Trojans Arrive Safely In Arkansas, Preparing For Championships
June 8, 2009
Like a scene from the movie 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' the USC track and field team began it journey at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday (June 7) to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
USC gathered on campus at that early hour to take a bus to Los Angeles International Airport where they had a 7 a.m. flight on Southwest Airlines. Things at LAX went smoothly and the plane left on time for a short flight to Phoenix. After a little more than an hour layover there, the Trojans boarded a two-hour flight to Tulsa, Okla. With only one bag missing (coach Lange's), USC then loaded into eight rental vans and began a two hour quest to find the hotel in Bentonville, Ark.
With coach Tom Walsh's van leading the way and closing in on the hotel, the troops got restless and the caravan pulled over at a gas station/mini-mart for a bathroom break and snacks. In restarting the journey, two vans got separated, but actually made it to the hotel first as the remaining six circled back to see where they went. Another 20 minute drive and the group had safely arrived at the secluded Marriott in Bentonville - just over 12 hours later! Coach Dan Lange's bag also arrived safely a little later!
With absolutely nothing in the general area, the team left in groups to drive a few miles south to get dinner and watch the Lakers game, then back to the hotel for some well deserved rest.
After sleeping in, most of the Trojans left for the track at 1 p.m. for practice and to get familiar with the surroundings. Another group left for the track at 3 p.m. This group of athletes was treated to some extra fun as the hotel decided to test its fire alarms. With athletes coming out to the hallways to see what was up, it was divulged that it was just a system test and they need not worry.
As the Trojans made their way to the track for practice, the final USTFCCCA track and field rankings prior to the NCAA Championships were released and both the USC men's and women's teams were ranked No. 7.