USC Has 11 Individuals & 2 Relays Advance To The NCAA T&F Championships
May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Nine more individual Trojans and the women's 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams all advanced to the NCAA Championships during the final day at the NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas today (May 25). Any runner finishing in the top three of its heat or posting one of the next three best times or placing in the top 12 of a field event today would earn a trip to the NCAA Championships hosted by Oregon in Eugene, Ore. from June 5-8. After dual three-day regional competitions (Austin & Greensboro, N.C.) which whittled down the NCAA field from 96 to 24 in each event (12 from each region), the Trojans have qualified five individual men in seven events and six individual women in eight events, as well as the women's 4x100m and 4x400m relays which will compete at the NCAA Championships.
The day began with intermittent sprinkles, but cleared up by about 2 p.m., four hours before the action on the track was to begin. Junior Remington Conatser was the first Trojan to compete when he threw in the third flight of men's hammer quarterfinals at about 12:45 p.m. Wearing his full warmups for the first three rounds, Conatser landed a safe first throw of 198-1 (60.38m) which put him in eighth place in his flight and 13th overall. His second mark was a slight improvement to 202-4 (61.68m) but that dropped him into 15th place following two rounds. Sitting on the bubble in 16th place by the time his turn came around in the final round to qualify for the quarterfinals, the cool-as-can-be Conatser landed a throw of 217-3 (66.21m) which vaulted him temporarily to second overall and by the time the three rounds were over he was safely in third place and onto the quarterfinals with three more throws. As it turned out, Conatser, who ranks fifth nationally in hammer, needed the big throw as the third to last thrower would have knocked him to 17th and out of the competition. He had a throw of 201-0 (61.26m) to start the quarterfinals and was passed by one other thrower to drop to fourth where he would remain, but finished with two more solid throws of 213-4 (65.02m) and 214-11 (65.52m) and a trip to the NCAA Championships.
The last Trojans to compete during the daytime were the women's triple jumpers, senior Alitta Boyd, sophomore Melia Cox and sophomore Oluwakemi Olonade, with all three women competing simultaneously in flights three and four. Olonade had a strong first jump of 41-5.25w (12.67m), but fouled in her final two attempts. That jump was good enough to advance her to the quarterfinals in 15th place, but she would have work to do to earn a trip to nationals. Cox' best jump in the preliminaries was 42-6.75w (12.97m) which moved her into the quarterfinals in ninth place. She also jumped 35-10 (10.92m) and 40-8.25 (12.40m). Boyd started the competition with a wind-aided PR of 43-10 (13.36) and then followed that up with a PR of 43-8.75 (13.33m), besting her previous legal best of 43-8.50 (13.32m). Her final jump in the preliminaries was 42-6.75 (12.97) and she moved on to the quarterfinals in fourth place. Boyd's second-round jump improved her fourth-place standing on USC's all-time list in the event.
Olonade began the quarterfinals with a jump of 41-4.50 (12.61m) and then jumped 41-3.75 (12.59m) in her fifth attempt and needed to eclipse 41-10.50 (12.76m) in her final attempt to move into 12th place, which would be a new PR. Her final attempt was 40-7.50 (12.38m) and she finished the competition in 16th place. Cox went 42-2.25 (12.86m) in both her fourth and fifth attempts and then passed in her final attempt to advance out of the Preliminary Rounds in 11th place. Boyd passed on all three attempts and moves on by taking fourth, so she will compete in both the long jump and triple jump in Eugene, Ore.
When the track portion of the meet began at 6 p.m., USC's 4x100m relay team of junior Loudia Laarman, Cox, junior Jenna Puterbaugh and sophomore Vanessa Jones ran in the first lane of the first heat of the women's 4x100m quarterfinals. The Trojan quartet left no room for doubt about advancing to the NCAA Championships by taking second in its heat with a time of 44.38. Puterbaugh had a strong third leg to get USC in striking distance and Jones had a very impressive anchor, closing the gap on the winning Oregon team which finished with a time of 44.31. USC's time was the fifth-fastest of the qualifiers.
Sophomore Allen Williams competed in the men's triple jump which also started at 6 p.m. and opened with a leap of 48-1.25 (14.66m). His second round jump was 47-7.75 (14.52m) and he fouled in his final attempt. He was fifth in his flight and 15th after the first two flights, but finished 36th overall.
The busy day continued for Cox as she and junior Lauren Blackburn ran in the first heat of the women's 100m HH quarterfinals. Blackburn took third with a season-best time of 13.35 to automatically advance to the NCAA semifinals. Her time was the 10th-fastest among qualifiers. Cox was fifth in the same heat with a time of 13.40 and would have to await the results of the next two heats. Following the second heat, Cox still remained with the second-best non-automatic qualifying time. The fourth runner in the final heat ran 13.29 to knock her down to the final spot, but she beat everyone else's time and now moves on the the NCAA semifinals. It was the third time during the day that the super sophomore advanced to the NCAAs, already qualifying in the triple jump and as part of the 4x100m relay team.
Junior Aleec Harrs then ran in the first heat of the men's 110m HH quarterfinals and took third with a time of 13.67. He automatically advances to the NCAA semifinals and was fifth-fastest on the night among the 110m hurdlers.
Another Trojan competing in three events on the day was Puterbaugh who ran in the second heat of the women's 200m quarterfinals along with sophomore teammate Akawkaw Ndipagbor. Puterbaugh took fifth in their heat with a time of 23.71 and appeared tied for the final qualifying spot going into the last heat (turned out, actually .003 out of qualifying at the time). Ndipagbor placed fourth with a time of 23.66 and had the second-best non-automatic qualifier. The final heat's fourth-place runner had a time of 23.52, but Ndipabor hung on to the final spot and advances to the NCAA semifinals in the 200m. That was not without a scare, though, as the scoreboard originally had Texas' Courtney Okolo winning with a time of 22.69 instead of placing fifth with a time of 23.69 which would have pushed Ndipagbor into 13th place.
In the final event at the meet for the USC men's team, sophomore Aaron Brown, senior Bryshon Nellum and sophomore Davonte Stewart ran in the men's 200m quarterfinals. Brown was first to go and he cruised to victory in the 200m with a dash of 20.47 which tied his season-best time to advance to the NCAA Championships. Nellum and Stewart ran in the next heat, with Nellum running 20.58 to take second and automatically advance to the semifinals at the NCAA Championships. Stewart placed fifth with a time of 21.29 which already was the fourth non-qualifier and he would end up 15th in the competition. Charles Silmon of TCU won the heat which Nellum and Stewart ran in with a staduim record-time of 20.23.
Puterbaugh and Ndipagbor then came back to run in the women's 4x400m quarterfinals, along with Jones and junior Ashley Liverpool. Ndipagbor was the first leg and had a strong final 100m to bring the Trojans into third place and that is pretty much where they stayed, with Jones running second, Puterbaugh third and Liverpool fourth. The Trojans automatically advanced to the NCAA Championships with a time of 3:32.31 which was a season best and bettered their eighth-place standing on USC's all-time list. USC posted the sixth-fastest qualifying time.
Trojans who earned a trip to the NCAA Championships by advancing out of the NCAA Preliminary Rounds with a top 12 finish are: Lauren Blackburn (women's 100m HH), Alitta Boyd (women's long jump and triple jump), Aaron Brown (men's 100m and 200m), Alexandra Collatz (women's discus), Melia Cox (women's triple jump, 100m HH, 4x100m), Remington Contatser (men's hammer throw), Aleec Harris (men's 110m HH), Vanessa Jones (women's 4x100m and 4x400m), Loudia Laarman (women's 4x100m), Ashley Liverpool (women's 4x400m), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (women's 200m and 4x400m), Bryshon Nellum (men's 200m and 400m), Jenny Ozorai (women's hammer throw), Jenna Puterbaugh (women's 4x100m and 4x400m), and Reggie Wyatt (men's 400m IH).