USC Track & Field To Compete At 49th Mt. Sac Relays This Weekend

April 11, 2007

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2007 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC men's and women's track teams will be competing at the 49th Mt. Sac Relays from April 13-15 hosted by Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. Also, on April 11-12 the Mt. Sac Relays heptathlon and decathon competition will be held at Azusa Pacific, located in Azusa, Calif. USC's heptathletes Linday Oman and Shana Woods will be competing in the heptathlon for the first time this season. Many other members of the track and field team will compete this weekend in Long Beach at the Long Beach Relays.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans set eight meet records at the Pepsi Team Invitational on April 7 in Eugene, Ore. as the women's team won eight of 10 events and the men's team eight of 12 events they entered. Carol Rodriguez was part of four meet records, winning the 100m (11.0h), the 200m (23.13) and as part of the 4x100m relay (44.16) and the 4x400m relay (3:35.06). Noah Bryant won the shot put competition with a throw of 66-2 1/4, the second-best shot put in school history and the NCAA-leading mark this season. The 4x800m relay team of DaSean Cunningham, Raphael Asafo-Agyei, Irec Sekretarski and Duane Solomon won at the Texas Relays on April 5 with a time of 7:18.43, the second-fastest time in USC history.

THE 2007 WOMEN'S TEAM - The women's team is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2006, as well as winning the NCAA West Regional and placing third at the Pac-10 Championships. NCAA 100m HH record-holder Virginia Powell has graduated, but the Trojans return a solid group and have added the No. 1 rated recruiting class in the country according to Track and Field News. Leading the way is junior Carol Rodriguez who last season ran the fastest 200m (22.23) and 400m (51.51) in school history. Rodriguez placed her name in the USC record books a third time as part of the 4x100m relay team (42.96) along with current teammates Candice Davis and Jessica Onyepunuka, as well as Powell. Davis has run the second-fastest 100m HH time in school history, setting a new PR of 12.91 on March 31. Also returning is sophomore Eva Orban who set the USC record in the hammer, as well as establishing the Pac-10 record. Added to this nucleous of All-Americans are Troy's freshmen fab five of Shalina Clarke, Myra Hasson, Elizabeth Olear, Judith Onyepunuka and Shana Woods. This group of women garnered nine All-Am ratings in their prep days.

THE 2007 MEN'S TEAM - The men's team is coming off a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season, following winning championships at the Pac-10 finals and the NCAA West Regional. NCAA high jump champion Jesse Williams has graduated, but Trojans have a strong group of returning athletes, led by junior Lionel Larry, an All-American in the 400m and 4x400m. Other returning All-Americans for the men's team are Noah Bryant (shot put), DaSean Cunningham (4x400m), Kai Kelley (4x400m), Adam Midles (hammer) and Duane Solomon (800m). Bryant had a PR in the shot last week (2nd all-time at USC) and Midles had a PR in the hammer on March 24 (4th all-time at USC). Key newcomers for the men include freshmen High School All-American sprinters Nate Anderson, Jamere Holland and Ahmad Rashad and junior transfer Irec Sekretarski (1500m).

LATEST RANKINGS - This week's Trackwire rankings lists both the USC men's and women's teams as No. 3. The men were ranked No. 2 in the first rankings and the women were tied for No. 6. The first USTFCCCA rankings of the season are out and both the men's and women's team are also ranked No. 3.

NEXT WEEK - The Trojans will compete at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational on April 20-21 in San Diego, Calif.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS - The Trojans have 10 returning student-athletes who qualified for All-American honrs during the 2006 track and field outdoor season: Candice Davis (100m HH, 4x100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m), Eva Orban (hammer), Carol Rodriguez (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Noah Bryant (shot), DaSean Cunningham (4x400m), Kai Kelley (4x400m), Lionel Larry (400m, 4x400m), Adam Midles (hammer) and Duane Solomon (800m).

SCHOOL OUTDOOR RECORD HOLDERS - Candice Davis (4x100m), Kate Hutchinson (discus)*, Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m), Eva Orban (hammer), Carol Rodriguez (200m, 400m, 4x100m). * redshirting

USC-UCLA DUAL MEET - The Trojan track and field team will host their third and final home meet of the season at Loker Stadium on April 28 when they host UCLA in the annual dual meet. The meet will be televised on Prime Ticket. USC will host a USC-UCLA Dual Meet Luncheon at Heritage Hall on Tuesday, April 24 at 11:30.

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 13th 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. The last two seasons the Trojans were one of two schools to place both the men's and women's teams in the top 10 in the country. Under his guidance, the Trojan men's team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA finals in nine of his 12 seasons, including a ninth-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 eight times in 12 seasons, including a second-place finish in 2006. 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 105 years of a rich and storied tradition.

NEAR THE TOP OF THE CHARTS - Trojans Lionel Larry (2nd - 400m), Duane Solomon (2nd - 800m), Noah Bryant (1st - shot), Adam Midles (4th - hammer), men's 4x400m relay team (2nd), Candice Davis (1st - 100m HH), Carol Rodriguez (4th - 200m), Eva Orban (2nd - hammer) and the women's 4x100m relay team (1st) all have posted collegiate marks that rank in the top five this season.

BRYANT NAMED PAC-10 FIELD CO-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK - USC redshirt senior Noah Bryant was named the Pac-10 Conference Field Co-Athlete of the Week (April 2-8) on April 9, after winning the Pepsi Team Invitational shot put competition with a throw of 66-2 1/4. His throw was a new PR, the top shot put in the country this season and the second longest outdoor shot put in USC history.

IN THE MIDLES OF SOMETHING SPECIAL - Trojan hammer thrower Adam Midles set a new career best in the hammer throw competition in three straight weeks (March 10-24). At the Ben Brown Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. on March 10, the senior had a throw of 221-7 to move into sixth place all-time on the USC hammer list. A week later at the Pacific Lutheran meet, he set a PLU stadium record with a new career-best throw of 225-2. Then March 24 at the Trojan Invitational, he had the fourth-best throw in school history of 226-6. Midles has already improved more than seven feet this season on his previous career-best throw. If he is to move up farther on USC's all-time list, he will have to improve more than 10 feet to catch Bengt Johansson who threw 236-11 in 1998. Midles has the fourth-farthest throw by a collegian this season.

BRYANT SETS SCHOOL RECORD WHILE WINNING INDOOR SHOT TITLE - Senior Noah Bryant won the 2007 NCAA Indoor Shot Title with a career-best throw of 67-5 1/4 (20.55m) to defeat the favorite Russ Winger of Idaho at the NCAA Indoor Championships held March 9-10 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. Bryant's winning shot mark was nearly three feet farther than his previous career best and set a new USC indoor record and is better than any outdoor distance in school history. That is saying a lot, considering that USC has had numerous Olympic champions and world record-holders in the event, including Parry O'Brien, Dallas Long, Wilbur Thompson and Bud Houser. The redshirt senior becomes the first Trojan to win an NCAA shot title since Doug Lane won the 1972 indoor title with a throw of 64-3 1/2. Bryant's throw was farther than Lane's school-record outdoor shot of 66-11 1/4. Bryant threw the shot a outdoor career best 66-2 1/4 on April 7 which ranks second best all-time at USC and is the top collegiate mark this season. Bryant has continued his impressive comeback from a freak accident in 2005 which required major surgery after the hammer bounced off the cage and struck him in the face.

DAVIS ALSO EARNS INDOOR ALL-AMERICAN HONORS - Senior Candice Davis joined Bryant in gaining Indoor All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the indoor finals of the women's 60m hurdles, posting a time of 8.05. Davis was actually leading over the final hurdle, but stumbled and had to settle for fourth. Last season, she ran an 8.32 time to place eighth at the indoor championships. Davis ran a PR of 12.91 in the 100m HH on March 31. That mark improved her second-place standing on USC's all-time list and is the top mark among collegiate hurdlers this season.

RODRIGUEZ LEAVING HER MARK - Junior Carol Rodriguez has had an outstanding career as a Trojan in just her first two and one-half seasons. Rodriguez already owns the USC school record in the 200m with a time of 22.23 and the 400m with a time of 51.51, a Puerto Rican national record. Rodriguez also sits atop the charts as part of USC's fastest 4x100m Relay Team of Virginia Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis and Rodriguez which ran a school-record time of 42.96 last year at the NCAA Championships. Rodriguez also owns the seventh-fastest 100m time, running an 11.32 at the NCAA Championships last season. Last week at the Pepsi Team Invitational, Rodriguez ran a hand-held time of 11.0 to win the 100m dash.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR ORBAN - After a fantastic freshman season, one might wonder what is next for sophomore hammer thrown Eva Orban. Last season, she won the Pac-10 hammer title, the NCAA West hammer title and placed second at the NCAA Championships. Along the way, she established a new USC, Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional hammer throw records, with a toss of 226-8 at the NCAA West Regional. The All-American from Papa, Hungary originally set the school record on May 14, 2006 at the Pac-10 Championships with a throw of 221-7, surpassing Julia Tudja at the top of the Trojan hammer chart. Orban had her top hammer throw of the season last week at the Pepsi Team Invitational (218-9) and ranks second this season among NCAA women in the hammer.

LIGHTNING Lionel Larry - Junior Lionel Larry won the 400m race at the Pepsi Team Invitational on April 7 in Eugene, Ore. with a time of 45.67. His season-best time is 45.43 set on March 17 at the Willie Williams meet in Tucson, Ariz. which is the second-fastest 400m NCAA time this season, trailing Lesiba Masheto of Illinois by .02. Larry also led the 4x400m relay team to a win at the Pepsi Team Invitational with a time of 3:08.58, running down Washington's Alex Harcourt on the final leg to give the Trojans the victory.

HITTING THE TOP 10 - The women's 4x400m relay team of Myra Hasson, Tara Davis-Quarrie, Jessica Onyepunuka and Carol Rodriguez won the Pepsi Team Invitational with a time of 3:35.06, good for 10th best in school history.

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