10 Trojans Advance To NCAA Quarterfinals During First Day Of West Regional
May 29, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. - USC advanced 10 athletes to event quarterfinals tomorrow and four Trojans came up a little short of advancing to the NCAA Championships in field events during the first day of the NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Arkansas at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark. today (May 29) before 3,825 fans. In all of USC's races today, the athlete would have to finish in the top three of its heat or have one of the next six best times to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals, while a top 12 finish in the field events would punch a ticket for nationals in Eugene, Ore. from June 11-14.
The first Trojan to compete with a chance to earn a trip to Eugene for the NCAA Championships was sophomore Alexis Faulknor in the women's long jump. There were four flights of 12 jumpers with the top 16 after three rounds earning three more jumps and the top 12 after six rounds advancing to the NCAA Championships. Faulknor was in the third flight which was contested simultaneously with the fourth flight. After the first two flights, the top mark was 20-3.75/6.19m. The top jumpers were in the final two flights. As the first two flights concluded, it started to pour, but as the next group of jumpers warmed up the rain started to slow down, then it got sunny again, before starting to lightly rain as the competition began. Faulknor's first jump went for 19-0.50/5.80m (-0.1) which put her in 17th place after the first round. The skies cleard up for the rest of the competition, but she then fouled in her second attempt and stood in 19th after the first two rounds. Faulknor had the final jump in the prelims and she had to come up big with a jump of at least 19-9 to advance to the final rounds. Faulknor calmly glided down the runway and put up a jump of 19-10.75/6.06m (+1.8) to land in 13th place and earning three more jumps. She could not improve in the finals with a jump of 19-6, a foul and a jump of 19-6.25 and finished in 13th place, one spot out of advancing to the NCAA Championships in the event.
The next field event to conclude was the women's shot put and freshman Tanya Sapa had a best shot put of 48-11.75 (14.93m) to finish fifth in the first two flights. When the final two flights were completed, he had dropped into 26th place and would not advance on to the finals.
Up next was senior Jeff Churchman in the men's javelin throw. He was forced to borrow a javelin for the competition as his was broken on the trip to Arkansas. His first throw went for 197-3, his second 178-5 and he needed to throw at least 208-2 to earn three more throws. His final throw was his best at 201-0 (61.27m), but that did not advance him to the event quarterfinal as he finished in 27th place.
Senior Viktor Fajoyomi was the last Trojan to compete on the day. First he finished the first two flights of the men's long jump in second place with a best leap of 24-6.50/7.48m (+0.7). He had to await the results of the final two flights which featured the top 24 regional qualifiers. When the final two flights were completed, Fajoyomi stood in 12th place and was onto the final three rounds. He fouled in his first attempt and slid back into 13th place, the first position out of advancing to the NCAA Championships in the event. He fouled in his final two jumps also and finished in 14th place. Fajoyomi did not qualify for the championships in the long jump, but he already is qualified in the decathlon.
First up on the track for USC was sophomore Jaide Stepter and freshman Amalie Iuel in the women's 400m IH. The sun was shining and the rain was coming down as the event started. Both runners took care of business by automatically qualifying for tomorrow's quarterfinals. First, Stepter won the second heat with a time of 58.25 and then Iuel took third in the third heat with a PR of 58.43. Iuel's time moved her from 10th to ninth place on USC's all-time 400m IH list. Stepter was eighth and Iuel ninth among today's qualifiers.
The next race for the Trojans was the men's 100m dash, with senior Aaron Brown in the third heat and junior BeeJay Lee in the fourth heat. Brown left no doubt winning his heat with a time of 10.23 to advance to tomorrow's quarterfinals. Lee followed suit by running 10.38 to place second in his heat and automatically advance. Brown had the fifth-fastest time among qualifiers and Lee the 14th.
The women's 100m runners also left nothing to chance with senior Loudia Laarman, senior Jessica Davis, sophomore Tynia Gaither and Faulknor all automatically advancing to tomorrow's quarterfinals. Laarman was the first to run and she placed second in the fourth heat with a time of 11.69 (-0.8). Davis then won the fifth heat with a time of 11.45 (-1.3) and Gaither took second with a time of 11.58 (-1.3). Faulknor took second in the final heat with a time of 11.64 (-0.2). Davis had the sixth-fastest qualifying time, Gaither the ninth, Faulknor the 13th and Laarman the 15th.
Freshman Alex Rohani then ran in the fourth heat of the men's 400m dash. He placed fifth in his heat with a time of 47.15. He needed to at least beat 47.11 to get into the top six next best times with one heat to go. Ultimately the final non-automatic qualifying time was 47.07 and Rohani finished in 28th place.
In the women's 400m dash, senior Ashley Liverpool was up first and she placed fourth in the second heat with a time of 53.39 and would have to wait it out to see if she would advance to tomorrow's quarterfinals. Once all six heats were completed, she had the second-fastest non-automatic qualifier and finished 18th overall. Junior Vanessa Jones was next and placed second in the third heat with a PR of 52.15 to automatically advance. Jones moved from sixth to fourth on USC's all-time list and had the fourth-fastest qualifying time. Junior Akawkaw Ndipagbor ran in the fifth heat and placed fourth with a time of 54.13 and finished 28th overall.