Nellum Named Men's Athlete Of The Meet, Sets 2 Stadium Records|
May 12, 2013
Bryshon Nellum was named the Men's Athlete of the Meet as he won both the 200m and 400m races with PRs and stadium records and USC won seven titles on the final day of the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships held at Loker Stadium today (May 12) before 2,314 fans. The USC men finished the two-day competition in second place with 102 points, while the Trojan women placed sixth with 81 points.
First the redshirt senior Nellum defended his title in the 400m dash by again edging Oregon's Mike Berry with a PR of 44.76, breaking the previous stadium record of 45.34 set by Billy Mullins in 1980. Nellum's time bettered his fourth-place standing on USC's all-time list and is the collegiate-leading time entering today's action. Senior Reggie Wyatt placed eighth in the 400m with a time of 48.37. Nellum became the first conference runner to win back-to-back 400m titles since former Trojan Lionel Larry accomplished the feat in 2007-08.
"It feels great," said Nellum. "I knew this was going to be a breakthrough. I had a great competitor in Mike Berry. The whole year I've been thinking about Pac-12s being at home. I knew it was going to be very exciting, and knew it was going to be a good feel."
Nellum then broke the Loker Stadium record in the 200m with a time of 20.23 in leading a Trojan sweep in the event. Nellum topped his old best time of 20.37 and moved from fourth to third on USC's all-time list and tied for seventh on the Pac-12 Conference list. His time also is the fastest time in the conference since 2000 and the top 2013 collegiate time entering action today. Junior Aaron Brown was second with a time of 20.53 and sophomore Davonte Stewart placed third with a season-best time of 20.84. USC has won the Pac-12 200m title in seven of the last 11 seasons. By winning both the 200m and 400m titles at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships, Nellum became just the second athlete to win both at the conference meet in the same season, joining former Trojan Jerome Davis (1999).
"This is everything to me," said Nellum. "Athlete of the Meet, 400 and 200 champ, stadium record in both, in front of the fans, on Mother's Day, it really can't get any better than that."
"I doubled in the 200 and 400 in high school and coming into college I was planning on doing the same," added Nellum. "Unfortunately I got hurt and I had to go through a lot of rehabbing and after a lot of years of getting healthy I finally made it back. I've been working on this since I came back from the Olympic Games. My experience there brought me to a whole other level with track and field. Running with the best in the world, I knew I was able to come back and if I work hard, stay dedicated and stay healthy then I'd be able to perform the way I did today. My time in the 400 definitely surprised me. I've been working real hard and I had great competition in Mike Berry. He helped me make it through that race."
They say records are made to be broken and the Trojans really seemed to be taking that to heart as teammates Brown and BeeJay Lee alternated results, times and records in the 100m dash. On Saturday, Brown set the Loker Stadium record, tied for the fourth-fastest time in conference history and third-fastest every by a Trojan with a qualifying time of 10.07, while Lee ran a wind-aided 10.08. Today, Lee tied all of those records by just edging his teammate in the 100m dash with a PR of 10.07, while Brown took second with a time of 10.08. Lee made it a Trojan champ in the 100m dash for the seventh time in nine seasons, as Brown won the 2012 title.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Lee. "I'm glad we were able to do that together, 1 and 2, as a team that's pretty good. A lot of people doubted me and told me that it (Saturday's time) was windy and it was 3.9, that I wouldn't be able to do it... that it wasn't an accurate time. But I wanted to come out with a chip on my shoulder today and show them I'm at 10-0 sprinter. I'm just going to keep trusting my coaches, trusting my teammates. This helps me go to regionals calm, relaxed and confident and carrying this into it."
"Obviously I would have liked to win, but if I had to lose to anybody, it would be my training partner," added Brown. "He works really hard, and I'm really happy with the result overall. I want to maintain what I'm doing. I've been making steady progressions all year, and I just want to carry that momentum through to Nationals."
Wyatt later came back to win the 400m IH, his specialty, with a season-best time of 49.17. His time, too, was a stadium record and the collegiate-leading time entering today and beat the field by more than a second. It was a fitting final conference meet for Wyatt who had taken third as a freshman and second as a sophomore and junior. Wyatt became the first Trojan to win the 400m IH at the Pac-12 Championships since current volunteer hurdles coach Ryan Wilson won the title in 2003 and the 14th overall to claim the title since 1976.
"This is my last Pac-12 Championships, its here at home, and I wanted to come out with a W and leave it all on the track," said Wyatt. " It feels great. My training is coming along where it needs to be, and what I need to improve on to run faster. I did really well finishing strong this race. It's been something I've been working on and its been coming along."
The last group of Trojans to establish a new Loker Stadium record was the women's 4x400m relay team of sophomore Akawkaw Ndipagbor, sophomore Vanessa Jones, junior Jenna Puterbaugh and junior Ashley Liverpool who took the conference title with a time of 3:32.39. That time broke the previous stadium record of 3:32.76 set by UCLA in 2001 and moved the quarted into eighth place on USC's all-time list. Liverpool showed outstanding heart and savy as Brianna Tate of ASU and Arizona Olympian Georganne Moline raced past her with about 200m meters to go, but Liverpool kept her strong pace and then kicked it in down the stretch to edge them both at the wire.
"It was great," said Liverpool after the race. "I was nervous when they passed me at the 200 mark but I just chilled behind them and tried to push it on that last 100. I usually can do that so I knew it was there. It was just a matter of actually doing it. I let God push me and got to the finish line first."
Also winning a title for the Trojan women was senior Alitta Boyd in the triple jump with a best jump of 43-6.50 (13.27m). She became the first Trojan to win the women's long jump since Tatyana Obukhova (who currently works at USC as a strength coach) won three-straight titles from 2000-02. Boyd had finished fifth once and fourth twice in the triple jump at the conference meet her first three seasons. Right behind her was sophomore Melia Cox with a jump of 42-6.00 (12.95m), with junior Oluwakemi Olonade taking fourth (41-7.00), redshirt senior Candace Bailey taking 11th (38-8.25) and senior Jennifer Jones taking 16th (35-8.50).
"I'm very emotional," said Boyd. "This is my first individual Pac-12 title, so to end my senior year with one is one of the most amazing feelings. I know there are a lot of seniors who would like to do what I've done today. To actually be able to do it is amazing. I have so much more work to do and further to go. It seemed to fall right in my lap. It's a blessing to have your last Pac-12 Meet on your own turf where you're familiar with the settings and the surroundings and your family and friends are in the stands. It's amazing."
Remington Conatser got the Trojans off to a good start by winning the men's hammer throw competition with a season-best throw of 222-10 (67.93m), edging Oregon's Greg Skipper by four inches. The junior Conatser took the lead in his second throw and then held on as Skipper could get no closer than four inches on his fourth throw. The win makes in three times in four seasons for USC as Trey Henderson won the conference hammer title in 2010 and 2011. USC has also won the event 11 of the last 21 seasons. The throw moved Conatser from 10th to eighth on USC's all-time hammer throw list.
The women's 4x100m race was the first for the Trojans on Sunday and junior Loudia Laarman, Puterbaugh, Ndipagbor and junior Jessica Davis took second place with a time of 44.76. The men's 4x100m relay was next and the team of sophomore Bryan Mercado, Brown, Lee and Stewart also placed second thanks to a strong closing leg wth a season-best time of 39.94.
Next, junior Lauren Blackburn placed fifth and Cox seventh in the women's 100m HH to earn the Trojans six points in the team competition. Blackburn had a time of 13.52 and Cox had a time of 13.64.
USC's women then took fifth and sixth in the women's 400m race as Vanessa Jones had a PR of 52.89 to place fifth and Liverpool had a time of 53.05 to take sixth place. Jones moved into seventh place in the USC all-time list and bumped Liverpool down to tied for 10th with her season-best of 53.04 set in the semifinals.
Next to finish for the USC women was the 100m dash and Laarman took sixth with a time of 11.71 and Ndipagbor placed seventh with a time of 11.72.
Sophomore Alexandra Collatz set a slight PR of 179-7 (54.73m) to place fourth in the women's discus throw and better her second place standing on USC's all-time list. Freshman Tera Novy did not have a mark.
Puterbaugh then placed fourth in the women's 200m dash with a time of 23.52, while Ndipagbor placed sixth with a season-best time of 23.56. Ndipagbor scored in four different events and Puterbaugh three during the meet and both combined to take part in scoring 23 points for the Trojans.
Also competing today for the Women of Troy were junior Thea Weiss and freshman Felicia Horvath in the women's pole vault. Both Trojans cleared 12-0.50 (3.67m), with Weiss finishing 17th and Horvath tied for 18th.
In the rest of the scoring for the men's team, senior Tyler Ruiz was third in high jump with PR of 7-1.50 (2.17m) to earn six points. That jump moved him into seventh place on USC's all-time high jump list. Junior Herb Dew took seventh place in the high jump with a clearance of 7-00.25 (2.14m), tying his season best. Junior Doug Bogie competed at the conference meet for the first time and tied for 17th with a PR of 6-7.00 (2.01m). Junior Viktor Fajoyomi no-heighted.
Sophomore Allen Williams earned the Trojans points in the men's triple jump with a fifth-place finish and a best jump of 48-3.25 (14.71m). Fajoyomi had three fouls, while Ruiz and Dew had one foul then passed.
The final event of the competition was the men's 4x400m relay. USC won it's heat with a team of Stewart, Wyatt, sophomore Myles Andrews and Nellum with a season-best time of 3:10.37. Wyatt had a strong leg to bring the Trojans from behind to a solid lead and Andrews and Nellum held the field at bay. Ultimately, USC would finish sixth overall and earn its final three points of the meet.
The following is a list of the events, the athlete and the points scored for the Trojans during the two days (plus Multi-Events) of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships (Place, Points):
Women: Saturday - Hammer Throw: Ozorai (2nd, 8 points), Chambers (8th, 1 point). Sunday - 100m: Laarman (6th, 3 points), Ndipagbor (7th, 2 points); 200m: Puterbaugh (4th, 5 points), Ndipagbor (6th, 3 points); 400m: V. Jones (5th, 4 points), Liverpool (6th, 3 points); 100m HH: Blackburn (5th, 4 points), Cox (7th, 2 points); 4x100m (2nd, 8 points); 4x400m (1st, 10 points); Triple Jump: Boyd (1st, 10 points), Cox (2nd, 8 points), Olonade (4th, 5 points); Discus: Collatz (4th, 5 points);
Men: May 4-5 - Multis: Fajoyomi (5th, 4 points). Saturday - Long Jump: Fajoyomi (4th, 5 points), Selma (7th, 2 points); Javelin Throw: Thompson (8th, 1 point). Sunday - 100m: B. Lee (1st, 10 points), Brown (2nd, 8 points); 200m: Nellum (1st, 10 points), Brown (2nd - 8 points), Stewart (3rd, 6 points); 400m: Nellum (1st, 10 points), Wyatt (8th, 1 point); 400m IH: Wyatt (1st, 10 points); 4x100m: (2nd, 8 points); 4x400m: (6th, 3 points); High Jump: Ruiz (3rd, 6 points), Dew (7th, 2 points); Triple Jump: A.Williams (5th, 4 points); Hammer Throw: Conatser (1st, 10 points).