Dan Places Fifth In The Discus At NCAA Championships

June 9, 2010

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EUGENE, ORE. - Aaron Dan placed fifth in the men's discus, Joey Hughes advanced to the finals in the 400m dash and Reggie Wyatt moved on to the finals in the men's 400m intermediate hurdles today (June 9) at the 2010 NCAA Track & Field Championships hosted by Oregon at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. during intermittent sunshine, cloud cover and light rain. All running events were semifinals (except the 10000m race) with the top two from each heat plus the next two best times advance to the finals.

The senior Dan was the first Trojan to compete at the 2010 NCAA Track and Field Championships and he took fifth place in the men's discus with a throw of 184-2 to earn All-American honors and earn USC its first four points in the team competition. His first throw was 177-2 (54.01m) which tied him for fifth in the competition and he stood tied for ninth after the first round with the top nine advancing to the finals, earning three more throws. His second throw was even better, moving into fourth place after two rounds with a throw of 184-2 (56.14m). He did not improve in his third throw with a mark of 182-11 (55.74m), so he entered the finals in fourth place. Ryan Whiting of ASU took the lead in the fifth round with a throw of 193-9 and dropped Dan into fifth place where he remained. He had a throw of 172-6 (52.58m) in his fourth effort, 181-8 (55.36m) on his fifth throw and 184-1 (56.11m) in his final throw.

Dan became the first Trojan male to score points in the discus at nationals since Chad Danowsky placed sixth in 1995 with a throw of 182-3. The last USC male to finish higher in the discus at the NCAAs was Bernd Kneissler who took third in 1986 with a throw of 195-2.

Also competing in a men's final today was senior Aven Wright who placed 18th in the triple jump with a best leap of 49-6.50 (15.10m). That jump came in his second effort and could have been even farther, but he appeared to take off about a foot and a half before the board. Still, he would have had to post a PR to make it into the final eight as the eighth-place finisher had a jump of 52-3.25. Wright had a strong senior season, winning the 2010 Pac-10 Championship in the triple jump and finishing his USC career with a best jump of 52-2.

The last Trojan to compete in a final on the first day of the championships was junior Zsofia Erdelyi in the women's 10000m run, the last event of the day. It turned out to be just one of those days for USC's talented junior as she finished 24th with a time of 34.44.63. Earlier in the season Erdelyi set the school record in the event with a time of 33:18.75.

The first Trojans on the track was the men's 4x100m relay team of sophomore Amechi Egbe, senior Ahmad Rashad, senior Jason Price and sophomore Joey Hughes and they placed eighth in their heat and 19th overall with a time of 40.96 and did not advance to Saturday's finals.

The women's 4x100m relay team of senior Shalina Clarke, senior Judith Onyepunuka, senior Elizabeth Olear and sophomore Aareon Payne was next and it placed fifth in its heat with a time of 44.82, missing out on advancing to Saturday's finals and finishing 14th overall.

Hughes was next up in the men's 400m race and he sent a statement that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with in the event as he won his heat with a PR of 45.15 which was also top qualifying mark on the day. Hughes will in the 400m finals on Friday scheduled for 6:25 p.m.

Olear came back to run in the women's 400m race next and placed eighth in her heat with a time of 54.89 and did not advance to Friday's finals.

The Trojans were then hit with heartbreak as the uber-talented Rashad, the 2009 NCAA runner-up in the men's 100m dash, was called for a false start in his heat despite coming out of the blocks last to the naked eye. Apparently he had flinched and was rocking back, thus the perceived slowest start of the group. Rashad was in the toughest heat as three of the four men's 100m qualifiers that posted a time under 10.10 in the preliminaries somehow ended up in his section, adding extra pressure on the senior to bring his 'A-Game' in the semifinals. Rashad ran a wind-aided 10.08 earlier this season and ranks tied for fourth all-time by a Trojan in the 100m with time of 10.10 which he posted in finishing second at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

Freshman Reggie Wyatt punched his ticket into the NCAA finals in the men's 400m intermediate hurdles by placing second in his heat with a time of 49.85 to automatically advance to the finals. The men's 400m IH finals are scheduled for 5:05 p.m. on Friday.

Sophomore Dalilah Muhammad then ran in the women's 400m IH and placed third in her heat with a time of 57.85. Unfortunatley she also finished third among the next best times and ninth overall, the last person out of the NCAA Championship field in the event.

Athletes competing tomorrow:Ekene Anene (triple jump), Shalina Clarke (100m HH), Brandon Estrada (pole vault), Marissa Minderler (hammer), Oscar Spurlock (110m HH) and both the men's and women's 4x400m relay teams.

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