Lee And Busa Punch Their Tickets To The NCAA Championships|
May 24, 2012
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Marqise Lee in the men's long jump and Kristine Busa in the women's javelin throw advanced to the NCAA Championships and eight athletes advanced to NCAA quarterfinals tomorrow during the first day of action (May 24) at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The top 12 athletes from the West Preliminary Rounds will advance to the NCAA Championships held in Des Moines, Ia. from June 6-9.
The freshman Lee had a very short first jump of 18-3.75 (5.58m) and then after fouling in his second, he enter the final round in 21st place among the final two out of four flights needing to stick a long one to advance to the final round and earn a shot at the NCAA Championships. His jumps coach Mike Pullins suggested that he move back a few feet to his original mark and that seemed to due the trick as he launched a wind-aided PR of 25-5.50 (7.76m) to move into seventh place after the preliminaries. The top 16 jumpers advanced to the finals with three more jumps, needing to finish in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA Championships in the event. Lee and the rest of the top seven jumpers passed on all three attempts in the finals and none of the other nine jumpers in the finals topped Lee's mark, leaving him in seventh and punching his ticket to the NCAA Championships in the long jump. Lee came into the long jump competition ranked 20th in the region.
The last field event for the day was a good one for the Trojans as redshirt senior Kristine Busa qualified for the NCAA Championships by placing fourth in the women's javelin throw, despite ranking 13th in the region. Busa's first throw of 164-7 (50.16m) was her best of the day and was all she would need as only five throwers reached 50 meters. She will now have a chance to achieve All-America status in the javelin throw like she did in 2009 when she placed eighth at the NCAA Championships.
The men's 400m IH was the first race of the day and the top three from each heat and the next nine best times would advance to tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinal round. Junior Reggie Wyatt won the third heat with a time of 50.33 to automatically advance. Wyatt's time would end up as the top qualifier in the six heats. Senior Duane Walker was in the next heat and he placed fourth with a time of 52.67 tied for the eighth best non-automatic qualifying time with two heats to go. Unfortunately for Walker, the fourth-place finisher in each heat bested his time, moving him to tied for 10th. To make things worse, Walker held the tie-breaker by thousands of a second, meaning that the fourth-place finish of Jon DeGrave of Drake in the sixth heat knocked him out of NCAA Championship contention. Walker still remains a valuable part of the 2012 team going forward as he is either a starter or first alternate for USC's NCAA-leading 4x400m relay team.
Senior Dalilah Muhammad next ran in the women's 400m IH and she won her heat with a time of 57.90 to automatically advance to Friday's NCAA quarterfinals. The top 12 finishers in the 400m IH will advance on the the NCAA Championships. Muhammad's qualifying time was the fourth-fastest in the preliminaries.
Sophomore Aaron Brown left no doubt on qualifying for Friday's quarterfinals in the 100m dash by winning the second heat with a wind-aided time of 10.13. His time stood up as the top time of the 27 runners advancing to tomorrow's races, with the fastest 12 times moving on to the NCAA semifinals.
USC sophomores Jessica Davis and Loudia Laarman then ran in the women's 100m dash preliminaries with both runners in the third of six heats, with the top three automatically advancing and the next nine best times also moving on to tomorrow's quarterfinals. Davis used a strong finish to place third with a time of 11.60w, while Laarman placed seventh with a time of 11.71w, which ended up being 33rd overall. Davis tied for the 23rd fastest time of the day and will need to finish in the top 12 tomorrow to advance to the NCAA semifinals.
The USC men's 400m trifecta of sophomore Josh Mance, senior Joey Hughes and redshirt senior Bryshon Nellum all advanced to tomorrow's quarterfinals by winning their respective heats. Mance, running his first 400m race since injuring his hamstring on this track during the 4x400m relay at the Texas Relays on March 31, beat Oregon's Mike Berry at the wire with a time of 45.92 to win the second heat. Then Hughes, running his first race since injuring his hamstring at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 21, cruised to victory in heat four with a winning time of 46.20. Finally, the 2012 Pac-12 400m champion Nellum won the sixth heat with a time of 46.73. Mance had the second-fastest qualifying time, Hughes the fifth-fastest an Nellum the 12th-fastest.
The Trojan women's freshmen 400m runners were next with Akawkaw Ndipagbor advancing to tomorrow's quarterfinals and Vanessa Jones missing the cut. Ndipagbor placed sixth in the first heat with a time of 54.66 and had to wait out the remaining five heats to find out that her time was good for the eighth-best non-automatic qualifier and 26th overall. She entered the meet ranked 39th in the West Region. Jones had a time of 55.20 to finish seventh in the third heat and 35th overall.
Junior Alitta Boyd was next to compete in the women's long jump and she reached the finals in 12th place with a best jump of 20-6.50 (6.26m) which matched a PR. The top 12 jumpers would advance to the NCAA Championships in the event, so Boyd would need none of the four girls behind her to improve or to better her mark. She fouled in all three attempts in the finals but was still in 12th until UCLA freshman Kylie Price jumped a PR of 21-00.50 in the final round to move into 10th and bump Boyd out of the final position. It was a tough ending to a good day for Boyd, who also placed 13th in the long jump at the 2011 NCAA Preliminary Rounds. She had entered the meet ranked 18th in the region and almost was able to sneak into the top 12 and advance.
The final event for USC featured extraordinary distance runner redshirt senior Zsofia Erdelyi running in the 10,000m race. Entering the day it didn't even look like it would be possible for Erdelyi to compete as she had been experiencing a great deal of pain and stiffness in the IT band of her left hip. She had felt some discomfort in her hip before the Pac-12 Championships, but the pain continued to increase since then and it looked unlikely that she would be able to compete. Being the warrior that she is, she decided to give it a try. She was in last place after about a lap and a half, but it looked like she decided at that point that she might be able to give it a real go and moved up to the middle of the pack. Unfortunately the pain was too much and she started to give ground and ultimately stepped off the track at about 4000m into the race.
Erdelyi's Trojan competitive career is over, but she will be representing USC when she competes in the marathon for her native Hungary at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She will immediately begin treatment to increase her odds of returning to complete health for the Olympics. Erdelyi is the USC record-holder in the 3000m steeplechase (10:01.99), the 5,000m race (16:00.11) and the 10,000m race (33:18.75).
USC will have 16 athletes in action tomorrow competing in first rounds or NCAA quarterfinals:
Women: Lauren Blackburn (100m HH-first round), Alexandra Collatz (discus), Melia Cox (100m HH-first round), Jessica Davis (100m-quarterfinal), Dalilah Muhammad (100m HH-first round, 400m IH-quarterfinal), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (400m-quarterfinal), Aareon Payne (200m-first round).
Men: Aaron Brown (100m-quarterfinal, 200m-first round), Tony Burnett (triple jump), Joey Hughes (400m-quarterfinal), Josh Mance (400m-quarterfinal), D.J. Morgan (110m HH-first round), Bryshon Nellum (400m-quarterfinal), Davonte Stewart (200m-first round), Daniel Szabo (hammer), Reggie Wyatt (400m IH-quarterfinal).