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June 2014 Archives

Year in Troy: 100 NCAA Titles

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As we close up shop on 2013-14, here is a look at the teams, athletes and moments that made it a milestone year.

USC collected two more NCAA crowns this year with men's water polo and men's tennis continuing dominant reigns over their respective sports.  Men's water polo has now won six consecutive NCAA team titles, while men's tennis came through for the fifth time in six years clinching the 100th NCAA championship in USC history.

Vavic-Nikola-Stan-13-McG.jpgJovan Vavic's dynasty always seems to be dangling on the precipice, but the Trojans thrive in drama creating predictable results in the most unpredictable fashion.  In the 2013 NCAA title match against Pacific, USC closed a two-goal gap in the final period to force overtime, which ended in storybook fashion thanks to Nikola Vavic (pictured) whose championship-winning goal was the last of his record-setting career.

Peter Smith had to do it without Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen this time.  The four-time champions will never be replaced, but men's tennis found the winning formula again after a one-year hiatus.  Depth and experience captured the crown as the Trojans overcame Oklahoma to hit USC's all-time century mark.

In the last three years, USC has won seven national championships, which ties Florida for the most by any school. Along with the two titles this campaign, 10 other Trojan teams finished in the national Top 10.

Women's golf (No. 2 NCAA), women's water polo (No. 3 NCAA), women's sand volleyball (No. 3 AVCA), men's track and field (T-No.4 NCAA), women's swimming and diving (No. 5 NCAA), women's volleyball (No. 5 NCAA), men's swimming and diving (No. 8 NCAA), men's volleyball (No. 9 AVCA), women's tennis (T-No. 10 NCAA) and women's rowing (No. 10 NCAA) all had accomplished seasons.  Football and women's track and field also finished inside the Top 25.

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Tommy Gun

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Major league baseball is nearing its midway point, and eight different Trojans made an impact in the first half led by Oakland A's starting pitcher Tommy Milone (pictured).  The southpaw has been on fire for the American League's best team going 6-0 in his last 10 starts.

The 27-year-old is in his third full major league season in Oakland after being traded to the A's in 2012 by the Washington Nationals, the team that drafted him in 2008.  He is headed towards his third double-digit win campaign in the Bay earning the label of "Mr. Reliable" in the Oakland rotation.

Click here for more on Milone.

Here's an update on the other seven Trojans in the big leagues:

RP Ryan Cook, A's - 3.91 ERA in 23 appearances including a save

RP Brad Boxberger, Rays - 3.18 ERA in 29 appearances in his first year in the American League

1B Lucas Duda, Mets - Hitting .255 with 12 HR, 41 RBI and an .824 OPS

OF Grant Green, Angels - Hitting .324 in 26 games in a reserve role playing multiple positions

SP Ian Kennedy, Padres - 4.01 ERA in 17 starts (5-9 record) in his first full season in San Diego

RP J.P. Howell, Dodgers - Sparkling 1.59 ERA in 38 appearances for the Texas alum who started at USC

RP Chad Smith, Tigers - Earned his first big league call-up making 4 appearances for Detroit

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Two Months Away

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Two months from today, USC football is back! 

The Trojans tee it up in the Coliseum against Fresno State on Saturday, August 30, at 4:30 p.m. PT.  The USC secondary will be anchored by Freshman All-American safety Su'a Cravens, who snagged four interceptions in his first season.

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Solomon's American Champ

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USC alum Duane Solomon sprinted to a first place finish in the 800m highlighting several standout performances by Trojans at the USA Track & Field Championships in Sacramento.  Solomon posted a winning time of 1:44.30 to make it back-to-back U.S. titles for the 2012 Olympian.

"I think my best way to race is to run like this," said Solomon. "If I run like this every race, I'm going to be hard to beat."

Click here for the complete recap.

Several Trojans littered the Top 5 in other events including Ryan Wilson and Aleec Harris, who finished second and fourth respectively in the 110m HH, as well as NCAA champion Reggie Wyatt, who grabbed third in the 400m IH.


Final All-Around Standings

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USC closed strong this school year to move up to 8th in the final Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings, which rank the performances of each school's 10 best men's and women's programs.  Stanford won the Directors' Cup for the 20th time.

Click here for the final standings.

The Trojans were carried by the men this year with tennis and water polo winning national championships, so USC fared even better in the Capital One Cup men's standings finishing 5th (pictured below), which is an improvement from 14th last year.  The Women of Troy finished 2013-14 at 18th in the women's Capital One Cup standings.

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Tri and Tri Again

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USC men's volleyball alum Tri Bourne picked up his first gold medal on the professional beach volleyball circuit by teaming up with John Hyden, a San Diego State alum, to win the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam.  Bourne, who recently turned 25 on June 20, helped make Hyden, 41, the oldest men's player ever to win FIVB open gold. 

Click here for the complete story.

Bourne, a native of Hawaii, is playing on the beach after a professional indoor career in Puerto Rico. He was a member of USC teams that were the NCAA runner-up in 2009 and finished third in 2011 when he was a senior.

Hyden (left) and Bourne (right) hangin' loose on the Berlin beach.
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Libero U

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USC is known as a factory for many skilled professions like entrepreneur, filmmaker and linebacker.  Women's volleyball is developing a libero legacy.

As Team USA preps for its Galen Center showdown against No. 1 Brazil on July 6, two Women of Troy alums battle it out for the starting libero spot.

Nicole Davis is the veteran.  She led USC to back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003, and she is a two-time U.S. Olympian.

Natalie Hagglund is the new kid on the block.  She recently finished up her Trojan career as a three-time All-American and Academic All-American First Team.

Here is a video profile on Davis with commentary from Hagglund:


Throwback Thursday: USC-Hawks

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Thanks to Getty Images for this gem of Super Bowl champions Michael Morgan, Malcolm Smith and Anthony McCoy, who were sure to find each other at the Seahawks celebration to represent their Trojan pride.

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Win Sark's Seats: Notre Dame

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This is your final chance to Win Sark's Seats!  We saved the best for last. 

Enter now for a chance to win VIP tickets, VIP parking and VIP tailgate passes to USC vs. Notre Dame at the Coliseum.

Click here to enter!!!

Congratulations to Roberto Coppola and Jeffrey Viray who won Sark's seats for the Colorado and Cal games, respectively.

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Train Like a Trojan

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USC head strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis and his staff are hosting a Speed and Power Camp this Sunday, June 29, for aspiring athletes in grades 6-12 looking to improve their explosiveness and strength.

Click here for more.

Click here to sign-up or email a question.

In the state of the art John McKay Center weight room, campers will be introduced to explosive Olympic weight training movements and receive in-depth instruction on technique. These movements are designed to improve overall power and explosiveness, setting the foundation for campers to increase their speed and jumping ability.

On the field, campers will be put through the same dynamic warm-up USC athletes complete before each competition to achieve peak performance. On-field work will include instruction for proper running mechanics, agility training and exposure to plyometric movements to increase each athlete's explosiveness.

Sports nutrition and recovery will also be addressed. Each participant will leave the camp with a foundation of knowledge and skills to improve performance in all sports.

This camp is applicable for athletes in all sports. All campers will begin registration at 12:30 p.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. All camp participants will receive a camp T-shirt and meal.

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Taj Turns 29

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USC men's basketball alum Taj Gibson, the 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, turns 29 today.  While he has gone on to fame and fortune in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, he was always the underrated warrior at Troy.

He had many signature moments in Cardinal and Gold, including dominating North Carolina in the Sweet 16 as a freshman and going 10-for-10 in an NCAA Tournament victory over Boston College, but perhaps most memorably, he shut down James Harden one-on-one to seal Pac-10 Tournament title.


Photo Gallery: 2014 Football 101

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USC's annual hands-on football tutorial for fans of the Trojans was another huge success as novices of the game were able to learn the ins and outs from Steve Sarkisian and his coaching staff.

Attendees can click here for their photos.

Here are the Pierson Clair photos from a fun day in Troy:


Club and Country

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With World Cup fever rampant this month, USC women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Munday and assistant Devon Wills are representing Team USA the best way they know how by leading the Red, White and Blue on the field.  Already two-time world champions (2009 and 2013), Munday and Wills were named to the 38-player roster for the 2014-15 exhibition matches readying the U.S. National Team for the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) Women's World Cup to be held in Surrey, England.

Click here for the complete release.

From the sidelines, Munday (pictured) and Wills are building USC lacrosse into a fast-rising national power.  The Women of Troy went 9-9 in year two of the program, including registering a Top 25 win for the first time.

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Returning Advantage

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Coming off a 10-win campaign, USC leads the Pac-12 in returning starters for the 2014 season. The Trojans boast 18 returning starters (eight offense, eight defense, two special teams), leading the conference which averages 15 returners per team.

Colorado and UCLA are both returning 17 starters while South division champion Arizona State returns just 10. Eight 2013 All Pac-12 First Team players will return to the field this year, including Trojan defensive lineman Leonard Williams and fullback Soma Vainuku (awarded All-Pac-12 for special teams).

While the Trojans will feel the loss of playmakers Marqise Lee, Silas Redd, Devon Kennard and other NFL departures, the national spotlight has shifted to returning starters poised to make an impact. Junior wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who like Williams is an Athlon Sports Preseason All-American, redshirt junior quarterback Cody Kessler, and junior running backs Javorius Allen and Tre Madden are expected to headline an electric Trojan offense. On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Hayes Pullard, sophomore defensive back Su'a Cravens, and senior defensive back Josh Shaw are among the talented returning core of the Trojan defense. 

(Returning starters chart photo credit to ESPN.com)

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Football Ticket Mini-Plans Now Available

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Trojan fans can now purchase mini-plans for the 2014 football season, providing the ultimate flexibility to design a plan to fit their schedules. Starting at $96, fans can choose between two and five games as part of 2- and 3-game packs, and Nickel Plans while saving off the gate price of tickets.

USC starts the upcoming season the way it ended the last, facing Fresno State on August 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Coliseum. The Trojans' home schedule features Oregon State, Arizona State, Colorado, California and a regular season finale against rival Notre Dame. Additional start times will be announced between 6-to-12 days before each game.

For more information visit www.gettrojantix.com or call 213-740-GOSC (4672).

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4-Year Scholarships for Revenue Sports

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USC will offer four-year athletic scholarships to all scholarship student-athletes in the revenue sports of football and men's and women's basketball in lieu of the current practice of offering one-year renewable scholarships, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced today.

Haden said this policy will be effective July 1, 2014, for all current and future scholarship student-athletes in those sports.
    
"In taking this action, USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field," Haden said.

Haden also reaffirmed the university's commitment to assist those scholarship student-athletes in good academic standing that have exhausted their intercollegiate eligibility to obtain their undergraduate degrees. USC has assisted more than 250 former student-athletes with undergraduate degree academic support over the last decade. 
 
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T&F: 13 Earn Pac-12 All-Academic

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Sophomore Jaide Stepter (pictured) and senior Thea Weiss headline the list of 13 USC student-athletes named to the 2014 Pac-12 Track & Field All-Academic team. Stepter, a first-team selection for the first time, is the 2014 Pac-12 400m hurdles champion and boasts a 3.86 GPA. Weiss is a first-teamer for the third consecutive season with a cumulative GPA of 3.95 in a double major of Neuroscience and English. The senior ranks sixth all-time in pole vault with a clearance of 12-4.50.

The Trojans had one selection to the All-Academic Second Team in senior high jumper Doug Bogie. An impressive ten Trojans made the Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention list including: Errin Baynes, Charity Bruce, Alexandra Collatz, Lauren Grego, Felicia Horvath, BeeJay Lee, Ashley Liverpool, Will Robinson, Kira Soderstrom and Jenna Tong.

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Photo Gallery: New Member Day

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC is excited to welcome new support group members to the Trojan Athletic Fund family!

The new members were treated to a special day including a Q&A with new head football coach Steve Sarkisian and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football J.K. McKay. They also stepped into the shoes of the Trojan football team as the coaching staff ran the new members through drills in the state-of-the-art John McKay Center practice facilities as well as on the Howard Jones practice field. 

Check out the photos below courtesy of John McGillen that captures a fun-filled day in recognition of our new members. 

2014 Women's Soccer Schedule

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

The 2014 women's soccer schedule has been released, and the Women of Troy face a tough, but promising schedule in new head coach Keidane McAlpine's inaugural season. Fans will get to see the new head coach and team in action often as the Trojans have 10 home games including their final regular season game against crosstown rival and reigning NCAA champions UCLA, which will be played under the lights at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 7th at 7:30 p.m. 


The Women of Troy will also have 10 of their games televised as they face tough competition early on against Notre Dame and later against conference rival Stanford. The Trojans start off with a tournament at USD followed by the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational in order to prepare for conference play which begins on September 26th at Arizona. 

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Chad Gets Called

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Former USC baseball player Chad Smith got the call of his dreams on Wednesday when the Detroit Tigers informed the right-handed relief pitcher that he'd be coming up to the big leagues. Smith, 24 years old, is the 109th Trojan big leaguer, adding to a USC legacy known for producing the most big leaguers all-time of any college program. The pitcher joins eight other Trojans who are currently playing in the majors.

Smith was a 17th round draft pick of the Tigers in 2011 shortly after having Tommy John surgery. His rise to the big leagues has been quick, spending just one season in Class A ball, seven outings at Double-A and 15 games at Triple-A Toledo. In those 15 Triple-A games, Smith boasted a 4-2 record with a 1.64 ERA.

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Bricio Heads to China

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

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Samantha Bricio, USC women's volleyball junior All-American outside hitter, is joining the Pac-12 All-Star team on its trip to China this summer. The summer all-star team will play seven matches over two weeks in Sanming and Beijing, first facing the professional team from Fuijan Province and the Chinese Junior National Team from June 18-21. The team will then play the professional team from Beijing and the Chinese Junior National Team again from June 24-26.

With team members from all 12 universities in the conference, Bricio will arrive in China on June 17. In addition to volleyball, the team will enjoy cultural visits including the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Silk Market. Last year, USC was represented on the All-Star team by head coach Mick Haley, All-American Natalie Hagglund and senior Hayley Crone.

For the first time, fans can follow the All-Star team on Chinese social media including Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and Renren (the Chinese equivalent of Facebook). More updates can also be found at www.pac-12.com.

To view the complete team roster and for more details, click here.

Olympic Rematch

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The top two women's volleyball teams in the world will face off at the Galen Center on July 6th in the USA Volleyball Cup. The game will be the second of four challenge matches between the two squads that met in the gold-medal match of the 2012 London Olympics. Two of USC's all-time greats, Nicole Davis and Natalie Hagglund, will take the court with Team USA.

Brazil defeated the U.S. women's team in the last two Olympic gold-medal matches, and the U.S. team is hungry for revenge. Davis is a two-time silver medalist with Team USA and a back-to-back NCAA title winner at USC in 2002 and 2003. Hagglund, a three-time All-American, recently wrapped up her Trojan career as the program's all-time leader for digs (2,362). The pair will compete with a U.S. team that has occupied one of the top two spots in the world rankings since 2008.  

Come out and show your support for Team USA! The match will be played on July 6th at 5 pm PT. Tickets will go on sale this month at usavolleyball.org.

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Chillin 4 Charity

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The University of Arizona women's basketball team issued a Cold Water Challenge to players and coaches across the country to raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation and USC's own Beth Burns, Jualeah Woods and Courtney Jaco were up for the challenge!

Check out the video below to see the Trojans receive an icy water bath and who they challenged to join the cause.

Wide Receiver U

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 Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

With 11 former Trojans selected in the NFL draft since 2001 and four consensus All-Americans recognized at the position since 2003, it's easy to understand why ESPN.com awarded USC the title of "Wide Receiver U" for the 2000s. Beyond the last decade and a half, eight wide receivers have been picked in the first round of the NFL draft all-time and 22 wide receivers have been drafted overall in the last 25 years.

Click here for the full story.

Names like Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Williams, Steve Smith, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are just several of the notable wide receivers who've made their mark at USC. The tally for NFL-bound Trojan receivers is still counting...will Nelson Agholor be next? 

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2014 Women's Volleyball Schedule

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The 2014 women's volleyball schedule has been released, and with both a challenging non-conference and conference lineup, it's nothing to take lightly. USC will look to rise to the challenge as they play 21 televised regular-season matches and 20 matches against teams that made the NCAA tournament in 2013.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Adding to the already challenging Pac-12 conference lineup, the Trojans will host SEC forces Florida and Texas A&M in the USC Classic tournament from September 11th-12th before the regular season kicks off. This tournament will feature the Trojans' first televised game of the season, but not the last, with all but three of their regular-season matches getting air time in 2014. The Women of Troy open the Pac-12 schedule at crosstown rival UCLA on September 23, and then play Arizona State in their home opener on September 26. Senior night is set for November 28 at the Galen Center against UCLA honoring seniors Hayley Crone, Emily Young and Hannah Schraer. 

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Women's Water Polo Earns All-American Recognition

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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After their 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament, the USC women's water polo team concluded the 2014 season with six players earning All-American honors. 
 
 
All-star junior Monica Vavic earned yet another spot on the All-American First Team for the third straight year after finishing the season with 75 goals, placing her in the elite group of just five other Women of Troy who have racked up three All-American First Team selections. Vavic is also a three-time All-MPSF First Team honoree and earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament First Team after contributing eight goals for the Trojans in the NCAA tourney.

 
Standout senior goalie Flora Bolonyai earned All-American Second Team honors capturing her fourth career All-American award - a feat that has only been done by five other Women of Troy in USC women's water polo history. While Bolonyai left her mark in the water, setting USC's all-time career saves record with 895 stops, she also flourished in the classroom as she is one of six Trojans on the honor roll for 2014.
 
Joining Bolonyai on the All-American Second Team is fellow senior Kaleigh Gilchrist while junior Eike Daube, freshman Stephania Haralabidis and senior Colleen O'Donnell all earned Honorable Mention recognition. 

Fall Is Coming

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USC football is 75 days away...

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Few But Mighty

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USC men's track and field came in fourth at the NCAA Championships posting back-to-back Top 5 finishes for the first time since 1976-77 despite qualifying only a handful of competitors for the second consecutive season. 

The Trojans racked up the points thanks in large part to seniors Aaron Brown and Aleec Harris who teamed up with BeeJay Lee and Terrence Abram to finish fourth in the 4x100m relay.  Individually, Brown claimed second in the 200m (20.02) and third in the 100m (10.07), while Harris was beaten in the 110m HH by a mere .02 posting 13.18.

Click here for the final recap.

The Women of Troy finished in a tie for 16th at the NCAA Championships as sophomore Tynia Gaither emerged as the breakout star.  She earned All-American status three times over for her eighth place finish in the 100m final, sixth place run in the 200m and runner-up relay with teammates Loudia Laarman, Jessica Davis and Alexis Faulknor in the 4x100m.  The sprinters relay grabbed the second-fastest time in school history of 43.00 (.04 seconds off the school record) and its best finish since 2001.

"I am very proud of this team this weekend," said USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We had a great finish to a wonderful meet.  They overcame a lot, worked hard and I think it is setting us up, men and women, for a very, very great year next year and is setting us up for recruiting. Our shield is being recognized and we are going to be able to do some awesome things in the years to come, so Fight On!"

Harris lost a photo finish to Oregon's Devon Allen.
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Two More All-Americans

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USC men's decathlete Viktor Fajoyomi and women's discus thrower Alexandra Collatz placed seventh and eighth in their respective events at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American status. 

Director of Track and Field Caryl Smith Gilbert on Fajoyomi: "Viktor PR'd in four of the 10 events and scored 7,712 points which in my opinion is a real decathlete when you can score that many points. He is number two on the USC all-time decathlon list and that is a very big feat. I'm very proud of Viktor."

Smith Gilbert on Collatz: "Alex Collatz had a good day. The competition was tough. There are a lot of great discus throwers in the competition this year. She overcame the elements it was raining early, it was windy and they weren't in her favor, so that was a tremendous accomplishment."

Click here for the recap.

In addition to the All-American performances, Aaron Brown (200m), Tynia Gaither (200m), Aleec Harris (110m HH) and the women's 4x400m relay team advanced to finals.

"We had a lot of fun today," said Smith Gilbert. "The performances were outstanding, everyone competed hard and people were standing up and taking notice of the Trojans."

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Coliseum Fan Experience Enhancements

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USC 9m x 45m Layout - 4.jpgSeveral enhancements to the fan experience at USC home football games--on-field suites and premium clubs located on the field and outside the Peristyle--will be introduced at the Coliseum in the upcoming 2014 season through a partnership between the USC athletic department and Legends, a global leader in hospitality and client services.

Additional unique fan enhancements, including other dining and tailgating options and exclusive in-game viewing content, are being planned by USC and will be announced prior to the season.

The Peristyle Club, located outside the east end of the Coliseum, will provide members with a one-of-a-kind pre- and post-game tailgating experience, including all-inclusive upscale food and beverage, a cash bar, shaded lounge seating, music and live sports on TVs.  The Peristyle Club experience will be an arm's length away as the USC team enters the stadium during the pre-game Trojan Walk.  The Peristyle Club will be open three hours prior to kickoff until an hour after the game ends.

Ten private Field Suites, seating 16 patrons on the field just feet from the action, will line the east end zone in front of the Sun Deck.  Suite holders, who will access the field via the iconic Coliseum Peristyle stairs, will enjoy an unprecedented VIP experience.  Field Suite holders have unlimited entry to the Peristyle Club, as well as to the Field Club.

The exclusive Field Club, adjacent to the Field Suites, will provide 100 members with a high-end, on-field experience, including food and beverage service.  The Trojan football team's entrance into the stadium from the Trojan Walk will include passage through the Field Club, whose members also have access to the Peristyle Club.

For further information, or to reserve a spot in the new Field Suite, Field Club or Peristyle Club, contact the USC Premium Department at premium@usc.edu.  Access to the Field Suites, Field Club and Peristyle Club are available on a season or individual game basis.

The USC football team, under new coach Steve Sarkisian, returns 18 starters on offense and defense from a squad that went 10-4 last season.  The Trojans open their 2014 campaign at home against Fresno State on Aug. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

Still Kickin' It

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As the World Cup begins today, USC women's soccer stars are still in the spotlight leading the National Women's Soccer League.  The Women of Troy alums are paced by two-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Rodriguez (pictured) who is the league's second leading scorer with nine goals in 12 games for her new club FC Kansas City.

Click here for more.

Ashley Nick, who teamed up to win the 2007 national championship at USC with Rodriguez, has returned from Europe to play for Sky Blue FC.  Samantha Johnson is the newest Trojan to hit the professional soccer ranks after earning a spot on the Chicago Red Stars.

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Speedy Start

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USC track and field enjoyed a strong first day at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, led by the men's and women's 4x100m relay teams, which qualified for their respective finals.  The women's sprinters posted 43.08, the fastest time run by a collegiate team this season.

Click here for the complete recap.

Individually, Aaron Brown grabbed a spot in the men's 100m final with a wind-aided 10.10 (+2.2w), while Tynia Gaither ran a wind-aided PR of 11.23 (+2.2w) to secure a berth in the women's 100m final.  Viktor Fajoyomi is in third after five events of the decathlon. 

"I'm excited about the performances we had today," said USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We have the last five events in the decathlon, the discus throw, the 200m, the 100m HH, the 110m HH and the women's 4x400m relay tomorrow, so we should have more great performances tomorrow and Friday and Saturday we go into finals. We'll come out on top and Fight On!"

The women's 4x100m relay team set the pace on day one.
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Keidane's World Cup Preview

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Over the next month, Brazil is the center of the sports universe as the host of the 2014 World Cup.  The beautiful game, which we know as soccer, will become a global addiction.

For a preview of the tournament, Team USA and more, new USC women's soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine has you covered.

Q.) What country do you most enjoy watching in terms of style of play?

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.27.23 PM.pngI grew up being a real fan of the Dutch.  They popularized "total football", which means every player can play every position, so there is a lot of interchange.  It is a thinking person's game, but you have to be proficient all over the field.  It forces you to be a complete soccer player.

Q.) Which team would you like to see USC play like?

I would like us to defend like Italians.  They lock in with a tight, organized ship, and no one gets in.  I would like us to attack like the Dutch having that kind of fluidity to the game.  And, I would like to add in a little flair of the Brazilians.  If I could add all those together, and don't forget a little of the bite of the African teams. 

Q.) Who is the player that you most enjoy watching?

My favorite player until he just retired was Clarence Seedorf, again a Dutch guy.  The guy has won Champions League trophies with three different clubs.  The way he played the game and his ability to adapt to different styles, teams and leagues showed the total football part. 

Q.) Who is the best player in the world right now: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

I am going to say Ronaldo.  He has tested himself in multiple markets (Manchester United and Real Madrid), while Messi has not.  It is hard to call Messi the best until he tests himself in other leagues, although I don't think he will just based on his belief in the Barcelona way.  Ronaldo is proven in different markets and different leagues. He has played against everything.

Q.) What is your Team USA preview?

Talking strictly their development under Jurgen Klinsmann, I was really pleased to see their combination play and fluidity offensively in their last game against Nigeria.  They made some adjustments defensively against a good, athletic Nigerian team.  They are young, especially in the back line, which I am a little concerned about, but the American spirit always bodes well to find results where maybe we shouldn't get them.  My hopes are high that we will advance out of the group.  The more important part is that this group of young players continues to develop and get experience, so that when we get to the next World Cup, we are bought into what Klinsmann wants to do.

Q.) What do you make of Jurgen Klinsmann's approach?

jurgen.jpgHe is a winner.  I have played with a lot of Germans, and he has that trademark efficiency, but he seems to go outside of that and allow a creativity, excitement and flare to the game, which I appreciate.  Typically, the U.S. plays a working class style of soccer, so to ask us to actually play, and play at a high level, is going to be interesting to watch.  We are still as a nation very much in our youth in terms of the game compared to other countries.  The players that are playing now are really the second generation in terms of having parents that understood the game.  Look at Bob Bradley (the previous U.S. Men's National Team head coach) and his son Michael Bradley (arguably the best field player on this year's squad) who are proof positive that we are headed in the right direction.

Q.) How important is World Cup success to the development of soccer in the U.S.?

The women's team, just as much as the men's team, ignited the fire in this country by winning the World Cup, and creating this "soccer mom" movement.  Now, you've got a sport that not only men watch but women watch, which I think is great.  The men's World Cup is the highest stage in the sport.  Every time we can get a result against a proven country is a step towards that next kid believing that we can win a World Cup.  Ultimately, you have to believe it is possible.  And even though Klinsmann's come out and said that it is not realistic right now, I do think ultimately he wouldn't be here if he didn't think one day it was possible.  He's trying to blend all the cultures in this country and create a team with the potential to do so.

Q.) Predictions?

I have been too hard at work to look at the bracket!  But, Brazil and Argentina have the advantage as the top two teams in South America, where the World Cup is being played.  You never want to count out Germany because they are so solid at every position.  Brazil and Argentina are the favorites though.

Win Sark's Seats: Colorado

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Congratulations to Keenan Z. who won Steve Sarkisian's seats to the USC vs. Arizona State game 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 October 18 home game against Colorado.  Please enter by June 15.

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Nunis Inducted Into Academic Hall

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Former USC football player Dick Nunis became the third Trojan ever inducted into the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame at a ceremony this week in Orlando.  Nunis, who graduated from USC in 1954, went on to become president of Walt Disney Attractions in 1980 and chairman in 1991 earning a reputation as Walt Disney's right-hand man.

Nunis joins USC legends Pat Haden and John Naber in the distinguished 127-member Hall of Fame which was created in 1988.  On the football field, Nunis was a rising talent grabbing six interceptions as a sophomore before suffering a career-ending neck injury in the 1952 Crosstown Rivalry.

"My injury, at the time, seemed a real tragedy," Nunis recounted. "It turned out to be the best accident of my life."

Below is the 2014 class starting with Nunis on the far left followed by Bentley soccer star Terry Carleton, Cal gymnast Dr. Sigall Bell, Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks and Virginia tailback Tiki Barber.
 
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History Is All Around Us

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USC has jokingly been called the "University of Summer Construction" by some as new buildings seem to pop up with regularity this time of year.  But the neighborhood next to which the University Park Campus is located, the West Adams district, is known for its historic architecture.

In a cool photo spread published by Slate.com entitled "Uncovering Los Angeles' Forgotten Neighborhood", several unique local houses and buildings dating back more than a century are profiled. 

And of course, Hollywood has used many of the historic homes as sets for feature films including the recently released comedy Neighbors starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, which turned the 1907 Craftsman (below) into a frat house.

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Lee's New Look

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USC alum Marqise Lee made his debut in teal at the NFL Rookie Premiere at the LA Memorial Coliseum on May 31, 2014.  Here is a first look at the newest Jacksonville Jaguars receiver...


End of NCAA Sanctions

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The NCAA sanctions imposed on USC football, men's basketball and women's tennis in 2010 are officially over.

Click here for the LA Times look at the effect of the sanctions on USC athletics.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden:

Haden-Heritage-PC.jpg"Today is a significant day for USC Athletics.  That is because yesterday was the final day of the NCAA's four-year probation imposed on our football, men's basketball and women's tennis teams.

"These past four years have been trying ones for those programs as they navigated many issues related to the NCAA sanctions.  Our football team, in particular, was hit with severe penalties that created unusual hardships for our players, coaches, staff and fans.  Despite those penalties, during the past four seasons our football team produced a pair of 10-win seasons, our men's basketball team had a 19-win season with a trip to the NCAA tournament and our women's tennis team twice won the Pac-12 championship while advancing to the NCAA tourney all four years.  Indications point to promising futures for each program, as each has recruited extremely well.

"All of us in the USC athletic department want to extend our sincere appreciation to our fans and donors for their continued support during our probation years.  We know it has not been easy for them, but the unwavering support of the Trojan Family is what makes USC the special place it is.  No program in the country could have endured the past four years the way USC has;  the Trojan Family has been a key part of that.  Not only have all of our teams excelled on the field of play more often than not these past four years, but we have been able to construct state-of-the-art facilities for them, including the McKay Center, Uytengsu Aquatics Center, Merle Norman Stadium and a renovated Heritage Hall.

"Although our probation has ended, challenges remain because of the lingering effects of the sanctions.  And we also must remain diligent when it comes to rules compliance.  As a reminder, we have another year remaining in the five-year window of repeat violator status;  another major violation could bring even more severe hardships.

"Moving forward, we are revising policies now that some limitations imposed on us by the NCAA are lifted, in particular those regarding public access at football and men's basketball games, practices and travel.  But we can only do so if there is a continued vigilance and compliance with NCAA rules by all parties.  The NCAA-imposed access restrictions were certainly challenging for us and our fans, but the policies we developed to deal with those restrictions have become models with our peers throughout the country.

"Again, I want to personally thank our players, coaches, staff and athletic compliance office for the amazing attitude and performance they have exhibited these past four years, and thank our fans for the overwhelming support we needed to get through these difficult times.  As we look forward to an incredibly bright future in USC Athletics, let us all continue to Fight On!"

USC Vice President for Athletic Compliance Dave Roberts:

"I am pleased to report that on June 9, 2014, USC successfully completed the four-year period of probation imposed by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in 2010.  

"During its probation, USC provided, and the COI approved and accepted, annual reports detailing its compliance with each of the sanctions imposed on USC, as well as the programs and policies implemented to ensure future compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.  

"Although some sanctions were difficult and burdensome to implement and monitor, there were some benefits and results that were noted not only by USC, but also by other institutions and conferences (e.g., football game sideline access).

"USC will continue its pursuit of excellence, academically and athletically, in accordance with the rules of the NCAA, Pac-12 and USC.  We look forward to maintaining our position as a leader in intercollegiate athletics."

Fox Sports U

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The LA Kings are one win away from the Stanley Cup, and some USC students had a hand in igniting the fever as part of Fox Sports University, a unique partnership between the Marshall School of Business and Fox Sports West. 

Fox Sports University provides a real-world marketing experience for students, which in this case revolved around generating excitement for ice hockey in sunny Southern California.  USC marketing students were tasked with creating a fresh campaign focused on marrying the traditions of hockey with the sensibilities of Los Angeles.

The student groups each presented a full-scale marketing campaign and the winning team's concepts would go on to help fuel creative for the final promo spot that aired on Fox Sports West.  And, when the Kings and Anaheim Ducks met in the playoffs, the marketing assignment was taken to the next level as the students created a digital fan photo contest.

Here is a cool feature on the program including the winning spot:


Rowing All-American

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USC women's rowing junior Krisztina Gyimes was selected to the CRCA All-American First Team.  Gyimes is now a two-time All-American and the 13th in program history.

Click here for the complete team.

Gyimes has occupied the seventh seat in the varsity eight since her arrival on campus last year. Immediately, she helped the Women of Troy win the 2013 Jessop-Whittier Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic and was a key member of the eight that hoisted the cup for a fourth straight year this April. She has been instrumental in USC's success this season in the top boat with one of the best ergometer times on the squad.

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Trojans Collect Curtis Cup

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USC women's golf All-Americans Annie Park and Kyung Kim led Team USA to a 13-7 victory over Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup. Both Park and Kim were 3-1 in the match play format which is similar to the Ryder Cup.

Click here for the complete recap.

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Three More MLB Draftees

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Following Wyatt Strahan, who was selected in the third round Thursday, Nigel Nootbaar, Kevin Swick and Bob Wheatley were all picked in the 2014 MLB Draft on Friday.  Nootbaar was grabbed by the Orioles in the 12th round, while Swick went to the White Sox in the 22nd round and Wheatley was tabbed by the Blue Jays in the 26th round.

Click here for the complete stories.

Like Strahan, Nootbaar is a junior, so he will have a decision to make between turning pro or finishing up four years at USC.  Swick and Wheatley have maximized their eligibility.

Nootbaar had a 2.81 ERA in nine appearances this season.
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Early Eye on Fearsome Foursome

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Phil Steele selected USC junior DL Leonard Williams and WR Nelson Agholor for his Preseason All-American team.  Senior LB Hayes Pullard made the second team, while sophomore S Su'a Cravens is on the fourth team.

Williams was an All-American last season, while Agholor earned second team as a punt returner.  Pullard and Cravens are former Freshman All-Americans.

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Strahan to the Reds

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Junior ace right-hander Wyatt Strahan was selected with the 94th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2014 MLB Draft today by the Cincinnati Reds.  He is the highest drafted Trojan since Robert Stock went in the 2nd round in 2009. 

Strahan was the horse of the rotation this season leading the Trojans to a breakout campaign with a 3.28 ERA over 104.1 innings pitched, which was 31.1 more than any teammate.  He paced the pitching staff in strikeouts (89), wins (6) and shutouts (1). 

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State of Troy: June 2014

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Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Pat Haden to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Haden on the potential effects of the O'Bannon case which is headed to trial next week...

Haden-SA-Grad14-PC.jpgTo be prudent, institutions have to think about what could happen if the NCAA loses the case.  In financial terms, it would cost every institution millions of dollars. Schools would have to set that money aside to pay student-athletes for the use of their likeness, which is the crux of the case.  In order to do so, institutions would have to shave that money from their annual budget, which could lead to severe downsizing and even the elimination of some sports.  No athletic director wants to have to make that decision.

Haden on how "pay-for-play" could work in intercollegiate athletics...

Pay-for-play is a Rubik's cube that no one has quite figured out yet. I have been beating the drum for two years about doing more for our student-athletes. However, with Title IX and NCAA rules, it is never that simple.  If pay-for-play became the standard, we would probably have to pay not just football players, but all of our student-athletes something or we could be in violation of Title IX.  And of course, paying student-athletes is a violation of NCAA rules, thus the Rubik's cube. I think covering the full cost of attendance is a step in the right direction in addition to what we already do for student-athletes, which is considerable.  Along those lines, the Northwestern case is still on people's minds.  We are awaiting the ruling from the National Labor Relations Board, but most of what the Northwestern student-athletes are specifically seeking, we already provide to our student-athletes.  We do not yank scholarships from players for performance, and we happily pay for former student-athletes to come back and complete their degrees.  In terms of health benefits, meals and stipends, we provide the maximum allowed under NCAA rules.

Haden on the big five conferences considering autonomy...

The five major conferences (Pac-12, SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12) are saying that we want to have the autonomy to make decisions that are rational for us that may not apply to everybody.  We have to acknowledge that some schools and athletic departments have more resources than others, and each needs to do the right things for their student-athletes.  The potential new rules, like feeding players or paying the full cost of attendance, would be considered "permissive legislation" I would hope, so each school would figure out on its own what it can do up to the allowable, but it is not mandatory.

Haden on remembering the power of an athletic scholarship...

Sarmiento-Johnson-100.jpgWhile I always want to do as much as we can for our student-athletes, it is important to acknowledge how valuable the scholarship already is.  I am the perfect example.  I could not have attended USC without a football scholarship, and my experience here built the foundation for my entire life.  Football changed my life.  USC changed my life.  And if you talk to the last four decades of student-athletes who have come through here, I would wager a guess that 95% would echo the statement that playing a sport at USC changed their lives. I have seen it over and over and over again. The message from the great majority of our student-athletes, both past and present, is different than the public perception.

Haden recaps a big spring for USC athletics...

Peter Smith and men's tennis winning five of the last six national championships is remarkable because it is a deep field in that sport with about 300 teams competing each year.  Plus, it was our 100th NCAA team title as an athletic department, and men's tennis has accounted for an impressive 21 of those.  By the way, we are finalizing plans to improve the tennis facility in the near future. Baseball was greatly improved moving up to fifth in the conference and narrowly missed out on making the NCAA Regionals.  I thought they earned and deserved a spot.  Caryl Smith Gilbert has had a really good start to her USC coaching career with track and field, so we are looking forward to the NCAA Championships next week.  Women's golf had another remarkable season.  We were disappointed to finish second, but it is amazing how close they were this year and that they have finished second three of the last five seasons by a combined four strokes and won it in 2013.  I was also thrilled with our performance in the classroom across all sports.  We posted the best semester GPA on record for the department.

Haden on short term Coliseum renovations and additions...

We are working hard developing plans to renovate the Coliseum in both the short and long terms. Regarding this upcoming season, we have exciting plans to enhance the fan experience that we will start rolling out as soon as next week.  The stadium will offer some new viewing and tailgating opportunities for those who wish to partake as well as improvements like better stadium access, higher quality food with more options and overall cleanliness. Stay tuned for more...

2nd Team Academic All-Americans

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The Women of Troy placed two-time NCAA champion diver Haley Ishimatsu and national champion women's water polo goalie Flora Bolonyai on the Academic All-America At-Large second team.

Click here for the complete release.

Bolonyai was USC water polo's first CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American first teamer last season, and the 2012 Olympian and 2013 NCAA champion improved on her GPA as a senior with a 3.50 GPA as an economics and mathematics major.

Ishimatsu, a 2008 Olympian, became the first woman to repeat as an NCAA platform champion since 1992-93 when she won the event at the 2014 NCAA Championships. She also earned her first All-American honors on 1-meter with a sixth-place finish and scored for the first time on 3-meter with a 13th-place finish.

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Up for the Challenge

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USC does not have a hockey team, but the Trojans are giving a scholarship to a hockey player this year. Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed from the neck down after an on-ice injury in 2011, is one of the new Swim With Mike recipients ready for the challenge of USC.

Swim With Mike, a scholarship fund for physically challenged athletes, was founded by the Trojan Family and has now raised more than $15 million, including over a million at this spring's event.  Inspirational stories and people like Jablonski are why USC is so proud to be associated with it.

Click here for his story.

The Minnesota native has thrived despite his injury with help from a great support system of friends, family and medical professionals.  Now, like most 18-year-olds, he is ready for his independence. 

"I've obviously been very fortunate, and I'm so thankful," Jablonski told the Star Tribune. "I understand the consequences of leaving here and going there. ... It'll be tough, but I'm looking ­forward to the challenge."

Jablonski does a weekly radio appearance for a Minnesota sports station.
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Harris Leaps Onto Bowerman List

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USC senior hurdler Aleec Harris jumped onto the Top 10 of the Bowerman men's watch list ahead of the NCAA Championships after posting the second fastest collegiate time ever (wind-legal 13.18) in the 110m HH at the NCAA prelims in Arkansas.  The Bowerman is track and field's Heisman Trophy.

Click here for the updated Top 10.

Senior sprinter Aaron Brown is on the radar for the Bowerman as well after winning the Pac-12 100m and 200m titles, and setting the Canadian record in the 200m at NCAA prelims.  Harris and Brown will make their closing statements at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon (June 11-14).

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Piece of Cake

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USC celebrated men's water polo and men's tennis, the 99th and 100th NCAA champions in school history, at a Heritage Hall luncheon today.  The ceremony has become familiar for these two programs as men's water polo has won six consecutive national titles, while men's tennis has won it all five of the last six years.


Lane Change

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Jason Lane helped USC win a College World Series and the Houston Astros reach the World Series.  He did all that as a right-handed hitting outfielder peaking in 2005 with 26 home runs and 78 RBIs. 

When his hitting stroke started to disappear in 2007, Lane was eventually forced to face the reality of a career move.  As it turned out, the answer had been staring him right in the face all these years.

Lane decided to walk the 60 feet 6 inches to the pitcher's mound and remake himself as a left-handed hurler.  The experiment is officially a success.

After only a couple years toiling in his new trade in the minor leagues, Lane was called up to the San Diego Padres and immediately delivered 3.1 perfect innings in his big league pitching debut.

"That was neat," Lane said. "I was surprised.  I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be. I was more nervous when I hit in the sixth that I was when I was on the mound.

"I don't think I could have ever expected it to go like that.  All I know is that there's been a lot of hard work and ups and downs."


All-American Tennis Trio

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USC men's and women's tennis combined for a trio of All-Americans led by national champions Ray Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann plus Women of Troy No. 1 Zoe Scandalis.  Sarmiento and Hanfmann, who are doubles partners, secured All-American status for singles and doubles.

Click here for the men's release.

Click here for the women's release.

Sarmiento completes his decorated career as a five-time All-American (four singles and one doubles) and three-time national champion.  Hanfmann is now a three-time All-American (two singles and one doubles) and the No. 5 singles player in the country.

Scandalis is now a two-time All-American as the junior matched her freshman year accomplishment.  She went 23-11 in singles play this season, including 14-5 in dual matches, and finished as the Pac-12 individual runner-up.

Sarmiento (left) and Hanfmann (right) carried the Trojans to another NCAA crown.
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One-Two Punch

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USC men's volleyball will return its dynamic duo next season, but not before the Trojans collect a few more individual accolades.

Kills leader Lucas Yoder was named the National Freshman of the Year by Volleyball Magazine, while setter Micah Christenson was selected as a First Team All-American.  Plus, senior libero Henry Cassiday made the second team.

Click here for the complete release.

Yoder, who already claimed MPSF Freshman of the Year, was sixth nationally in kills (4.02) and 13th in points (4.33).  Christenson, who is the nation's top collegiate setter and the U.S. Men's National Team setter, led the nation in assists (11.62) and was 14th in digs (2.33).

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Win Sark's Seats: Arizona State

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Congratulations to Cesar C. who won Steve Sarkisian's seats to the USC vs. Oregon State game 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 October 4 home game against Arizona State.  Please enter by June 8.

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Baseball Building Block

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USC catcher and designated hitter Jeremy Martinez was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball after hitting .297 with 10 doubles and 29 RBI in his first season. 

Click here for the complete team.

Martinez led the Trojans with a .748 OPS, including cracking one the team's eight home runs this season.  The freshman showed durability playing in 52 of the 53 games, including 50 starts, and a great eye drawing a team-high 20 walks.

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2014-15 Men's Hoops' Opponents

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The specific dates and times for the 2014-15 USC men's basketball schedule are still being solidified, but the Trojans slate of opponents is lined up. 

The non-conference schedule will be highlighted by a trip to the Charleston Classic (November 20-23).  The tournament field includes Akron, Charlotte, Cornell, Drexel, Miami, Penn State and South Carolina.

USC has tough road trips to Boston College and New Mexico as well as home games with Portland State, Tennessee Tech, Cal State Fullerton, Loyola Marymount, Utah State, Army and Vermont. 

In the Pac-12, the Trojans will play home and away series with UCLA, California, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Colorado and Utah. USC will have road games at Arizona and Arizona State, and host Washington and Washington State.

UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt is one of seven new players expected to make a difference.
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2014 Spring Report Card

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USC student-athletes shined in the classroom this spring posting a 2.91 collective GPA which is the highest overall athletic department GPA on record spanning back the last 20 years.  Nearly half the student-athletes (282) and nearly half the teams (10 of 21) posted GPAs of 3.0 or better this semester.

Women's golf continues to be the all-around banner program within the department sporting the highest semester GPA at 3.41 along with all its success on the course.  Men's swimming and diving had the top male spring GPA with a 3.12.

While more student-athletes excelled this spring, fewer struggled as only 45 were below a 2.0, which is the fewest number on record. Men's basketball improved the most going from 2.26 to 2.67 as a team, and putting a record three players on the Dean's List.

Baseball not only showed great improvement on the diamond but also in the classroom.  The hardball Trojans posted a 2.70 spring GPA, which is the best in-season semester on record for the program over the last 20 years.

Men's golf (2.83), women's basketball (2.93), women's soccer (3.19), women's swimming and diving (3.26), men's track and field (2.89), women's track and field (3.08) and men's volleyball (3.03) had highlight semesters posting GPAs that were among the best on record for the program.

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Moca's Hat Trick Leads Academic Trio

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USC women's rowing placed three Trojans on the All-Pac-12 Academic First Team led by senior Vineta Moca, who made the list for the third time.  She is joined by Sara Bilimoria and Elizabeth Turner on the conference's honor roll.

Click here for the complete team.

Moca departs USC with a 3.75 GPA in public policy and development, while Bilimoria (3.80 in global health) and Turner (3.71 in human biology) return next season.  The Women of Troy finished 10th overall at the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis last weekend.

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Meet Them in St. Louis

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USC women's golf All-Americans Annie Park and Kyung Kim are in St. Louis for the Curtis Cup, which pits Team USA against Great Britain and Ireland in a battle of the nation's top college golfers. 

As part of the festivities,  Park and Kim participated in the first pitch ceremony before the Cardinals game last night.


Gaston Again

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USC women's golf head coach Andrea Gaston was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in as many years and third time overall after guiding the Women of Troy to a school record nine tournament victories this season.

Click here for more.

Gaston led a strong repeat bid after last year's national championship which ended with the Trojans finishing second to Duke despite a school-record final round.  USC did win its fifth individual NCAA title, tied for the most all-time with Arizona State, thanks to junior Doris Chen.

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Margolin to the Hall

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USC women's tennis two-time All-American Stacy Margolin Potter is set to be inducted into the ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame as one of six members of the 2014 class.  Margolin helped the Women of Troy win national team titles in 1978 and 1979.

Click here for more.

Margolin played just two seasons at USC before turning pro, where she would enjoy an eight-year career, but she made an indelible mark including winning the USTA singles national championship in 1978. As a professional, she competed in 25 Grand Slam championships including 11 U.S. Opens, eight Wimbledons and six French Opens.

Margolin with former boyfriend and mixed doubles partner John McEnroe.
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Swick Witted

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Senior baseball captain Kevin Swick, who has already earned Academic All-American First Team, was named to the All-Pac-12 Academic First Team.  The USC hits leader is also a finalist for the TD Ameritrade Fan's Choice Award.

Click here to vote for Swick!

While Swick (pictured) continues to draw the academic headlines, he is not the only baseball player who wears a thinking cap.  Redshirt freshman SS Reggie Southall, who sports a 3.39 GPA in human biology, made the conference's second team.

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Running, Jumping and Throwing to Eugene

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USC track and field will send 11 individual athletes and three relay teams to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon (June 11-14).

Click here for more. 

The Trojans stormed through the three-day preliminaries in Arkansas led by senior hurdler Aleec Harris (pictured below), who broke the 36-year-old Pac-12 record in the 110m HH (previously set by UCLA's Greg Foster in 1978) by posting 13.18.  He will also compete on the 4x100 relay team with Aaron Brown, BeeJay Lee and Terence Abram, who filled in for the injured Davonte Stewart.

Brown was another showstopper at the NCAA prelims.  Along with the relay, he qualified individually for the 100m and 200m sprints.  In the 200, he ran a PR of 20.16 to break the Canadian record, which has stood since 1991. 

Among the Women of Troy, sophomore Tynia Gaither will be the busiest Trojan in Eugene.  She qualified for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.  Junior Melia Cox made individual cuts in the triple jump and 100m HH.

Here are the Trojans who qualified in individual events for the NCAA Championships: Aaron Brown (100m, 200m), Alexandra Collatz (discus), Melia Cox (triple jump, 100m HH), Jessica Davis (100m), Tynia Gaither (100m, 200m), Aleec Harris (110m HH), Amalie Iuel (400m IH), Vanessa Jones (400m), BeeJay Lee (100m), Oluwakemi Olonade (triple jump), Viktor Fajoyomi (decathlon), 4x100m men's and women's relay teams and 4x400m women's relay team.

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Gallien's Next Wave

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Xepoleas1.jpgUSC women's tennis was in need of a big time recruiting class to refresh the ranks, and head coach Richard Gallien delivered with the No. 2 ranked group in the country.  The Women of Troy's new trio is headlined by Meredith Xepoleas, the No. 5 ranked player in the nation, as well as Gabrielle Smith, the best player in Nevada, and Madison Westby, the top prospect in Oklahoma.

Click here for the complete rankings.

For three successful seasons, the Trojans have been dependent on the 2011 trio of Sabrina Santamaria, Zoe Scandalis and Gabriella DeSimone, which is heading into its senior year.  Now, reinforcements are on the way as Xepoleas, Smith and Westby are all in the Top 20 nationally.

Xepoleas (pictured) is also expected to follow in Scandalis' path as a dynamic scholar-athlete.  She graduated a year early from high school and is already an accomplished writer working on her second novel. 

"We are extremely thrilled that Meredith has decided to accept a scholarship to USC and play for our team," Gallien said of Xepoleas. "Meredith is definitely one of the top three recruits in the country. She's a great singles player, a great doubles player and a great student. More importantly she's a terrific young lady whose character is beyond reproach. She comes from a marvelous family, with a sister who is already doing great in college tennis."