Track & Field
    Fajoyomi, Cox Highlight USC's Efforts At Texas A&M Invitaional

    Freshman Melia Cox jumped 40-2 (12.24m) to place second in the women's triple jump at the Texas A&M Indoor Invitational.

    Feb. 13, 2012

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    Sophomore Viktor Fajoyomi placed second in the men's high jump and long jump and freshman Melia Cox placed second in the women's triple jump to lead USC at the Texas A&M Indoor Invitational on Feb. 11-12 in College Station, Texas.

    Fajoyomi took second in the high jump with a clearance of 6-8.25 (2.04m), while grabbing second in the long jump with a best mark of 23-10 (7.26m).

    Cox completed in the triple jump for the first time as a Trojan and placed second with a leap of 40-2, just .02 meters behind the winner, Jordan Wilson of host Texas A&M. Redshirt junior Candace Bailey also competed in the event, but did not have a clean jump. Cox also had the 11th-fastest 60m HH time of 8.76 but did not advance to the finals. Senior Daliliah Muhammad and sophomore Lauren Blackburn did advance to the finals, placing sixth and seventh respectively. Muhammad had a time of 8.50 and Blackburn a time of 8.55. They both had a time of 8.48 in the preliminaries.

    "I'm really excited about the direction the team is going," said senior captain Muhammad. "Everyone seems to be really motivated and ready to compete. There was a couple set backs in the meet but as a whole I think everyone did great. We had people step up in events they don't normally do and not only perform great but with a positive attitude. Our 4 by 4 ran especially well but I know we can be even better. I believe in our teams capabilities and I can't wait to see what we can do. As for myself I'm proud of what have accomplished in the 60h and look forward to also running the short hurdles outdoor this season."

    Senior Aareon Payne was fifth in the 200m dash with a time of 23.84, while freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor was seventh with a time of 23.99. Sophomore Jessica Davis had the 13th-fastest 200m time of 24.21. Davis, however, took fourth in the women's 60m dash with a time of 7.46. Also competing for USC in the 60m dash were Loudia Laarman (7.56, just missing out on advancing to the final) and Alitta Boyd (7.85).

    "I felt good in my 60m," said Davis. "In the prelims my time was a little off, my finals my time was better and my start is also improving. I could do better, but my focus is outdoor season."

    Freshman Vanessa Jones placed ninth (56.39) and sophomore Jenna Puterbaugh (57.19) 11th in the women's 400m race. Senior Anniya Louis was seventh in the women's 800m race with an indoor PR of 2:13.43. Sophomore Jackie Dion was 21st with a time of 2:25.99, seven seconds faster than she ran three weeks ago at the Run for the Dream Meet in Fresno, Calif.

    "When I ran the 400 in Texas all I was thinking about is, you better make up for last week in New York," said Jones. "When the gun went off I had more confidence in my run than I did last week, even though I ran faster, I should've ran quicker because of how I practice. It was down to 4x4 and I felt that I couldn't let my team down so I ran hard like everyone else and we ended up getting 2nd with a time of 3:38 which is amazing, I never been part of a relay running that fast, its just makes me excited for outdoors!"

    Louis added about her 800m race, "I am very excited about the fact that my times are dropping in my 800m indoor races, I am looking forward for future races and a great outdoor season. I am thankful for Coach T and the support of my teammates, family, and friends."

    Junior Alitta Boyd continued her strong early-season jumping by placing third in the women's long jump with a mark of 19-8 (5.99m). Boyd won the 2011 New Balance Collegiate Invitational long jump title last week with a leap of 20-9.75 (6.33m). Junior Jennifer Jones was 13th in the long jump with a best mark of 16-11.25 (5.16m).

    The women's 4x400m team had an impressive effort of 3:38.47 to place second to host Texas A&M. USC's runners were Ndipagbor, Jones, Muhammad and Payne.

    Former Trojans Carol Rodriguez (54.14) and Elizabeth Olear (55.04) ran in the women's 400m Dash Olympic Development race and had the fourth and seventh-fastest times.

    Freshman Allen Williams was the only Trojan male to compete besides Fajoyomi and he too had a strong meet. Allen took third in the men's 60m HH with a time of 8.39 after qualifying with a time of 8.32. Allen also was ninth in the men's triple jump with a leap of 46-1.25 (14.05m).

    "I was very excited to compete in my first collegiate competition for USC," said Allen. "I just want to thank God, coach Allice and the rest of my coaches for their dedicated efforts in helping me make it out to Texas A&M. I really didn't know what to expect. I just cleared my mind and ran my best. I finished in 3rd and was satisfied but know in the future that I can do better. It is always such a privilege to run against out of state teams. I look forward to more competitions in the future, where I plan to do better things."