Track And Field Teams Head To Sacramento For The NCAA Championships

June 4, 2006

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TROJANS READY FOR 2006 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP - The USC men's and women's track and field teams, both coming off wins at the NCAA West Regional in Provo, Utah, will look to continue their momentum at the 2006 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships to be held in Sacramento at Hornet Stadium in the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex from June 7-10. The men's team has won a record 26 NCAA championships, with their last one coming in 1976. The Trojan men won nine-straight championships from 1935-43 and finished in the top three in the country 31 times from 1930-65. Last year, the men's team placed sixth in the country and have finished in the top 10 in nine of the last 12 seasons. The women's team placed seventh in 2005 and won their only championship in 2001. In seven of the last 10 seasons, the Women of Troy have had a top 10 finish at the NCAA Championships. The Trojans will have 15 male and 10 female athletes representing USC at the NCAA Championships.

2006 NCAA T&F CHAMPIONSHIPS TO GET RECORD COVERAGE - The 2006 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships will feature four and a half hours of live television coverage on CBS and College Sports Television, the most live coverage in the 86-year history of the finals. CBS will air two and a half hours on the day of the finals (June 10) from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time and CSTV will televise two hours (8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on June 9. This will be the first live coverage of the event since the 1982 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

MEN'S AND WOMEN'S TEAM CAPTURE NCAA WEST REGIONAL TITLES - The USC men's and women's track and field teams both captured 2006 NCAA West Regional titles, the men scoring 123 points to outdistance host BYU (86.5) and the women's team tying Stanford for the title with 94 points. Winning individual championships for USC were Garry Jones (100m), Philip Francis (200m), Lionel Larry (400m), Duane Solomon (800m), Jesse Williams (high jump) and the 4x100m relay team (Jones, Matthew Palmer, Francis and Roy Alugbue). Jones and Solomon set NCAA West Regional records in their events. Trojan females who won individual NCAA West titles were Carol Rodriguez (100m, 200m), Virginia Powell (100m HH), Kate Hutchinson (discus), Eva Orban (hammer) and the 4x100m relay team (Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis and Rodriguez). Rodriguez set a meet and school record in the 200m, Powell a meet record and tied the collegiate record in the 100m HH, Orban a meet and school record in the hammer and the 4x100m relay team set the meet record.

V.P. OF THE TRACK - Senior hurdler/sprinter/relay specialist Virginia Powell has continued to win virtually every sprint hurdles event she enters, winning the Pac-10 Championship with a time of 12.64 and then winning the NCAA West Regional Championship with a 12.61 time, tying the collegiate record she co-holds with Gail Devers (1988). Powell had a wind-aided time of 12.68 to win the 100m HH at Mt. SAC on April 15 to earn women's Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Week (April 10-16). She won every major hurdles event she entered last season and has not lost a meet yet this season. Since the beginning of the 2005 season, she has won the 2005 and 2006 NCAA indoor 60m hurdles championships, the 2005 NCAA 100m HH outdoor championships, the 2005 and 2006 Pac-10 100m HH championship, the 2005 and 2006 NCAA West Region 100m HH championships and set the school record and tied the collegiate record (12.61) in the 100m HH. She also ranks among the Trojans' all-time top 10 in the 100m dash (4th - 11.10) and has been part of three of the top 10 women's 4x100m relays in school history. So far this season, she has posted the fastest collegiate female 100m HH time (12.61) and the fifth-fastest 100m dash time (11.10). Powell (2005-06) joins Gail Devers (1987-88) as the only Pac-10 female runner to double up and win the 100m and 100m HH at the Pac-10 Championships.

TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS - The latest USTFCCCA and Trackwire polls have the USC women's team ranked second and the men's team eighth.

MEN'S TEAM WINS 2006 PAC-10 TITLE; WOMEN PLACE THIRD - USC's men's team won the 2006 Pac-10 Track and Field Championship on May 14 in Eugene, Ore. when they stormed back from a sixth-place standing after the first day of action to clinch the title on the last event by winning the 4x400m relay. It was USC's first Pac-10 crown since 2000 and their fourth in the last 10 years. It was a complete team effort, but the following men won events and earned 10 points for the Trojans individually or as part of the relay team: Philip Francis (100m, 200m, 4x400m), Duane Solomon (800m), Jeff Garrison (4x400m), De'Sean Cunningham (4x400m), Lionel Larry (4x400m), Jesse Williams (high jump) and Noah Bryant (shot). The USC women's team entered the final day of competition tied for eighth with eight points, but scored 104 points in the last day to finish third. Their point total on Sunday alone, was more than everyone but Arizona State and Stanford had the entire meet. Winning individual titles or being part of a relay team to earn 10 points were: Virginia Powell (100m, 100m HH, 4x100m), Carol Rodriguez (200m, 4x100m), Candice Davis (4x100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m) and Eva Orban (hammer). Powell became just the second Pac-10 female to win the conference 100m dash title three times (2004-06).

RETURNING 2005 ALL-AMERICANS - Jesse Williams in the high jump (1st), Adam Midles in the hammer (6th), Virginia Powell in the 100m HH (1st), Candice Davis in the 100m HH (7th), Garry Jones, Philip Francis and Jeff Garrison in the 4x100m relay (5th).

CURRENT SCHOOL RECORD HOLDERS - Jesse Williams in the high jump (7-6 1/2), Virginia Powell in the 100m HH (12.61), Brysun Stately in the pole vault (13-7 1/4), Kate Hutchinson in the discus (189-5), Karen Freberg in the shot (57-7 1/2), Carol Rodriguez in the 200m (22.23) and 400m (51.51) and Eva Orban in the hammer (226-8).

TROJANS CLAIM TWO INDOOR TITLES - The Trojans had a strong showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 10-11), despite sending just five female and one male athlete to the event in Fayetteville, Ark. Jesse Williams defended his 2005 indoor title by jumping 7-6 to win the 2006 NCAA indoor high jump championship. Virginia Powell ran 7.84 to win the 60m hurdles title for the second consecutive season. Her time was the fastest ever recorded by a female college athlete in the 60m hurdles Candice Davis placed eighth in the 60m hurdles and Carol Rodriguez second in the 200m race to lead the USC women's team to a tie for eighth place in the team competition with 21 points.

USC TRACK AND FIELD HISTORY - USC is well known as one of the most successful athletic programs in the history of the NCAA, with 106 men's and women's national championships. The Trojans have won far more NCAA team and individual titles combined than any other university. However, the most dominant force in USC's slate of athletic programs is not the baseball team (12 College World Series titles) or the football squad (nine national championships) but the men's track and field program, with an unprecedented 28 NCAA titles (including nine straight, 1935-43). 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. Trojan athletes have dominated the track and field scene for decades. From the exploits of sprinter Charlie Paddock and thrower Clarence 'Bud' Houser in the 1920s and 1930s, sprinter Mel Patton in the 1940s, thrower Parry O'Brien in the 1950s,sprinter Lennox Miller and pole vaulter Bob Seagren in the 1960s, sprinter Quincy Watts in the 1980s, to four-time NCAA hammer champion Balazs Kiss (only the fifth collegian to win four in a row) in the 1990s and World Champion hurdler Felix Sanchez in the 2000s, USC is synonymous with track and field excellence.

Ron Allice AND SUCCESS GO HAND IN HAND - Esteemed Director of Track and Field Ron Allice enters his 12th season at the helm of the USC program. With the outstanding coaching staff he has assembled, the Trojans have returned to prominence on a national level once again. In 2005, the Trojans were one of two schools to place both the men's and women's teams in the top seven in the country. Under his guidance, the Trojan men's team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA finals in eight of his 11 seasons, including a sixth-place finish last season. The Women of Troy won their first-ever national championship in 2001 under Allice, who has guided the women's track and field team to a top 10 finish seven times in 11 seasons, including a seventh-place finish in 2005. USC's past successes in track and field are well known: 29 NCAA championships (including two indoor titles), 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 - all encapsuled in 104 years of a rich and storied tradition.


Last year the USC men's track and field team won the NCAA West Regional and the women's team placed fourth. They then moved on and the men finished sixth and the women's team seventh at the NCAA Championships, one of just two schools in the country to have both the men's and women's team finish in the top seven. This year both teams won NCAA West Championships. The following is a list of the Trojans that qualified and declared for the NCAA Championship meet.

MEN						WOMEN100m (10.50):		Garry Jones, Philip Francis		100m (11.75):		Jessica Onyepunuka, Carol Rodriguez200m (21.19):		Philip Francis			200m (23.96):		Carol Rodriguez400m (47.26):		Lionel Larry, Jeff Garrison		100m HH (13.92):		Virginia Powell, Candice Davis800m (1:50.40):		Raphael Asafo-Agyei, Duane Solomon	4x100m Relay (45.70):	Powell, Onyepunuka, Davis Rodriguez1500m (3:47.80):		Tomasz Babiszkiewicz		Pole Vault (3.80m):		Brysun Stately110m HH (14.30):		Kai Kelley				Triple Jump (12.32m):	Michelle Sanford4x100m Relay (40.66):	Jones, Palmer, Francis, Alugbue	Shot (14.30m):		Karen Freberg4x400m Relay 3:10.00):	Larry, Garrison, Palmer, Asafo-Agyei	Discus (47.30m):		Kate HutchinsonHigh Jump (2.10m):	Jesse Williams			Hammer (54.15m):		Eva Orban, Julia RozenfeldShot (16.80m):		Noah Bryant, William DenboHammer (55.60m):		Adam Midles 

FREBERG AND FRANCIS WIN PAC-10 T&F HONORS - USC seniors Karen Freberg and Philip Francis were selected as Pac-10 Track and Field Athletes of the Week for the week of April 24-30. Freberg was honored as the Women's Pac-10 Field Athlete of the Week and Francis was selected Men's Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Week. Freberg had a banner two days at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet, setting personal bests in the shot, hammer and discus. Freberg won the shot put competition with a throw of 57-7 1/2 (17.56m), bettering her school record in the event. She had set the school record originally on April 15 with a throw of 56-5 3/4. Freberg also placed third in the hammer competition with a career-best throw of 184-4 (56.20m), moving into ninth place on the USC women's all-time hammer throw list. She also came in fourth in the discus with a career best of 151-4 (46.12m). Francis led a Trojan men's sweep in the 100m dash with a personal best time of 10.23, which ties him for the 10th fastest time in school history. He was a three-time winner on the day as he won the 200m race with a then personal best of 20.59 (He ran a 20.39 at the Pac-10 Championships, tied for the fourth best time in school history). He also was part of USC's winning 4x100m relay team, which posted a then season-best time of 39.75 at the Dual Meet.

IN THE THROWS OF BATTLE - The USC throwing corps currently has nine members (4 men, 5 women) who rank in the school's all-time top 10 in their events: Men - Noah Bryant in the shot (4th), William Denbo in the shot (7th), Dennis Rice in the javelin (4th) and Adam Midles in the hammer (7th). Women - Karen Freberg in the shot (1) and hammer (9), Kate Hutchinson in the discus (1), Andrea McBride in the javelin (3), Eva Orban in the hammer (1st) and Julia Rozenfeld in the hammer (5).

JUMPING JESSE - USC senior Jesse Williams is tied for the best high jump among all NCAA male high jumpers again with a jump of 7-6 1/2 (2.30m) on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Relays. That mark was matched by Mickael Hanany of Texas-El Paso on May 13. Williams' jump at Mt. SAC tied his school record originally set on July 26, 2005 at the DN Galan Track and Field Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. Williams, who has won the last two indoor high jump championships and won the 2005 outdoor high jump title, is attempting to become the eighth high jumper in history to win the outdoor title outright in consecutive years, the last being Mark Boswell of Texas in 1999 and 2000. In all, 15 high jumpers have at least shared the high jump title in consecutive seasons. Last season, Williams became the first USC high jumper to win both the indoor and outdoor championships in the same season and has that possibility again this year. When he won the NCAA indoor title on March 11 this season, be became just the second repeat champion since 1989 (Boswell of Texas, 1999-2000).

SUDDEN IMPACT - Among the newcomers on the women's track team this season, four of them have already placed their names in the USC record books with a top 10 all-time result. Freshman Eva Orban set the USC freshman record and school record in the women's hammer with a throw of 226-8, freshman Brysun Stately set the school women's pole vault record clearing a height of 13-7 1/4, senior transfer Karen Freberg set the school shot put record with a throw of 57-7 1/2 and ranks ninth in the hammer with a throw of 184-4 and freshman Brittany Daniels, the 2005 Gatorade High School Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year, has a triple jump of 41-2 1/2, the sixth farthest in school history. The men's team has certainly had strong contributions from the newcomers, too. Sophomore transfer Roy Alugbue is part of USC's 4x100m team that ran a season-best 39.68 on May 27 at the NCAA West Regional and has run the third fastest 100m dash (10.59) and 200m dash (21.33) by a Trojan this season. Freshman Matthew Palmer is also part of the 4x100m team, freshman Derek Scott has pole vaulted a USC season-best 17-1 and freshman Nathan Gwozdz has high jumped 6-10 3/4, just off the school's top 10 list.

YES, THAT SANFORD - Junior jumper Michelle Sanford has returned to health this season following an injury-plagued sophomore season and has comeback strong. She jumped 42-5 1/2 to place fourth in the triple jump and 20-2 1/2 to place seventh in the long jump at the NCAA West Regional to earn USC seven valuable points in the team competition. She posted the third farthest triple jump in the Pac-10 (43-0/13.11m) and the seventh farthest long jump (20-2 3/4/6.17m) this season. As a freshman in 2004, Sanford scored a team-best 18 points at the Pac-10 meet, winning the long jump and taking second in the triple jump. This season at the Pac-10s, she finished second in the triple jump and 10th in the long jump. In case you are wondering, she is the daughter of James Sanford, the fastest Trojan ever, who ran a 10.03 in the 100m dash on May 11,1980.

NEEPER WAS A KEEPER - Senior distance runner Kate Neeper was hampered by injuries last season and slowly came around as the 2006 season went on, finishing 14th at the Pac-10s in the 10000m. Prior to the injuries, she placed fifth in the Pac-10s in the 10000m race in 2004 and set the USC freshman record in the 5000m race in 2003. In the class room, the double major in international relations and Spanish never lost her stride, graduating this year as the salutatorian of the USC Class of 2006 with a 3.98 GPA. Neeper is heading to Ecuador for an internship with the U.S. State Department this summer. In the fall, she will begin graduate work in international affairs at George Washington University, with an eventual goal to work in Latin American foreign policy, with a focus on Mexico or Cuba.

POSTSEASON ACCOLADES ON TRACK AND IN CLASSROOM - Senior Virginia Powell was named the USTFCCCA West Female Track Athlete of the Year, senior Jesse Williams the West Male Field Athlete of the Year and Director of Track and Field Ron Allice as West Coach of the Year. Also, ESPN The Magazine named named senior Kate Neeper to the District 8 All-Academic first team and junior Kate Hutchinson to the second team. Both were named to the Pac-10 All-Academic first team as were sophomore Philip Allen, junior Jacob Hamman and junior Kevin Swartz. Redshirt freshman Jekabs Sliede was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic second team. Trojans named as Honorable Mention All-Academic in the Pac-10 were junior Inman Breaux, senior Thomas Colich, junior Christina Eads, sophomore Charles Heffern, sophomore Jamilia Marston, sophomore Jessica Onyepunuka, sophomore Michelle Sanford, junior Mark Sargeant, sophomore Manjula Wijesekara and junior Alexandrea Williams.

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