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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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Early Favorites

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The No. 2 USC women's golf team is off to a comfortable four-stroke lead at the Pac-12 Tournament, after all five competitors scored under par in the opening round on Monday. The Women of Troy are on a quest for their sixth conference title, the last time being in 2013 when they went on to win the NCAA Championship.

Click here for a full recap from the first round at the Pac-12 Tournament.

The Trojans wrapped up the opening round at 10-under 278, four strokes ahead of No. 4 UCLA and seven better than No. 10 Arizona State. The 278 opening round ties USC's best score at the Tournament dating back to the final round of the 2009 Pac-12 Tournament versus Stanford. Junior Tiffany Chan led the Women of Troy with a 67, her fourth round below 70 this season, and she trails the leader by just one stroke. Her 67 round is tied for the third lowest round in USC's history at the Pac-12 Championships.

The Women of Troy return to the links on Tuesday paired up again with crosstown rival UCLA at the Ruby Hills Golf Course in Pleasanton, California. Be sure to follow @USCWomensGolf for updates all week long!

After setting records at USC, quarterback Cody Kessler is ready to make his mark at the next level. A starter at Troy for three years, Kessler will discover his NFL home at the 2016 NFL Draft which begins in nine days. 

The Trojans' all-time leader in career completion percentage (67.5), Kessler accumulated 10,339 yards and 88 touchdowns in his career. The two-year captain was also a finalist for the 2014 and 2015 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards. Per several draft insiders, Kessler has met with and/or worked out for the Lions, Saints, Browns, Patriots, Rams and Chargers.

Another One Bites the Dust

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The No. 5 USC women's lacrosse team narrowly escaped the No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the road in South Bend on Monday afternoon with a 5-4 victory. The Women of Troy remain a perfect 15-0 this year and will look to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time in program history this weekend at home. USC is now just one of two teams that remains undefeated in the nation, and this victory is the team's fourth over a ranked opponent this year.

Click here for a complete recap from USC's narrow victory over Notre Dame.

The teams entered Monday's match with two of the top five scoring offenses in the nation, but the game would be decided by the defensive effort in the historic first meeting between the two programs. Sophomore goalie and MPSF Defensive Player of the Week, Gussie Johns, finished with double-digit saves (10) for the first time this season in the Trojans' win and added four ground balls. Senior defender Courtney Tarleton also contributed with a program-record six forced turnovers and a ground ball and sophomore midfielder Lydia Sutton added a pair of turnovers and two ground balls. Scoring goals for the Women of Troy were junior Michaela Michael (two goals), junior Cynthia Del Core, junior Kylie Drexel and senior Amanda Johansen.

The 15-0 Trojans will put their undefeated regular season on the line this weekend, first on Friday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum versus the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal at 4:30 p.m. PT. and then on Sunday for Senior Day against UC Davis at 12:00 p.m on McAlister Field.

Check out the rapid reaction from the USC women's lacrosse team after defeating Notre Dame...

Announced on Monday after speaking with his four quarterbacks, USC head coach Clay Helton has chosen to wait to name a starter, and will continue to evaluate the position into Fall Camp. This decision comes on the heels of a competitive Spring Ball session that featured two frontrunners for the starting spot in redshirt junior Max Browne and redshirt freshman Sam Darnold.

"There were a number of open positions on our team this spring where players performed very well, including the quarterbacks," said Helton.  "I met with them today and told them that, based on how well they played, I have decided to continue the quarterback competition into Fall Camp.  I will wait until then to name a starter."

Browne will enter Fall Camp as the most experienced quarterback on USC's roster, appearing in three games as a redshirt sophomore and six as a redshirt freshman. He has completed 11-of-19 passes for 143 yards in his career. This spring, Browne was praised by Helton and the rest of the coaching staff for his maturity, poise and accuracy. In USC's Spring Game last Saturday, the quarterback was 7-of-11 for 114 yards and three touchdowns. 

After a redshirt season last fall, Darnold enters 2016 as a promising dual-threat talent under center. The redshirt freshman has impressed coaches all spring with his speed, field awareness and arm strength. On Saturday, Darnold was 6-of-7 for 63 yards and two touchdowns. 

The duo will continue to battle with Jalen Greene and Matt Fink for the USC starting quarterback job this August when Fall Camp begins. 

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For Johnny Nansen, the LB position is home, and in 2016, the coach is ready to take the USC corps to the next level. 

Nansen spent last season as USC's running backs coach, but will switch to a new role this season on the other side of the ball. However, having played three years at the position in college, he brings plenty of experience. This spring, Nansen worked hard with his group on fundamentals and technique, laying the groundwork for a promising fall. 

Peaking at Mt. SAC

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

The USC men's and women's track teams joined former and future Trojans at the Mt. SAC Relays at Cerritos College on Saturday with sophomores Kendall Ellis and Ricky Morgan Jr. and senior Jaide Stepter (pictured) winning events for Troy. The current Trojans seem to be peaking at just the right time as they head into the final lap of their outdoor regular season. Ellis defeated former Trojan All-Americans Carol Rodriguez and Vanessa Jones in the 400m dash with a PR of 51.82, while Morgan won the men's 400m dash with a time of 46.43. Ellis' time moves her from eighth to fifth on USC's all-time list, but she's still behind her teammate, Jaide Stepter's time of 50.91 that is best in the nation.

Click here for a full recap from the Mt. SAC Relays.

Stepter and fellow senior Amalie Iuel finished first and second in the women's invite 400m IH race, both with season-best times of 55.90 and 56.37 respectively. Freshman Margaux Jones also got a PR with a wind-aided mark of 21-2.75/6.47m (+3.4w) in the long jump, finishing second overall.

Sophomore sensation Adoree' Jackson tied his season-best long jump of 25-8.00/7.82m (+1.9) finishing in fourth place.  Fellow sophomore Randall Cunningham also finished fourth but in the high jump, behind USC record-holder and Olympian Jesse Williams, who won the event with a clearance of 7-3.25 (2.23m).

The other Trojan alumni competing in the relays included Andre de Grasse, Ginnie Crawford, BeeJay Lee, Allyson Felix and Bryshon Nellum.

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Perfect in the Pac

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

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As a part of a doubleheader with the men's team on Sunday, USC women's tennis took care of its match-up against the women of UCLA with a 4-1 victory at Marks Stadium. The win saw the No. 21 Women of Troy improve to 12-4 on the year, as well as a perfect 7-0 in Pac-12 play. The Trojans also gained five points in the annual Crosstown Cup standings with the overall score now 75-60 in favor of USC.


USC jumped out to an early lead by taking the doubles point. The top pairing of Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith (pictured) won their doubles match, 6-3, and soon after the doubles point was clinched by the freshman duo of Jessica Failla and Rianna Valdes, who won 6-3 as well. In fact, it was a pretty big day for the two freshmen overall.

While Failla and Valdes have only played one season apiece at USC, they both are making quite the statement on the court already. Valdes was the first to win her singles match on Sunday, taking her match 6-2, 6-3. While one freshman got things started, the other closed things out, as Failla clinched the dual match victory with a 6-2, 6-4 win of her own.

While the Women of Troy were able to take down their rivals, the men fell 4-2 in a tight match against the No. 4 Bruins.

Following their victory over UCLA, there's even more on the line this week when the Women of Troy travel to Ojai, Calif. to face Stanford for the Pac-12 crown on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. PT. Be sure to follow @USCWomensTennis for in-match updates, photos and more on Wednesday. 

Check out all the John McGillen photos from Sunday...


14 And Counting

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

womens lax ranking.jpgUSC's women's lacrosse has had a remarkable season to date and strengthened its undefeated record on the road this past weekend in a battle against No. 12 Northwestern.

Not even the Wildcats had enough to stop the Women of Troy, who remained perfect on the season with a 14-11 win at Martin Stadium on Friday. The win brought the Trojans to an unblemished 14-0 record, and with the victory they matched the program's highest-ever win total, which was set last year.

Click here for a full recap of the win at Northwestern.

Michaela Michael ran the show for the newly-ranked No. 5 Women of Troy, collecting four points with a goal and three assists. The junior attacker also had seven draw controls on the day. The No. 5 ranking is the program's best-ever and the highest for any MPSF team in the history of the conference. 

To set a school record with win No. 15, and remain undefeated on the year, the Trojans will have to defeat No. 6 Notre Dame on the road today. The game will by be played at Arlotta Stadium and begin at 1 p.m. PT. It will also be streamed live on ESPN3. Be sure to follow @USCTrojansLAX for in-game updates and more!