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Ultimate USC Sports Day

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Spring Game Saturday is Christmas in April for a USC sports fan. The schedule of events starts in the morning for Swim With Mike and does not stop until the final out of USC vs. UCLA at Dedeaux Field.

Here is your itinerary:

10:30 a.m. - Swim With Mike
The annual swim-a-thon to raise money for the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund hits high gear in the late morning with relay races featuring the football team, Song Girls and the Trojan Marching Band. The Belly Flop Competition will make a splash around 11:30 a.m.
Noon - No. 1 USC women's tennis vs. Colorado
The Women of Troy actually have two dual matches this weekend. First, they will host Utah (today at 1:30) and then the Buffaloes at Marks Stadium on Saturday. The Trojans are 18-2 overall, riding an eight-match winning streak. Admission is FREE for all fans.
3 p.m. - Football Spring Game
The Spring Game at the Coliseum kicks off at 3 p.m., and fans will want to get in the gates early to collect a set of 12 USC football trading cards (first 5,000 fans). All fans will receive an exclusive spring poster featuring the chrome helmet, and they can get it signed after the game by the players and coaches. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the gate.
4 p.m. - No. 3 USC women's water polo vs. No. 9 San Jose State
This is the final home match of the season for the Women of Troy, which provides the program a chance to honor its senior class led by all-time leading scorer Monica Vavic. Admission is FREE for all fans.
7:30 p.m. - No. 6 USC baseball vs. No. 7 UCLA
The middle game of this three-game series will be key in determining which team ascends to the top of the Pac-12 standings. The Trojans and Bruins also play today at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Individual tickets are only $7.
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Chevron STEM Spotlight: Alexandra Collatz

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Not only does USC boast world-class athletes, but world-class student-athletes as well. Each month we will profile one of these outstanding Trojans who has chosen to pursue coursework in either the science, technology, engineering or math field (STEM).

Name: Alexandra Collatz stem-collatz-track.jpg
Sport: Track and Field
Year: Senior
Major:
Cognitive Science

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): Why did you come to USC? It's probably strange to think about now, four years later. 

Alexandra Collatz (AC):
I came to USC because it's close to home, I could see my family still and the track program is awesome. Coach Dan is a legend.

SB:
Explain to me what your major is, cognitive science? What exactly do you study?

AC:
It's basically psychology with a little bit more flexibility of classes. So I've been able to take linguistics classes and philosophy in addition to my psychology courses.

SB: Did you know you wanted to do that when you were a freshman?

AC:
I took a psychology class in high school and really liked it and knew that maybe that would be something I wanted to do. But I was undecided when I came into USC because I needed some time to figure it out.

SB: Have you liked what you've studied?

AC: I've loved my classes! I'm not sure I'm going to actually go into anything related to it as far as a career, but the classes have been great and it's been totally worth it. I really enjoyed my linguistics class and I think I'm going to end up in a career that's speech-related, so in that sense, my major helped me figure out what I wanted to do.

SB: Along that track, do you have any idea of what you hope to do down the road?

AC: The problem is I have lots of ideas (laughs) so choosing one is the problem. I know I want to work with kids with disabilities, but that's pretty broad. I think I want work in either speech pathology or with deaf children or in occupational therapy or even just teaching special ed, something along those lines.

SB: Where did that specific desire come from? Have you been involved with anything while you've been at USC working with kids and disabilities?

AC: Actually there was a Special Olympics event we went to with our team for community service last year. I loved it. It was over by the Coliseum and we hosted a race or something. It was so inspiring to get to work with them and so much fun. That's really what led me to want to work with kids with disabilities. USC has a great Occupational Therapy program so I started thinking about that and my linguistics class made me start thinking about speech therapy. So it's a lot but I just want to find some combination of everything.

SB: With everything you have going on academically, you are also a two-time All-American and a fantastic discus athlete. Has it been hard to balance classes and extracurricular activities with track?

AC: It can be hard. But I like that our season is in the spring and all the important periods, like NCAAs and all of that, happen when school is out. That means I can really focus on school while I'm in school and really focus on track during track season.

SB: You are less than two feet away from the USC discus record, does that keep you up at night? Is breaking the record one of your biggest goals for this season?

AC: It's definitely something I want to get but I try not to be so numbers oriented because that makes it not as fun when that's all you're worried about. Of course I want to get the record but my priority is making sure every meet is fun and enjoying the competition and just getting better. It's no fun if you're too focused on that stuff all the time.

SB: What is your outlook going into your senior season of track?

AC: I like the steady progression I've made since I've been here. So if I have another season that's better than the last then I'll be happy. Obviously I'd like to continue succeeding at all the big meets too but as long as I'm progressing I have nothing to be worried about.

2015 Spring Practice #14: Notes

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The final spring practice is in the books with only Saturday's Spring Game left on the schedule.
  • Head coach Steve Sarkisian was much more pleased with today's effort and enthusiasm, calling it "totally opposite" from Tuesday. "I thought the guys were flying around on both sides of the ball," said Sarkisian. "They are obviously in great spirits and they're really looking forward to Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum."
  • The defense dominated most of the afternoon, showing "the pride factor" after giving up some deep balls on Tuesday. "They stepped up today," said Sarkisian, who once again pointed out the performance of LB Su'a Cravens.
  • Sarkisian on Cravens from last night's Trojans Live: "If Su'a Cravens isn't a First Team All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year on defense, I'd be shocked. He's just playing phenomenal football."
  • Cravens picked up another sack today on an inside move working in combination with DE Delvon Simmons. He also read a screen play and made a one-handed interception for a pick-six.
  • The kickers were tested today in pressure situations, and they struggled a little bit from distance. The battle continues between Alex Wood and Matt Boermeester, and Sarkisian still has "a long way to go" before making a decision.
  • Wood served as Andre Heidari's super-sub the last two years, so he has the advantage of experience over Boermeester at the major college level. Wood called the job "50/50" in regards to balancing the mental and physical skills needed to succeed at this level. "A lot of high school kickers come into college and they just can't do it," said Wood. "Some kickers have gone out there and lost games just because of the pressure. You know they make that in practice. It's a lot of mental. You just have to focus on your job and not what people are saying or yelling or spitting or whatever."
  • Wood has been unfairly tagged as a short and accurate specialist. He made a 51-yard field goal off the ground in high school, and he is out to prove this season that he has the leg to boom it through from distance.
  • Staying on special teams, Sarkisian listed Adoree' Jackson and Steven Mitchell as the obvious candidates to return punts and kicks. But, talented freshmen like like Ronald Jones II and Isaiah Langley could get in the mix during Fall Camp.
  • Jackson is expected to play both offense and defense at some point on Saturday.
  • Mark Sanchez showed up at practice today, and he was bouncing around the practice field with a beaming smile. "He and Cody actually have a really good rapport," said Sarkisian, who joked that the quarterbacks spent most of the time making fun of him.
  • Sarkisian explained that the Spring Game will look more like a practice, but there will be live scrimmage portions with a scoring system to match the offense against the defense.
  • Here is Sarkisian after practice today:



Exclusive Spring Poster

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There's only one way to get your hands on the exclusive USC football chrome helmet poster, and that's by attending Saturday's Spring Game. Plus, you can get your FREE poster signed by the players and coaches during the post-game autograph session.

Click here for all the Spring Game info!

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Cody & Co.

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Just two days until the Spring Game and still months away from the start of the season, all eyes are already on USC quarterback Cody Kessler and his offense. After a phenomenal 2014 campaign, the expectations for the veteran leader are high. With an offensive supporting cast that includes JuJu Smith, Adoree' Jackson, Justin Davis and others, it's not difficult to get excited about the possibilities of the upcoming year.

The Pac-12 Network team of Mike Yam, Curtis Conway and Yogi Roth discussed what they are looking forward to seeing in this weekend's Spring Game.

Rivalry Ready to Rock

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The "Ultimate Rivalry" is set to sparkle on the baseball diamond this weekend as No. 6 USC hosts No. 7 UCLA in a pivotal three-game series with more than bragging rights on the line. Along with the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup points, the winner will ascend to the top of the Pac-12 standings.

Dedeaux Field will take center stage on Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. It's been more than a decade since USC baseball played in a series this big, so come be a part of it.


Swimming Salute

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The USC men's swimming and diving team had another remarkable year, claiming the Pac-12 Championship for the first time since 1979 and winning two relays in the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1977. In recognition of this success, nine-year head coach Dave Salo was named the 2015 Pac-12 Men's Swimming Coach of the Year, while Ralf Tribuntsov was named the 2015 Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year.

The freshman from Estonia swam the opening leg of USC's Pac-12 title-winning 400y medley and 400y free relays, and recorded top five finishes in the 100 fly, 100 back and 100 free. Tribuntsov was also a member of the national champion 400y free relay team.

Salo is the first Pac-12 Men's Coach of the Year for USC since Peter Daland in 1990.
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Meet Nico Falah

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Name: Nico Falah
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Position: OL

Year: RS Sophomore

Age: 20

Size: 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds

High School: St. John Bosco (Bellflower)

Scouting Report: After a quiet first two years, Falah has come out of the woodwork and presented the coaching staff with another valuable weapon on the offensive line. In 2015, the redshirt sophomore will compete for a significant role in the deep unit, primarily at the left tackle position. He's put on 30 pounds since arriving at USC, which he wears well on his athletic frame.

Prep Career: As a senior offensive tackle at St. John Bosco, Falah's honors included Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Max Preps All-American first team and Orange County Register Fab 15 second team amongst a host of others. He redshirted his first season at USC in 2013 and served as a backup offensive tackle last year, with playing time in games against Fresno State, Colorado and Notre Dame.

Spring Ball: Head coach Steve Sarkisian has been quick to highlight Falah's performance through spring, consistently using him as an example of a player who is finally reaching his full potential. The redshirt sophomore has found his niche at left tackle this spring and credits his development to new offensive line coach Bob Connelly as well as an increase in confidence this offseason. Heading into the fall, the Trojans will presumably continue to rotate fresh bodies into the offensive line, which should give Falah even more of an opportunity to show his improvement.

Sark on Falah: "I think Nico is a classic example of a guy who is continuing to work and he's getting better and he's gaining confidence, not only on the field but off the field."

Here is Falah with our Grace DeWitt...

Trojans Live - Spring Game Preview

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On Wednesday night's Trojans Live, head coach Steve Sarkisian previewed the USC Spring Game (video below), which is this Saturday at 3 p.m. inside the Coliseum. Trojans Live will be broadcasting from the field at the Coliseum from 3-5 p.m. on The Beast 980, the Pac-12 live stream and the video board, welcoming USC legends, coaches and players to the show.

Also this weekend, No. 6 USC baseball hosts No. 7 UCLA on Friday (3 p.m.), Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.). Sophomore Jeremy Martinez and senior Dante Flores joined Trojans Live to preview the series.

Finally, No. 1 USC women's tennis will be home for matches against Utah (Friday at 1:30pm) and Colorado (Saturday at Noon). Senior Zoe Scandalis and freshman Madison Westby explained why this Women of Troy team has been so dominant this season.


Spring Game on Saturday

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The USC Spring Game is this Saturday at 3 p.m. inside the Coliseum. Tickets are just $10 and can be purchased at the gate.

Click here for more info!

Among other giveaways, all fans will receive an EXCLUSIVE poster and can line up for post-game autographs. Plus, the first 5,000 fans will take home a set of 12 football trading cards.