USC Track & Field In Iowa Ready For The NCAA Championships
June 4, 2012
DES MOINES, IA - The No. 9 ranked USC men's and No. 14 ranked Trojan women's track and field team will be competing at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Ia. from June 6-9. The Trojans arrived in Des Moines yesterday and will practice at the facilities and adjust to the time change today and tomorrow. The first day of competition (Wednesday) will be a busy and important one for the Trojans as they will be competing in the women's javelin, men's long jump, women's discus, men's 400m, men's 100m, men's and women's 400m IH and the women's 4x100m relay.
WATCH THE MEET LIVE - The 2012 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be streamed for free live on NCAA.com. ESPN will provide video coverage via ESPN3.com on Thursday and Friday, and on ESPNU on Saturday.
TROJANS ADVANCING TO NATIONALS - USC qualified 17 individual athletes (8 men, 9 women) and two relay teams for the NCAA Championships. The women athletes looking to earn All-America status are: Lauren Blackburn (100m HH), Alitta Boyd (triple jump), Kristine Busa (javelin), Alexandra Collatz (discus), Marissa Minderler (hammer), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH), Jade Niemeyer (hammer), Jenny Ozorai (hammer), Aareon Payne (200m) and the 4x100m relay team (Loudia Laarman, Payne, Akawkaw Ndipagbor,Jessica Davis and alternate Vanessa Jones). The USC men which advanced to the championships are: Aaron Brown (100m, 200m), Joey Hughes (400m), Marqise Lee (Iong jump), Josh Mance (400m), Bryshon Nellum (400m), Davonte Stewart (200m), Daniel Szabo (hammer), Reggie Wyatt (400m IH) and the 4x400m relay team (Nellum, Hughes, Mance, Wyatt and alternates Duane Walker and Scott DeYoung).
USC AT THE NCAA T&F CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's track and field team has won 26 NCAA outdoor titles, more than double the next-best program Arkansas, which has won 12. USC won a record 9-straight titles from 1935-43. The Trojan women's team won its only team title in 2001. USC's men's team tied for 12th place in 2011 but has finished in the top 10 in 13 of the 17 seasons with Ron Allice leading the Trojans. The women's team placed sixth last season and has finished in the top 10 in 11 of the last 17 seasons. USC has also had at least one individual win an NCAA title in 17 of the last 20 seasons.
Top Men's T&F Championship Titles 1.) USC 26 2.) Arkansas 12 3.) UCLA 8 4.) UTEP 6 5.) Oregon 5
BACK TO DRAKE - Last year at the NCAA Championships held at Drake, USC's men tied for 12th and the women placed 6th. The lone Trojan to win an individual NCAA title was senior Nia Ali who won the women's 100m HH crown with a wind-aided time of 12.63. USC has seven athletes advancing this season which earned first-team All-America status last year.
YOUTHFUL TROJANS - Of the 20 athletes scheduled to compete for USC at the NCAA T&F Championships individually or as part of a relay team, 11 are freshmen or sophomores.
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 ranks tied for fifth in the country at the end of the regular season. Brown had a strong first season at USC, despite battling through a nagging hamstring injury. He won his 100m semifinals heat at the Pac-10s, 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.
BOYD POSTS PR TO LEAP TO NATIONALS - Junior Alitta Boyd had a strong regional meet setting a PR in the triple jump with a leap of 43-8.50 (13.32m) to place third and on to nationals. She also matched a PR with a long jump of 20-6.50 (6.26m), but placed 13th for the first spot out for the second season in a row. Boyd's triple jump moved her from sixth to fourth on USC's all-time top 10 list. Boyd placed fourth in the triple jump with a wind-aided jump of 42-5.25 (12.93m) and fifth in the long jump with a wind-aided jump of 20-4.50 (6.21m) at the Pac-12 Championships. She competed in a few indoor meets this year, winning the long jump competition at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational with a jump of 20-9.75 (6.33m). It was a PR for Boyd who's outdoor best is 20-6.5. She followed that up with 10th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships earning second team All-America status. Boyd tied for seventh with a triple jump of 42-10.75w (13.07m) at the 2011 Texas Relays. Boyd was also a two-time scorer at the 2011 Pac-10s, taking fourth with a the triple jump of 42-1.25 (12.83m) and fifth with a season-best long jump of 20-4.50 (6.21m).
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. USC ran a team of Mance, Nellum, Walker and Wyatt to post a time of 3:04.05 to finish second at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.
HUGHES RETURNS AT REGIONALS, PASSES TEST - Senior captain Joey Hughes suffered a left hamstring injury in the 400m dash Invite Elite race at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 21 and did not return to action again until the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas on May 24-26. Hughes made it to the quarterfinals by running 46.20 to win his preliminary heat and then placing third in his quarterfinal heat with a time of 46.08. He was held out of the 4x400m relay on May 26 as a precautionary measure. Hughes had a spectacular first three seasons at USC. 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. The five-time All-American 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 was the 22nd-fastest during the regular season.
A MANCE AMONG BOYS - Sophomore Josh Mance won the 400m race at the Trojan Invitational on March 24 with a season-best of 45.65, which ranks 13th nationally. Later in the day, he ran anchor for USC's winning 4x400m relay team which ran 3:02.24, the second-fastest time in school history. Unfortunately for Mance, he injured his hamstring at the Texas Relays on March 31 running on the relay and did not run a 400m race until regionals. He did, however, return to action at the Dual Meet on April 29 and won the 800m race with a PR of 1:51.16. He was kept out of the Pac-12 Championships as a precaution. Mance appeared to be back to health as he won his first round race with a time of 45.92 and then took third in his quarterfinal heat with a time of 45.82 at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas. He also answered the bell to run leadoff for the 4x400m relay which qualified with a time of 3:04.05. Last season Mance won his first collegiate 400m race at the Trojan Invite on March 19, 2011 with a time of 46.18 and never slowed down, taking fourth at the Pac-10 Championships and sixth at the NCAA Championships in the event. He set the USC freshman record in the 400m dash in the semifinals with a time of 45.29, breaking the previous record of 45.37 set by Bill Green at the 1980 NCAA Championships. Mance also ran the leadoff led for the U.S. Junior track and field 4x400m relay team which took the gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Junior Championships in Miramar, Fla. on July 24.
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 then unleashed a wind-aided PR of 25-5.50 (7.76m) in his third long jump at the NCAA Preliminaries to finish seventh and advance to the NCAA Championships. He 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 entered the Prelimianry Rounds ranked 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.
USC WOMEN BRINGING THE HAMMER - USC's hammer throwers Marissa Minderler (1st), Jenny Ozorai (2nd), Jade Niemeyer (5th) and Lauren Chambers (8th) cleaned up at the Pac-12 Championships and claimed 23 of the Trojans' 91 points at the meet. It shouldn't have been a surprise as the USC women's hammer throwers captured the top five spots in both of their first two competitions this season, then five of the top seven at the Ben Brown Invitational on March 9, six of the top nine spots at the Northridge Invitational on March 16 and then were the top four college finishers at the Trojan Invitational on March 23. At the Ben Brown Invitational, Jenny Ozorai won with a PR and the second-farthest throw in school history of 223-4. Also setting top 10 marks all-time by a Trojan were Marissa Minderler (212-8, 4th, now 3rd with her PR of 220-11 at Pac-12s) and Jade Niemeyer (201-2, 9th, now 6th with a PR of 208-0 at regionals). In addition, Tamara Baumann set a PR with a throw of 184-11. USC's current women's hammer throws group has four of the top 10 marks all-time by Trojans, which also includes Chambers at seventh (206-5). At the end of the regular season, USC had three of the top 21 marks in the country as Ozorai was 4th, Minderler 6th and Niemeyer 21st. Lauren Chamber's season-best throw of 195-8 ranked 36th in the country. USC was able to get Ozorai, Minderler and Niemeyer through to the NCAA Championships in the hammer throw with Ozorai placing fourth (218-6), Minderler seventh (210-1) and Niemeyer eighth with a PR of 208-0 (63.40m). Out of the 24 qualifying marks at the regionals, USC had three of the top nine throws.
MUHAMMAD PROVIDES STEADY LEADERSHIP - Senior co-captain Dalilah Muhammad earned her third All-America honors by placing sixth in the 400m IH at the 2011 NCAA Championships with a time of 57.88. She set a PR with a time of 56.04 in the semifinals to better her third-place standing on USC's all-time 400m IH list. Muhammad also placed second at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships with a time of 56.80. Muhammad scored at the 2009 NCAA Championships in the 400m IH (3rd) and 4x400m (6th). Muhammad was part of a 4x400m relay which ran the sixth-fastest time in USC history of 3:31.57 at the NCAAs on June 11, 2009. Muhammad has been running 100m HH races in this season and set a then-PR with a time of 13.47 at the Dual Meet on April 29, then bettered that with a 13.45w in the semifinals and 13.46 in the finals to place 5th at the Pac-12 Championships. Muhammad also placed third in the 400m IH at the Pac-12s with a time of 56.98. Muhammad won the 400m IH at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet with a season-best and eighth-best time in the country of 56.72, beating All-American Turquoise Thompson in the process (56.92). Muhammad qualified for the NCAA semifinals in the 400m IH with times of 57.90 and 56.98 in the two rounds at the regional. She also reached the NCAA quarterfinals in the 100m HH, but was the first one out (by .02) finishing 13th with a PR of 13.33 and that was the only heat with a legal wind. Muhammad's time moved her into 10th place on USC's all-time 100m HH list.
PAYNE RANKS IN USC's TOP 5 IN TWO EVENTS - Senior sprinter Aareon Payne has run her way up the USC all-time charts in both the 200m dash and as part of the 4x100m relay. Payne moved into fifth place on USC's all-time 200m dash list when she ran down the pack to win the Invite Elite race with a time of 22.83 at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16, 2011. Payne went on to place fifth in the 200m dash at the NCAA Championships by matching her PR with a time of 22.83 to earn All-America honors. She also ran the second leg on USC's 4x100m relay team which placed third at the NCAAs with a time of 43.42, fourth-fastest in school history. Payne established herself as one of the top sprinters on the West Coast as a freshman in 2009, scoring at the Pac-10 Championships in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, but was hampered by injuries throughout the 2010 season and had to withdraw from the 200m finals at the Pac-10 Championships. Payne has a 100m dash PR of 11.45 in placing second to teammate Jessica Davis at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet on May 1, 2011. Payne opened up her 200m season by placing second at the Trojan Invitational with a time of 23.33 and bettered that with a time of 23.20 in the 200m dash Invite Elite race at Mt. SAC on April 21 and ended the regular season ranked T-24th in the country. Her best 100m time this season is 11.46w in placing fourth at the Pac-12s...she also took fourth in the 200m dash with a time of 23.21. Payne had a time of 23.45 and 23.28 at regionals to advance to nationals.
WYATT CLEARING ALL HURDLES - Junior Reggie Wyatt placed second in the 400m IH at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships with a PR of 49.41 to better his eighth-place standing on USC's all-time list. Wyatt has established himself as one of the top hurdlers in the country and a valuable member of the USC 4x400m relay team being part of three of the top 10 times all-time by a Trojan quartet, including running the third leg which gave USC the lead at the Trojan Invitational on March 24 when they won with a time of 3:02.24, the second fastest time in USC history. Wyatt opened his 400m IH season by winning at the Ben Brown Invitational with a time of 50.47 and then bettered it with a blazing early-season time of 49.95 to win at the Trojan Invitational on March 24. That time was the sixth-best regular season time in the country. Wyatt placed second in the 400m IH at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships with a time of 50.35 and anchored the 4x400m relay team which ran 3:06.39 to place second. He then ran 50.33 for the top time in the first round and 50.57 in the quarterfinals at the NCAA Regional to advance to nationals. He also anchored the 4x400m relay team which ran 3:04.05 to place second and advance to the NCAA semifinals.
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 ended the regular season as the fourth-fastest 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 then-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.