De Grasse Wins 100m & 200m Dashes At 2015 NCAA T&F Championships|
June 12, 2015
EUGENE, ORE. - Andre De Grasse had a record-setting day winning the 100m and 200m dashes, while the 4x100m relay team ran the second-fastest time in school history during the final day of men's action at the 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships hosted by Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. today (June 12) before 11,168 fans. USC finished with 40.5 points to place fifth in the team competition, its third-straight season with a top five finish and the first time scoring top five in three consecutive seasons since the 1975-77 seasons. Since the scoring system changed to the current format in 1985, the 40.5 points is the fifth-most ever by a Trojan squad.
"We had a fifth-place finish today, last year we finished fourth even though we scored less points. Fifth place was amazing for the fashion in which we did it," said USC Director of Track and Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "To walk away from the NCAA Championships with three individual champions and a fourth-place finish in the relay with the second-fastest time in school history is absolutely a great achievement by the team. Conor McCullough represented us with pride. He threw like a monster and beat the competition by over 17 feet and I think that set us up for the weekend."
"We had a few ups and downs on day one with lane draws and we earned some lanes that weren't exactly ideal, but what we did today was comeback and re-formulate what we needed to do and compete," added Smith Gilbert. "To run 38.75 in the 4x100m and to watch Andre De Grasse run with so much tenacity from start to finish in the 100m and then dominate the last 50 meters of the 200m was absolutely one of the most exciting things I have ever seen. He's a special person and a special athlete and I am just honored that he decided to be a Trojan. Tomorrow we are going in with the expectation of winning the women's championships. We are going to show what Trojans do, what we always do, and we will fight to the end and come home with a trophy."
De Grasse's first individual even of the day was the men's 100m dash finals and it was spectacular. De Grasse won going away with a wind-aided PR of 9.75 (+2.7w), the second-fastest any condition time by a collegiate runner. It is also the fastest any-conditions time ever run by a Canadian athlete. De Grasse's time also matches Tyson Gay (2008 Olympic Trials) for the-fastest any condition time at Hayward Field. De Grasse picked up 10 points for the Trojans in the team competition. De Grasse's win by .13 seconds was the largest winning margin in the final since 2010. De Grasse extended USC's lead in the all-time titles in the event as he became the Trojans eighth winner.
As if that wasn't amazing enough, De Grasse then completed the 100m and 200m sweep by winning the 200m dash in record-setting fashion with a time of 19.58 (+2.4w). That time was the fastest any condition time ever run by a collegian and the fastest any condition time run at historic Hayward Field. It is also the world-leading any conditions time. He became the first Trojan to win both the 100m and 200m dashes at the NCAA Championships since Clancy Edwards accomplished the feat in 1978. He also became just the second Trojan (Aaron Brown in 2013 and 2014) to score in both events since Edwards in 1978. De Grasse is USC's first 200m dash winner at the NCAA Championships since Edwards in 1978 and only the third ever (Mel Patton in 1948 and 1949).
De Grasse became the first person to sweep the men's 100m and 200m dashes at the NCAA Championships since Florida State's Walter Dix in 2007. He also became the 21st person to ever win the 100-yard/meter and 200 meter (220 yard) races at the NCAA Championships in the same season, joining Trojan greats Edwards (1978) and Patton (1948 and 1949), as well as among others, Jesse Owens (1935 and 1936), Justin Gatlin (2001 and 2002) and Harvey Glance (1976).
De Grasse was credited with scoring 21.5 points at the meet (10 for wins in the 100m and 200m and 1.5 points for the relay), the most by any competitor in the 2015 men's championships. His is USC's first NCAA Championship leading-scorer since Edwards scored 22.5 (converted to modern scoring system) in 1978.
"It was just an unbelievable feeling," said De Grasse. "I never thought that I could run that fast but I just have to believe in myself and now that I've run that fast it's just changed my whole perspective on running. I just wanted to come out here and run. Contribute some points to my team and try and win a championship."
The first running event of the day for USC was the men's 4x100m relay and the Trojans ran a team of senior BeeJay Lee, De Grasse, junior Just'N Thymes and freshman Adoree' Jackson. It was the first time anchoring for Jackson this season and the Trojans took fourth place with the second-fastest time in school history of 38.75. That is the fastest time for a Trojan 4x100m relay team at the NCAA Championships since it went to meters in 1976. USC has scored in the 4x100m relay in consecutive seasons (also fourth in 2014) for the first time since the 1999 and 2000 seasons. The Trojans' time was just .06 seconds off the school record of 38.69 set by Kevin Williams, Billy Mullins, James Sanford and Mike Sanford on February 23, 1980. Jackson became the first USC football player to score in two events at the NCAA Championships (fifth in long jump) since Sultan McCullough in 2000 (100m, 4x100m). The Trojans picked up five points in the team competition.
Freshman Randall Cunningham got things going for the Trojans, competing in the men's high jump. He cleared the first two heights of 6-9.75 (2.08m) and 6-11.50 (2.12m) effortlessly in his first attempt and then had a long wait for his next height. The bar was moved up to 7-1.00 (2.16m) and the wait had no affect on Cunningham as he was the first person to clear that height, again on his first attempt. After another long wait and just 13 competitors remaining, the bar was moved up to 7-2.25 (2.19m). Cunningham missed on his first two attempts, as the bar was catching up with all the contestants. He then missed his final attempt and finished tied for eighth with a clearance of 7-1.00, good for a half-point in the team competition. Cunningham was the only freshman to score in the high jump and as it turns out, he would have had to finished at least fourth for it to matter in the team standings.
Tomorrow the women's NCAA championships will conclude with the Trojans having eight chances to score with Alexandra Collatz (discus), Dior Hall (100m HH), Amalie Iuel (400m IH), Tera Novy (discus), Jaide Stepter (400m IH), Ky Westbrook (100m) and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.