USC Shines On The Track In Indoor And Outdoor Competitions
March 4, 2012
The USC track and field team competed this weekend at the Beach Classic hosted by Long Beach State at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. and indoor at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in Little Rock, Ark. The Trojans captured eight individual titles at the Beach Classic and the women's 4x400m relay team won in Arkansas.
Redshirt senior co-captain Marissa Minderler won two events at the Beach Classic, first capturing the women's hammer throw on Friday with a best throw of 202-5 (61.70m) and then the shot put on Saturday with a mark of 47-0.25 (14.33m).
"This was the first time throwing a 4k (hammer) this season and I couldn't be happier about the outcome," said Minderler. "I have very positive expectations about this season and I'm very pleased with the way its begun. This meet was a test to see where I am technically and what direction I need to go to make sure I'm ready for the end of the season. Again, I am pleased with the outcome and have positive expectations about where I will be when it counts!"
For the second consecutive week the USC women's hammer crew took spots 1-5 as finishing in order behind Minderler were redshirt senior Jade Niemeyer with a PR of 188-3 (57.38m), redshirt sophomore Lauren Chambers throwing for the first time since the 2010 season with a mark of 186-3 (56.77m), redshirt junior Ashley Pyka with a PR of 179-2 and freshman Alexandra Collatz with a PR of 173-4 (52.83m). Also competing in the hammer for USC were redshirt sophomore Stephanie Hoffer finishing 13th with a PR of 134-1 (40.85m) and redshirt junior Farren Benjamin placing 15th with a throw of 128-7 (39.19m).
Collatz, who set the USC freshman discus record with a throw of 176-5 last week, took second place in the discus with a throw of 172-11 (52.70m).
On the track for the women, sophomore Loudia Laarman won the 200m dash with a time of 24.58 into a 12.9 wind. Freshman Erica Capellino won the women's 1500m race with a time of 4:40.72 and was followed closely by fellow freshman Kira Soderstron who placed third with a time of 4:43.93.
Davis competed in the open 400m race and took third with a PR of 54.10.
"My 200 race felt smooth," said Laarman. "Although I didn't get the time I was looking for I know that I am a lot stronger this year than I was last year and with less wind I know I can get to where I want to be. I'm still happy about the way I executed my race, though. I got out hard and put my best effort into that race and at the end of the day that is all you can do. Winning that 4x400 was a great chance to help us all get ready for the season ahead. Being able to come out and win a 4x400 with a squad of girls that run 100,200, hurdles and 800 just proves the strength of this team and its very exciting to see what will happen this season."
"I felt really good running the 400," added Davis. "I know it is getting me stronger for my 200."
"My win was a good feeling on a track that I ran so much in high school. It brought back a lot of memories when I was at Long Beach Poly," said Hughes.
Another former Long Beach Poly star enjoying running back on a familiar track was redshirt senior Bryshon Nellum who won the men's 400m race with a time of 46.87.
"It was a beautiful day and I was glad to start the season off successfully," said Nellum.
Senior Tony Burnett won for the second time in two weeks in the triple jump, this time leaping a season-best 49-5.75 (15.08m).
"It was a good mark coming from 14 steps instead of my normal 18," said Burnett. "I am excited for the Trojan Invite on the 24th...Big Jumps!"
Among the other highlights for the men's team were sophomore Aaron Brown placing second in the 100m dash with a time of 10.67 (-1.4), freshman Davonte Stewart placing third with a time of 10.79 (-1.4) and freshman Jovonte Slater taking fifth with a time of 10.95 (-1.4). Junior Reggie Wyatt placed second in the men's 800m race with a PR of 1:51.72, while redshirt junior Tony Martinez had a PR of 4:03.90 in the men's 1500m race to place 18th. Freshman Marqise Lee took second in the long jump for the second week in a row with a jump of 23-0.75 (7.03m) and sophomore Nickell Robey placed fourth with a jump of 23-0.00 (7.01m).
Also this weekend, USC had several female athletes competing at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet in Little Rock, Ark. on March 2. Senior co-captain Dalilah Muhammad reached the finals of the women's 60m HH with a time of 8.23 and then ran 8.31 in the finals to place third. The women's 4x400m relay team of sophomore Jenna Puterbaugh, freshman Vanessa Jones, Muhammad and freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor won easily with a time of 3:37.57. Ndipagbor's anchor split was clocked at 52.80.
"I as very excited with the energy and excitement of our team," said assistant coach Tina Fernandes who was with the team in Arkansas. "This team is very gifted and hardworking, so I am excited to see what the future holds for us. We headed to Arkansas with full intention of earning a spot for indoor nations, but we just did not come out with the time needed. Dalilah ran a PR in the 60h with a time of 8.23, in which she knows she can run faster. We won the 4x4 with ease and tried to focus on running against the clock to earn a time of at least 3:34.00, but we came up short. We did run a Indoor PR of 3:37 and the next time being 3:39, but instead of being upset the team focus is opening up for their outdoor season.
"The last Chance Meet was on Friday, so the ladies asked if we could go to support the rest of our team running an outdoor meet (Long Beach Classic at Cerritos College). They felt strong about this because of the support they got from both Men & Women gave them with calls and texts of encouragement for their success. So off the plane, we headed to support both men & women on one of the fastest track in California. We arrived to a very cold and windy track. There were many Trojan fans out to support. The meet was running late and it was cold, but our team was still excited and wanting to put in the work needed to lead them to a successful conference and national team. Also for some a chance to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games for their country."
Next week USC will compete at the Ben Brown Invitational in Fullerton, Calif.