Track & Field
    USC To Travel To San Diego This Weekend For Triton Invitational
    Sophomore distance runner Natasha Strickland
    Sophomore distance runner Natasha Strickland

    April 23, 2014

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    USC's No. 12 men's and No. 7 women's track and field teams will compete at the Triton Invitational on April 25-26 in San Diego, Calif. A portion of the USC team (women's throwers, jumpers, pole vaulters & distance runners) will be in action, while the remainder of the squad will train through in preparation for next week's USC-UCLA Dual Meet.

    HARRIS SETS RECORD, EARNS PAC-12 HONORS - Senior Aleec Harris set the USC 110m HH record when he won the Invite Elite race at Mt. SAC on April 19 with a time of 13.32. He broke the school record of 13.33 set by Mark Crear in 1992 and tied by Oscar Spurlock in 2011. Harris has the fastest time among all college runners this season and his 13.32 ranks second all-time by Pac-12 hurdlers. For his efforts, Harris was named the Pac-12 Male Track Athlete of the Week for the week of April 14-20.

    BROWN CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE START - Senior Aaron Brown earned All-America honors last season in the 100m and 200m and looks like he is on his way to accomplishing the feat again this season. He opened individually outdoors at the Florida Relays on April 4 set a PR in the 200m with a time of 20.19 (-0.6). That time moved him from eighth to third on USC's all-time 200m dash list and at the time was the second-leading time in the world to Florida's Dedric Dukes who won the race. Brown also posted a time of 10.24 (-0.1) in the 100m dash. He then won the 200m at the Mt. SAC Relays with a time of 20.26 (+1.6) and placed third in the 100m dash with a time of 10.16 (+0.0). He currently ranks fourth in the 200m and tied for sixth in the 100m among college runners. He also has run the second leg on USC's 4x100m relay team with ranks eighth with a time of 39.60.

    WOMEN'S SPRINTERS BECOMING A FORCE - USC has five women's marks in the top 25 in the country in the 100m and 200m dashes, led by Jessica Davis who is tied for 11th in the 100m and sixth in the 200m. Tynia Gaither is 22nd in the 100m and tied for second in the 200m and Alexis Faulknor is 18th in the 100m. USC has four females who have run under 11.50 in the 100m (Davis - 11.30, Faulknor - 11.38, Gaither - 11.41 and Loudia Laarman - 11.47) and six under 23.60 in the 200m (Gaither - 22.80, Davis - 22.86, Akawkaw Ndipagbor - 23.40, Vanessa Jones - 23.43, Faulknor - 23.57 and Laarman - 23.58). USC has 10 times under 11.50/23.60 this season already, compared to four all of last season.

    BLACKBURN IS NOT GOING TO GO OUT QUIETLY - Senior hurdler Lauren Blackburn has garnered second-team All-America honors twice and honorable mention one time and looks to hurdle onto the first team in 2014. She had a 2013-best of 13.35 in the 100m HH and placed fifth in the event at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships and 22nd at the NCAA Championships. Blackburn set the USC freshman 100m HH record in 2011 with a time of 13.06 in placing second at the Pac-10 Championships to teammate Nia Ali. Blackburn's time erased Virginia (Powell) Crawford's mark of 13.07 off the books. Blackburn had a strong 2014 indoor season, winning the MPSF 60m HH title with a PR of 8.19. Blackburn then went on to the NCAA Indoor Championships where she finished 16th after clipping a hurdle and finishing with a time of 8.52. Blackburn opened up with an impressive time of 13.34 in winning at the Trojan Invitational on March 21. She then blazed to a wind-aided personal best of 12.99 (+2.7) to finish fifth in the Invite Elite race at Mt. SAC on April 19. She currently ranks eight among college runners in the 100m hurdles.

    COLLATZ CONTINUES GREAT START TO SEASON - All-American junior discus thrower Alexandra Collatz began the 2014 season by winning both the hammer throw and discus throw competitions at the Rossi Relays on Feb. 22. She then won the discus throw at the CS Los Angeles Invitational on March 7 with a PR of 187-6 (57.15m) to better her second-place standing on USC's all-time list and close the gap on Kate Hutchinson's school record (189-5). She also placed second in the hammer throw with a PR of 181-5 (55.29). Collatz then bettered her hammer throw PR with a mark of 183-3 (55.85m) in finishing fourth at the Ben Brown Invitational on March 14. Another week, another PR for Collatz in the hammer as she tossed the "ol' ball and chain" 185-8 (56.60m) to place fifth at the Trojan Invitational on March 21. She currently ranks fourth in the discus and 69th in the hammer throw among college females.

    USC RANKING AMONG THE BEST -- There are currently 21 NCAA top 25 marks posted by Trojan athletes early this season: Men: Aaron Brown (100m - T-6th, 200m - 4th), Remington Conatser (Hammer - 1st), Viktor Fajoyomi (Decathlon - 12th, HJ - T-21st), Aleec Harris (110m HH - 1st), BeeJay Lee (100m - T-23rd), Davonte Stewart (200m - 20th) and the 4x100m relay (8th). Women: Lauren Blackburn (100m HH - 8th), Lauren Chambers (Hammer - 13th), Alexandra Collatz (Discus - 4th), Jessica Davis (100m - T-11th, 200m - 6th), Alexis Faulknor (100m - T-18th), Tynia Gaither (100m - T-22nd, 200m - T-2nd), Vanessa Jones (400- T-16th), Jaide Stepter (400m IH - 15th), the 4x100m relay (6th) and the 4x400m relay (3rd).

    NEXT WEEK - USC's track and field team will face UCLA in the annual Dual Meet on May 4 in Westwood, Calif. UCLA swept last year's meet, after the Trojans had two sweeps and four splits in the previous six seasons. USC's loss on the women's side snapped a five-year winning streak.