USC Finishes NCAA T&F Indoor Championships With Nine First-Team All-Americans
March 15, 2014
Aaron Brown, Aleec Harris, Akawkaw Ndipagbor and the USC women's 4x400m relay team which set a school record all earned All-America honors on the final day of competition at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M. today (March 15). The USC men's team finished with 12 points tied for 17th and the Trojan women scored eight points to finish tied for 29th place.
"We had a good day today," said USC's Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We left the indoor championships with nine first-team All-American performances. Aleec did not have a great start to his race, but he was able to come back and place fifth in the hurdles. Aaron Brown ran a solid race, 6.60 again in the final to finish fourth. Coco ran a great race, attacked the first part of the race. I mean, what can you do when you are in a race and someone breaks the collegiate record. It was good to see the representation from the Pac-12 there. The 4x400m relay broke the school record and we have four more All-Americans there. It was a great run, especially watching Vanessa split 52.2 on the second leg. I think overall it was a big learning experience for us. We are going to go back and work hard for the outdoor season. Now we can drop the DMR, get rid of the 3K and go pass the baton and throw javelins and get ready for some real outdoor track and field. We are excited. This is really a great start for what is ahead outdoors."
Senior Aleec Harris got things started for the Trojans as he placed fifth in the men's 60m HH with a time of 7.67 to earn All-America honors and gain USC four points in the team competition. He appeared to get out slow and couldn't run down the field, with the winner Omar McLeod of Arkansas posting a time of 7.57. The last Trojan to earn indoor 60m HH All-America honors was Brendan Ames in 2011. Harris had a time of 7.63 in the prelims and set the USC record with a time of 7.60 earlier this season.
Junior Akawkaw Ndipagbor earned her first individual first-team All-America honors with a seventh-place finish in the women's 400m race. Ndipagbor had a time of 52.88, just off her school-record time of 52.47 run yesterday. The winner of her heat and the 400m title was Phyllis Francis of Oregon who established a new NCAA indoor record with a time of 50.46 and the top four finishers at the finals ran a sub-52.0 time. The last Trojan female to score at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 400m dash was Michelle Taylor in 1989. It was Taylor that owned the USC indoor 400m mark before Ndipagbor bettered it this season.
Senior Aaron Brown placed fourth in the men's 60m dash with a time of 6.60 and earned the Trojans five points in the team standings. With his three earned yesterday in the 200m and the four picked up by Harris in the hurdles, the Trojans final tally was 12 points. The last Trojan male to place indoors in the short sprint and earn All-America honors was Luis Morales who scored in the 55m dash in 1986.
USC's 4x400m relay team of Ndipagbor, junior Vanessa Jones, sophomore Jaide Stepter and senior Ashley Liverpool broke their school record with a time of 3:33.20 to place sixth in a three-heat final. USC was edged out by Penn State in the second heat (3:33.13), but they had the fastest times to that point before the final four teams posted incredible times, with Oregon (3:27.40) and Texas (3:27.42) both breaking the previous collegiate record. The last time USC had a women's 4x400m relay score at the NCAA's was in 1986 when the team of Gervaise McGraw, Leslie Maxie, Lawanda Cabell and Myra Mayberry placed third.
Earning All-American honors on Friday were Brown in the men's 200m and Tynia Gaither in the women's 200m.
This weekend USC will host the Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium on Friday night beginning at 5 p.m. and on Saturday at 10 a.m. The hammer throw competition will take place at CS Los Angeles at 2 p.m. on Friday.