Eight Trojans Advance To NCAA T&F Championships
May 25, 2012
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Alexandra Collatz in the discus throw, Dalilah Muhammad in the 400m IH, Daniel Szabo in the hammer throw, Aaron Brown in the 100m, Reggie Wyatt in the 400m IH and Joey Hughes, Josh Mance and Bryshon Nellum in the 400m dash all advanced to the NCAA Championships and five other Trojan athletes advanced to NCAA quarterfinals tomorrow during the second day of action (May 25) 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 in each event advance to the NCAA Championships held in Des Moines, Ia. from June 6-9.
USC's first athlete in action was the birthday girl Collatz in the women's discus throw competition. The freshman came into the meet ranked No. 15 in the West Region, so it would be in a strong battle to advance to the NCAA Championships in the event. Collatz had a foot foul on her first attempt, making it five consecutive throwers with a fault, leaving her plenty of room to move up. She posted a legal throw of 168-4 (51.30m) in her second attempt which put her temporarily in sixth in her flight and seventh by the end of the round. She also had a foot foul in her third attempt which left her in ninth in her flight after three rounds, 12th overall and into the finals. With that result, she would need the four finalist behind her not to improve their standing in the tightly grouped field. Collatz fouled in her first two throws in the finals, but the four women below her did not improve, meaning she just needed no improvement from those four throwers in their final attempt to be safely on to the NCAA Championships before she even attempted her final throw. The best mark by the four discus throwers trailing her in the sixth and final round was 49.22m which meant she had clinched her position. In Collatz' final attempt, she threw 155-1 (47.29m), but it didn't matter as she would be advancing to nationals, a perfect gift for her on her birthday.
The first Trojan on the track was D.J. Morgan in the men's 110m HH event and he would need to place in the top three of his heat or have one of the nine remaining best times to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals. He ran in the second heat and placed eighth with a time of 14.37. That already left him in the eighth spot among the best non-automatic qualifying times and after the third heat was completed, he was eliminated from the possibilty of advancing. His time ended up being the 39th-best on the day. Still, it was an impressive run for Morgan who had not competed in the hurdles since 2009 before placing fifth in the event at the Pac-12 Championships on May 13 with a time of 14.21.
USC then had three runners compete in the women's 100m high hurdles with the top three from each heat and the nine next best times advancing to tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinals. Freshman Melia Cox was the first Trojan and she placed fifth in her heat with a time of 13.71. After all six heats were completed, she finished 33rd and did not advance to tomorrow's rounds. Sophomore Lauren Blackburn and the senior Muhammad ran in the fourth heat and they both automatically advanced as Blackburn placed second with a time of 13.32 and Muhammad took third with a time of 13.36. Blackburn's time was the 10th-fastest and Muhammad's the 14th-best among the qualifiers. They both will run tomorrow with a chance to advance to the NCAA semifinals in the event if they finish among the top 12 hurdlers.
The big race today for the Trojans was the men's 400m quarterfinals with USC having three runners qualified in redshirt senior Nellum, the senior Hughes and the sophomore Mance and all having a good chance of advancing to the NCAA semifinals in the event. To move on they would need to finish in the top three of their heat or have one of the next three fastest times from the three heats. Nellum was up first in the initial heat and he took third with a time of 45.51 to automatically qualify for the NCAA semifinals. Hughes then placed third in the second heat to automatically advance, but not without drama as he stood in seventh with about 150 meters to go, but stormed down the stretch to grab the final automatic qualifier with a time of 46.08. Not to be outdone by either of his teammates, Mance also qualified by placing second in the final heat with a time of 45.82, moving from eighth to second over the final 150 meters. USC will now have three of the 24 competitors in the 400m dash at the NCAA Championships.
Freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor was in the first heat of the women's 400m quarterfinals and she placed eighth with a time of 54.13 and did not advance to the NCAA semifinals in the event. Ndipagbor, who was one of just three freshmen to advance to the NCAA 400m quarterfinals in the West, ended up with the 23rd-best time of the day.
Sophomore Aaron Brown then ran in the men's 100m dash NCAA quarterfinals and placed third in his heat to automatically advance to the NCAA semifinals with a wind-aided time of 10.16. Andrew Riley of Illinois won Brown's heat with a time of 10.03 and Charles Silmon of TCU took second with a time of 10.04. Brown's time was the fourth-fastest of the 12 qualifiers.
Sophomore Jessica Davis was unable to advance to the NCAA semifinals in the women's 100m race, as she placed fifth in her heat and 17th overall with a wind-aided time of 11.58.
The freshman Szabo also earned a trip to Des Moines, Ia. and the NCAA Championships by taking seventh place in the men's hammer throw competition with a best mark of 206-8 (62.99m). Szabo opened with a mark of 197-8, then threw 196-10 and needed his third throw which vaulted him from 15th and hanging onto a spot in the finals to fourth and into a secure spot in the finals. He did not have an improvement in his final three throws, with a best of 204-1 (62.20m), and finished seventh.
The junior Wyatt was next in the men's 400m IH quarterfinals and he needed to be in the top three of his heat or have one of the best three remaining times to advance to the NCAA semifinals. Wyatt was in the third and final heat and placed third to automatically advance with a time of 50.57.
Muhammad then assured herself a trip to Iowa and the NCAA Championships by placing second in the first women's 400m IH heat with a time of 56.98. Her time was the fourth-fastest among the 12 qualifiers.
USC then had a pair of runners advance to tomorrow's 200m quarterfinals in Brown and freshman Davonte Stewart. The pair went 1-2 in the sixth heat with Brown running 20.69 and Stewart going 20.86. Brown's time was the fourth-fastest and Stewart's the 10th-fastest on the day.
The final race for the Trojans today was the women's 200m dash and senior Aareon Payne cruised in with a second-place finish in her heat with a time of 23.45 to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals. She posted the fifth-fastest qualifying time for the quarterfinals.
USC's last men's event was the triple jump and senior Tony Burnett had a best jump of 48-9.50 (14.87m) to finish 33rd. He fouled on his first two jumps, but then landed the 48-9.50 leap to finish fourth in the first of four sections.
USC will have 21 athletes in action tomorrow competing for a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships:
Women: Lauren Blackburn (100m HH-quarterfinal), Alitta Boyd (triple jump), Lauren Chambers (hammer), Melia Cox (triple jump), Jessica Davis (4x100m-quarterfinal), Loudia Laarman (4x100m-quarterfinal), Marissa Minderler (hammer), Dalilah Muhammad (100m HH-quarterfinal), Jade Niemeyer (hammer), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (4x100m-quarterfinal), Oluwakemi Olonade (triple jump), Jenny Ozorai (hammer), Aareon Payne (200m-quarterfinal, 4x100m-quarterfinal).
Aaron Brown (200m-quarterfinal), Scott DeYoung (4x400m-quarterfinal-alt.), Joey Hughes (4x400m-quarterfinal), Josh Mance (4x400m-quarterfinal), Bryshon Nellum (4x400m-quarterfinal), Davonte Stewart (200m-quarterfinal), Duane Walker (4x400m-quarterfinal-alt.), Reggie Wyatt (4x400m-quarterfinal).