Track & Field
    USC Sets Three Meet Records At Run For The Dream In Fresno

    Sophomore Loudia Laarman placed second in the women's 55m dash to teammate sophomore Jessica Davis. Both Laarman in the semifinals and Davis in the finals established the new meet record with a time of 6.93.

    Jan. 23, 2012

    USC's women's track and field team opened the indoor season at the Run For The Dream in Fresno, Calif. on Jan. 20-21, with the Trojans winning seven races and sophomores Jessica Davis and Loudia Laarman setting the meet 55 meter dash record, sophomore Lauren Blackburn setting the meet 55m hurdles record and the 4x145m relay team setting a new meet standard.

    Davis won the 55 meter dash by tying the meet record set by Laarman in the semifinals with a time of 6.93. Laarman was second in the finals with another impressive time of 6.94, while freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor was fifth with a time of 7.09 and junior Alitta Boyd sixth with a time of 7.12. Four of the six finalist out of a field of 39 were Trojans. Ndipagbor had a better time of 7.07 in the semifinals to advance, while other Trojans competing in the 55 meter dash were junior Jennifer Jones (7.53), senior Katherine Chang (7.75) and redshirt freshman Charity Bruce (7.55).

    "It was my first 55m race in awhile and first run of my indoor season, so starting off I think I did well," said Davis. "I want to improve in certain areas, and I know that I can run faster. I just have to do what I'm supposed to do and stay humble and everything will eventually fall in place."

    "The races felt pretty smooth and I felt I got out hard and was able to transition well throughout the race," added Laarman.

    Freshman Vanessa Jones had the fastest time in the 600 yard run of 1:26.65 in winning the fourth heat. Freshman Tessa Granowski also ran and posted a time of 1:38.28.



    "I felt really proud to be a Trojan when I won," said Jones. "It's true when they say hard work pays off. Before running I was kind of nervous because it was my first indoor meet and first meet as a Trojan. I didn't want to let coach T (Tina Fernandes) or my teammates down so I ran by best and it helped me win. It is always a great feeling to win, but it even feels better winning and being a Trojan."

    Redshirt junior Anniya Louis had a time of 2:19.06 in the 800m run, the fastest time among three sections. Also competing in the race for the Trojans was sophomore Jackie Dion, the first heat winner with a time of 2:32.24 and sophomore Natalia Williams sixth in the second heat with a time of 2:30.12.

    Kira Soderstrom was the only Trojan to compete in the 1 mile run and the freshman placed second in the second heat with a time of 5:41.76 and fourth overall. The runners in both heats ran an extra lap.

    Freshman Erin Robinson won the 3000m Section 1 race with a time of 10:56.63.

    Sophomore Lauren Blackburn dominated the competition in the women's 55m hurdles, breaking the meet record in the semifinals with a time of 7.89 and then beating her own record with a winning time of 7.83. USC's freshman Melia Cox took third with a time of 8.02 and senior Dalilah Muhammad took fourth with a time of 8.03.

    "Oh, wow, I didn't know I broke the meet record," said Blackburn. "It's definitely a rewarding feeling, especially coming back this year as the only returning short hurdler. I felt a lot of pressure was on me to make a statement, but once I got out there with Dalilah and Melia it felt natural. I couldn't have been more happy in the way we performed as a unit."

    The 4x145m relay team also established a new Run For The Dream meet record by posting a time of 71.63, nearly four seconds faster that the next closest team. USC's team consisted of Laarman, sophomore Jenna Puterbaugh, Ndipagbor and Davis.

    "Today was an awesome day for us on the relays," said Puterbaugh who ran the second leg on the 4x145m relay. "It is exciting to see that the strength of our team has done nothing but grow since last season. We have some awesome freshmen that are contributing greatly to our success as a team as well as returners that have done nothing but get better since last season. I can't wait to see what this season has in store for all of us individually and in the relays.

    Also winning and just over a second off the meet record was the 4x400m relay team of Puterbaugh, Davis, Jones and Ndipagbor which finished with a time of 3:58.64.

    Redshirt junior Candace Bailey placed third in the triple jump with a best leap of 37-5.25 (11.41m), while Chang took eighth with a jump of 33-9 (10.29m).

    Redshirt junior Ashley Pyka was eighth in the weight throw with a mark of 48-4 (14.74m) and redshirt junior Farren Benjamin was 19th with a mark of 35-5 (10.81m)

    Additionally, alumnus Elizabeth Olear won the women's 600 yard open run with a time of 1:25.44 and former Trojan Jeff Laynes placed third in the men's 55m dash open with a time of 6.43. He had a time of 6.38 in the semifinals.