Trojans Announce Stellar 2008 Track & Field Recruiting Class

Feb. 15, 2008

The USC Trojans' track and field team announced today (Feb. 15) that it has received signed National Letters of Intent from Erica Alexander, Elan Hilaire, Dalilah Muhammad, Ezinne Okparaebo, Aareon Payne and Blake Shaw, according to USC Director of Track and Field Ron Allice.

Alexander, from Clear Brook HS in Friendswood, Texas, as a junior ran the sixth-fastest 400m time by a high school female in 2007 with a time of 53.29. She also had a 23.86 time in the 200m (20th) and an 11.63 wind-aided 100m dash time. This year her 7.47 time in the indoor 60m is second among high school females. She was named the Houston Chronicle's Girl's Track Athlete of the Year, winning the 200m (24.12) and 400m (PR of 53.29) races at the Class 5A Texas state meet. Alexander won the 100m state title as a sophomore with a PR of 11.46. Her best time in the 200m is 23.66. For good measure, Alexander also claimed the District 24-5A long jump title with a distance of 18-8. Alexander represented the U.S. on the 2006 World Junior Team as a member of the 4x100m relay team pool and at the 2007 World Youth Team where she anchored the gold medal-winning medley relay team. She has won 10 gold medals combined at the USATF Junior Olympics and National Youth Championships. Alexander was also selected the 2007 Texas state Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year.

Hilaire, from Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, Md., set a high school freshman record and a PR of 54.06 in the indoor 400m race, breaking the grade record set by Char Foster of 54.25 set in 1995. She won the 400m at the Nike Spring Invitational in 2006 with a time of 55.36. Hilaire has also posted bests in the 200m of 24.81, 300m of 38.97, 400m of 53.97 and 55m dash of 7.04. Hilaire represented the U.S. at the World Junior Games in Beijing, China in 2006, running a leg in the preliminaries on the 4x400m relay team.

Muhammad is from Cardozo HS in Bayside, N.Y. is a multi-talented runner who ran everything from the 200m, 400m, 800m, relays, hurdles and high jumps, usually winning en route to being named the New York Gatorade State Player of the Year in track and field. Muhammad captured the 400m IH at the IAAF World Youth Games in the Czech Republic last summer with a time of 57.25. Her PR in the 400m IH is 57.09, set when she won the Nike Outdoor Nationals. She has run the nation's top time in the 600m race by a high schooler this year of 1:32.38.

Okparaebo was a gold medal winner in the 100m dash at the Women's Junior European Championships in the Netherlands in July of 2007 with a national Junior record of 11.45. The sprinter from Norway also has bests in the 200m of 23.99 and the outdoor 60m of 7.69. Her indoor 60m best of 7.33 is both the national Junior record and the Norwegian national record. Okparaebo was the 2005 and 2006 Nordic champion in the 100m dash and broke the Norwegian Jurnior record 10 times in 2007. She was a World Junior Championship semi-finalist in the 100m in 2006 and is the first Norwegian to ever win the 100m at the European Junior Championships. In 2007 Okparaebo was the Norwegian Senior champion in both indoor and outdoor 100m.

Payne, from Beaumont HS in Cleveland Heights, Ohio is a three-time Ohio state outdoor champion, winning the 100m in 2007 and the 200m in 2006 and 2007. She also won the state indoor title in the 60m once and the 200m twice. Payne is the Ohio state record-holder in the 200m both indoor (24.27) and outdoor (23.65). Payne helped lead Beaumont to the state championship as a junior. She has PRs of 7.52 in the 60m, 11.71 in the 100m, 23.65 in the 200m and 55.88 in the 400m.

Middle distance runner Shaw comes to USC from Cypress Falls HS in Houston, Texas. He has posted PRs of 1:51.58 in the 800m, 4:11.18 in the 1600m, 15:37.02 in the 5000m and 15:43.00 in the three-mile race. Shaw was one of three U.S. high school 800m runners selected to compete at the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships in the Czech Republic. He actually ran the 1500m race and placed ninth with a time of 3:53.36. Shaw also starred at Beaumont in football as a receiver and cross country.

Career Best Marks:Erica Alexander - 60m indoor (7.47), 100m (11.46), 200m (23.66), 400m (53.29)

Elan Hilaire (A-lon Huh-Lair) - 55m (7.04), 200m (24.81), 300m indoor (39.83), 300m outdoor (38.97), 400m indoor(54.06), 400m outdoor (53.97)

Dalilah Muhammad (Da-Lila Moo-Ha-med) - 400m IH (57.09), 300m (39.99), 400m (54.23), 600m (1:32.38), HJ (5-9)

Ezinne Okparaebo (A-zin-nay Ahk-Par-A-bow) - 60m indoor (7.33), 60m outdoor (7.69), 100m (11.45), 200m (23.99)

Aareon Payne (Air-E-on Pain) - 60m (7.52), 100m (11.71), indoor 200m (24.27), outdoor 200m (23.65), 400m (55.88)

Blake Shaw - 800m (1:51.58), 1600m (4:11.18), 5000m (15:37.02), 3 miles (15:43.00)

For more information and photos of the Trojans' 2008 recruits, click on the following link:

2008 USC Recruiting Class PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

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