June 2, 2001
Eugene, Ore. - Angela Williams, Brigita Langerholc and Inga Stasiulionyte each won individual titles, spurring the USC women's track and field team to its first team title at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., on May 30-June 2 (Wed.-Sat.).
USC scored a total of 64 points to runner up UCLA's 55. Arizona made it a Pac-10 sweep of the top three spots with 44 points.
It's the seventh NCAA women's team title for USC's athletic program and its 77th NCAA title overall. Out of those 77 titles, 29 now belong to track and field.
'This championship was about good athletes and knowledgeable coaches creating an environment for people to show their talents,' said USC Director of Track and Field Ron Allice. 'We've tried to instill pride and the will to win. The rest takes care of itself and, the last I checked, that all spells success.'
Going into the 200 meters--the next to last event of the meet--USC held a 56-51 lead over the Bruins. The Women of Troy and UCLA had taken their last two encounters down to the 1600-meter relay, with the Bruins coming out on top both times. Once again, it looked like the relay would decide the winner. This time, though, USC made sure that the relay would not be a factor, as junior Kinshasa Davis' third place finish in the 200 put the Women of Troy up by 11 points with one event to go, effectively shutting the door on UCLA's title hopes (NCAA scoring is 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1).
To get to that point, the Women of Troy ran, jumped and threw their way to a near-perfect meet. Junior Cynthia Ademiluyi got things going for USC on day two by finishing an unexpected third in the shot, giving the Women of Troy six points. On day three, USC scored 34 points as senior Brigita Langerholc won the 800 meters, the 400-meter relay squad took second and freshman Inga Stasiulionyte won the javelin throw. By the time junior Tatyana Obukhova took a surprise third in the triple jump, USC had 40 team points to its credit.
On Saturday, USC had four events in which to win, or lose, the meet. The Women of Troy responded with three more come-through performances, making the fourth event--the 1600-meter relay--irrelevant.
In the women's hammer, junior Julianna Tudja upped her own school record nearly four feet to 210-11 to place third--the highest hammer finish ever by a Women of Troy athlete at the NCAA meet. It was also the last of 22 points contributed by the USC throwers, once again helping the Women of Troy to stay ahead of the competition.
'I was thinking that it (the hammer event) was my game,' said Tudja, who transferred from SMU last fall. 'This is an unbelievable team and (throws coach) Dan Lange is the best coach ever. To transfer to USC was the best decision in my life.'
Junior Angela Williams then continued the momentum by blazing to an unprecedented third straight NCAA 100-meter title, edging out UCLA's Shakedia Jones in a season-best 11.05 (wind-aided). Williams reacted emotionally after the race, bounding joyfully around the turn before grabbing a bouquet of yellow roses and bowing to an appreciative crowd.
'I always wanted to be remembered as someone who did great things on the track,' said Williams. 'But to make history, that's something I'm really proud of.'
Williams' win gave USC 56 points and set the stage for Davis' clincher. Then, USC's 1600-meter relay squad of junior Natasha Neal, senior Carla Estes, Davis and Langerholc brought the baton around in 3:36.66 to place seventh and give the Women of Troy their winning total of 64.
Junior Cynthia Ademiluyi: 'It feels great. We've been waiting a long time for this. I think this is one of the best throws squads in the country right now and it's going to get even better.'
Senior Candace Young: 'It's about time! This is the best team I've ever been on. We have great chemistry and everyone likes each other, which makes the win even beter.'
Senior Malika Edmonson: 'We deserved this. We've had a lot of ups and downs over the last couple years. We should have won last year's, too, and now this would be a two-peat!'
Junior Angela Williams: 'I'm so excited right now. My cheeks are going to be sore from smiling so hard. I'm so proud of my team right now. To battle with them for so long and then to end up on top when it counted is amazing. I tell you what, I'm ready for four (NCAA 100m titles).
Junior Kinshasa Davis: 'Going into that 200m, I didn't know that I could clinch the meet. When I found out after, I didn't want to believe it. It feels way better than I could have imagined.'
USC All-Americans: Angela Williams (100m, 400m relay), Kinshasa Davis (200m, 400m relay, 1600m relay), Brigita Langerholc (800m, 1600m relay), Natasha Neal (400m relay, 1600m relay), Tatyana Obukhova (triple jump), Cynthia Ademiluyi (shot put), Julianna Tudja (hammer), Carla Estes (1600m relay), Candace Young (400m relay).
First ever NCAA title for USC women's track.
First NCAA track title of any kind for USC since 1976.
First NCAA track title by a Pac-10 women's team since Oregon in 1985 and first by any Pac-10 team since 1988.
USC's 64 points was the most points by a winning team since LSU's 81 in 1996.
USC's 29th team national championship in track and field.
USC's seventh women's national title.
USC now has 77 NCAA titles.
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