USC Heads To Stanford For Pac-10 Track And Field Championships

May 8, 2007

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2007 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC men's and women's track and field teams will be competing this weekend (May 12-13) at the Pac-10 Track and Field Championships hosted by Stanford at Cobb Track and Angell Field in Palo Alto, Calif.

TROJANS AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's team will set out to defend its 2006 team title, clinched by winning the weekend's final event, the 4x400m relay. The women's team placed third in 2006, scoring an amazing 104 points on the final day to move up from eighth. The USC men's team has won four of the last 10 conference titles. The Trojan women won the 1996 team title and have finished in the top three nine of the last 11 seasons. The last time the Pac-10 Championships were held at Stanford was in 1998 and the men's team placed second and the women's team third.

WOODS SCORES FOR TROJANS AT PAC-10 MULTIS - Trojan freshman Shana Woods placed fifth at last week's Pac-10 Multi Events Championships held at Stanford to earn USC four points in the women's conference title race. Woods placed fifth with 5,459 points and senior Lindsay Oman placed 13th with 4,270 points. Woods became the first USC athlete to score in the Pac-10 Multi Events Championships since Spring Harris placed seventh in 2002. Woods' point total was her most as a Trojan and moved her from fourth to third on USC's all-time heptathlon list. Oman stands eighth on USC's heptathlon list with 4,891 points scored on April 11-12 at the Mt. SAC Relays earlier this season.

WOODS YOU BELIEVE IT...? - Trojan freshman Shana Woods has wasted no time in establishing herself as a heptathlete to watch in just two competitions this season. Her 5,459 points scored at the Pac-10s are the most points scored 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

LAST WEEK - Besides Woods and Oman competing at the Pac-10 Multi Events Championships, the Trojans fielded a small contingent of athletes at the Claremont Classic in Claremont, Calif. Among the highlights were Noah Bryant throwing the hammer 214-11 (1/2 inch off his PR), Mike Curiel setting a new PR in the hammer with a throw of 175-11, Tara Davis-Quarrie setting a new PR in the 400m with a time of 54.66 and Jason Price setting a new PR in the 400m with a time of 48.30.

RETURNING PAC-10 CHAMPS - USC has several athletes which will be looking to defend their individual 2006 Pac-10 titles. For the men, Duane Solomon in the 800m, Noah Bryant in the shot put and the 4x400m relay team will be looking to win for a second consecutive season. On the women's side looking to defend their Pac-10 titles are Carol Rodriguez in the 200m, Eva Orban in the hammer throw and the 4x100m relay team.

TROJANS WITH TOP MARKS - USC men's team comes into this meet with the top mark in the conference in the 100m, 400m, 800m, 110m HH, 4x400m, shot put and hammer. The Women of Troy have posted the best mark in the Pac-10 in the following events: 100m, 200m, 400m, 100m HH and 4x100m. Junior Carol Rodriguez has the top 100m, 200m, 400m and is part of USC's conference-best 4x100m relay team.

FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET... - A USC female has won the Pac-10 100m dash title five straight years, while a male has won the conference 100m title the last two seasons.

UP NEXT - USC will compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships hosted by Oregon on May 25-26 in Eugene, Ore. Both the USC's men's and women's team won the West Regional title last year

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), Noah Bryant (shot) and Irek Sekretarski (mile). * redshirting

LATEST RANKINGS - In the latest Trackwire rankings (May 8), USC's men's team is ranked No. 2 and the women's team No. 6. In the latest USTFCCCA rankings (May 1), USC's men are ranked No. 2 and the women 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.

TOP 10 TROJANS - Trojans Lionel Larry (T-1st - 400m), Duane Solomon (1st - 800m), Logan Taylor (9th - 110 HH), Kai Kelley (9th - 400m IH), Noah Bryant (1st - shot), William Denbo (8th - shot), Adam Midles (5th - hammer), men's 4x400m relay team (4th), Jessica Onyepunuka (10th - 100m), Carol Rodriguez (9th - 200m, 5th - 400m)), Candice Davis (3rd - 100m HH), Shalina Clarke (10th - 400m IH), Eva Orban (4th - hammer), women's 4x100m relay team (2nd) all have posted collegiate marks that rank in the top 10 this season.

BRYANT HAVING QUITE A SENIOR SEASON - Senior Noah Bryant won the 2007 NCAA Indoor Shot Title with a then 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 was 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, which Bryant subsequently broke with his school-record throw of 67-5 1/2 (20.56m) on April 28 in winning the Dual Meet. 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. Twice this season he was named Pac-10 Male Field Athlete of the Week (April 2-8 and April 23-29).

SENIOR DAVIS STEPPING UP - 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. On April 15 at Mt. SAC, she ran a wind-aided time of 12.88 which is the third-best time by a collegiate female this season. Davis also ran a career-best 11.54 100m dash on April 28 to take second at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet.

IN THE MIDLES OF SOMETHING SPECIAL - Trojan hammer thrower Adam Midles set a new career best in the hammer throw of 228-3 on April 27 to win the USC-UCLA Dual Meet hammer competition. He improved his fourth-place standing on USC's all-time hammer list and it marked the fourth time this season he has posted a new PR. Midles had a new PR in the hammer competition for 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 nine feet this season on his previous career-best throw. Midles has the fifth-farthest throw by a collegian this season.

WHAT CAN'T SHE DO? - 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. On April 28, Rodriguez ran her first 400m race of the season and won with a time of 51.90, the fifth-fastest time by a college female this season.

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 fourth this season among NCAA women in the hammer. On April 27, she defended her Dual Meet hammer throw title by winning with a throw of 210-0 (64.0m).

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. He then ran a 45.41 to win the USC-UCLA Dual Meet 400m race and tie for the fastest collegiate time this season. His previous best this season had been 45.43 on March 17 at the Willie Williams meet in Tucson, Ariz. Larry also runs the anchor leg for USC's 4x400m relay team and led them 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 and then closed out the Dual Meet win on April 28 with a strong final leg to provide the winning margin for the Trojans.

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 10th to 8th on USC's all-time 800m list and is still the fastest 800m time by a U.S. runner this year.

NEIGHBORHOOD SUCCESS - Shot putter Noah Bryant, who set the school shot put record at the Dual Meet and javelin thrower Stenn Parton, who had the eighth-farthest javelin throw in school history in the Dual Meet on April 28, grew up just a few houses from each other in Santa Barbara, Calif.

PEATE ENJOYS THE `CHASE - Junior John Peate ran the 10th-fastest steeplechase in USC history on April 28 when he placed fourth with a time of 9:20.79. Peate is the first Trojan to crack the USC top 10 in steeplechase since 2001 and only the second Trojan runner since 1990 to ink his name in the record books.

TAYLOR HURDLES INTO TOP 10 - Junior Logan Taylor won the Dual Meet 110 HH with a time of 13.71, good for 10th place on USC's all-time sprint hurdles list. In the last 10 years, the only other Trojan hurdler to crack the school's top 10 was Ryan Wilson (13.35 in 2003). His 13.71 time in the 110m HH is the fastest in the Pac-10 this season.

TROJANS REACHING RARIFIED AIR - The women's team has posted 19 USC all-time top 10 marks this season, while the men's team has posted nine performaces that rank among the school's all-time top 10. USC women posting a top 10 mark this season are: Carol Rodriguez (100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (100m), Natalia Kovtun (3000m, 3000m Steeplechase, 5000m), Oksana Milokumova (5000m), Daniela Gergley (5000m), Candice Davis (100m HH), Talia Stewart (100m HH, 400m IH), Shalina Clarke (100m HH, 400m IH), Shana Woods (LJ, Heptathlon), Marylin Anene (HJ), Lindsay Oman (Heptathlon), Chun Mei Nickles (Pole Vault), 4x100m Relay and 4x400m Relay. Men with top 10 performances this season are: Duane Solomon (800m), Irec Sekretarski (1500m, 1 mile), Logan Taylor (110m HH), John Peate (3000m Steeplechase), Noah Bryant (Shot, Hammer), Stenn Parton (Javelin) and Adam Midles (Hammer).

A SHOT OF GOLD - With USC great and 1948 Olympic gold-medal winning shot putter Wilbur Thompson at USC a few weeks ago 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 taking the lead on USC's all-time shot put list with a throw of 67-5 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.

LONG-STANDING MARK GOES DOWN - Trojan junior transfer Irek 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 his 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).

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 set the school record in the shot last week and Midles had a PR in the hammer (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 Irek Sekretarski (1500m).

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