USC's Women Have Solid First Day At NCAA T&F Championships|
June 11, 2015
EUGENE, ORE. - Dior Hall in the 100m HH, Ky Westbrook in the 100m and Amalie Iuel and Jaide Stepter in the 400m IH as well as both relays advanced to championship finals during the second day of action at the 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships hosted by Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. today (June 11) before 10,015 fans.
The Trojans did not have anyone entered in field events today so they could not score any points during the first day of the women's championships, all they could do was try and get as many people through to Saturday's finals, and then look for a big payoff on the last day of the championships.
In all of the semifinals today, an athlete or relay would need to finish in the top two of its heat or have one of the top two remaining times. The first Trojans to compete were the 4x100m relay team of freshman Deanna Hill, freshman Ky Westbrook, junior Alexis Faulknor and sophomore Destinee Brown. Brown was inserted to anchor as redshirt junior star Tynia Gaither hurt her hamstring at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds and had to be scratched from the meet. The Trojans did what they had to by taking second in their heat with a time of 43.62 to automatically advance to the finals. Their time was sixth among the qualifiers for Saturday's final.
Freshman Dior Hall was in the second heat of the women's 100m HH semifinals, which turned out to be the fastest group. She finished fourth in the heat with a time of 12.95 (+3.7w) which was the second-fastest non-qualifying time with one heat to go. Senior Melia Cox was in the final heat and ran 13.29 (+3.3w) to finish seventh in her heat and 19th overall. Hall held on to the final spot for the finals and actually had the sixth-fastest qualifying time.
The women's 100m dash semifinals was next and the Trojans had Faulknor and Hill in heat two and Westbrook in the third and final heat. Faulknor was third in her heat with a wind-aided PR of 11.18 (+3.7w) and Hill was fifth with a wind-aided PR of 11.25 (+3.7w). Faulknor owned the fastest non-automatic qualifying time, but there was one heat remaining. In that heat, Westbrook had a PR of 11.17 (+1.8) to finish fourth and ended up with the second-fastest next best time, meaning she was on to Saturday's finals and Faulknor dropped to ninth, the first spot out. Hill ended up with the 12th-fastest time in the field. Westbrook's time moved her to sixth on USC's all-time 100m dash list.
The women's 400m semifinals was next and neither senior Vanessa Jones nor freshman Kendall Ellis advanced to the finals. Jones finished fourth in the third heat and 12th overall with a time of 52.83, while Ellis was eighth in the first heat and 24th overall with a time of 54.45.
Junior Jaide Stepter then ran in the first heat of the women's 400m IH and made sure she advanced to Saturday's final by taking second with a time of 57.24 to automatically qualify. Iuel followed suit by taking second in the third heat with a time of 56.69. Iuel's time was third among the qualifiers and Stepter's was eighth, 10th overall, but she was safely in by cruising to second in her heat.
USC then had Westbrook and Hill coming back in the 200m semifinals. Westbrook ran a wind-aided PR of 23.01 (+4.6w) to take fourth in the first heat and would have to await the results of the final two heats. Hill also took fourth in the second heat with a time of 23.01 (+1.8), but the results of the first two heats already had then on the outside looking in. Hill would finish 12th (23.002) and Westbrook 13th (23.002), with the final runner to qualify on time going 22.66.
The final event on the day for the Trojan women was the 4x400m relay. USC ran a team of Stepter, Iuel, Ellis and Jones and they cruised to a more than three second victory in the first heat to automatically advance to the finals. They had a time of 3:29.97 which would turn out to be the top qualifying time for Saturday's finals.
Tomorrow the men's NCAA championships will conclude with the Trojans entering the day in third place with 15 points scored. USC still has four more opportunities to score on the final day with Andre De Grasse in the men's 100m and 200m dashes, Randall Cunningham in the men's high jump and the men's 4x100m relay.