USC To Compete At Mt. SAC Relays And Long Beach Invitational This Weekend
April 16, 2008
2008 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC Trojans men's and women's track and field team will be competing this week at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. from April 18-20 and at the Long Beach Invitational on April 19 in Long Beach, Calif.
LAST WEEK - The Trojans only had a handful on athletes compete last week at the UCLA Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invite in Westwood with redshirt senior Kate Hutchinson highlighting the efforts by winning the women's open discus competition with a season-best throw of 172-4 (52.54m). Freshman Lauren Guerrieri placed second in the discus with a throw of 151-8 (46.22m). Guerrieri also placed 20th in the hammer with a career-best throw of 143-0 (43.59m), while redshirt freshman Tamara Baumann placed 18th with a PR of 146-4 (44.61m). Freshman Zara Lukens ran a PR of 39:09.20 in the women's 10000m race to place fifth. It was the third-fastest 10000m time in USC history. Senior Daniel Corrigan took third in the men's open pole vault competition at a height of 15-7 (4.75m).
WHITE SETS USC JAVELIN RECORD - USC redshirt junior Corey White threw the javelin 256-10 (78.29m) on April 5 to win the title at the Texas Relays by more than 21 feet over Alex van der Merwe of UTEP (235-9) and break the USC school record of 244-8 (74.58) set by Nils Fearnley in 1995. To put it in perspective, last year's NCAA champion in the javelin Justin Ryncavage of UNC won with a mark of 241-5. White's previous best in the javelin had been 241-8 on March 22 at the Trojan Invitational.
THE 2008 WOMEN'S TEAM - The women's team placed seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2007, as well as finishing second at the NCAA West Regional and placing fourth at the Pac-10 Championships. Gone is 2007 NCAA runner-up in the 100m HH Candice Davis, but the Trojans return a strong group. Leading the way is super sprinter Carol Rodriguez, coming off a season in which she won the 100m and 200m races at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA West Regional, as well as taking fourth in the 100m and anchoring USC's third place 4x100m relay team at the NCAA Championships. Nearly step-by-step with her is Jessica Onyepunuka who placed second to Rodriguez at the conference and West Regional in the 100m and 200m, placed seventh in the 100m and ran on the 4x100m relay team at the NCAA Championships. Eva Orban returns after placing second and third respectively in the hammer throw at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Championships. Hurdler Shalina Clarke and heptathlete Shana Woods showed great promise last season as freshmen earning Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year honors. Also back this season is USC discus record-holder Kate Hutchinson who redshirted in 2007.
THE 2008 MEN'S TEAM - The men's team placed fifth at the NCAA Championships last season, won the NCAA West Regional for the third consecutive season and came in third in the closest Pac-10 Championship in history. Gone is NCAA shot put champion Noah Bryant and fifth-place hammer thrower Adam Midles, but USC returns the rest of its scorers and has added some key newcomers. NCAA scorers returning are Lionel Larry in the 400m (2nd), Kai Kelley in the 110m HH (7th), Duane Solomon in the 800m (7th), Ahmad Rashad in the 200m (8th). Larry was Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Year and Rashad was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year as he won both the 100m and 200m dashes at the Pac-10 Championships. Joining them this season are javelin specialist Corey White who won the Division III NCAA title in 2006, high jumper Manjula Wijesekara who qualified for the NCAA finals as a freshman and posted the third-highest jump in school history and Derek Scott a 17-foot pole vaulter who redshirted last season. Added to all of this is the No. 2 rated recruiting class which features 2007 Gatorade Boys Track Athlete of the Year Bryshon Nellum, hurdler and long jumper Terry Prentice and hurdler Oscar Spurlock.
NEXT UP ON THE TRACK - The Trojans' track and field team is scheduled to compete at the UC San Diego Invitational in San Diego, Calif. from April 24-26. USC was originally scheduled to send a group to the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa. but withdrew from that competition to focus on their training.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS - The Trojans have eight returning student-athletes who qualified for All-American honors during the 2007 track and field outdoor season: Shalina Clarke (4x100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (100m, 4x100m), Eva Orban (Hammer), Carol Rodriguez (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Kai Kelley (110m HH), Lionel Larry (400m), Ahmad Rashad (200m), Duane Solomon (800m).
SCHOOL RECORD HOLDERS - The Trojans have seven individuals on the current team who hold USC records: Kate Hutchinson (discus), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m), Eva Orban (hammer), Carol Rodriguez (200m, 400m, 4x100m), Irek Sekretarski (1-Mile), Brysun Stately (Pole Vault - redshirting in 2008), Corey White (Javelin).
USTFCCA NCAA DIVISION I RANKINGS - Pre 4/9 4/16 4/23 4/30 5/7 USC Men's Team - 5 11 19 -- -- -- USC Women's Team- 5 4 5 -- -- --
T&F NEWS PROJECTS USC TO SHOW GOOD FORM - Track and Field News' preseason 2008 Formchart list the USC men's team placing second and the women's team eighth at the 2008 NCAA Championships. The men are projected to score 44 points and finish second to LSU's 54, while the women are predicted to score 27 points, good for eighth. They project Lionel Larry to win the men's 400m race and Duane Solomon to win the men's 800m race. Other Trojans that are projected to score at the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships according to Track and Field News and their predicted finish are as follows: Men: Bryshon Nellum in the 200m (3rd), Ahmad Rashad in the 200m (8th), Kai Kelley in the 110m HH (7th), 4x100m (8th), 4x400m (2nd), Corey White in the javelin (3rd). Women: Carol Rodriguez in the 100m (5th), Jessica Onyepunuka in the 200m (7th), Shalina Clark in the 100m HH (5th), 4x100m (3rd), Eva Orban in the hammer (2nd), Kristine Busa in the javelin (7th), Nia Ali in the heptathlon (8th).
USC TRACK AND FIELD HISTORY - USC is well known as one of the most successful athletic programs in the history of the NCAA, with 107 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 - Director of Track and Field Ron Allice enters his 14th 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. USC has the only track and field program in the country to have both the men's and women's squad finish in the top 10 in the country in each of the last three seasons. Under his guidance, the Trojan men's team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA finals in 10 of his 13 seasons, including a fifth-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 nine times in 13 seasons, including a seventh-place finish in 2007. 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 106 years of a rich and storied tradition.
TROJANS LEAVING THEIR MARKS - The Trojans have 28 athletes on the current team, including eight added this season, that have posted top 10 marks all-time by a Trojan. The following is a list of those athletes and their ranking at USC:
MEN - Kai Kelley (110m HH - 8th, 4x400m - 5th), Lionel Larry (400m - 3rd, 4x100m - 3rd, 4x400m -5th), Stenn Parton (Javelin -10th), John Peate (Steeplechase - 10th), Irek Sekretarski (Mile - 1st), Duane Solomon (800m - 2nd, 4x800m - 2nd & 3rd), Corey White (Javelin - 1st), Manjula Wijesekara (High Jump - 3rd).
WOMEN - Ekene Anene (High Jump - 10th, Triple Jump - 6th), Kristine Busa (Javelin - 2nd), Shalina Clarke (100m HH - 3rd, 400m IH - 6th, 4x100m - 9th, 4x400m - 9th), Sarah Cocco (3000m - 7th, 5000m - 3rd)), Zsofia Erdelyi (3000m - 4th), Myra Hasson (4x400m - 9th, 10th), Kate Hutchinson (Discus - 1st), Zara Lukens (10000m - 3rd), Laura Meyers (3000m SC - 2nd), Chun Mei Nickles (Pole Vault - T-4th), Elizabeth Olear (4x400m - 9th), Lindsay Oman (Heptathlon - 8th), Jessica Onyepunuka (100m - 8th, 200m - 10th, 4x100m - 1st, 5th, 8th, 9th), Judith Onyepunuka (4x400m - 9th, 10th), Eva Orban (Hammer - 1st), Carol Rodriguez (100m - 7th, 200m - 1st, 400m - 1st, 4x100m - 1st, 5th, 9th, 4x400m - 8th, 9th), Michelle Sanford (Triple Jump - 3rd, Long Jump - 6th), Brysun Stately (Pole Vault - 1st, redshirting in 2008), Talia Stewart (100m HH - 10th, 400m IH - 7th, 4x100m - 5th), Shana Woods (Long Jump - 7th, Heptathlon - 3rd).
EXPECT SOMETHING SPECIAL FROM THE SENIORS - The Trojan roster is filled with talented athletes throughout the different academic classes, but this year's senior group has posted some impressive numbers and they are not done yet! Lionel Larry has run a 44.67 400m and enters the season with designs on winning the NCAA 400m title (missed by .02 last season) and on challenging Quincy Watts' school record (43.50). Duane Solomon enters this season with a best of 1:45.69 in the 800m, just .77 seconds off the school record held by Ibrahim Okash. Kai Kelley in the 110m HH and the 400m IH and Irek Sekretaski in the 1500m will look to move up in the USC top 10 lists, while Logan Taylor looks to hurdle into the top 10 in the 110m high hurdles this season. Carol Rodriguez already owns the USC women's record in the 200m (22.23), 400m (51.51) and as part of the 4x100m relay team (42.96) and will set her sights on the school 100m record this season. Rodriguez has run a 11.24 career best, but has an 11.15 wind-aided time. Angela Williams is the school record-holder with an 11.04 time. Also, Rodriguez and Jessica Onyepunuka will attempt to repeat their 1-2 finishes at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional this season, while Onyepunuka will attempt to improve on her top 10 standings in the 100m and 200m dashes. Discus thower Kate Hutchinson is already the USC record-holder in the event at 189-5, but after a redshirt season she takes aim on setting a new school standard and on gaining USC points at the NCAA Championship.
ORBAN DOES IT AGAIN - Junior Eva Orban has gotten things started in a big way for the 2008 season by kicking off action on March 7 at the Ben Brown Invitational in the hammer throw with a winning mark of 226-6 (69.05m), just two inches off her school record. Then she established a new USC and Pac-10 record in the hammer throw in just her second outing of the season with a throw of 230-3 (70.18m) on March 15 at the Northridge Invitational. The hammer specialist has placed third or higher in every postseason meet she has competed in during her first two seasons at USC. As a freshman she set the school record with a throw of 226-8, won the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional titles and placed second at the NCAA Championships. Last year, Orban took second in the hammer at the Pac-10s, won the NCAA West Regional title and placed third at the NCAA Championships. Orban is ranked as the No. 2 female collegiate hammer thrower on CollegeHammer.com, trailing only returning champion Brittany Riley of Southern Illinois.
RODRIGUEZ AND ONYEPUNUKA FORM DYNAMIC DUO - Trojan senior sprinters Carol Rodriguez (6) and Jessica Onyepunuka (3) have a combined nine outdoor All-America honors between them. Over the last four seasons, they have teamed together to help USC capture and NCAA West Regional title (2006), the Pac-10 4x100m title two years running and a third-place finish in the 4x100m race at the NCAA Championships in each of the last two seasons. Rodriguez and Oneypunuka are the reigning first and second-place finishers respectively in the 100m and 200m dashes at both the Pac-10 and NCAA West Championships.
BUSA AND WHITE ENJOYING PARALLEL SUCCESS - New Trojan javelin specialists freshman Kristine Busa and redshirt junior Corey White wasted little time in making their marks at USC. First they both started the season with the thirdfarthest throws in school history and then at the Trojan Invitational on March 22, they both had the second-farthest throws in school history. Busa threw the javelin 169-7 (51.70m), trailing only Inga Stasiulionylte's school record of 186-10 (56.95) set in 2002. It is also the ninth-best collegiate throw this season and she is one of two freshman in the top 17. White flung the javelin 241-8 (73.66m) only three feet short of Nils Fearnley's school record of 244-8 (74.58m) set in 1995. He then set the school record with his throw of 256-10 (78.29m) in winning the javelin competition on April 5 at the Texas Relays...it's Busa's turn!