Seniors Powell and Williams Have Record-Setting Days At NCAA Championships

June 9, 2006

Seniors Virginia Powell and Jesse Williams had record-setting days en route to winning their second consecutive NCAA individual outdoor championships, leading the Trojan track and field team in the third day of action before 6,234 fans at the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships being hosted by Sacramento State at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif.

'Two special moments by two special athletes who are two special people,' said USC's Director of Track and Field Ron Allice. 'You have to savior these moments because they don't come around that often.'

Powell, who set broke collegiate 100m hurdles record in Wednesday's semi-finals with a time of 12.55, did it again today in winning the 2006 NCAA women's 100m hurdles title with a time of 12.48 to establish a new record. Her time of 12.55 in the semi-finals broke the record she co-held with Gail Devers (1988) of 12.61. In winning the championship, she scored 10 points for the Trojan women in the team competition. Powell also won the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship in the 60m hurdles. Her time in the hurdles today is the fastest time in the world this year.

In the final event of the day, Williams won the 2006 NCAA men's high jump championship with a new school record of 7-7 1/4 (2.32m). He did not miss a jump on the day until all the competition was eliminated, then with the crowd cheering him on wildly as he breezed through the heights, he raised the bar to 2.35m, but could not clear it in three attempts. Second-place finisher Andra Manson of Texas missed on his first attempt at 2.29m and then passed out of the competition, while Williams cleared that and 2.32 on his first attempts. Williams held the old school record of 7-6 1/2 (2.30m) which he had done twice. His clearance of 7-7 1/4 ties him with Svatoslav Tan of The Czech Republic for the highest jump in the world this year. Williams also won the 2005 and 2006 NCAA indoor high jump championships.

After nine events scored, the women's team is in fifth place with 16 points, 10 points behind leader Texas. The men's team is in 11th place with 12 points after nine events, 16 behind leader Arizona.

Powell helped begin the day's track activities with a bang for the Trojans as the women's 4x100m relay team of Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis and Carol Rodriguez set the USC women's 4x100m record with a time of 42.96 to finish third and pick up six points in the team competition. The race was a tight three-team battle between first-place Texas (42.84), second-place LSU (42.94) and the Trojans, as half of the field finished at least a half of a second behind.

Junior Adam Midles became the first Trojan to score in the meet when he placed seventh in the men's hammer competition with a throw of 216-1 (65.87m) to earn USC two points. Midles, who placed sixth in the 2005 NCAA hammer competition, ranks seventh on USC's all-time hammer throw list at 219-2 (66.80m) set on May 6 this year.

Sophomore Rodriguez placed third in her semi-final heat of the women's 200m dash to automatically advance to Saturday's finals. Her time of 22.80 was the fourth fastest on the day.

Senior Philip Francis placed fifth in his men's 200m semi-final heat with a time of 20.94 and did not advance to the finals. The top four in each heat advanced automatically and the one open spot for the next fastest time went to Chris Dykes of Texas A&M who ran 20.75 to finish fifth in the other heat.

Sophomore Lionel Larry advanced to Saturday's 400m finals automatically by placing third in his semi-final heat with a time of 45.83.

Junior Michelle Sanford competed in the women's triple jump preliminaries today and needed to finish in the top 12 jumpers to advance to Saturday's finals. She finished the qualifying round in 16th with a jump of 41-10 (12.75m), missing out on advancing by two inches.

Women's team members competing for USC in the final day of competition at the 2006 NCAA Championships will be Eva Orban (hammer), Brysun Stately (pole vault), Karen Freberg (shot put) and Rodriguez (100m, 200m). USC men competing in the NCAA finals will be Noah Bryant (shot), Duane Solomon (800m), Francis (100m), Larry (400m) and the men's 4x400m relay team of Kai Kelley, Jeff Garrison, De'Sean Cunningham and Larry.

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