the third (4-6, 7-6 (10), 6-4). 

Hanfmann's doubles partner Ray Sarmiento may not have had the most dramatic match since he won in straight sets (6-1, 6-4), but the senior defeated the No. 4 ranked player in the country in Mitchell Frank. At one point in the second set, Sarmiento was down 3-5 facing set point before he rallied to secure a victory, drastically shifting the momentum in the Trojans' favor.  


The Trojans will now seek their nation-best 21st national championship on Tuesday at 5:00pm ET against the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia.  

Here is head coach Peter Smith and clincher Yannick Hanfmann after the match...


Hoops Class of '14: SG Elijah Stewart

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USC men's basketball added another Top 40 player to its first recruiting class under the direction of head coach Andy Enfield, which ranks in the national Top 25.

Name: Elijah Stewart

Position: Shooting Guard

Size: 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds

High School: Westchester HS

Scout.com: 4-Stars

Scouting Report: Stewart is the final piece to a recruiting class that features a potential starting five for the Trojans.  He is a pure two-guard with the athleticism to drive to the basket and finish at the rim, but also the skills and stroke to spread the floor and knock down threes. The Louisiana product was a late bloomer on the recruiting scene, but he flourished during his senior season at Westchester, a city powerhouse, and became a Top 40 prospect.

Enfield's Take: "We are excited to add such a terrific student-athlete to our basketball program. Elijah has been so well coached that he will be ready right away. We think he has the talent and potential to be a special player at USC."

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Photo Gallery: Student-Athlete Graduation

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Campus is quiet today as the dust settles after another celebratory Commencement week at Troy.  Now an annual tradition, the Student-Athlete Graduation is a special tribute to a group of scholars who conquered the difficult balancing act of an elite academic institution and major college athletics.

Here are the Pierson Clair graduation photos:


Kansas Calling

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No. 16 USC men's golf booked a spot in the NCAA Championships by finishing tied for fourth at the NCAA Sugar Grove (Ill.) Regional.  The Trojans are headed to the finals for the eighth consecutive season in Coach Chris Zambri's eighth year at the helm.

"We are thrilled to get through," Zambri said. "It wasn't easy in any way. In order to compete next week we must play better from top to bottom. We couldn't be happier that we have the opportunity to win a national title."

Click here for the complete recap.

USC men's golf has never won a national championship, but they have some exciting pieces on this team led by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Rico Hoey, who finished in the Top 7 for the seventh time this season, and junior Anthony Paolucci, who posted a 1-under 215 (73-73-69) to finish second.

The NCAA Championships at Prairie Dunes C.C. in Hutchinson, Kan., will feature 30 teams from six regionals. The top eight teams after 54 holes will move onto a match-play playoff.

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12 from Pac-12s

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Both USC men's and women's track and field finished second at the Pac-12 Championships as the Trojans took home a conference-leading 12 event titles paced by senior sprinter Aaron Brown who was named the Men's Athlete of the Meet.

"I was extremely proud of the Trojans today, both men and women," said USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "The meet was challenging with the weather to say the least and having to run and throw into headwinds. The conditions were very challenging, but we stepped up to the challenge and we were able to end the meet with 12 Pac-12 championships.

"I don't like second, but I'm very happy with it. I look forward to winning championships here for a very long time. I've probably never been more excited about anything, so we will get ready for Regionals and NCAAs and be Fighting On!"

Click here for the recap.

Here is the list of USC's 2014 Pac-12 individual champions:

Aaron Brown - 100m champion at 10.31 (-1.0) and 200m champion at 20.26 (-2.1)

Remington Conatser - Defended his Pac-12 hammer title

Amalie Ieul - First Trojan to win the heptathlon since 1996

Melia Cox - Winning triple jump of 42-8/13.00m (+1.0)

Lauren Blackburn - Broke the Moobery Track record with season wind-legal best of 13.08 (+0.4) to win 100m HH

Aleec Harris - Set the Pac-12 meet record with a winning time of 13.35 (+1.0) in the 110m HH

Jaide Stepter - 400m IH champion (56.99) breaking the 20-year-old track record

Alexandra Collatz - USC's first conference champion in the discuss throwing 184-3 (56.17m)

4x400m Women's Relay - Akawkaw Ndipagbor, Ashley Liverpool, Vanessa Jones and Tynia Gaither cruised to victory with a time of 3:34.72

4x100m Women's Relay - Loudia Laarman, Jessica Davis, Alexis Faulknor and Tynia Gaither posted third-fastest time in school history of 43.21

4x100m Men's Relay - Aleec Harris, Aaron Brown, BeeJay Lee and Davonte Stewart recorded season-best time of 39.43

Here is Pac-12.com on USC's sprinting prowess:


Pat's Chats - Sophia Popov

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On the eve of USC women's golf beginning its title defense, AD Pat Haden introduces the Trojan Family to senior captain Sophia Popov. The German-American is a three-time All-American on the course and a 2013 WGCA All-American scholar away from the links.

Here is the newest "Pat's Chats"...


Salas on the Board

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USC women's golf alum Lizette Salas enjoyed a breakthrough victory Sunday by besting the field at Kingsmill by four strokes en route to the first LPGA win of her career.  The four-time All-American, who is still just 24, finished at 13-under 271 and earned $195,000.

Salas is an inspiring example of the American dream as the daughter of Mexican immigrants.  She learned to play golf when her father, the head mechanic at Azusa Greens Country Club, did some work for the club pro and requested that he teach Lizette the game instead of monetary payment.

"I was patient, I was happy, and I was ready most importantly," she said after the final round. "I took a different approach this week of not thinking so much and trying to be perfect."

Salas (right) was doused in champagne by her fellow competitors after clinching victory.
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One Step Closer

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The No. 1 ranked Trojans advanced to the Final Four of the 2014 NCAA Men's Tennis tournament after defeating No. 9 Texas on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Athens, Georgia.

After losing both doubles matches, USC bounced back in singles winning four matches on the indoor courts at the Dan Magill Tennis Center to beat the Longhorns 4-1 and get one step closer to a fifth national championship in six years.

Max de Vroome sparked the Trojans' comeback with a decisive 6-3, 6-2 win followed by senior Ray Sarmiento who defeated his Longhorn opponent 6-1, 7-6 (3). The other two matches were far more competitive as Yannick Hanfmann gutted out a tough three-set victory over the No. 16 ranked Søren Hess-Olesen (7-5, 3-6, 6-2). Robert Quiroz clinched the victory for the Trojans for the eighth time this season, but it was not easy as he finally defeated Adrien Berkowicz 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 in the most hard-fought battle of the day.


The Trojans advance to the Final Four for the first time since they won their 2012 national championship after losing to Ohio State in the quarterfinals last year. "I think last year we didn't compete our best," said head coach Peter Smith. "We have to go out there and compete our best and that's why I was so proud of them today. We were just competing our butts off and as a coach that's all you can ask."

The Trojans will face No. 4 Virginia for the fifth time in the past six trips to the NCAA tournament in Mondays's semifinal match at 6:00 p.m. ET as USC seek its 100th NCAA team championship.

Here is Yannick Hanfmann after today's quarterfinal match...

Graduation Inspiration

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At Thursday's USC Student-Athlete Graduation, the assembled Trojans inside Galen Center were awe struck by two inspiring tales of obstacles overcome and selflessness embodied. 

First, Loudia Laarman, an All-American sprinter on the track team, shared her life's journey from death's door in Haiti to a second chance in Canada and finally a family at USC.  And then, senior defensive back Josh Shaw, who has one more season of eligibility, explained how a family crisis pushed him into a life-changing decision.




#USCGrad

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Congratulations to all the 2014 USC graduates!!


Photo Gallery: Marks Foundation Lunch

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USC's top scholar-athletes were honored at the Marks Luncheon prior to the Student-Athlete Graduation Thursday.

Here are the Pierson Clair photos:


Wasting No Time

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No. 1 USC men's tennis looked every bit like a national championship contender blowing away No. 16 Columbia this morning in Athens, Georgia.  The Trojans officially won 5-0 without dropping a set.

Click here for the recap.

USC now advances to the Elite Eight for the eighth straight year, and the Trojans will play No. 9 Texas at 9 a.m. PT on Sunday.  USC is three wins away from grabbing the 100th NCAA championship for Troy.

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Gutty in Defeat

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No. 16 USC women's tennis was given little to no chance of upsetting No. 1 Georgia, the NCAA Tournament hosts, in the Sweet 16 Thursday.  Playing once again without No. 1 Sabrina Santamaria, the Women of Troy pushed the Bulldogs to the absolute max before falling 4-3.

Click here for the recap.

The dual match was as close as can be with USC and Georgia knotted at three wins apiece with only court No. 1 left to settle the score.  Junior captain Zoe Scandalis took the first set 7-5, but dropped the second 6-1.

The two players exchanged breaks for nearly the entire third set leading to a deciding tiebreaker.  Scandalis saved four match points in the third, including two in the tiebreaker, but fell 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) to Lauren Herring, the No. 6 player in the country.

USC finished the season 18-8 overall.  Here are head coach Richard Gallien and Scandalis after the loss:


NFL Back to USC

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Once the big men on campus, USC's NFL stars come back to school each year to finish their degrees as a promise to mom, themselves or a road map to a career after football.

Here is a Trojan Spotlight on USC greats Shaun Cody, Patrick Turner and Robert Woods who are adjusting to life back on campus and in the classroom:


Been There, Done That

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Having won four of the last five national championships, No. 1 USC knows exactly what it takes to navigate the NCAA waters this week.  In fact, the Trojans will feel even more at home in Athens, Georgia, where they won the 2012 crown.

On the eve of their Sweet 16 match-up with Columbia, here are the battle-tested Trojans:


Legend of Troy: Don Winston

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USC senior associate athletic director Don Winston is retiring after a distinguished 31-year career helping to raise more than half a billion dollars to fund scholarships and facilities for the athletic department.  For all his accomplishments and loyal service, Winston received the Legend of Troy award today at the USC Student-Athlete Graduation.

The master of development has been instrumental in raising funds to build USC's Galen Center, John McKay Center, Loker Track Stadium, Uytengsu Aquatics Center and Merle Norman Sand Volleyball Stadium.  Since he joined the department in 1983, the annual fundraising total has grown from $2 million per year to $35 million.

While Winston always referred to his work as "a labor of love", the entire athletic department and the Trojan Family thanks him for his efforts and wishes him nothing but the best in retirement.

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Pac-12 Championship to Levi's

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The Pac-12 announced that starting this season the Football Championship Game will be played at brand new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.  The three-year deal will create a neutral site for the conference championship which pits the Pac-12 North winner against the Pac-12 South winner.

Click here for the complete release.

The 2014 Pac-12 Championship will be played Friday, December 5.  In its three years of existence, USC has never made the conference title game (due to the Trojans being ineligible in 2011), which formerly was played at the home stadium of the team with the best record.

"Pac-12 football is among the deepest and best football conferences in the country," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Our Football Championship Game is important for selecting a team for the Rose Bowl and possibly the College Football Playoff, and we are thrilled to offer student-athletes and their fans the ultimate venue to culminate a successful season."

Levi's is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and will serve as the site for Super Bowl L in 2016 and the annual Fight Hunger Bowl beginning this season.

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Williams Projected No. 1

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While the 2014 NFL Draft was not good for the Trojans, 2015 could potentially yield better results. In his way-too-early mock draft, ESPN's Todd McShay projects USC DL Leonard Williams to be selected No. 1 overall and WR Nelson Agholor at No. 11.

Click here for the mock draft (requires an ESPN Insider account).

Both Williams and Agholor are true juniors with two years of eligibility remaining.  Williams was a First Team All-American in 2013, while Agholor was a Second Team All-American for his punt returning.

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Patton Passes

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Former USC world record-setting sprinter Mel Patton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time NCAA champion, died on May 9 at the age of 89. 

Click here for the complete obituary.

The third of USC's "World's Fastest Humans" (following Charles Paddock and Frank Wykoff), Patton set world records in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. He ran a world record 9.3 in the 100 in 1948 and he went 20.2 in the 220 on a straightaway in 1949 to break Jesse Owens' world standard.

Nicknamed "Pell Mel," he was a three-time NCAA 100 champ and the NCAA champ in the 200 meters in 1948 and 220 yards in 1949. His 50 total points scored at NCAA meets are the second most in school history.

While a student at USC, he won two gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, in the 200 meters and on the 400-meter relay. He also placed fifth in the Olympic 100 meters. He was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100 meters in 1947 and 1949 and No. 1 in the 200 meters in 1947-48-49.

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Trojan Two Lined Up for Lott

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Watch list season is already here!  The Lott IMPACT Trophy got an early jump on announcing its preseason candidates including naming two Trojans, DL Leonard Williams and LB Hayes Pullard (pictured), to the list of 2014 nominees.

The Lott Trophy, named for legendary USC safety Ronnie Lott, is given annually to the defensive player who makes the biggest impact on his team on and off the field.  Last year, OLB Devon Kennard was a finalist for the award, but no Trojan has ever won the Lott since its inception in 2004.

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Isaac Going Home

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Sophomore running back Ty Isaac will transfer out of USC this summer to return home to be near his family and take care of an ill relative.  The Illinois native was fifth on the team in rushing last season with 236 yards on 40 carries and 2 touchdowns.

The Trojans return three of their four leading rushers in Buck Allen, Tre Madden and Justin Davis.

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2014 Student-Athlete Graduation

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The 2014 USC Student-Athlete Graduation is tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m. inside the Galen Center followed by a reception in the Centofante Hall of Fame. 

If you cannot make it, we are live streaming the ceremony below, so please share this link with family and friends around the country.


Starting at the Top

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No. 16 USC women's tennis should expect to be greeted rudely by its hosts in Athens as the Women of Troy take on No. 1 Georgia in the NCAA Sweet 16.  The Trojans are in the Round of 16 for the third consecutive year, but to advance to the national quarterfinals, they will need to slay one of the sport's giants.

Click here for the complete preview.

USC came into the season as one of the national favorites, but the Women of Troy were relegated to underdog status once their top player Sabrina Santamaria was lost to a knee injury.  Now, the Trojans rely on Zoe Scandalis who is coming off a strong showing at the conference tournament as the Pac-12 runner-up.

For USC to pull off the upset, depth and doubles will be the key.  New pairing Kaitlyn Christian and Giuliana Olmos won the Pac-12 doubles title, while Olmos and Gabriella DeSimone are a combined 27-8 in dual match singles play.

The Women of Troy will battle Georgia at 1 p.m. PT tomorrow.  Click here for NCAA Tournament Central.

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Insta President

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USC President C.L. Max Nikias has taken the plunge and joined Instagram.  You can follow him @USCPres.

Of course, follow the Trojans @USC_Athletics where we posted a Flipagram of our favorite Nikias shots over the years.


Multi-Talented Freshman

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USC freshman Amalie Iuel emerged from obscurity to win the Pac-12 heptathlon championship and get the Women of Troy out to a lead at the conference meet in Pullman.  The Norwegian is the first Trojan to win the heptathlon since 1996 (Nicole Haynes) and the first freshman since 2004 (ASU's Jackie Johnson).

Click here for the recap.

Iuel was not considered a favorite going into the Pac-12 Multi-Events Championships, but she put herself in position to win going into the final event and then stormed to victory in the 800m.  She finished with 5,378 points, which is the seventh highest total in school history.

The men are also well positioned going into this weekend's Pac-12 Championships in Pullman as Viktor Fajoyomi finished second in the decathlon and Jemal Williams placed sixth.  The Trojans combined to score 11 points putting USC second with 20 events to go.

"The Trojan multi-event athletes had a phenomenal showing this weekend at the Pac-12 Multi-Events Championships," stated USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "Amalie has had an amazing freshman campaign and is only just beginning to tap into her talent as a multis athlete and hurdler."

"I am extremely excited and proud of Viktor for his second place finish. He and Jemal had multiple PRs during the competition even with unfavorable winds and cold temperatures. It's always nice to see a senior have a great final conference meet," she continued. "These performances have put us in position to go into Pullman and finish the job next week."

Here is Iuel on winning the Pac-12 title:


Under Center with Cody Kessler

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For those of you that missed the show on Pac-12 Networks, USC QB Cody Kessler broke down film and discussed his young career with Rick Neuheisel.

Here is the full length version of "Under Center with Rick Neuheisel":


Soccer in the Summer

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USC women's soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine (pictured) and his staff are hosting summer camps in June and July at McAlister Field.

Click here for more info and to sign-up.

McAlpine-WorldCup.jpgThe Overnight ID Camp is for girls grades 8th-12th, and will take place June 14-15. The camp is designed to give each camper an inside look at what it means to be a collegiate soccer player. Campers will be put through training sessions that will mirror those sessions that the USC soccer staff runs for their current team. Each session will test the campers physically as well as expand their tactical knowledge.

The sessions will be run by the USC staff and will be assisted by the current Women of Troy soccer players. There will be match play throughout the camp. The cost is $395.00 per camper.

There will also be a variety of day camps throughout the summer. The day camp for boys and girls ages 5-13 will take place July 21-24. The Junior Trojan Day Camp is designed to be a fun and challenging camp with the goal that all campers will leave each day having learned something new. The campers will train on McAlister Field, home of USC Soccer, and be trained by USC Soccer's coaches and players. The campers will be divided by age group and will go through sessions covering various skills, such as dribbling, passing, shooting, defending, and possession using some of the same techniques as the Trojan soccer team.

Each camper will receive a Trojan Soccer Academy ball and t-shirt at check-in. Full day campers will be provided lunch.

There are three different options for campers; the morning half day camp goes from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. , afternoon half day camp from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., or the full day camp from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for the half day camp is $250, while the full day camp is $375.

The Women of Troy will also host an Elite ID Camp on August 2. The camp is for girls grades 8-12 and costs $180 per camper.

Trojans Embrace Sam

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Two Trojans helped pave the way for openly gay Missouri DE Michael Sam to make history this weekend as St. Louis head coach Jeff Fisher drafted the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and safety T.J. McDonald made it clear that he would be more than welcome in the Rams' locker room.

Fisher is the perfect coach to usher Sam into the league.  Over his two decades as an NFL head coach, he has earned a reputation as a man who leads from the front.

"I know exactly what we're getting into, and I'm not worried at all," Fisher said after the draft. "Michael Sam will help us, and we'll give him every chance to succeed, and you know what? It's gonna be pretty cool."

Following suit, McDonald, who is a former USC defensive back like his head coach, tweeted out the unsentimental truth of the NFL in support of the pick. 


"Be a Person of Action"

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USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke was asked to share her words of wisdom for the graduating class of 2014.  With commencement coming up Friday, the hoops legend urged every outgoing Trojan to "be a person of action".

Here is the entire video featuring five prominent USC professors and staff doling out valuable life advice for the next generation:


Photo Gallery: Arreola vs. Stiverne

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USC's Galen Center hosted boxing history Saturday night as Bermane Stiverne stopped Chris Arreola in the 6th round to become the first ever heavyweight champion from Haiti.

Here are the John McGillen photos including the Trojan Marching Band playing the national anthem:


Boxing @ Galen - Images by John McGillen

Championship Form

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No. 1 USC women's golf showed exactly why the Trojans are favored to repeat as national champions by besting the field at the NCAA West Regional to officially qualify for the NCAA Championship in Tulsa (May 20-23).  The Women of Troy extended their record total of wins in a season to nine by collecting their fifth consecutive regional title.

Click here for the recap.

The Trojans were paced by Annie Park, who finished tied for second at 1-under, and Kyung Kim (pictured), who posted a Top 5 at even par.

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Tennis Feeling Sweet

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No. 1 USC men's tennis and No. 16 USC women's tennis advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 by taking out a pair of opponents each at Marks Stadium this weekend.  The men dropped just a single match in victories over Idaho (4-0) and Oklahoma State (4-1), while the Women of Troy made easy work of Idaho (4-0) before besting Michigan (4-2).

Click here for the men's recap.

Click here for the women's recap.

Now, the NCAA Tournament bracket really takes shape as the Trojans travel to Athens, Georgia, for the remainder of the postseason.  The men will battle Columbia on Friday, while the women will challenge the host team, No. 1 Georgia, on Thursday.

The Women of Troy are underdogs against the Lady Bulldogs.
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Water Polo Grabs Bronze

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USC women's water polo recovered from a disappointing NCAA semifinal loss to UCLA on Saturday to beat Cal in Sunday's third place game.  The Women of Troy were paced by Eike Daube and Monica Vavic who each posted hat tricks.

Click here for the recap.

The defending national champions, who were dethroned by Stanford, backed up their title-winning campaign with a 26-4 record this year.  Vavic was named to the All-Tournament First Team, and goalie Flora Bolonyai and senior Kaleigh Gilchrist were selected All-Tournament Second Team.

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Photo Gallery: Five Jewels Reunion

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As we documented and previewed last week, USC baseball welcomed home members of the five consecutive national championship teams from 1970-74 known as "The Five Jewels of the Crown" before Saturday's game at Dedeaux Field.

The all-star guest list included former big leaguers Fred Lynn, Dave Kingman, Roy Smalley, and Steve Kemp, as well as George Milke, the 1974 College World Series MVP and Russ McQueen, the 1972 College World Series MVP, and many other notables.

Here are the John McGillen reunion photos:


Reunion - Images by John McGillen

Eight Trojans Sign as Undrafted Free Agents

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

To add on to the three Trojans selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, eight more players signed after the draft was over on Saturday evening as undrafted free agents. 

USC DB Dion Bailey: Seattle Seahawks

USC RB Silas Redd: Washington Redskins

USC DE Morgan Breslin: San Francisco 49ers

USC OT Kevin Graf: Philadelphia Eagles

USC TE Xavier Grimble: New York Giants

USC OG John Martinez: Seattle Seahawks

USC DE George Uko: New Orleans Saints

USC DB Demetrius Wright: Miami Dolphins

Kennard to the Giants

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC OLB Devon Kennard was selected by the New York Giants in the 5th Round of the NFL Draft with the 174th overall pick. The Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist was the third Trojan drafted providing the Giants with versatility and experience as he played as an outside linebacker, defensive end and middle linebacker during his time at USC. Kennard is following in his father, Derek Kennard's footsteps who played in the NFL as an offensive lineman for 11 seasons. 

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Martin to the 49ers

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USC OL Marcus Martin was selected in the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft with the 70th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.  The versatile center/guard makes it five consecutive years that a Trojans' offensive lineman has been drafted.

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Lee to the Jaguars

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USC WR Marqise Lee was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2nd Round of the NFL Draft with the 39th overall pick.  The Trojans only Biletnikoff Award winner is the 13th USC wide receiver taken since 2000, and Lee follows high school teammate Robert Woods as back-to-back 2nd Round wideouts.

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Five Jewels in the Crown: 1974

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

Click here for more.

The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1974 team:

The 1973 USC Trojans had won an incredible fourth consecutive national championship with one of college baseball's greatest teams.  But as Rod Dedeaux faced the 1974 season, gone were five superstars - Fred Lynn, Roy Smalley, Ed Bowman, Randy Scarbery, and four-time NCAA championship first baseman Daryl Arenstein.  All except Arenstein had remaining eligibility. 

It would be up to a handful of veterans, led by third baseman Rich Dauer and pitchers Russ McQueen (1972 CWS MVP) and Mark Barr, to keep the dynasty in power.  The key would be how well the talented sophomore pitchers, John Racanelli, Pete Redfern, Ty Meyer, and George Milke would respond to the big time pressure.

With this being the first year of the DH (much to Dedeaux's chagrin), it would permit the potent bat of Steve Kemp in the lineup, joining veterans Ed Putman, Ken Huizenga, Rob Adolph and Creighton Tevlin.  Starting for the first time would be football stars Marvin Cobb and Anthony Davis.

With the dedication of beautiful Dedeaux Field and McQueen's no-hitter in the inaugural game, maybe the Trojans were a "Team of Destiny".  In perhaps his greatest coaching job, Dedeaux guided this young team in a harrowing pennant race to win the Southern Division crown. 

After sweeping Oregon in the conference playoff, it looked like the Trojans were out of miracles, trailing nemesis Cal State LA by two runs in the 9th inning of the final game.  Assistant coach Justin Dedeaux told Mark Barr to sit where his brother Jim had sat six years earlier, when on the same field, same team, same situation, the Trojans rallied from three runs behind to win the District 8 Championship and went on to win the 1968 national championship. 

After the eight-run 9th inning impossible comeback against Minnesota a year earlier in Omaha, could it happen again? Yes, the Trojans scored four runs in the 9th to advance to the College World Series.

The Trojans returned to Omaha searching for an incredible fifth straight title.  With McQueen injured, Barr came through with two complete game victories, but the series belonged to sophomore George Milke, who won 3 games and was named MVP.  The sophomores had come through and the Trojans had won again defeating Miami 7-3 in the final. 

In one of the greatest achievement in sports history, USC ran off 25 wins in 29 games against the best teams in America to earn five consecutive national championships.  A record which may never be equaled but will always be marveled.


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Going 100: Women's Water Polo

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Women's water polo will be the first team this spring to take a crack at the century mark as USC is one away from 100 NCAA Championships.  The Women of Troy begin their quest to defend their national title today at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center at 1:45 p.m. against UC Irvine.

Wins by No. 3 USC and No. 2 UCLA would setup a Crosstown Showdown in the NCAA semifinals on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Click here for NCAA Tournament Central and ticket info.

The matches will be streamed live online and you can get updates by following @USCWaterPolo on Twitter.

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Zamperini Named Grand Marshal

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Legendary USC Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini was named the 2015 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal.  The 97-year-old is a true American hero as the embodiment of not only our "Fight On" motto, but an inspiration to all who have met him or know his remarkable story of courage and survival as a World War II prisoner.

"It is such an honor to be the Grand Marshal of the 126th Rose Parade," said Zamperini. "Growing up in Torrance, the parade route on Colorado Boulevard is one I have been familiar with my whole life.  I look forward to sharing the experience with my family and all the fans of the Rose Parade who will be watching."

Click here for the complete release.

"Louis Zamperini's life story illustrates the strength of human spirit in many ways," said Richard L. Chinen, the Tournament of Roses President. "From becoming a young sports hero in Southern California to surviving for 47 days on an inflatable raft in the Pacific Ocean and then persevering for more than two years held in captivity in Japan, Louis now lives as an enduring symbol of perseverance, heroism and forgiveness.  His life is truly a series of 'Inspiring Stories,' and I am elated and humbled that he accepted our invitation to be the 2015 Grand Marshal."

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First Round Family

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While USC was shut out of the NFL Draft on day one, the Trojan Family was represented by a familiar name. 

Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews was selected No. 6 overall by the Atlanta Falcons.  He is the son of Trojan great Bruce Matthews, who was picked 9th overall in 1983, while his uncle Clay (12th overall in 1978) and cousin Clay (26th overall in 2009) are also former first rounders and USC alums.

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Five Jewels in the Crown: 1973

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

Click here for more.

The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1973 team:

Having won the last three national championships and with a veteran team returning, the 1973 Trojans were ranked No. 1 in every preseason poll and expected to be one of college baseball's all-time great teams. 

The pressure was on the Trojans.  USC's main competition for the crown was rival Arizona State, thirsting for revenge, and the one team which had always plagued the Trojans, the University of Minnesota and future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. 

USC was led by All-Americans Fred Lynn, Roy Smalley, Randy Scarbery, 1972 CWS MVP Russ McQueen, and captain Daryl Arenstein, who was bidding to become the only player in history to start on four consecutive national champions.  The Trojans won the prestigious Riverside Tournament beating Arizona State, ran away with the conference and went undefeated throughout the playoffs.

Back at Omaha for the fourth straight year, the Trojans continued the onslaught winning the first three games, including dropping Arizona State, to setup a meeting with nemesis Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers had won the national championship in 1960, handing the Trojans their most bitter defeat in a highly controversial game.  The Trojans thought they had won the game 11-2 in a rain-shortened six innings, but play was ordered resumed and developed into the "infamous mud and rain-drenched game" with the Gophers the ultimate winner 12-11.)

Now in 1973, Minnesota had gambled and saved ace Dave Winfield to face USC which had to go with its 4th starter.  It looked as if the jinx would continue as Winfield was overpowering, allowing only one hit with 15 strikeouts and pitching the bottom of the ninth leading 7-0. 

What happened in the bottom of the ninth inning has become a story all its own.  No one can score 8 runs against the nation's top pitcher, but the Trojans did.  The curse of the Golden Gophers was over. 

Arizona State watched that inning in total disbelief and were no match for the Trojans the following night as the 4th jewel was added to the crown.  USC defeated the Sun Devils 4-3.


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Draft Day

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The 2014 NFL Draft is finally here!

ESPN and NFL Network will carry the entire draft live starting with the 1st round tonight at 5 p.m. PT.  The 2nd and 3rd rounds will take place Friday starting at 4 p.m. PT.  The final rounds will begin Saturday morning at 9 a.m. PT.

Good luck to all the Trojans waiting for their NFL dreams to come true.

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Galen Hosts Heavyweights

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USC's Galen Center will host a heavyweight title fight between Bermane "B. Ware" Stiverne and Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola on Saturday night. 

Tickets are still available.  Click here to purchase.

The card is loaded with fights starting at 3:30 p.m., and doors will open at 3 p.m.

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Four Teams Get Academic Recognition

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USC baseball, women's lacrosse, women's tennis and women's soccer were publicly recognized by the NCAA for finishing in the top 10 percent of their sport in terms of the Academic Progress Rate (APR).

Click here for the full story.

This announcement is part of the overall Division I academic reform effort and is intended to highlight teams that demonstrate a commitment to academic progress and retention of student-athletes by achieving the top APRs within their respective sports.

The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for eligibility, retention and graduation each semester or quarter and provides a measure of each team's academic performance.

Women's tennis is led on and off the court by Zoe Scandalis.
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2014 NFL Draft: Silas Redd

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday. The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is our latest draft snapshot featuring running back Silas Redd who is coming off a knee injury but led the Trojans in rushing in 2012.

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Mother's Day Baseball Brunch

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USC baseball is inviting the Mothers of Troy to the game vs. Cal this Sunday for a special Mother's Day celebration.  The $50 package includes two game tickets, brunch for two, and a USC baseball yoga mat.

Click here for purchase info.

The Trojans begin a three-game series with Cal on Friday night (6 p.m.) followed by Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.) and Sunday in the sun (1 p.m.).  USC is 25-20 on the season and 12-11 in conference.

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Five Jewels in the Crown: 1972

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

Click here for more.

The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1972 team:

It would be the year of the showdown.  The match-up the college baseball world had waited so long to see would finally unfold. And what better place for this inevitable confrontation of the two college baseball superpowers than the playing field of Omaha at the College World Series. 

The two-time defending national champion Trojans were seeking to set history by winning a third consecutive title, and USC would be challenged by the Arizona State Sun Devils, the nation's top ranked team, and proclaimed by the media as the "greatest team of all-time". 

The proclamation didn't set well with past and present Trojans of Bovard Field.  But, in fact, USC was a young team dominated by sophomores Fred Lynn, Randy Scarbery, Roy Smalley, and the brash reliever, Russ McQueen.  Smalley, in his first year, would have to replace the team's best player, the great George Ambrow, out for the season with a knee injury. 

Arizona State had a veteran team and sported an incredible 60-2 record entering Omaha. 
Both teams swept through the regional playoffs and the stage was set for the ultimate showdown.  After winning their first two games, the Trojans finally met the Sun Devils and were shut out 3-0. 

ASU continued undefeated, while USC had to rally in 10 innings against Texas to reach the finals.  Now there were only two. 

The Trojans needed to sweep two games, while the Sun Devils were one win away from immortality.  The nation's two best sophomores were set to duel in game one - USC's Randy Scarbery versus ASU's Eddie Bane.  Scarbery pitched a masterpiece beating the Sun Devils 3-1.

Now it was as it should be - one final game - at stake, the supremacy of college baseball.  The Trojans would turn to the valiant, but sore-armed Mark Sogge and the Sun Devils would send out John Crawford, who had shutout USC in Game 3. 

The Trojans scored a run early and led 1-0 entering the 5th inning with Sogge struggling.  The Sun Devils loaded the bases with no one out, and Rod Dedeaux summoned his bullpen ace, Russ McQueen, who already had one save and two wins in relief.  Five pitches later, the Trojans were in the dugout and the Sun Devils hadn't scored. 

He shut them out the next four innings with no one reaching second base.  Russ McQueen was the most valuable player of the College World Series, the Sun Devils tasted the sword of the Trojans falling 1-0, and it was the third "Jewel in the Crown". 

 
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Kessler Under Center

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USC QB Cody Kessler will go "Under Center with Rick Neuheisel" tonight at 8 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks. While the focus of the show will be on the junior's passing skills, he showed off his vocal styling as well.


2014 NFL Draft: George Uko

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday. The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is our latest draft snapshot featuring defensive lineman George Uko:

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The Road Starts at Home

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No. 1 USC men's tennis will begin May madness at Marks Stadium this weekend as the Trojans open the NCAA Tournament by hosting Idaho, Oklahoma State and Michigan this weekend.

Click here for the complete preview.

USC will play Idaho in the first round on Saturday at Noon after Oklahoma State and Michigan get the action started at 9 a.m. The winners will square off in round two on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Roberto Quiroz and the Trojans are hoping to advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, Georgia.
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2014 NFL Draft: Devon Kennard

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday. The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is our latest draft snapshot featuring outside linebacker Devon Kennard who will be a perfect fit for the many 3-4 defenses in the NFL.

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2014 NFL Draft: Dion Bailey

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday. The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is our latest draft snapshot featuring safety Dion Bailey who NFL.com compared to Tyrann "The Honey Badger" Mathieu for his playmaking ability and versatility.

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Brown Out the Bruins

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Senior sprinter Aaron Brown was the fastest man on the track Sunday at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet winning the 100m and 200m dashes plus the 4x100m relay en route to being named the Pac-12 Men's Track Athlete of the Week.

Click here for the complete story.

Brown captured the 100m crown with a time of 10.18 (-0.7), winning the event all four seasons as a Trojan. The All-American won the 200m race with a time of 20.46 (+1.3) and ran the second leg for the 4x100m relay team which posted a strong time of 39.76, its second-fastest time of the season.

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Five Jewels in the Crown: 1971

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

Click here for more.

The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1971 team:

The college baseball world was licking its chops. This was the year to stop the Trojans. Gone was the nucleus of the team which had won two of the last three national championships, including a record 51 wins in 1970. 

Gone were All-Americans Brett Strom, Jim Barr, Cal Meier and Dave Kingman.  Gone were All-District selections Dan Stoligrosz and Russ Bennett. 

Yes, this was the year to deny the Trojans a chance to win consecutive national crowns.  And they knew they had better do it this year because the best recruiting class ever assembled was putting on Cardinal and Gold uniforms for the first time.  Junior College All-American Tim Steele was being joined by first round draft choices P Randy Scarbery and SS George Ambrow plus second round selection OF Fred Lynn.

USC stormed through the regular season going 17-0 in the Pac-8 becoming the first team to ever go unbeaten in conference play. The pitching staff, seen as the question mark before the season, set a conference record by tossing 38.1 consecutive scoreless innings.

After suffering an early College World Series loss to Southern Illinois, the Trojans ran off victories over BYU and Tulsa (twice) to setup a championship rematch with the Salukis.  This time, Troy was too much as Steve Busby pitched a complete game, and Frank Alfano and Craig Perkins hit back-to-back homers in a 7-2 win.


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Buck for Heisman?

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USC RB Buck Allen was listed among 25 Heisman Trophy post-spring candidates to watch by the Heisman Pundit.

Click here for the complete list.

Allen burst onto the scene as a sophomore last year running for 774 yards and 14 touchdowns en route to being named the Team MVP.  He averaged 5.78 yards per carry.

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First Things First

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No. 1 USC women's golf and No. 20 men's golf have national championship aspirations, but the Trojans must qualify through regionals first. 

The Women of Troy are headed to the NCAA West Regional (May 8-10) in Cle Elum, Washington, hoping to extend their NCAA best streak of nine consecutive regional titles.  They only need to finish in the top eight out of the 24 teams invited to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma (May 20-23).

The men are the three-seed in the Sugar Grove (Ill.) Regional (May 15-17), which features 14 teams led by Cal and Illinois.  The top five will advance to the NCAA Championships in Hutchinson, Kansas (May 23-28). 

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2014 NFL Draft: Marcus Martin

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday.  The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is our latest draft snapshot featuring Marcus Martin who is rated by many as the top center available this year.

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2014 NFL Draft: Marqise Lee

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The 2014 NFL Draft begins Thursday.  The Trojans are expected to add to their college football leading 480 all-time NFL draft picks.

Here is a look at some of USC's pro prospects starting with WR Marqise Lee who is projected to be the 78th first round pick in school history, which is also more than any other program in the country.

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Photo Gallery: Dual Meet Split

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USC track and field split the annual Dual Meet with UCLA Sunday as the Women of Troy were victorious, but the men dropped a close one.

The meet marked the end of regular season play between the Trojans and Bruins in 2013-14.  Here are the updated Gauntlet standings: USC 62.5, UCLA 52.5.

The Trojan Family has all but assured crosstown bragging rights, but the victory is not clinched until postseason play is completed as USC and UCLA could see each other again, which would potentially shake things up.

Here are the John McGillen photos from Drake Stadium in Westwood:


USC Track & Field Duel Meet @ ULCA Gallery - Images by John McGillen

Five Jewels in the Crown: 1970

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USC baseball is celebrating the 40th anniversary of winning five consecutive national championships from 1970-74 under Rod Dedeaux by recognizing the Trojans' dynasty before Saturday's game against Cal (2 p.m. first pitch).

Click here for more.

The "Five Jewels in the Crown" were seen as an impossibility when the streak started as experts predicted parity in college baseball due to the major league draft, increased competition and the inconsistent nature of the sport.  Instead, USC, which had already won five national championships, only asserted its dominance further completing what John Wooden once called maybe "the most remarkable achievement in sports history."   

This week, we'll profile a different jewel in the crown each day. Here is the story of the 1970 team:

The 1970 USC Trojans were a veteran team led by pitchers Jim Barr and Brent Strom, and the prodigious hitting of Dave Kingman. 

By losing their College World Series opener to Ohio, which had future Hall of Fame 3B Mike Schmidt, the Trojans needed to win out.  After beating Delaware and Dartmouth, they survived Texas in a come-from-behind 8-7 victory in 14 innings, which depleted the USC pitching staff.  Three teams now remained with 3-1 records - USC, Texas, and pitching-rich Florida State. 

Before a still packed house of fans, three white envelopes were placed on the field with one envelope containing the precious "Bye", while the other two said "Play".  The legendary Rod Dedeaux had never in the past been able to draw the "Bye" card.  Assistant coach Justin Dedeaux was aware of this and persuaded his father to let him pick the envelope.  Justin asked to pick first and held his envelope unopened, while Texas and Florida State followed him in the draw.  Both their envelopes said "Play".  The Trojans would advance to the final.


With that vital day of rest, USC played Florida State and won the national championship in a 2-1, 15-inning thriller.  Ace right-hander Jim Barr was the hero pitching eight innings of scoreless relief, as he had done previously in the win over Texas, and Frank Alfano singled home the winning run.

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Photo Gallery: Rowing by UCLA

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USC women's rowing helped the entire Trojan Family put one hand on the Gauntlet by defeating UCLA in the annual dual meet for the 13th consecutive time.

Here are the John McGillen photos from the Port of Los Angeles:


USC Rowing Duel Meet - Images by John McGillen

Queens of the Beach

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USC women's sand volleyball defended its AVCA Pairs National Championship in impressive fashion as senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes buried the competition on the Alabama beach.

In three short seasons, the Women of Troy are positioned as a power program in the sport with two AVCA trophies already filling up Heritage Hall.  While head coach Anna Collier is still building to the team title, the Trojans have the most elite talent in two-time champion Kirby Burnham and phenom Sara Hughes.


Bragging Rights

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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There is no better feeling than beating your rival especially after losing to them in a shocking upset at last year's track dual meet. The Women of Troy bounced back in many ways at Sunday's dual meet launching them into postseason competition as they are hitting their stride at just the right time.

In a series of sweeps, the USC women's track team dominated the 4x100, 200m and 400m while also placing first and second in the 100m, winning the entire meet 95-68. The Women of Troy have now won six of the last seven dual meets against crosstown rival UCLA. 

"It felt great to beat them at their home and to just show them that we're about our business. Our coach had broke down the race before so I was just like Vanessa, focus on that because whoever executes the best will be victorious," said sprinter Vanessa Jones, who won the 400m with a PR time of 52.63. Jones now rests in sixth place on USC's all-time list. 

On the men's side of things, the Trojans fought hard keeping the meet close all the way up until the final event. They kicked things off by winning the 4x100m relay while also sweeping the 100m and 110m hurdles. Also, freshman Chase Peterson and Jemal Williams finished first and third respectively in the 400m IH with PR times of 52.04 and 53.68. 

In the field arena, senior Remington Conatser continued to impress winning the hammer throw with a toss of 228-3ft. Also, javelin thrower Jeffrey Churchman threw a PR of 218-1ft on his first throw moving him to fifth place all-time at USC. 

For head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert, the meet brought back memories from her glory days, but it also taught her a lot in regards to strategies for the future. The new head coach noted a few key performances from Sunday's action saying that Tynia Gaither really stood out to her as she won both the 100m and 200m while also running a leg of the winning 4x100 team.  

"I feel like the whole rivalry mentality is definitely a different type of feeling. It was a lot of fun and it made the meet more interesting to me," said Gaither who transferred from Georgia before the start of the season. "Even though we had a short recovery time, it didn't really matter because the rivalry was strong and I just wanted to win." 

Both the men and the women seem to be finally executing what they've been working on in practice and it could not come at a better time. The Pac-12 Championships begin May 10 in Pullman, Washington. 

"We're doing things in practice that are shocking to even ourselves so it is just showing us that we're ready," said Gaither.  "So we're going to go into Pac-12s and conferences and nationals and just come out on top." 

Burnham Bounce

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Not only did she win the 2014 AVCA Pairs National Championship, but senior Kirby Burnham executed an unbelievable kill in today's action.

Check out the video below and make sure to watch the whole thing to see how high the ball bounces after hitting the sand (a rare feat in sand volleyball). 

Best on the Beach

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Written by Caroline Deisley and Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributors

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The dynamic duo of senior Kirby Burnham and freshman Sara Hughes captured the 2014 AVCA Pairs National Title in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Sunday. The pair absolutely dominated the competition winning three matches on the day with a resounding victory over Hawaii in the championship match winning 21-15, 21-13. 

For senior Burnham, this is the second year in a row that she has claimed the title after winning it last year with partner Stevi Robinson. 

Burnham and Hughes were also recognized as AVCA first team All-Americans while head coach Anna Collier was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year in just the third year of the program. 

Perfect Paddle

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

No. 8 USC women's rowing defeated No. 12 UCLA on Saturday in the annual dual match to keep its perfect record intact for the 13-year rivalry. After falling behind 2-1 following the first scoring race of the day, the Women of Troy clinched the lead with their top boat in the time of 6:36.30 led by senior All-American Vineta Moca to win the dual meet, 4-3. 

Click here for the full recap. 

The rowing victory puts USC one step closer to reclaiming the Crosstown Gauntlet Trophy. Currently, the Trojans lead the Bruins 57.5 to 47.5, and the first school to reach 60 points will win the crosstown crown. The two square off on Sunday in the annual track and field dual meet, with a USC sweep ensuring the trophy returns to Troy. 

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Staying Alive

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Despite snapping a 21-match winning streak after No. 4 Hawaii stunned No. 1 USC in its first match of the day, the Trojans rallied to beat No. 6 Stetson 4-1, advancing to the semifinals of the 2014 AVCA National Championship in Gulf Shores, Alabama. 


In order for the young program to win its first title, the Women of Troy must first defeat No. 2 Pepperdine in their semifinal match on Saturday at 12 p.m. CT before facing the winner of Hawaii and Florida State in the championship scheduled for 3:30pm CT. 

Follow @USCSandVball for updates of tomorrow's action. 

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Awards Season

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Adding on to the announcements this week regarding all-conference team nominations, USC women's golf boasts five players who earned All-Pac-12 recognition. Senior Sophia Popov and sophomores Annie Park and Kyung Kim all received first team honors whereas junior Doris Chen and freshman Karen Chung earned second team honors.

This is Popov's third All-Pac-12 first team nomination and it is the second consecutive first team nomination for Park and Kim. Also, this is the second consecutive season where the Trojans have had five golfers nominated for one of the three All-Pac-12 teams and the fifth year in a row with at least four nominated. 


The Trojans may have finished second in the Pac-12 Championship, but they enter the NCAA championship as a number one seed in the NCAA West Regional tournament looking to defend their title beginning Thursday, May 8th.

Anything Can Happen

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Anything can happen in a rivalry meet but the USC track and field team is focused and ready to execute its game plan in order to defeat UCLA on Sunday at Drake Stadium. For new head track coach Caryl Smith Gilbert, it will be her first rivalry dual meet ,and despite a couple sleepless nights she's adamant that the Trojans are prepared for victory. 

"Anything can happen so we're just trying to push for those special performances that no one expects," said the head coach. "Those are going to be what sets you up to win a meet that is this emotional."

The Trojans enter this dual meet against their crosstown rival with the women ranked eighth facing an unranked UCLA team and the men coming in at number 12 just one spot ahead of the Bruins. Last year, the USC women were upset by the Bruins snapping a five-year winning streak while the men lost as well.  This year both the men and women are locked and loaded to seek revenge on Sunday. 

"I feel confident not only in myself but in our team," said junior 400m Vanessa Jones. "Last year we were projected to win and we didn't so it just made us humble ourselves. You never know what they might do so you just have to be humble and go in there like warriors. We just need to focus and execute on all of our races so that we can actually win." 

USC certainly has the talent to perform exceptionally at Sunday's meet as they boast the best collegiate 110m hurdler in Aleec Harris and the top hammer thrower in Remington Conatser. USC also has 21 of the top 25 marks in the country which they are hoping to add more to come Sunday. 

Not only is there pressure on the Trojans to defeat their crosstown rival, but the dual meet is their last competition before heading into Pac-12 Championship competition. However, under the leadership of the new coaching staff, the athletes feel as if they are ready to tackle anything that comes at them. 

"I'm telling them to think about what it is they really want and go after it.  They've been to some of the greatest competitions, and they've faced some of the greatest competitors in the country. We had a great indoor campaign and we're ranked really high," said Smith Gilbert. "Now, they've got to go out and set the track on fire, set the ring on fire, set the pit on fire. They need to make some really big marks and just do the best they can. Give it 100 percent and leave it all on the track. Don't leave anything to chance because anything can happen in a rivalry and things you don't expect will happen.

The entire team has been working hard  all season already capturing the indoor championship in Smith Gilbert's first season as head coach. Now, it's time to gear up for the greatest rivalry meet in the nation and the start of postseason competition. 

Meet Claude Pelon

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Name: Claude Pelon

Position: Defensive Lineman

Class: Redshirt Junior

Size: 6-foot-5, 293 pounds

Age: 21

High School: Agape Christian Academy

Scouting Report: Claude Pelon possesses outstanding raw talent that can be put to good use in various schemes. He uses his size to his advantage enabling him to establish position at the line of scrimmage with the potential to disrupt opposing offenses. Pelon provides the Trojans with the depth on the defensive line that they have lacked in recent seasons. 

Prep Career: Pelon opted to take the junior college route straight out of high school attending Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College where he was redshirted before transferring to Eastern Arizona Junior College in 2012. Though he had 17 tackles with two sacks in his freshman season, he broke out during his sophomore year when he attended Mesa (AZ) Community College and racked up 52 tackles including 9.5 for losses plus two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery earning him All-Western States Football League second team honors. 

Spring Ball: Pelon started out a little slow at the beginning of spring practice as he was not only transitioning from junior college, but also getting whipped into shape by head coach Steve Sarkisian's new fast-tempo system. He originally only saw time as a backup defensive end but worked his way all the way to the top of the depth chart by the end of spring ball. When some of the injured Trojans like Leonard Williams return in the fall, Pelon may lose his starting spot but his versatility and performance this spring will allow him to certainly see playing time.

Sarkisian on Pelon: "I think Claude Pelon has been one of the more improved players on our roster...I think his grasp and understanding of the scheme has drastically improved. I think his conditioning has drastically improved. I think his understanding of what it takes to play at this level every single down has really improved."
 
Here is Pelon speaking with the media...

Meet Jalen Greene

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Name: Jalen Greene

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Position: Quarterback

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-3, 212 pounds

Age: 17

High School: Serra

Scouting Report: Standing at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, Jalen Greene has the makings of the ideal quarterback build. Left-handed, like former USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Greene offers something that many recent Trojan quarterbacks have not: mobility. Running for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in high school, Greene has proven that he is a dual-threat quarterback with great potential in Steve Sarkisian's new offensive system. 

Prep Career: Greene hails from Serra High School, the Southern California high school football powerhouse that has produced recent USC stars Marqise Lee and Robert Woods (just to name two). A three-year starter, Greene accumulated quite the stat line, throwing for 6,355 yards with 68 passing touchdowns and running for 3,040 yards with 30 rushing touchdowns. The Cavaliers went 35-6 during Greene's tenure as starting quarterback, and Greene wrapped up his high school career by being voted All-Mission League Offensive Player of the Year, Max Preps All-State Division II first team and All-CIF Western Division. 

Spring Ball: As an early entrant, the 2014 spring was the perfect opportunity for Greene to adjust to the tempo, mentality and overall atmosphere of collegiate football. The freshman alternated reps with Cody Kessler and Max Browne with the mindset of competing for the starting gig. Greene saw many elements of his game improve through the first practice periods of his Trojan career specifically noting his mental focus, endurance and accuracy. It's been an adjustment for the three-year Serra starter to now be third in line on the depth chart, but Greene is focused on learning everything he can from both Kessler, Browne and the entire coaching staff.

Sarkisian on Greene: "I think Jalen has a very high ceiling here. His future is very bright. He's a guy who has steadily improved and will continue to do so."

Here is Jalen Greene at the conclusion of 2014 spring ball...

Sights Set on the 'Ship

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom and Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributors

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USC's sand volleyball team is already making waves on its way to its second appearance in as many years at the 2014 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Women of Troy are the top-ranked team in the nation and are entering the tournament as the number one seed with a 21-match winning streak, the longest in program history, on the line. 

It may only be the program's third year in existence, but the Trojans are looking to capitalize on their wealth of talent and win their first team title. In order to do so, they will rely on reigning pairs champion, senior Kirby Burnham, who won the first title for the program with now graduated All-American Stevi Robinson in last year's tournament. Back in 2014 with a new and younger partner in freshman Sara Hughes, Burnham will not only look to repeat, but also lead the Trojans to a team victory as this dynamic duo has won their last 28 consecutive matches.

The Trojans boast a 22-1 overall record on the season and 17 of those wins have been by 5-0 sweeps. Both the pairs of Hughes and Burnham as well as Alexa Strange and Kelly Claes have over 30 wins on the year and will carry the Women of Troy throughout the tournament. 

The team tournament is a double-elimination format with a sudden death final four. USC earned a first-round bye and awaits the winner of No. 4 Hawaii vs. No. 5 FIU to determine its opponent in the quarterfinal which will be on Friday at 12:00 p.m. CT. 

The team championship match is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. The pairs' tournament will be played on Sunday, May 4 in which Kirby Burnham and Sara Hughes will look to defend Burnham's title. 

Be sure to follow @USCSandVBall on Twitter for score updates throughout the weekend. The team semifinal and championship matches will be taped for broadcast on CBS Sports Network. 

Christenson Voted Nation's Best Setter

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

IMG_1112.jpegUSC men's volleyball star setter Micah Christenson was awarded the 2014 Lloy Ball Award on Wednesday by Off the Block which recognizes the best setter in the nation. Lloy Ball (top left) was a former U.S. Olympian and IPFW All-American setter. Ball led the United States to a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in his record-setting fourth Olympic appearance. 

Christenson led the nation with 11.69 assists per game and led setters with 2.69 digs per game while also earning AVCA First-Team All-American honors. 

The third-year starter also spent the fall as the starting setter for the USA Men's National Team and used this experience to lead the Trojans as co-captain for the 2014 season.