Clarke And Larry Lead Trojans In Final Day Of Pac-10 Championships

May 17, 2008

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TEMPE, ARIZ. - Shalina Clarke won the women's 400m intermediate hurdles and had a part in scoring 31 of USC's 91 points in the team competition while Lionel Larry won an electrifying 400m race to lead USC at the 2008 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships today (May 17) at Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The USC women's team placed fourth and the men's team seventh.

The sophomore Clarke won the women's 400m IH with a season-best time of 58.05 to earn 10 points, finished third in the 100m HH to earn six points, ran the first leg of the winning 4x100m relay team for 10 more points and then kicked off the 4x400m relay race for the Trojans which finished fourth for five more points, using her legs to help USC generate a total of 31 points.

The men's 400m race caused a great stir in the crowd as everyone wanted to see the showdown between USC's senior sensation Larry, the second-place finisher at the 2007 NCAA Championships and Washington's Jordan Boase, who had posted the fastest 400m time this season of 44.82. The race did not disappoint as the pair finished first and second, as Larry won with a new collegiate-leading mark and season best of 44.77, while Boase finished with a time of 44.97. Larry's time was just .10 seconds off his personal best set at the 2007 USA Track and Field Championships and established a new venue record, previously held by Boase. Larry earned 10 points and sophomore Jason Price three points as he finished sixth with a time of 46.55

The men's hammer competition was held in the morning and freshman Trey Henderson and redshirt juniors Mike Curiel and Brian Wilhelm competed for USC, but did not earn the Trojans any points. Henderson had a mark of 189-5 (57.73m), Wilhelm a throw of 188-3 (57.37m) and Curiel a distance of 185-11 (56.68m). Henderson missed reaching the finals round by six inches. So entering the night session, USC's women were in fifth place with 27 points and the men's team ninth with 11.5 points, but it didn't take long for both squads to make their final-day ascent.

The Women of Troy 4x100m relay team Clarke, senior Jessica Onyepunuka, sophomore Judith Onyepunuka and senior Carol Rodriguez kicked off the running portion of the competition with an impressive win with a season-best time of 44.00. By winning, USC's women gained 10 points which moved them into fourth place in the competition. It was the USC women's eighth Pac-10 4x100m title in the last nine seasons.

The men's team entered the competition with the third-fastest time in the field, but had to run without All-American Ahmad Rashad. The Trojan quartet of junior Matthew Palmer, junior Desmond Hamilton, Price and Larry finished with a time of 40.48, good for fourth place and five points.

Junior Donovan Lim set a PR in the high jump with a clearance of 6-8 3/4 (2.05m) and finished ninth, just out of the scoring. He actually tied for the sixth-highest jump in the competition, but on the tiebreaker of misses fell to ninth.

Senior Irek Sekretarski then placed ninth in the men's 1500m race with a time of 3:48.88, just out of the scoring to continue the Trojan men's team's bad luck of injuries and near misses.

At this point the men's discus results came in and it was much needed good news for USC as redshirt sophomore Aaron Dan took fifth place with a throw of 180-4 (54.96m) to earn four points. Fellow redshirt sophomore Colin Campbell placed 11th in the prelims with a throw of 167-3 (50.99m), but did not qualify for the finals.

Next Clarke placed third in the women's 100m high hurdles with a time of 13.47 to earn six points, while sophomore Shana Woods placed eighth with a time of 14.19 to earn a point. In the men's 110m HH which followed, USC earned 12 points as senior Kai Kelley placed second with a time of 13.85 (eight points), freshman Oscar Spurlock sixth with a time of 14.04 (3 points) and sophomore Sean Adams eighth with a time of 14.81 (1 point).

Myra Hasson then placed seventh in the women's 400m dash with a time of 54.51 to earn two points.

The women's 100m dash was next and 2007 second-place finisher Jessica Onyepunuka placed third with a time of 11.50, while the defending champion Rodriguez took sixth with a time of 11.63 as her sore hamstring continued to hamper her results. Together they earned the Trojans nine points. Judith Onyepunuka also ran in the race and posted a season-best time of 11.73 to finish ninth.

In the men's 800m race, senior Duane Solomon placed second with a time of 1:47.65, being passed down the stretch by Oregon's Andrew Wheating. Solomon, who has placed first or second in the 800m race at the Pac-10 Championships in each of the last three seasons, earned eight points for USC.

Clarke then won the 400m IH, while redshirt junior Katie Kirst placed eighth with a time of 1:00.90 to earn a point. Kelley then took third in the men's 400m IH with a time of 49.92 to earn six points, while junior Sheldon Evans placed eighth with a time of 52.72 to earn USC another point. Kelley's time was a new PR and moved him from 10th to eighth place on USC's all-time 400m IH list.

Trojans Michelle Sanford (41-1, 12.52m), a redshirt senior and sophomore Ekene Anene (40-11, 12.47m) finished fifth and sixth respectively in the women's triple jump. The pair teamed together to earn USC seven points in the triple jump.

The defending 1-2 finishers in the women's 200m dash Rodriguez and Jessica Onyepunuka took the track and again they could not duplicate their 2007 feat as Onyepunuka placed fourth with a time of 23.49, while Rodriguez placed seventh with a time of 23.94. They did, however, earn USC seven more valuable points in the team competition.

Freshman Zsofia Erdelyi, who placed fourth in the 3000m steeplechase yesterday, came back on Saturday to place seventh in the women's 5000m race to earn USC two more points with a time of 17:03.29.

Redshirt sophomore Aven Wright took sixth place in the men's triple jump with a mark of 49-8 1/4 (15.14m) to earn three points in the team standings.

Redshirt senior Kate Hutchinson finished in fifth place in the women's discus with a throw of 174-5 (53.17m) to gain four points, while freshman Lauren Guerrieri reached the finals in the event, but placed ninth with a throw of 150-7 (45.90m).

Anene tied for 14th in the women's high jump at 5-5 (1.65m) and redshirt senior Lindsay Oman tied for 19th at 5-3 (1.60m).

The USC women's 4x400m relay team of Clarke, sophomore Elizabeth Olear, Judith Onyepunuka and Hasson placed fourth to earn USC its final five points.

Entering the final event on the men's side, USC stood in seventh place with 63.5 points, with a chance to finish anywhere from sixth to ninth depending on the results of the 4x400m relay race which was run by Price, Solomon, sophomore Nate Anderson and Kelley. The Trojans took third place with a season-best time of 3:05.35 to earn six points and they remained in seventh as Washington State placed fourth to gain five points to hold off the Trojans, 73.5-69.5.

After the first day of competition, the men's team stood in ninth place with 11.5 points as junior Corey White earned 10 points for winning the javelin and redshirt sophomore Derek Scott 1.5 points by tying for seventh place in the pole vault. The women's team had scored 27 points, six by Woods for placing third in the heptathlon, eight by junior Eva Orban for taking second in the hammer, five for Erdelyi to placing fourth in the steeplechase and five points each by Sanford in the long jump and freshman Kristine Busa in the javelin.

The Trojans will next compete at the NCAA West Regionals on May 30-31 at Northridge, Calif.

The final Pac-10 team scoring:

Women - 1.) Arizona State - 186.5, 2.) Stanford - 117, 3.) Oregon - 100, 4.) USC - 91, 5.) UCLA - 80, 6.) Washington State and California - 71.5, 8.) Arizona - 65, 9.) Washington - 32.5.

Men - 1.) Oregon - 144.5, 2.) Arizona State - 134, 3.) UCLA - 108, 4.) California - 81.5, 5.) Stanford - 79, 6.) Washington State - 73.5, 7.) USC - 69.5, 8.) Arizona - 65, 9.) Washington - 63.

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