Four More Trojans Advance To NCAA Track And Field Championships

June 7, 2007

Trojans Ahmad Rashad in the 200m dash, Duane Solomon in the 800m race and Noah Bryant and William Denbo in the hammer throw advanced to the finals during the second day of competition at the 2007 NCAA Track and Field Championships being hosted by Sacramento State at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif. USC now has 11 individuals and the women's 4x100m relay team which have advanced to the finals of the 2007 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Freshman Shana Woods was the first Trojan to compete, participating in the first four events in the women's heptathlon. She got the day off to a good start with a PR of 13.93 in the 100m high hurdles to win her heat and post the seventh fastest time in the field of 26 competitiors. That time translated to 988 points, 99 points behind the two leaders.

Woods then cleared 5-5 1/4 (1.66m) in the high jump, matching a season best, to earn another 806 points, giving her 1,794 points, good for 14th. She then struggled in the shot with a put of of 30-6 1/2 (9.31m), five feet short of her season best, which earned her 484 points. The results of the shot put competition left her in 23rd place with 2,278 points.

Woods finished the first day of competition in the women's heptathlon with a strong time of 24.12 in the 200m dash, the second-fastest in the field, and a first-day total of 3,247 points, good for 15th place in the competition. Woods' total is only 55 points off her first-day score at the Pac-10 Championships when she took fifth place with a total of 5,459. It also is seven points better than her first-day total at the Mt. Sac Relays Heptathlon, when she also finished fifth with 5,393 points.

USC freshman Rashad won his preliminary 200m dash heat with a time of 20.98 to automatically advance to the semi-finals later in the day. In the semi-finals with the top four automatically advancing, Rashad placed fourth in his heat with a time of 20.57 to advance to Saturday's final.

Junior Carol Rodriguez automatically qualified for the women's 200m semi-finals by placing second in her preliminary heat with a time of 23.03. Junior Jessica Onyepunuka did not qualify for the semi-finals later in the day, as she ran 23.63 to finish fifth in her heat, with the top three finishers moving on. The last time qualifier for the semi-finals had a time of 23.53. Rodriguez came up just short of reaching the finals, when she finished fifth in her semi-finals heat with a time of 23.19. The top four from the two heats advanced and then the next best time and Rodriguez missed out to Alexandria Anderson of Texas who had a 23.18 time, .01 better than Rodriguez. Rodriguez was also just .01 behind Gloria Asumnu of Tulane, who took fourth in Rodriguez' heat.

Junior Kai Kelley placed third in his qualifying heat in the men's 400m IH with a time of 52.06, but only the top two from each heat advanced automatically to the semi-finals, and his time was not low enough to take one of the six time-qualifying positions (the last qualifying time was 51.88).

In the men's 800m semi-final race, the junior Solomon won his heat with the fastest time on the day of 1:47.76 and will run in the finals on Saturday. Solomon placed sixth at the 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships in the 800m race. Junior Raphael Asafo-Agyei had a time of 1:49.86 to place fifth in his heat and did not advance to the finals.

In the men's shot put, the redshirt senior Bryant passed the automatic qualifying distance (19.20m) in his second shot put attempt with a mark of 64-11 1/4 (19.79m) to advance to Saturday's finals. His shot put ended up being the best mark on the day. Redshirt senior Denbo also advanced to the finals with a shot put of 60-6 3/4 (18.46m) on his final throw to make the 12-man finals field. He had the 11th-best shot put of the day. Bryant will be attempting to win both the NCAA indoor and outdoor shot put titles in the same season. The last Trojan to win the NCAA outdoor shot put title was Dallas Long in 1962.

The last Trojans to compete on the day were the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams. The men's team featuring freshman Nate Anderson, Asafo-Agyei, senior DaSean Cunningham and Solomon ran a time of 3:06.47 to place fourth in its heat and did not qualify for Saturday's finals. The womens team of freshman Myra Hasson, freshman Shalina Clarke, freshman Judith Onyepunuka and senior Tara Quarrie-Davis didn't fair any better, though they had a season-best time of 3:34.80 to place 4th in its heat, but did not advance to the finals.

Competing in finals tomorrow for USC will be Eva Orban and Julia Rozenfeld in the women's hammer, Adam Midles in the men's hammer, the women's 4x100m relay team, Kelley in the men's 110m HH, Candice Davis in the women's 100m HH and Rodriguez and Onyepunuka in the women's 100m dash. Also competing in a semi-final tomorrow will be Lionel Larry in the 400m race, as well as Woods' final three events in the heptathlon.

The NCAA Track and Field Championships are running June 6-9 at Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento. CSTV will televise the action from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 8 and CBS-TV will televise the finals on June 9 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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