USC Track And Field Competes At NCAA Championships

June 2, 2005

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The USC men's and women's track and field teams travel to Sacramento, Calif. to compete in the 2005 NCAA Championships hosted by Sacramento State and the Sacramento Sports Commission at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex from June 8-11. The top five finishers and top three qualifying relay teams in each event from the for NCAA Regionals have advanced to the finals, as have several other athletes selected by the NCAA championships committee via an at-large method based on season bests. USC has qualified 16 men in a total of 11 events and 10 Trojan women have qualified in 10 events.


The Women of Troy won their first-ever NCAA track and field championship in 2001 and the USC men's team has won an NCAA-best 26 titles, with the last coming in 1976. The storied USC men's track history includes finishing in first or second place 26 times between 1930-61. The Men of Troy finished third in 2003, but could only finish tied for 60th last season. The USC women's track and field team finished in the top five from 1998-2002, but placed 12th last year. The USC women have come away with 14 outdoor NCAA individual titles while the men have won a whopping 110 individual outdoor honors.


In the latest posted Top 25 rankings by and on May 18, the USC men are tied for 12th and the Women of Troy are eighth.


The USC men's track and field team, behind Wes Felix's wins in the 100 and 200 meters and Jesse Williams' hig jump victory, won the 2005 NCAA West Regional title, while the Women of Troy used victories by high hurdler Virginia Powell and its 400-meter relay squad to finish fourth on May 28 at Eugene, Ore. The Trojan men, who withstood a lightning delay late in the meet that lasted an hour and 40 minutes, scored 103 points to capture their first-ever NCAA West Regional championship after finishing second in the first two meets in 2003 and 2004. Oregon was second with 87.5 points. USC's women, second in 2004 and third in 2003, scored 63 points. Stanford won the 2005 crown with 110.5 points, followed by UCLA (85) and Arizona State (74).


Coming off an impressive first-place finish at the NCAA West Regional and a fourth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships, the Trojan men hope to carry their momentum into the NCAA Finals. For the first time in school history, USC has two 7-4 high jumpers (currently ranked tied for second and fourth nationally) on the same roster. Junior Jesse Williams, who jumped 7-5 to win the 2005 NCAA Indoor high jump crown in March and then soared 7-5 3/4 at the Pac-10 meet to tie the school record, and freshman Manjula Wijesekara, a 2004 Olympian from Sri Lanka who jumped 7-4 1/2 at the Mt. Sac Relays in April, will help lead USC in the field competition. WIlliams is looking to become the first Trojan to win both the NCAA indoor and outdoor high jump crowns in the same season. The Trojans also hope to get points from senior Allen Simms (2003 NCAA Indoor triple jump champ), one of the best horizontal combo jumpers in the country. Simms' marks are second in the nation in the triple jump (55-4 1/4) and sixth in the long jump (25-9 1/4). He'll limit his NCAA action to the triple jump. On the track, the Trojans have the fourth fastest 4x100m relay time in the country, running 38.89 at the Mt. SAC Relays to put them third on the USC all-time list, marking the school's fastest time since 1980. The sprinting corps is led by senior Wes Felix, a two-time Pac-10 200m champ and 2005 Pac-10 100m champ. Felix is coming off a double win at the NCAA Regionals in both the 100m and 200m sprints (He'll only compete in the 100 at the NCAAs). The mid-distance squad is an area of depth for USC this season, as freshman Duane Solomon and sophomore Raphael Asafo-Agyei have knocked on the door of USC's top 10 charts with 800m times under 1:49. The Trojan's 4x100m meter team ran USC's fastest time in 25 years (38.89) on April 17 at the Mt. SAC Relays and qualified for the NCAA Championships with the 11th fastest time (39.39). The rest of the Trojan men's track and field athletes competing in the NCAA Championships are senior Marvin Anderson (200m), junior Tomasz Babiskiewicz (1,500m), sophomore William Denbo (shot put), junior Phillip Frances (100m, 4x100m), junior Blake Frazier (110m HH, 4x100m), junior Jeff Garrison (4x400m), junior Garry Jones (4x100m), freshman Kai Kelly (110m HH, 4x400m), sophomore Adam Midles (hammer) and junior Patrick Wetzel (4x400m).


The Women of Troy, fourth place finishers in the NCAA West Regional and in the Pac-10 Championships, are led by junior All-American hurdler Virginia Powell, a Honda Award finalist. She won the 60m crown at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships in March and has one of the country's top outdoor times in the 100m hurdles (12.70w) ; she also placed first in the Pac-10 Championships in the 100m hurdles and the 100m dash, and won the NCAA West Regional 100m hurdles finals. Sophomore Candice Davis is having a solid season, with a personal-best 13.13w in the 100m HH and 1:01.69 in the 400m IH. USC's sprinting corps is young, but talented. The Trojans had three 100m runners finish in the Pac-10's top six. Senior Alexis Weatherspoon ran a season-best, wind-aided 11.31 at the dual meet and finished second place in the Pac-10 with an 11.43 mark. She also finished third in the Pac-10 Championships in the 200m with a 23.41 mark. Freshman Jessica Onyepunuka, who has a 100m season-best 11.43w, won the 100m at the UCSD Triton Invitational and finished fifth at the NCAA West Regional. Senior Iryna Vashchuk is having another outstanding season, winning the Pac-10 championships with a time of 4:16.02 in the 1500m, which ranks fourth nationally....The Women of Troy dominated the Pac-10 in both the 400m and 1600m relays this season. Powell, junior Tracee Thomas, Weatherspoon and Onyepunuka ran a season-best 43.66 to win the Pac-10 championships and rank sixth on the Trojans all-time list. They then won the NCAA West Regional with a 44.03 time. The solid 4x400m relay unit, featuring Thomas, sophomore Treani Swain, freshman Jasmine Lee and freshman Carol Rodriguez, also posted the best mark in the Pac-10 this season at 3:33.78 on April 9 ...USC's only field entrant at the NCAA's is sophomore Julia Rozenfeld, who has been consistent in the hammer, finishing fourth in the Pac-10 Championships and third in the NCAA West Regional and ranks 12th in the NCAA with a 61.90m throw.


The Trojan men's program has won an unprecedented 26 NCAA outdoor national titles (including nine straight in 1935-43), plus two NCAA indoor crowns, far more than any other school. In fact, in the history of the NCAA, only the Oklahoma State wrestling program (31) has more national titles than USC men's outdoor track and field. The Trojans also have had 110 individual outdoor champions over the years. The Women of Troy won their first NCAA team championship in 2001 and have had 14 individual outdoor champions.


In March, junior Jesse Williams became the first Trojan to ever win the NCAA Indoor high jump crown and has the opportunity to become the first Trojan ever to win the men's NCAA indoor and outdoor high jump crown in the same season and only the second Trojan in 45 years to win an outdoor high jump crown. He tied the school record with a jump of 7-5 3/4 at the Pac-10 Championships. Williams won high jump competition in the NCAA West Regional.with a meet-record 7-4 1/2. He almost didn't get a chance to win the event as he was inadvertently passed in the jumping order while changing his spikes. He was given one attempt with the bar raised to 7-4 1/2 and he confidently cleared it for the win....In his first year at Troy, Manjula Wijesekara broke the 25-year-old USC freshman record in the high jump (7-2 ½ set by Anthony Caire at the UCLA dual meet May 1, 1982) with his season-best 7-4 ½ jump at the Mt. SAC Relays, which ranks as the fourth highest collegiate jump this year...USC's 4x100m relay team of junior Phillip Francis, senior Wes Felix, freshman Lionel Larry and senior Marvin Anderson ran USC's fastest time in 25 years --38.89-- at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 17. Unfortunately, Larry was injured at the 2005 Oxy Invite. The Trojans are deep and still well-equipped to be competitve in the NCAA Championships with junior Garry Jones, Felix, Frances and junior Blake Frazier.....Felix fell just short of becoming the first man to win back-to-back-to-back 200m conference crowns in the history of the race (USC's Lennox Miller won the 200-yard crown from 1967-1969), when he ran a 20.65 time to finish second to Seth Amoo of ASU (20.63). He then won both the 100m (10.45) and the 200m (20.58) at the NCAA West Regional...Senior Allen Simms, who holds the USC and Pac-10 triple jump records, defended his triple jump title in the Pac-10 Championships and then finished second in the NCAA West Regional with a jump of 55-4 1/4.....Powell, the Pac-10's best sprinter/hurlder combo since Gail Devers, defended her Pac-10 100m crown (her 11.15w mark on April 30 was best in the Pac-10) and won her first conference crown in the 100m HH (her 12.70w mark on April 9 also was best in the Pac-10). She won the 100m hurdles with a time of 12.81 at the NCAA West Regional...Davis has improved her personal-best mark in the highs from 13.93 to 13.14, tied for second on USC's all-time list... Vashchuk has won the conference 1,500m crown each of the last two seasons and also won the 2004 West Regionals in the event......Rozenfeld is the USC freshman record holder in the hammer and finished 10th in the event at the 2004 NCAA Championships.


In his 11th season as the USC Director of Track and Field, Ron Allice has brought the proud Trojan track and field heritage back to prominence. The Trojan men's program has won an unprecedented 26 NCAA outdoor team championships, 61 world records, 87 Olympic team members, 40 Olympic gold medals and 16 inductees in the U.S. National Track and Field Hall of Fame. Under Allice and his staff's guidance, the Trojan women's track team was the only NCAA school to finished in the top three for four consecutive seasons (1999-2002), winning it all in 2001. The men's track squad went on a run of seven consecutive top 10 finishes from 1994-2000, a feat last accomplished by the Men of Troy back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During his tenure, Trojan men have won six NCAA individual titles, garnered All-America acclaim 67 times and set six school records and tied another. Allice has an overall dual meet coaching mark of 211-44-1 in 36 years at five schools, including 11 state championships in 16 years at Long Beach City College, his previous stop before landing at Troy. Allice's programs have produced more than 245 All-Americans, plus 16 Olympians, four world record holders and seven American record holders.

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