USC Track And Field Signs Four Sprinters For 2004-2005

Nov. 26, 2003

Los Angeles - Standout athletes Lionel Larry III, Jasmine Lee, Jessica Onyepunuka and Carol Rodriguez have signed letters of intent to attend USC, Trojan Director of Track and Field Ron Allice announced today.

All four will enroll at USC in the fall of 2004 and compete for the Trojans in the 2005 outdoor track and field season.

'These four sprinters are very talented and among the best on the West Coast, if not the country,' said USC Director of Track and Field Ron Allice. 'They each have a lot of upside and are quality individuals. They will represent USC well and help continue the great Trojan sprint tradition we have here in both the men's and women's programs.'

Larry, a prep All-American from Compton Dominguez (Calif). high, won the 2003 California state 200m championship as a junior last spring in a personal-best 20.87. That time was the third-fastest prep mark in the nation in this year. His best time in the 100m--10.60--came in winning the San Gabriel League championship (he ran a wind-aided 10.51 while winning the Masters Championship). Larry was named the Long Beach Press Telegram's 2003 Boys Athlete of the Year and earned 2003 USA Track and Field Junior All-American honors. He was also a 2003 World Youth Games participant and a 2003 Junior Olympic bronze medalist. As a sophomore, he was the Junior Olympic 200m champ in a time of 21.48.

Lee, a prep All-American from Long Beach Poly (Calif.) high, was the 2003 California state champion in the 400m and was the youngest member of the U.S. gold-medal-winning 1,600m relay squad at this year's Pan American Junior games. Her best time of 52.52 is the nation's second-fastest returning 400m time from last season. Her 23.55 indoor 200m at the Simplot Games is the second-fastest junior mark ever (she beat outdoor record holder Allyson Felix in that race). Lee was a member of Poly's state championship 400m and 1,600m relay squads--the latter of which set a girls prep record at the Penn Relays--and was the Arcadia and Mt. Sac Relay champion at 400m. Lee also was a two-time state finalist in the 200m and a finalist in the 100m. She received a 2002 CIF Southern Section Award for maintaining a grade point average of 3.5 or higher during her athletic season.

Onyepunuka, a prep All-American from Peoria High in Phoenix, Ariz., won the 2003 World Youth Games championship in the 100m in a World Youth record 11.31--the second fastest time by a prep female in 2003. She is the Arizona state record holder in the 100m, 200m and as a member of the Peoria 400m relay team. She earned All-State honors each of her first three years of high school. She was born in Phoenix, but her parents, Sabestine and Elizabeth, were each members of the Nigerian national track and field teams in the early 1980s. Onyepunuka also earned All-State honors for two years in volleyball and was her team's MVP. A fine student, she is a member of the National Honor Society and also her school's student body president.

Rodriguez, who preps at Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson High (she spent her first three years at Western High in Anaheim), is one of the top junior sprinters in the country. She finished third in the 100m at the 2003 California state meet with a personal-best 11.66 and was sixth in the 200m at 24.25. At the 2003 Junior National Championships, she again ran 11.66 in the 100m and later added a personal-best of 23.85 in the 200m at the Mid-Summer Games. She was selected as a member of the relay pool for the U.S. Junior National team that competed at the 2003 Junior Pan-Am Games in Barabados. She holds Western High records for the 100m, 200m and 400m and is first on Orange County's all-time performance list for the 100m and 200m.

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