USC Heads To NCAA Track And Field Championships in Sacramento
June 1, 2007
2007 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC men's and women's track and field teams will be competing June 6-9 at the 2007 NCAA Track and Field Championships being hosted by Sacramento State at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif. The Trojans will have 14 male and 10 female athletes representing USC at the 2007 NCAA Track and Field Championships. The championship meet will feature live TV coverage on CSTV on June 8 and on CBS on June 9 (10 a.m - noon).
TROJANS AT THE NCAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS - The USC men's track and field team has won 26 NCAA outdoor titles, more than double the next-best program Arkansas, which has won 12. USC won a record nine-straight titles from 1935-43. The Trojan women's team won its only team title in 2001. The first men's championship was held in 1921 and the initial women's competition was in 1982. The USC men's team placed tied for ninth in 2006 and have finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 13 years. The women's team placed second in 2006 and have had a top 10 finish in eight of the last 11 seasons.
Top Men's Championship Winners 1.) USC 26 2.) Arkansas 12 3.) UCLA 8 4.) UTEP 6 5.) Oregon 5
RETURNING NCAA SCORERS - The following 2007 Trojans scored points at the 2006 NCAA Championships, also held in Sacramento: Men: Noah Bryant (Shot - 7th), DaSean Cunningham (4x400m - 4th), Kai Kelley (4x400m - 4th), Lionel Larry (400m - 6th, 4x400m - 4th), Adam Midles (Hammer - 7th), Duane Solomon (800m - 5th). Women: Candice Davis (4x100m - 3rd), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m - 3rd), Eva Orban (Hammer - 2nd), Carol Rodriguez (100m - 3rd, 200m - 4th, 4x100m - 3rd).
TROJANS AT 2007 NCAA WEST REGIONAL - The USC men's team placed first and the women's team second at the 2007 NCAA West Regional Championships hosted by Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Together the two teams combined to score 157 points (Men - 83, Women - 74), more than any other school at the competition. Noah Bryant's winning shot put in the meet's final event earned USC the 2007 NCAA West team title. Also winning individual event titles were Lionel Larry in the 400m (second consecutive), Kai Kelley in the 110m HH, the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. On the women's side, USC winners were Carol Rodriguez in the 100m and 200m (second consecutive double), Eva Orban in the hammer (second consecutive) and 4x100m relay team.
LIGHTNING Lionel Larry - Junior Lionel Larry won the NCAA West Regional 400m race with a time of 45.59 and enters this meet with the second-fastest time in the field. He won the Pac-10 400m title on May 13 with that blazing time of 44.73, a new PR and the third-fastest time in USC history. 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. Larry also runs the anchor leg for USC's 4x400m relay team and led them to a win at the Pepsi Team Invitational, running down Washington on the final leg to give the Trojans the victory and then closed out the Dual Meet win on April 28 with a strong anchor to win the meet for the Trojans. He also anchored USC's 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams to Pac-10 titles and the 4x100m team to the NCAA West Regional title.
TROJANS' DYNAMIC DUO - Juniors Carol Rodriguez and Jessica Onyepunuka finished first and second respectively in the 100m and 200m dashes at both the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA West Regional Championships. They also run the first (Onyepunuka) and the anchor (Rodriguez) legs on the Trojans' 4x100m relay team which won the title at the Pac-10s and the West Regional.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS - The Trojans have 10 returning student-athletes who qualified for All-American honors 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 31), USC's men's team is ranked tied for No. 4 and the women's team No. 9. In the latest USTFCCCA rankings (May 30), USC's men are ranked No. 3 and the women No. 10.
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 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 26 NCAA outdoor 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.
RANKED AND READY - The following Trojans have entered events at the NCAA Championships and are ranked in the top eight which are the positions which score points in the team competition: Ahmad Rashad (200m - 6th), Lionel Larry (400m - 2nd), Duane Solomon (800m - 3rd), Kai Kelley (110m HH - 7th), Noah Bryant (Shot - 1st), William Denbo (Shot - 7th), Adam Midles (Hammer - 5th), men's 4x100m relay team (6th), Carol Rodriguez (100m - 3rd), Candice Davis (100m HH - 3rd), Eva Orban (Hammer - 4th).
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 USC-UCLA Dual Meet. The last Trojan to win the NCAA outdoor shot put title was Dallas Long in 1962. 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). He also won his second consecutive Pac-10 shot put title with a mark of 66-7 on May 12 at Stanford and then won the NCAA West Regional shot put title and secured the meet for the Trojans with his winning throw of 66-5 1/4 (20.25m) on May 26 at Oregon.
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 at the time was 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. Davis won the 100m HH, placed sixth in the 100m dash and was part of USC's winning 4x100m relay team at the Pac-10 Championships. She placed third in the 100m HH and was part of USC's winning 4x100m relay team at the NCAA West Regional.
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. He placed third at the Pac-10 Championships in the hammer throw with a mark of 217-0 and also third at the NCAA West regional with a throw of 216-11 (66.13m).
WHAT CAN'T SHE DO? - Junior Carol Rodriguez has had an outstanding first three seasons with the Trojans. She 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 sixth-fastest time by a college female this season. Rodriguez again demonstrated her ability to garner gold at the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA West Regional, winning the 100m and 200m races and anchoring the champion 4x100m relay team.
HAMMER TIME FOR ORBAN - After a fantastic freshman season, one might wonder what is next for sophomore hammer thrower 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. Orban just missed out on defending her 2006 Pac-10 hammer throw title when she threw 217-8 to place second at this year's championship, two inches short of Oregon's Britney Henry. She then won her second consecutive NCAA West Regional hammer title with a throw of 219-0 (66.76m). So in her first five postseason hammer competitions (2 Pac-10s, 2 NCAA West Regionals and 2006 NCAA Championships), Orban has finished no lower than second place.
SOLOMON SECOND AT PAC-10s AND NCAA WEST - Junior Duane Solomon came up just short of defending his Pac-10 and NCAA West 800m titles when he was edged down the stretch by 2006 NCAA 800m champion Ryan Brown. Still, Solomon has posted the third-fastest 800m time among all NCAA runners with a time of 1:47.19, accomplished on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Relays. That was a new PR and moved him from 10th to 8th on USC's all-time 800m list.
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 to place fifth at the Pac-10s are the second most points scored by a freshman in 2007 and is one of just four freshman entered in the 27-women field. 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. Woods set the U.S. junior heptathlon record in 2006 with 5,533 points.
TROJANS REACHING RARIFIED AIR - The women's team has posted 20 USC all-time top 10 marks this season, while the men's team has posted 11 performances 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, 200m), 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: Lionel Larry (400m), Duane Solomon (800m), Irec Sekretarski (1500m, 1 mile), Kai Kelley (110m HH), John Peate (3000m Steeplechase), Noah Bryant (Shot, Hammer), William Denbo (Shot), Stenn Parton (Javelin) and Adam Midles (Hammer).
'TRACK TOWN' BECOMING 'TROJAN TOWN' FOR USC - With USC's capturing the 2007 NCAA West Regional hosted by Oregon at 'Track Town USA' (Eugene, Ore.), it marked the third consecutive postseason team title for the USC men's team in meets at the storied Hayward Field. The Trojans also won the 2006 Pac-10 men's team title and the 2005 NCAA West Regional team title in 2005. Also, the USC women's NCAA Championship in 2001 was hosted by Oregon.
KELLEY HURDLES TAYLOR 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 at the time. Since then, teammate junior Kai Kelley knocked him out of the USC top 10 when he ran a 13.63, good for eighth in school history. In the last 10 years, the only other Trojan hurdler to crack the school's top 10 was Ryan Wilson (13.35 in 2003). Kelley is ranked seventh and Taylor 11th out of the 26 men entered into the NCAA 110 hurdles championship.
ROCKET RASHAD - Trojan freshman Ahmad Rashad cruised to victory in both the 100m and 200m dashes at the Pac-10 Championships, winning the 100m with a wind-aided time of 10.20 and the 200m with a time of 20.56. It was the second straight season that a Trojan had captured the Pac-10 sprint double, as Philip Francis won both the 100m and 200m titles in 2006. Rashad won his third Pac-10 title by running the second leg of USC's 4x100m relay team that placed first with a season-best time of 39.66. Rashad placed seventh in the 200m at the NCAA West Regional and was part of USC's winning 4x100m relay team.
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 sixth at 63-7 1/2 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.
DENBO MOVES INTO SIXTH PLACE ON USC'S SHOT PUT LIST - Redshirt senior William Denbo placed second to Noah Bryant in the shot put competition at the Pac-10 Championships on May 12 with a new PR of 63-7 1/2 (19.39m). That mark also moved Denbo from seventh to sixth on USC's all-time shot put list, passing Mike Budincich (63-5 3/4). Denbo's previous best shot put had come at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships with a mark of 62-6 3/4. He placed eighth on the NCAA West Regional with a shot of 59-4 1/4 (18.09m).