USC Host UCLA In 75th Annual Track & Field Dual Meet
April 24, 2007
2007 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC track and field teams will be hosting UCLA on April 28 at Loker Stadiium for the 75th Annual Dual Meet. The hammer competition will take place at West L.A. College on April 27 at 3 p.m.
THE DUAL MEET - The USC men's team leads in the all-time series with the Bruins 39-34, while the women's team trails 20-3. The UCLA men's team has won five consecutive Dual Meets, while the Bruin women have won 14 straight. Last season, USC lost 83-80 in the men's competiton and 90-73 on the women's side. Five of the last eight Dual Meets in the men's competition have been decided by three points or less. The event is scored in a 5-3-1 points format in individual events and 5-0 in the relays.
1956/1957 & 1980/1981 TROJAN TEAMS RETURN - The Trojans will stage their 25-year and 50-year reunions on the day of the Dual Meet. USC has the reunions every two years when they host the Dual Meet, thus members from both the 1956/1957 teams and the 1980/1981 teams will return. Also on-hand this week at the preview luncheon are 1992 Olympic gold-medalist Quincy Watts, 2004 Olympic gold-medalist Felix Sanchez, 1948 Olympic gold-medalist Wilbur Thompson and 1972 NCAA indoor shot champion and school record-holder in the shot Doug Lane.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans competed at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational and the Tiny Lister Invitational hosted by CS Los Angeles. Senior Chun Mei Nickles had a pole vault of 12-5 1/2 (3.80m) at San Diego on April 21 to set a new PR and tie her for fourth all-time at USC with Shannon Lewallen. It also was a regional qualifying mark.
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).
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), Irec Sekretarski (mile). * redshirting
LATEST RANKINGS - In the latest Trackwire rankings (April 24), the USC men's team is ranked No. 4 and the women's team is ranked No. 3. The latest USTFCCCA rankings (April 24) have USC's men's team ranked No. 3 and the women's team No. 5.
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 is in 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 (1st - 800m), Kai Kelley (7th - 400m IH), Noah Bryant (2nd - shot), William Denbo (6th - shot), Adam Midles (4th - hammer), men's 4x400m relay team (3rd), Jessica Onyepunuka (8th - 100m), Carol Rodriguez (7th - 200m), Candice Davis (1st - 100m HH), Eva Orban (3rd - hammer), women's 4x100m relay team (1st) and women's 4x400m relay team (8th-fastest team) all have posted collegiate marks that rank in the top eight this season (which would score at the NCAAs).
HEP TO IT! - Trojan heptathletes Shana Woods and Lindsay Oman took part in their first heptathlon competition of the season on April 11-12 at Mt. SAC. Woods scored 5,393 points, good for fourth in school history and a regional provisional mark. Oman scored a career-best 4,891 points, good for eighth best in USC history.
BRYANT HAVING QUITE A SENIOR SEASON - 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 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. Bryant was named Pac-10 Field Co-Athlete of the Week (April 2-8) as he won the Pepsi Team Invitational shot competition with a throw of 66-2 1/4, second-longest outdoor throw in USC history. Bryant then improved that mark on April 15 at Mt. SAC with a throw of 66-2 1/2 (20.18m), the second-farthest collegiate mark this season.
DAVIS 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. Two weeks ago at Mt. SAC, she ran a wind-aided time of 12.88.
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. Midles has the fourth-farthest throw by a collegian 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 11.24 hand-held time on April 7 at the Pepsi Team Invitational.
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 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 2007 season on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Invitational (219-9) and ranks third 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. He followed that up with his second consecutive Mt. SAC 400m Invitational win with a time of 45.72 on April 15. 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.
SOLOMON RUNS TO THE TOP - Junior Duane Solomon leads all NCAA 800m runners with a time of 1:47.19, accomplished on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Relays. That was a new PR, moves him from eighth to 10th on USC's all-time 800m list and is still the fastest 800m time by a U.S. runner this year.
SHOT GREAT O'BRIEN PASSES - Parry O'Brien, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion shot putter from USC who was the first man to eclipse the 60-foot barrier, died on Saturday (April 21) in Santa Clarita, Calif. He was 75. O'Brien, who lived in Moreno Valley, Calif., suffered a heart attack while participating in a master's swim meet. O'Brien won 18 national Amateur Athletic Union indoor and outdoor titles (17 in the shot and 1 in the discus throw) and he established shot put world records 16 times from 1953 through 1959. At one point, he won 116 consecutive competitions. He is credited with developing the 'spin' technique of throwing the shot put, which came to be known as the 'O'Brien Glide.' After prepping at Santa Monica High, where he was on the school's state championship football team, he came to USC and was part of three consecutive NCAA championship track and field teams (1951-53). He won the NCAA shot crowns in 1952 and 1953. He competed in four Olympics, winning golds at the 1952 Helsinki (with an Olympic record throw) and 1956 Melbourne Games (the first repeat champion in the event since 1908), then getting a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics and finishing fourth in Tokyo in 1964 (where he was the flag bearer for the entire U.S. Olympic team). In May of 1954 in a meet in the Coliseum, he broke the 60-foot barrier with a heave of 60-5 ¼. He won the Sullivan Award in 1959 as the nation's top amateur athlete. He worked in banking, real estate and civil engineering, but continued throughout his life to compete at the masters' level, where he set age-group records in the shot and discus. He also competed in swimming. He is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame (inducted in 1974) and U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (1984), as well as a charter member of the USC Athletic Hall of Fame (1994). He served as a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and the President's Council on Physical Fitness. He is survived by his wife, Terry, two sons and two daughters, and seven grandchildren.
A SHOT OF GOLD - With USC great and 1948 Olympic gold-medal winning shot putter Wilbur Thompson on hand this week and with the passing of Parry O'Brien, an interesting note was pointed out. The U.S. has won the men's shot put gold medal at the Olympics 11 times since 1924 and of those, five of the winners have been Trojans: Bud Houser (1924), Thompson (1948), O'Brien (1952 & 1956) and Dallas Long (1964).
ANOTHER SHOT NOTE - With Noah Bryant standing at second all-time on USC's shot put list with a throw of 66-2 1/2 and William Denbo sitting seventh at 62-6 3/4 it marks a rare time at USC. Prior to the arrival of these two seniors, only one Trojan shot putter (Van Mounts in 2000) had even cracked USC's all-time top 10 since 1988.
WOODS YOU BELIEVE IT...? - Trojan freshman Shana Woods has wasted no time in establishing herself as a heptathlete to watch in just one competition this season. Woods scored 5,393 points at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 11-12, which is a provisional NCAA qualifying mark and the 15th best mark by a college female this season. Woods has the best point total by a freshman in 2007 and is one of just three freshman in the top 36 leading point-scorers this season. Woods set the U.S. junior heptathlon record in 2006 with 5,533 points.
LONG-STANDING MARK GOES DOWN - Trojan junior transfer Irec Sekretarski of Poland set the USC one-mile run record with a time of 4:01.89 on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Relays. His time bettered Bruce Bess' old school mark of 4:02.0 which was set in 1966.
STAR IS RISING FOR BOTH ESTRADAS - Trojan sophomore pole vaulter Brandon Estrada has a season-best mark of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m) on April 14 at Mt. SAC to win the University/Open competition, less than 5 inches from cracking USC's all-time pole vault top 10. That may sound like a lot, but consider Estrada has improved more than one-foot and five inches this season over best freshman mark. In fact, the jump at Mt. SAC was more than five inches higher than his previous career best, which he had set the previous week. Estrada is the son of actor Erik Estrada, who played the character Ponch on the wildly popular late `70s early `80s show CHiPs. Erik Estrada was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 19, 2007 (on the north side of Hollywood Blvd, between Sycamore and Orange streets).
GAUNTLET COMPETITION CONTINUES - Although the 2007 Lexus Gauntlet competition between USC and UCLA may already be decided, there still is five points to be won by both the men's and women's track and field teams at the Dual Meet on April 28. USC won the Lexus Gauntlet competition in 2006.