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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

For the first time in two years, the USC football coaching staff has a decision to make at the quarterback position. The battle for the starting job between Max Browne, Sam Darnold, Jalen Greene and Matt Fink was competitive throughout Spring Ball and on Monday, head coach Clay Helton announced that the battle will continue into the fall.

Browne and Darnold are the two frontrunners for the QB1 title. Browne, the redshirt junior, brings the most experience, appearing in three games as a redshirt sophomore and six as a redshirt freshman. He's completed 11-of-19 passes for 143 yards in his career, and last Saturday in the Spring Game, he completed 7-of-11 for 114 yards and three touchdowns.

After redshirting his freshman year, Darnold came into the spring ready to take the starting spot as a dual-threat talent under center. His speed and arm strength has impressed the coaching staff, making the decision for the starting role a difficult one. In the Spring Game, the redshirt freshman threw for 63 yards on 6-of-7 passing with two touchdowns.

Whoever Helton and his staff decide to go with will have a tough career opener against Alabama on September 3. But with the weapons USC boasts on offense surrounding him and an experienced offensive line in front, the Trojans' next starting quarterback has a promising year ahead.

Who will be USC's next QB? #AllAboutBall #FightOn

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Spring Football has ended, and now the countdown to September begins. 

Don't miss any of the action in the Trojans' exciting upcoming season in the Coliseum. Enter to win two 2016 season tickets by clicking here

Leading the Pac

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The No. 2 USC women's golf team entered the second day of competition at the Pac-12 Tournament with a comfortable four-stroke lead, and it finished the day with an even more comfortable 13-stroke lead at 23-under at 553 after 36 holes. Junior Gabriella Then led the Women of Troy with a career-best 7-under 65, and she leads the entire tournament by one stroke, looking to become USC's seventh Pac-12 medalist.

Click here for a full recap of the second day of the Pac-12 Tournament.

No. 4 UCLA and No. 11 Arizona are the two teams trailing USC, tied for second in the tournament at 10-under. The Women of Troy's 275 performance on Tuesday broke the school record for lowest overall score at the Pac-12 Tournament, and the team had its second straight school-record round for most under par.

The Women of Troy are back in action at the Ruby Hills Golf Course for day three of competition on Wednesday, looking for their first Pac-12 Tournament since 2013.

Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC's Antwaun Woods was the heart and soul of the Trojan defense. Now, the defensive tackle is looking to give one NFL team that same spark. Woods finished his collegiate career with 113 tackles, including 14.5 for loss with eight sacks on 33 career starts, earning him an All-Pac-12 first team nomination.

Novy Notches Things Up

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For the second time this season, USC senior Tera Novy is the Pac-12's Women's Field Athlete of the Week after breaking her own school record in the discus yet again last week at the CSULA Twilight Meet. Her new mark of 200-5 (61.10) meets the Olympic qualifying A standard and is the best current collegiate throw in the nation.


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Even Faster

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It looks like the already elite USC women's track & field team will be getting even faster next year with the addition of Canadian sprinter Kyra Constantine to the 2016 recruiting class on Tuesday. The 400m-running top talent joins six other previously-signed members of the Women of Troy's incoming class.


Constantine placed fourth with a personal best time of 52.44 in the 400m finals at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Colombia last year. The Ontario native was the ninth-fastest U20 women's 400m runner in the world last season and the youngest in the Top 10. 

Spring Breakdown: Offensive Linemen

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC returns its entire starting offensive line from last season and boasts several experienced reserves, combining for one of the most formidable and highly-anticipated position groups on the roster this fall.  The group is adjusting to new leadership once again, its fifth change in the last five years, as OL coach Neil Callaway continues to preach a culture of toughness on the practice field and in the film room.

The line is led by veteran Zach Banner who made the hard decision to return for his final year of eligibility. The 6-foot-9 redshirt senior played both right and left tackle for the Trojans last season, earning a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. Banner is joined by the most experienced offensive lineman, redshirt senior Chad Wheeler, who could potentially start for his fourth season at left tackle this fall.

Accompanying these two veterans are several talented, young linemen that earned their stripes as freshman starters. Toa Lobendahn is easily the most versatile of the group, starting at right guard, left guard, left tackle and center in his career. Though he's recovering from last season's ACL tear, the junior will look to recapture his starting spot at center come August. Rounding out the starting line are guards Damien Mama (left) and Viane Talamaivao (right) with plenty of competition behind them trying to notch a starting spot.

In 2016, USC's entire starting offensive line returns with a wealth of experience behind it. #FightOn #AllAboutBall

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Top-Notch Twosome

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Awards keep rolling in for the No. 1 USC beach volleyball team, the latest going to the No. 2 pair of Sophia Bukovec and Alexa Strange who earned Pac-12 Beach Pair of the Week honors for the first time this season. The duo wrapped up a perfect 4-0 week including three straight wins at the Cowtown Classic without dropping a set. This marks the fourth different USC pair to win the award in program history.

Click here for a full release on Bukovec and Strange's Pac-12 Beach Pair of the Week honors.

The pair secured the clinching point in the Women of Troy's hard-fought 4-1 victory over No. 2 Pepperdine last week, and it has won 15 of its last 17 matches. In total this season, Bukovec/Strange have won 24 matches. The No. 2 pair will look to continue their hot streak this weekend in Hawaii.

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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).

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Name: Rebekah Ent
Sport: Track & Field
Year: RS Sophomore
Major: Psychology

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): So how did you end up here? I know you were at UCSB first, so what brought you to USC?

Rebekah Ent (RE): UC Santa Barbara is a pretty small school, kind of isolated. We're on the coast and nothing else is really around us. So USC being in a big city is definitely what brought me here. And obviously the track team is super good and I did well last season, and so I wanted to step up my track career. I think there's just a lot more opportunities here too, just in terms of the great alumni program here. There's so many opportunities that not only being an athlete brings here, but just being a student here, meeting a bunch of people. 

SB: Did you do cross country and track at UCSB too?

RE: Yeah, I was injured my first year and then my second year I just raced one cross country race, so I wasn't really on the team because I was still coming back. And then I did a full season of track.

SB: Okay, got it. Going from cross country to then racing an 800 is obviously super different. What is that like for you during a year of training? How do you prepare yourself for a much shorter race when track starts?

RE:I think cross country is a great base for track. It gives me really good endurance going into the season and having so many longer workouts and miles under my belt going into season makes me feel really strong for track. And then obviously when I get to track season, adding in all of the speed work, I think it compliments my training well. So I have a good base and I feel confident that I'm not going to get injured because I'm strong going into all the faster stuff. I've started running the 1500 more this year so they're more closely related.

SB: Do you view track, and specifically the 1500, more of a focus for you and cross country as your preparation? Or is it pretty equal in the way that you look at it?

RE: Yeah, I've always been a track person. In high school I ran the 400 and 800. I ran one year of cross country in high school, so I really wasn't a cross country person. But I've learned that it's only going to help me get better for track. I used to be kind of scared of cross country (laughs)but now I know it's going to help me.

SB: On the school side of things, did you declare as a psychology major when you first started or was that something that kind of came along way?

RE:
So I was a communications major actually at Santa Barbara and then I worked in a psych lab starting my second year there. I had this amazing professor and started working for her in her lab.

SB: Just by chance you took a psych class?

RE: Yeah, I took a psych class over the summer and the professor and I hit it off. She was super cool, super into what she did, and I was super interested in helping her out and getting involved. So I worked in her virtual reality lab. I did that all of my second year, so that switched me over to psych. I was not really sure about communications anyway. When I started working in that lab I knew I wanted to do psych, so I changed then.

SB: So is virtual reality what you want to get into or what do you think you want to do with psychology down the road?

RE: No, not specifically that, but a lot of the studies she ran in her lab had to do with exercise and how you physiologically respond to exercise, in combination with different goals. So if your goals change how does that affect your physiological exercise. So that really intrigues me, being an athlete. I don't know, I think I definitely want to do something with that looking at maybe a Master's program in maybe applied psychology or getting a PhD down the road.

Five For the Freshman

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

There are plenty of reasons why USC women's water polo is undefeated and the top ranked team in the nation. While the team may be known for its offensive prowess, they've gotten equally terrific contributions from the defensive side of the ball.

Goalie Amanda Longan (pictured) has been a huge part of the Trojans' success since the start of the season, and her skill in front of the net may have you looking twice at her age on the roster.  After the Trojans' 20th-straight win last weekend, the goalie earned MPSF Newcomer of the Week honors for the fifth time this season. In the Women of Troy's most recent victory over Stanford Longan set a career-high with 17 saves.

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