Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
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."