Track & Field
    USC Has 3 Individuals & A Relay Team Advance To NCAA Finals

    Josh Mance set the USC freshman record in the 400m dash in advancing to Friday's NCAA finals. Mance ran a 45.29 to break the previous record of 45.37 set by Bill Green at the 1980 NCAA Championships.

    June 8, 2011

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    Cooper Thompson placed ninth in the men's javelin and Joey Hughes, Josh Mance, Dalilah Muhammad and the women's 4x100m relay team advanced to NCAA finals today (June 8) during the first day of the NCAA Track and Field Championships being held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Ia. The four-day meet which runs through Saturday features the top 24 male and female individuals in the country in 19 different events with 187 school represented. Scoring at the NCAA championships is 10 points for first, 8 points for second, 6 points for third, 5 points for fourth, 4 points for fifth, 3 points for sixth, 2 points for seventh and 1 point for eighth.

    The junior Thompson was the first USC athlete to compete at the 2011 NCAA Championships. He was in the men's javelin semifinals and he would need to place in the top nine throwers to advance to the finals round. After the first flight, Tim Glover of Illinois State stood in first with an amazing throw of 263-6, while the two-time defending champion Craig Kinsley from Brown was in sixth place with a throw of 229-9 and ultimately did not advance to the finals.

    Thompson's first throw of the second flight was 216-5 which put him in 16th place. His next and best throw was 233-10 (71.28m) which moved him into eighth place in the competition. Thompson fouled in his third throw, but advanced to the NCAA finals in the event in ninth place, with the top eight earning team points. Thompson started the finals round with a throw of 221-10, then fouled and finished with a mark of 215-9. With the new designation for All-Americans being that finishers 1-8 are first team and 9-16 second team and the remaining athletes being designated honorable mention, Thompson became a second team All-America in the javelin.

    On the track first for USC was the women's 4x100m relay team of freshman Loudia Laarman, junior Aareon Payne, freshman Jenna Puterbaugh and freshman Jessica Davis and it placed second in its heat to automatically advance to the NCAA final in the event Saturday with a season-best time of 43.59. Their time was the sixth-fastest on the day and fifth-fastest all-time by a Trojan women's 4x100m relay team.

    USC was represented next by the freshman Mance and the junior Hughes in the men's 400m dash, a field that is extremely loaded this season. Like in most of the races, the top two in each heat plus the two next best times would advance to Friday's final. Mance was in the first heat and placed third with a PR of 45.29 which improved his ninth-place standing on USC's all-time list and set the school freshman record. The previous record was held by Bill Green of 45.37 set at the 1980 NCAA Championships. Still, Mance would have to wait and see if his effort would hold as one of the top two non-automatic qualifiers.

    Hughes was in heat two and he placed second with a time of 45.23 to automatically advance to the finals. The third-place finisher in the second heat also had a time of 45.29 which meant Mance was still alive going into the final heat. In that heat, the third place finisher posted a time of 50.72 which meant that both Mance and Hughes will be running in Friday's final. Hughes ended up with the fourth-fastest time on the day and Mance the sixth best.

    The final Trojan to advance to a final was the junior Muhammed in the women's 400m IH. She advanced to Friday's final by placing second in her heat with a PR of 56.04. Muhammad was in the third and final heat and it appeared that she would have to match her PR to qualify for the finals and she left nothing to chance with a strong stretch run and a PR of nearly a half second to advance. Muhammad's time bettered her third-place standing on USC's all-time list in the event and leaves her just 0.25 seconds out of second place all-time by a Trojan female in the event. She also had the fifth-best time on the day.

    Sophomore Reggie Wyatt had a tough stretch run in the men's 400m IH and did not advance, finishing fourth in his heat and 11th overall with a time of 50.72. Wyatt got out fast in the race and still appeared to be in second place at the final hurdle, but he seemed to lose all his momentum at hurdle number 10 and was passed by two hurdlers. Two-time NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson won the heat with the day's best time of 49.19. Wyatt earned All-America second team honors by placing 11th.

    Two other Trojans that competed on the day, but did not advance were Davis in the women's 100m dash and freshman Aaron Brown in the men's 100m race. Davis ran in the first heat and got a very slow start, trailing the pack at the midway point of the race, but came charging in the second half of the race to finish third in her heat with a time of 11.51. They switched the direction of the 100m races to take advantage of the wind, but it must have switched because her heat ran into a -0.7 wind, the strongest of the three heats. The second heat, run into a -0.3 wind, had four runners go faster than Davis' time, which knocked her out of a trip to Friday's final. Davis ended up with the 11th-fastest time to earn All-America second team honors.

    Brown was in the first men's 100m dash heat and placed seventh with a time of 10.55. When all three heats were completed, Brown finished in 20th place and earned honorable mention All-America status.

    In action tomorrow for the Trojans competing in trials and finals with a chance to score team points are Nia Ali in the women's high jump and Trey Henderson in the men's hammer throw. Also competing tomorrow in NCAA semifinals events are Ali (100m HH), Brendan Ames (110m HH), Lauren Blackburn (100m HH), Jessica Davis (200m), Joey Hughes (4x400m), Josh Mance (4x400m), Aareon Payne (200m), Blake Shaw (1500m), Oscar Spurlock (110m HH), Duane Walker (4x400m) and Reggie Wyatt (4x400m).