USC's Men's and Women's Track And Field Teams Win 2006 NCAA West Regional

May 27, 2006

USC senior Virginia Powell tied the collegiate record and set a new meet record in the women's 100m high hurdles and freshman Eva Orban bettered her school record and set a new meet record in the women's hammer throw today (May 27) at the NCAA West Regional hosted by BYU in Provo, Utah. In winning their events, they qualified for the NCAA Championships and were two of the 24 Trojans this weekend to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held in Sacramento, Calif. from June 7-10.

The top five finishers (top three in relay events) in each of the four NCAA Regionals that took place this weekend, as well as a group of 5-8 other athletes chosen from a pool of the next best seven finishers in each event from the four regionals advance to the NCAA Championships. The final group of athletes qualifying for the NCAA Championships will be announced on Tuesday, May 30.

The men's team pulled away during the meet, but the women's team needed junior Kate Hutchinson to win the discus competition to tie Stanford for the team title and she won the event with a throw of 181-6 (55.33m). USC and Stanford's women's teams tied for first with 94 points, with UCLA placing third with 92.5 points. The Trojan men won with 123 points, followed by BYU with 86.5 points and Arizona with 75.

'You have to remember we came here with only 10 girls,' said USC's Director of Track and Field Ron Allice. 'I feel our men's team hasn't gotten much respect nationally all year. We are a team, both men's and women's.'

Powell's winning time of 12.61 in the 100m HH tied the collegiate record she already co-held with Gail Devers of UCLA (1988) and set a new meet record. Trojan junior Candice Davis placed fourth in the event with a time of 13.07 to also qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Orban won the hammer competition with her first throw, establishing a new NCAA West Regional record and bettering her school record with a throw of 226-8 (69.10m). She shattered the meet record set by UCLA's Cari Soong of 65.92m set in 2003 and won today's competition by over 11 feet.

Sophomore Carol Rodriguez, who set the USC and Pac-10 record in the women's 200m dash yesterday (22.23), won the finals with a time of 22.62 to qualify for the nationals. Sophomore Jessica Onyepunuka placed eighth in the event with a time of 23.96.

Rodriguez also won the women's 100m dash with a wind-aided time of 11.09, just edging teammate Powell who had an 11.10 time. Onyepunuka finished fifth with a season-best time of 11.33 to earn a trip with Rodriguez and Powell to the NCAA Championships.

Powell, Onyepunuka, Davis and Rodriguez teamed up to win the women's 4x100m relay with a meet-record time of 43.59.

Other Trojan women earning automatic berths at the NCAAs were sophomore Michelle Sanford in the triple jump (4th) and on Friday, senior Karen Freberg in the shot (2nd).

On the men's side, senior Garry Jones set a meet record in the 100m dash and tied for the 10th on USC's all-time list with a winning time of 10.23. Teammate senior Philip Francis placed second with a time of 10.30, with both runners qualifying for the nationals.

Francis also qualified in the 200m dash by winning the event with a wind-aided time of 20.46.

In the men's 400m race, both sophomore Lionel Larry and senior Jeff Garrison qualified, as Larry won the event with a personal best of 45.53 and Garrison placed fourth with a time of 46.34.

Sophomore Duane Solomon won the men's 800m race with a meet-record time of 1:47.87, just ahead of teammate junior Raphael Asafo-Agyei, who came in second with a time of 1:48.10.

Senior 1500m runner Tomasz Babiszkiewicz had to wait the longest to find out if he had qualified with his time of 3:53.91. In a race that featured several runners falling, Babiszkiewicz finished sixth, but after judges disqualified a runner from Oregon, he moved up to fifth place and earned a trip to Sacramento.

Senior Jesse Williams defended his NCAA West title in the high jump by clearing 7-2 1/4 (2.19m) to win the event. He now advances to the NCAA Championships where he will attempt to defend his 2005 NCAA high jump title. Freshman Nathan Gwozdz did not clear his initial height of 2.06m.

The men's 4x100m relay team of Jones, freshman Matthew Palmer, Francis and sophomore Roy Alugbue ran a season-best time of 39.68 to win the event and qualify for the NCAAs.

Other Trojan men advancing to the NCAA Finals are juniors Noah Bryant (2nd) and William Denbo (4th) in the shot put, sophomore Kai Kelley in the 110m HH (4th) and the men's 4x100m relay team.

The Trojans that competed today, but did not automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships and must await the at-large selections are: junior Julia Rozenfeld in the women's hammer (9th), junior Inman Breaux in the men's triple jump (11th), senior Dennis Rice in the men's javelin (18th), freshman Brysun Stately in the women's pole vault (8th) and freshman Nathan Gwozdz in the pole vault (NH).

Trojans automatically qualifying this weekend for the NCAA Championships to be held in Sacramento from June 7-10:

Women:100m: Carol Rodriguez, Virginia Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka200m: Carol Rodriguez100m HH: Virginia Powell, Candice Davis4x100m: Virginia Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis, Carol RodriguezTriple Jump: Michelle SanfordShot: Karen FrebergHammer: Eva OrbanDiscus: Kate Hutchinson

Men:100m: Garry Jones, Philip Francis200m: Philip Francis400m: Lionel Larry, Jeff Garrison800m: Duane Solomon, Raphael Asafo-Agyei1500m: Tomasz Babiszkiewicz110m HH: Kai Kelley4x100m: Garry Jones, Matthew Palmer, Philip Francis, Roy Alugbue4x400m: Kai Kelley, Matthew Palmer, De'Sean Cunningham, Jeff GarrisonLong Jump: Jesse WilliamsHigh Jump: Jesse WilliamsHammer: Adam MidlesShot: Noah Bryant, William Denbo

Final Team Standings:Men:1.) USC - 123, 2.) BYU - 86.50, 3.) Arizona - 75, 4.) Washington - 71, 5.) Oregon - 63

Women: 1.) USC - 94, 1.) Stanford - 94, 3.) UCLA - 92.5, 4.) Arizona State - 82, 5.) Oregon - 62

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