Track & Field
    USC Heads To Texas For NCAA Preliminary Rounds
    Joey Hughes and Josh Mance are both coming off hamstring injuries but are expected to compete at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas.
    Joey Hughes and Josh Mance are both coming off hamstring injuries but are expected to compete at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas.

    May 21, 2012

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    The No. 13 ranked USC men's and No. 23 ranked Trojan women's track and field team will be competing at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas from May 24-26. The top 48 declared athletes in descending order in the region will be competing, with the top 12 finishers advancing to the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Ia. from June 6-9.

    TRAVELING TROJANS - USC will have 29 athletes (12 men, 17 women) competing at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds. The men qualifying for the Preliminary Rounds are Aaron Brown (100m, 200m), Antonio Burnett (TJ), Scott DeYoung (4x400m-alt), Joey Hughes (400m, 4x400m), Marqise Lee (LJ), Josh Mance (400, 4x400m), D.J. Morgan (110m HH), Bryshon Nellum (400m, 4x400m), Daniel Szabo (hammer), Davonte Stewart (200m), Duane Walker (400m IH, 4x400m), Reggie Wyatt (400m IH, 4x400m). USC's women competing will be Lauren Blackburn (100m HH), Alitta Boyd (LJ, TJ), Kristine Busa (javelin), Lauren Chambers (hammer), Alexandra Collatz (discus), Melia Cox (100m HH, TJ), Jessica Davis (100m, 4x100m), Zsofia Erdelyi (10,000m), Vanessa Jones (400m), Loudia Laarman (100m, 4x100m), Marissa Minderler (hammer), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH, 100m HH), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (400m, 4x100m), Jade Niemeyer (hammer), Oluwakemi Olonade (TJ), Jenny Ozorai (hammer), Aareon Payne (200m, 4x100m).

    YEAR THREE OF NCAA PRELIMINARY ROUNDS FORMAT - For the third year there will be two NCAA Preliminary Rounds taking place simultaneously (East Preliminary Rounds are in Jacksonvielle, Fla.) which will virtually serve as the first and second rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

    USC'S PAC-10 SCORERS - USC had 10 men and 16 women score at the Pac-12 Championships. Women: Lauren Blackburn (3rd-100m HH), Alitta Boyd (4th-TJ, 5th-LJ), Kristine Busa (4th-javelin), Lauren Chambers (8th-hammer), Alexandra Collatz (6th-discus), Melia Cox (7th-100m HH), Jessica Davis (2nd-4x100m), Zsofia Erdelyi (5th-10,000m), Vanessa Jones (6th-4x400m), Loudia Laarman (7th-100m, 2nd-4x100m, 6th-4x400m), Marissa Minderler (1st-hammer, 6th-shot, 8th-javelin), Dalilah Muhammad (3rd-400m IH, 5th-100m HH, 6th-4x400m), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (7th-400m, 2nd-4x100m, 6th-4x400m), Jade Niemeyer (5th-hammer), Jenny Ozorai (2nd-hammer), Aareon Payne (4th-100m, 4th-200m, 2nd-4x100m). Men: Terence Abram (6th-4x100m), Aaron Brown (1st-100m, 2nd-200m, 6th-4x100m), Scott DeYoung (2nd-4x400m), Marqise Lee (4th-LJ, 6th-4x100m), D.J. Morgan (5th-110m HH), Bryshon Nellum (1st-400m, 2nd-4x400m), Daniel Szabo (3rd-hammer), Davonte Stewart (3rd-200m, 6th-4x100m), Duane Walker (3rd-400m IH, 2nd-4x400m), Reggie Wyatt (2nd-400m IH, 2nd-4x400m).

    TOP 25 TROJANS - Currently 20 Trojans rank among the NCAA top 25 in an event. USC men ranking in the top 25 are: Aaron Brown (T-5th-100m, T-14th-200m), Devonte Stewart (T-16th-200m), Josh Mance (13th-400m, 1st-4x400m), Joey Hughes (22nd-400m, 1st-4x400m), Bryshon Nellum (4th-400m, 1st-4x400m), Duane Walker (25th-400m IH), Reggie Wyatt (6th-400m IH, 1st-4x400m), Daniel Szabo (5th-Hammer), Cooper Thompson (18th-Javelin). Trojan women ranking in the top 25 are: Aareon Payne (25th-200m, 19th-4x100m), Lauren Blackburn (24th-100m HH), Jessica Davis (19th-4x100m), Loudia Laarman (19th-4x100m), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (19th-4x100m), Dalilah Muhammad (8th-400m IH), Alexandra Collatz (24th-Discus), Jenny Ozorai (4th-Hammer), Marissa Minderler (6th-Hammer), Jade Niemeyer (21st-Hammer) and Kristine Busa (19th-Javelin).

    BROWN WINS PAC-12 100M TITLE - Sophomore Aaron Brown won the Pac-12 100m dash title with a wind-legal PR of 10.18 on May 13. He moved into seventh place on the USC all-time list in the event and made it the sixth time a Trojan had captured the crown in the last eight seasons. Brown also took second in the 200m race with a time of 20.55, just off his wind-aided PR of 20.53. Brown ran a wind-aided 10.09 to win the 100m dash at the Texas Relays on March 31 which currently ranks tied for fifth in the country. Brown had a strong first season at USC, despite battling through a nagging hamstring injury. He won his 100m semifinals heat at the Pac-10 Championships, but reaggravated a hamstring injury suffered on May 1. He tried to run in the 200m semifinals, but had to pull out of the rest of the championships. He recovered enough to compete at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds and advanced to the NCAA semifinals in the 100m dash with a time of 10.42. He ran 10.55 in the semifinals to finish 20th at the NCAAs.

    MEN'S RELAY TEAM EYES 3-MINUTE MARK - A definite strength of the USC men's team is its quarter-milers who form quite a formidable 4x400m relay team. Five different runners (Joey Hughes, Bryshon Nellum, Josh Mance, Reggie Wyatt and Duane Walker) have teamed up to post parts of 3 of the top 10 1600m relay times in USC history. Nellum, Hughes, Wyatt and Mance posted a time of 3:02.24 on March 24, the second fastest 4x400m relay in USC history, the NCAA leading time and a new Loker Stadium record. They now trail only the NCAA champion team of Travis Hannah, Curtis Conway, Martin Cannady and Quincy Watts which set the school record with a time of 3:00.58 on June 6, 1992 in Austin, Texas. With Hughes and Mance battling hamstring injuries the past six weeks, they haven't run as a group again since the Texas Relays when Mance was hurt. Still, the group of Scott DeYoung, Nellum, Walker and Wyatt was able to place second at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 3:06.39.

    HUGHES EYES RETURN AT NCAA PRELIMINARY ROUNDS - Senior captain Joey Hughes suffered a left hamstring injury in the 400m dash Invite Elite race at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 21. He has been getting treatment with the hopes of returning for the regional. Hughes had a spectacular first three seasons at USC. Already he ranks sixth all-time by a Trojan male in the 400m dash with a time of 45.05 and has been part of the second, fifth and eighth fastest 4x400m relay teams in USC history. Last season he earned All-America honors in the 400m dash, placing fifth with a time of 45.64. He has always been one of USC's busiest athletes, often competing in the 400m, 200m, 4x400m and 4x100m races and his loss was really felt at the Pac-12 Championships. At the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, Hughes took second place in both the 200m and 400m dashes, anchored the winning 4x400m relay which posted the then-10th-fastest time in USC history and ran the second leg for the sixth-place 4x100m relay team. His best 400m this season is 45.99 which currently ranks 22nd nationally.

    NELLUM WINS PAC-12 400M TITLE - Redshirt senior Bryshon Nellum won the Pac-12 400m dash title with a time of 45.20 on May 13, pulling away from Oregon's Mike Berry on his home track. Nellum posted the top collegiate time in the 400m dash earlier this season when he ran a 45.18 in the Invite Elite race at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 21, finishing behind only former Olympic finalists Martyn Rooney (44.92) and Jeremy Wariner (44.96). Nellum's time was a PR and the ninth-fastest 400m dash ever by a Trojan. That time currently ranks fourth in the country. Nellum has been showing signs all season that he might finally be all the way back from the injuries which have held him back ever since he won the 2007 National Track Athlete of the Year Award while at Long Beach Poly. For the first time since Nellum arrived at USC he is running pain free. In his first collegiate race on March 1, 2008 he pulled a hamstring causing him to miss the rest of that season. He then suffered a gunshot injury to his legs in the Fall of 2008 which wiped away the entire 2009 campaign. He was able to return for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but continued to run with pain as bullet fragments were touching nerves in his leg. Each of those seasons ended with surgery to try and remove the fragments. Still, Nellum was able to show his pedigree by placing third in the 400m at the 2010 Pac-10 Championships and running a season-best time of 45.94 in the 400m which was the 15th-fastest regular season time in the country. Both the 2010 and 2011 seasons came to an end at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds when he was forced to shut it down due to pain in his leg. In 2011 before the injury, he again was able to place third in the 400m dash at the Pac-10s with a collegiate best time of 45.56. Also this season, Nellum has run a 20.76 to win the 200m dash at the Tiny Lister Invitational on April 7 and ran the leadoff leg for the 4x400m relay team which posted the second-fastest time in school history of 3:02.24 at the Trojan Invitational on March 24. Nellum's PR in the 200m dash is still the 20.43 he ran as a high school senior.

    MINDERLER CLAIMS SECOND-STRAIGHT PAC-12 HAMMER TITLE - Redshirt senior co-captain Marissa Minderler continues to be an invaluable member of the USC team as she has posted all-time top 10 marks at USC in the hammer, javelin and shot put. She won the 2012 Pac-10 hammer throw title with a PR of 220-11 (67.35m) and also had another PR of 219-10 earlier in the series. She won the event for the second consecutive season and became the first Pac-12 women's hammer thrower to win two titles since former Trojan Eva Orban won in 2006 and 2009 and Minderler became the first consecutive winner since Jessica Cosby in 2004-05. Minderler moved into third place on USC's all-time hammer throw list, fifth on the Pac-12 all-time list and sixth nationally. Her previous best throw of 212-8 (64.83m) was set at the Ben Brown Invitational on March 9 and she won the hammer throw with a mark of 210-5 at the Trojan Invitational on March 23. Minderler won the 2011 Pac-10 hammer throw title with a then-PR of 210-3 (64.09m). She also scored for USC at the 2011 Pac-10s in the javelin (6th) and in the shot put (8th) and this year placed 6th in the shot put and 8th in the javelin throw. Minderler ended her 2011 season by placing 14th in the hammer at the NCAA Championships to earn second-team All-America honors with a throw of 199-10 (60.90m) and then took 12th at the USA Championships with a throw of 204-2 (62.23m). Minderler ranks sixth all-time by a Trojan in the shot put with a mark of 50-2.75 (15.31m) and fifth in the javelin with a throw of 157-3 (47.92m). This season her best in the shot is 49-1 and in the javelin is 156-9.

    IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE...IT'S SUPER-LEE - USC freshman football receiver Marqise Lee has competed for the Trojans this spring in the long jump and 4x100m races when his work with the football team would allow it. Once spring practice ended, he began a more consistent workout routine with the track team and the results have shown as he placed fourth in the long jump at the Pac-12 Championships with a PR of 25-1.25 (7.65m). He also ran leadoff on USC's 4x100m relay which placed sixth at the Pac-12 Championships. Lee placed second in the long jump competition at the Rossi Relays on Feb. 25 with a jump of 24-4.25 (7.42m) and then won at the Trojan Invitational on March 24 with a leap of 23-11.50 when he was allowed to skip the football scrimmage to compete. Lee currently ranks 20th in the West Region and 36th in the counry in the event. Lee had an outstanding freshman football season starting at wide receiver. He had 73 catches for 1,143 yards (15.7 ave.) with 11 touchdowns. He ranked 15th nationally in receiving yards (95.3 per game) and his 11 TD catches were the most nationally by a freshman. He was named the 2011 Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Co-Player of the Year and made numerous freshman All-America teams.

    IT'S LIKE RIDING A BIKE FOR MORGAN - Redshirt freshman football player D.J. Morgan didn't seem to show any much rust or difficulty in adjusting to the collegiate hurdles height as he placed fifth in the 110m HH at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 14.21 after not competing in the event since his junior year of high school (2009). His only other race was the preliminary round at the Pac-12s when he ran 14.48 to advance. Morgan's time was the best by a Trojan hurdler this season and ranks tied for 41st in the regional. Before Morgan focused exclusively on football he won the 2009 California state 110m HH and placed second in the 300m IH. In the summer of 2009, he won the 110m HH at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Italy with a time of 13.28 (the 5th all-time performance). Last season as a redshirt freshman on the football team, Morgan started two games and appeared in 10, while making 42 carries for 163 yards. He rushed for 70 yards in 18 carries against Minnesota while becoming the first USC freshman tailback to start an opener sinc C.J. Gable in 2006.

    WALKER FINISHING SENIOR SEASON STRONG - Senior Duane Walker has been a vaulable member of the Trojan team for four seasons at a top-flight 400m hurlder and as a starter or alternate on the Trojans' top-ranked 4x400m relay team. Walker took third place in the 400m IH at the Pac-12 Championships with a time of 50.80, his fastest time since registering 50.78 as a freshman at the conference meet. Walker now ranks 13th in the West Region and 25th nationally in the 400m IH. He has also been a member of the fifth-fastest 4x400m relay time in school history when USC registered 3:02.87 at the Texas Relays in 2011.

    STEWART ENJOYING STRONG FRESHMAN SEASON - Freshman Davonte Stewart placed third in the 200m dash with a PR of 20.55 at the Pac-12 Championships and placed 12th in the 100m dash with a wind-aided season-best of 10.52. Stewart ranks tied for eighth in the West Region and 16th nationally in the 200m dash. While at AB Miller High in Fontana, Calif. last year, he won the 100m dash at the CIF Southern Section Division I finals for the second consective year with a PR of 10.51.