Orban And Wijesekara Lead USC In First Day Of NCAA West Regional

May 29, 2009

Day One Results Get Acrobat Reader

EUGENE, ORE. - Eva Orban won her fourth consecutive regional hammer throw title and Manjula Wijesekara tied the meet record in winning the high jump to lead the Trojans in the first day of the 2009 NCAA West Regional being hosted by Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. To qualify for the NCAA Championships on June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark., athletes have to finish in the top five (top 3 in relays) in each of the four NCAA Regionals or be in a group of 5-8 other athletes chosen from a pool of the next best seven finishers in each event at the regionals.

Orban has owned the West Regional hammer competition winning it all four seasons she has been at USC - including setting the meet record of 226-8 (69.10m) on May 27, 2006 - but this win was not without drama. After fouling in her first two throws, the defending NCAA champion Orban need a clean throw in her third attempt which would at least leave her in 12th place so she could get an at-large bid to the NCAA finals as she owned the top mark in the country coming in. Cool as could be, the senior unleashed a throw of 204-8 (62.39m) which put her in third place and safely into the finals. Orban's next throw of 220-5 (67.18m) was her best of the day and ultimately proved to be the winner. Her efforts also gained the Trojans 10 points in the team competition.

Punching his ticket to the NCAA Championships in style was redshirt junior Manjula Wijesekara who won the high jumpwith a season-best leap of 7-4 1/2 (2.25m). His jump tied the meet record held by former teammate Jesse Williams and matched the top collegiate clearance this season. Wijesekara then tried to clear 7-5 3/4 (2.28m) which would have set a new PR and established a new meet record, but was unable to clear the height despite the generous support by the Oregon crowd. He also gained 10 points for USC in the team competition.

Junior Corey White placed third in the men's javelin with a throw of 237-7 (72.42m) to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships where he was the runner-up in 2008. USC earned six more points for his efforts.

The women's 4x100m relay team of freshman Erica Alexander, junior Shalina Clarke, junior Judith Onyepunuka and freshman Aareon Payne were the first Trojans on the track and they cruised into tomorrow's finals by taking their preliminary heat with a time of 44.76.

The men's 4x100m team of junior Jason Price, junior Ahmad Rashad, freshman Joey Hughes and senior Matthew Palmer followed suit next with a winning time of 40.40 to advance to the finals.

Junior Desmond Hamilton was the Trojans' first casualty of the meet as he placed second in his flight of the long jump to advance to the final round where he placed eighth with a jump of 24-5 (7.44m). The top five jumpers advance to the NCAA Championships, but Hamilton did earn the Trojans a point in the team competition.

Clarke then came back to post the second-fastest 100m high hurdles time of the day of 13.26 to advance to the finals. Sophomore Oscar Spurlock was next and he won his 110m HH heat with a time of 13.60, the fastest time on the day, to automatically advance.

Onyepunuka then ran in the women's 100m dash and placed seventh in her heat with a time of 11.78 and did not advance to the finals. Rashad had no problem advancing to tomorrow's finals in the men's 100m dash as he won his heat by posting the fastest time of 10.16 (2.3 wind).

Juniors Myra Hasson and Elizabeth Olear were next in the women's 400m dash and neither advanced to the finals. Hasson just missed out finishing ninth with a time of 54.68, while Olear, nursing a sore hamstring, placed 11th with a time of 54.94.

The men's 400m race was much kinder to the Trojans as both junior Nate Anderson (46.94) and Hughes (46.78) won their heats to automatically qualify, as well as post the top two times on the day.

Sophomore Frida Flodstrom captured the eighth and final spot in the women's 800m finals despite a sore foot, by placing fourth in her heat with a time of 2:09.44. The men's 800m runners also got through to the finals as senior Irek Sekretarski won his heat with a time of 1:49.52 and freshman Blake Shaw took second in the same heat with a season-best time of 1:49.67. The top two runners in each heat advanced to tomorrow's finals and Sekretarski on the inside and Shaw on the outside made sure they advanced as they sprinted past the field down the stretch.

Freshman Dalilah Muhammad won her 400 intermediate hurdles heat with a time of 59.34 to advance to tomorrow's finals. Not so lucky was freshman Duane Walker who had a time of 51.83 to place second in his heat, but 10th overall, missing the cut for the finals.

Redshirt junior Brysun Stately tied for 10th in the women's pole vault with a clearance of 13-1 3/4 (4.01m). She passed at 4.11m and then could not clear 4.21m (13-9 3/4) in her three attempts. Since she ranks ninth on the national descending order list, she more than likely will earn an NCAA at-large berth.

Senior Katalin Mate was the last Trojan competing and she reached the finals of the women's discus throw competition but placed seventh with a season-best best throw of 165-10 (50.55m). That throw moved her from eighth to seventh on USC's all-time list and earned USC two points in the team competition.

Other Trojans competing in finals tomorrow along with those aforementioned athletes which advanced today are: Kristine Busa (javelin), Colin Campbell (discus), Mike Curiel (hammer), Aaron Dan (discus), Zsofia Erdelyi (steeplechase), Brandon Estrada (pole vault), Troy Henderson (hammer), Marissa Minderler (javelin), Payne (200m), Derek Scott (pole vault), Wijesekara (triple jump), Brian Wilhelm (hammer) and Aven Wright (triple jump). Also, USC will have a 4x400m relay team running on both the men's and women's sides.

First day team standings:

Women's Top 10:1.) Oregon 31.5, 2.) Arizona State 27, 3.) Washington 26, 4.) Stanford 19, 4.) BYU 19, 6.) UCLA 16.5, 7.) USC 12, 8.) Arizona 11, 9.) San Diego State 8, 9.) CS Fullerton 8

Men's Top 10:1.) Oregon 35.75, 2.) Arizona 23, 3.) Arizona State 21, 4.) USC 17, 5.) Northern Arizona 14, 6.) Boise State 13, 7.) UCLA 10.75, 8.) CS Northridge 8.75, 9.) Stanford 8, 9.) CS Fullerton 8

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