USC Enjoys Solid First Day at NCAA T&F Championships
June 11, 2008
DES MOINES, IOWA - Corey White in the men's javelin and Eva Orban in the women's hammer qualified for Friday's finals with their first throws today (June 11) to lead five Trojans advancing to the finals at the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships being held at Jim Duncan Track and Johnny Bright Field on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Also, four more Trojan athletes advance to semifinals in their events.
The day began with with graying skies and a light rain for the men's 100m race in the decathlon and as soon at that event was done, there was a deluge of rain, thunder and lightning which postponed events for two hours. Trojan redshirt junior javelin specialist Corey White was ushered along with the other athletes into the adjoining fieldhouse to wait out the storm.
After a two-hour rain delay and with the sun peaking through the clouds, White wasted no time in qualifying for Friday's finals, throwing 233-4 (71.13m) on his first fling to surpass the automatic qualifying mark of 71.00m. White had the farthest throw of the day and was the only competitor to reach the automatic qualifier and did not need to throw again.
Junior Eva Orban was the next Trojan to compete and she won her flight in the women's hammer with an automatic qualifying throw of 210-11 (64.30m), surpassing the needed mark of 63.50. Orban, who placed third in the event at the 2007 NCAA Championships, and Brittany Riley (64.49m) of Southern Illinois, the 2007 NCAA runner-up in the hammer, were the only two athletes to advance to Friday's finals on their first throws.
'That is exactly the way you want to do it (taking minimal throws),' said USC thows coach Dan Lange. 'It doesn't always work out that way, though. I was especially impressed with Corey after the long delay to be able to keep his focus.'
The Trojan women's 4x100m relay team of sophomore Shalina Clarke, senior Jessica Onyepunuka, sophomore Judith Onyepunuka and sophomore Myra Hasson had a time of 44.79 to place second in its heat. The four heat winners plus the next four best times would advance to Friday's finals, so the Trojans had to wait it out. After the second heat, USC stood in third place among the time qualifiers meaning only one non-heat winner could pass them if they were to advance. However, the third heat ended the Trojans' hopes in the event as all five teams posted better times.
Senior Duane Solomon was the next Trojan on the track in the men's 800m preliminary race and he won his heat in a come-from-behind effort with a time of 1:49.25 to advance to tomorrow's semi-finals.
Jessica Onyepunuka placed second in her 100m dash heat with a time of 11.82 into a 6.4 wind to automatically advance to to the semifinals run later in the evening. In the semis, Onyepunuka placed third in her heat and overall with a time of 11.46 to advance to Friday's finals. She will be joined in the finals by three athletes from women's team-favorite LSU.
Sophomore Derek Scott cleared 16-8 3/4 (5.10m) in the men's pole vault to tie for 16th, but did not reach the finals as the top 15 competitors all cleared 17-2 3/4 (5.25m) to advance.
Senior Kai Kelley placed second in his preliminary heat in the men's 400m IH with a time of 50.53 to advance to tomorrow's semifinals. Then in the 400m races, senior Carol Rodriguez placed second in her heat with a time of 52.25 to advance to Friday's semifinals, while Lionel Larry won his race with a time of 46.38 to advance. Sophomore Jason Price, nursing a sore foot which has been in a boot the entire trip, had a 50.40 time and did not advance to the semifinals.
Freshman Zsofia Erdelyi placed second in her heat and fifth overall in the women's 3000m steeplechase with a time of 10:13.38 to advance to Friday's finals.
Senior Michelle Sanford had a best long jump of 20-6 1/2 (6.26m) to finish 17th and did not advance to the finals, as 11 of the 12 qualifiers reached the automatic advancement mark of 6.45m.
Redshirt senior Kate Hutchinson, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, had a best throw of 157-10 (48.11m) in the women's discus to place 19th. The top 12 throwers advanced to Friday's finals.
Redshirt sophomore Manjula Wijesekara closed out the first day's action as one of nine high jumpers to clear 7-0 1/4 (2.14m) and one of the 15 to advance to the finals on Friday.
Scheduled to compete tomorrow for USC are freshman Kristine Busa in the women's javelin, sophomores Clarke and Nia Ali in the women's 100m HH, seniors Kelley and Logan Taylor in the men's 110m HH, Kelley in the men's 400m IH, senior Solomon in the 800m and the women's 4x400m relay team.