Harris Sets Pac-12 Hurdles Record To Lead Trojans At West Preliminary Rounds
May 31, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. - Aleec Harris set the Pac-12 record and U.S.-leading time in the 110m HH, Aaron Brown ran the fifth-leading 200m time in the world to set a Canadian national record and Tynia Gaither set a PR in the 200m to join all three Trojan relay teams in qualifying for the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships during the final day of the NCAA Track & Field West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Arkansas at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark. today (May 31). The 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be held in Eugene, Ore. from June 11-14 and USC will have athletes competing individually in 14 events and three relay teams qualified.
The highlilght of the day for the Trojans was the senior Harris' performance in the men's 110m HH. Harris won the second heat of the men's 110m HH and ignited the crowd with a winning time of 13.18 (+1.8) to set the West Regional record, which had been broken in the previous heat by Wayne Davis III with a time of 13.20 (+1.9). Harris' PR is the No. 1 time in the U.S. and No. 2 in the world entering this week's action. He dropped his school record from 13.32 to 13.18. He also broke the Pac-12 record of 13.22 set by Greg Foster of UCLA in 1978.
Senior Lauren Chambers in the women's hammer throw was the first Trojan to compete on the day. The event began at 10 a.m., but Chambers was in the third and final flight and that didn't begin until about 12:30 p.m., still five and a half hours before the running events were set to begin. After the first two flights of 16 competitors, the top mark was 201-4 and only four women had thrown at least 190 feet. Chambers had fouls in her first two attempts and would need a mark of 185-8 (56.60m) in her final throw to advance to the event quarterfinals. Unfortunately, she could not stay in the ring on her final attempt and finished with three fouls. With this result and the injuries this season to Jenny Ozorai and Remington Conatser, it will be the first season since 1992 that a Trojan man or woman will not score at the NCAA Championshis in the hammer throw.
The next Trojans to step onto the John McDonnell Field track were the men's 4x100m relay of Harris, the senior Brown, junior BeeJay Lee and senior Terence Abram. Abram was stepping in for the injured Davonte Stewart, with junior Bryan Mercado also ready to roll in the anchor spot if needed. The top three from each heat and the three next best times would earn a trip to Oregon. The quartet took care of business by placing second in the third and final heat with a time of 39.59. That time ended up being the ninth-fastest among the qualifiers.
The next race on the track featured the USC women's 4x100m relay team of senior Loudia Laarman, senior Jessica Davis, sophomore Alexis Faulknkor and the sophomore Gaither which stormed around the track in 43.55 to win the first heat of the women's quarterfinal. They won their heat by nearly a full second (43.55-44.53) and had the third-fastest time among the qualifiers.
The junior Cox, already qualified in the triple jump, placed fourth in her 100m HH heat with a season-best time of 13.44 (+1.8) and grabbed the final spot to advance to the NCAA Championships in the event. Her time was her best since running 13.40 at the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.
Brown and Lee were next in the first heat of the men's 200m dash. Brown won with a PR of 20.16 (+0.5) to better his third-place standing on USC's all-time list in the event. It also tied him for the fifth-fastest time in the world this season and broke the Canadian record of 20.17 which had stood since 1991. Lee got out slowly and finished with a time of 21.90 in eighth place in the heat. Brown advances to nationals in both the 100m and 200m dashes, while Lee will represent USC in the 100m in Eugene, Ore.
Davis was first to run in the women's 200m dash quarterfinals and had a tough lane-two draw. She ran 23.33 (+0.9) to take fourth and would have to await the results of the next three heats. After the second heat Davis' time had dropped to the third and final non-automatic qualifier wiith the final heat to go which featured teammate Gaither. Gaither took care of business by taking second with a PR of 22.88 (+1.5) to automatically advance. That time bettered her eighth-place standing on USC's all-time 200m list. Unfortunately, the fourth-place finisher in the third heat ran a time of 22.31 (+1.5) which bumped Davis down into the dreaded 13th position, .01 seconds behind the 12th qualifier. Gaither advances to the NCAA Championships in both the 100m and 200m races, while Davis qualified in the 100m dash.
The final event of the meet at 9:55 p.m. was the women's 4x400m relay and USC ran a team of junior Vanessa Jones, junior Akawkaw Ndipagbor, Davis and senior Ashley Liverpool. The quartet placed second in the second heat with a time of 3:31.94 to automatically advance to the NCAA Championships in the event. Liverpool had an anchor of 52.87 to secure the advancement and bring USC home with the ninth-fastest 4x400m relay time in school history.
Trojans that individually qualified for events at the 2014 NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. during the three-day NCAA West Regional are: Aaron Brown (100m, 200m), Alexandra Collatz (discus), Melia Cox (triple jump, 100m HH), Jessica Davis (100m), Tynia Gaither (100m, 200m), Aleec Harris (110m HH), Amalie Iuel (400m IH), Vanessa Jones (400m), BeeJay Lee (100m), Oluwakemi Olonade (triple jump), the men's and women's 4x100m relays and the women's 4x400m relay. Also, Viktor Fajoyomi qualified in the decathlon which goes off the descending order list.