USC Track And Field Hosts 'Trojan Invitational'

Feb. 26, 2003


The USC men's and women's track teams host the Trojan Invitational at Loker Stadium on the campus of USC on Saturday, March 1, 2003. Several schools from Southern California will participate, including Long Beach State, Cal State Bakersfield, San Diego State, Cal State Dominguez Hils and Point Loma. The meet will also include some open events featuring some club teams. Running events begin at noon with the women's 5000m, while throwing events begin with the women's hammer at 9:30 a.m. at West L.A. College. Field events at Cromwell Field start at 11:30 a.m. with the women's pole vault.


Both Trojan teams have competed in three meets so far this season: the Long Beach Relays and the L.A. Indoor Invitational, both on Feb. 15, and the Claremont 'Carl Rossi' Relays on Feb. 22.


There are new qualifying standards in place in 2003 due to the implementation of NCAA qualifying regionals. No longer are there NCAA automatic or provisional qualifying marks for athletes. Instead, there are Regional qualifying marks, which are substantially less stringent than the previous standards. An athlete must qualify for the NCAA Regionals and then advance to the NCAA Championships out of those Regionals, though an exception is made for athletes whose marks are among the best in the country by season's end.


USC is set to host the 2003 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships at Katherine B. Loker Stadium on May 17-18. It's the first time Troy has hosted the conference meet since 1986 and it's the first time ever that it has been held on the USC campus.


The Women of Troy won their first NCAA team championship in June of 2001 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The Trojan men's program has won an unprecedented 26 NCAA outdoor national titles (including nine straight in 1935-43), plus two NCAA indoor crowns. USC's men also have had 107 individual champions over the years, including Dennis Kholev in the pole vault in 2001. The Women of Troy have won 18 NCAA individual titles--including five by just graduated Angela Williams--and have placed in the top 10 at the NCAAs 10 times (including the last five years in the top five).


USC scored 57 points to finish third at the NCAA meet in Baton Rouge, LA, last June. Twenty-nine-and-a-half of those points return to do battle for the Women of Troy in 2003. Leading the way for USC is senior Natasha Mayers, who won the 200m and took second in the 100m at the NCAAs last season, junior Inga Stasiulionyte, who placed second in the javelin (she won the NCAA title the year prior), and junior L'Orangerie Crawford, who placed sixth in the hammer. The Women of Troy also return hammer record holder Julianna Tudja, who took third at the NCAAs in 2001, team captain and 1600m relay All-American senior Nakiya Johnson (the 2002 Pac-10 400m champ) and senior Aleksandra Pieluzek, who made the semifinals of the 400m IH at the NCAAs in 2003. USC will also get some help from a fine recruiting class that includes freshmen Virginia Powell (already 10th on the USC all-time 100m HH list) and Andrea Macbride, who is a fine javelin thrower.


The Trojan men are coming off a season in which they finished third at the Pac-10 championships and tied for 11th at the NCAAs with 21 points. The Trojans were young and injury prone in 2002, but rebounded by season's end to put in a quite a showing. USC is led by senior triple jumper Julien Kapek, the school record holder who placed third at last year's NCAAs, senior Ryan Wilson, a two-time 110m HH All-American, senior Dawid Jaworski, who was the NCAA runner-up in the high jump and sophomore Wes Felix, who was an All-American in the 400m relay. The Trojans have a great incoming recruiting class that includes freshman thrower Adam Midles (a two-time prep hammer champ), freshman 1500m runner Tomasz Babiskiewicz and sophomore transfer Allen Simms, who was a two-time All-American in the triple jump at George Mason.


As of yet, there have been no outdoor team rankings by the various track and field media outlets.



There is no better pair of horizontal jumpers in the country than senior Julien Kapek and sophomore Allen Simms. Kapek is the USC school record holder in the triple jump at 55-8 1/2. He broke the 25-year old mark held by Tom Cochee at last year's Trojan Invitational. He later took third at the NCAAs--USC's highest finish in the triple jump since Cochee took second in 1976. Simms comes to USC as a transfer from George Mason, where he was a three-time All-American in the triple jump and also distinguished himself as a fine long jumper. So far this season, Kapek and Simms are burning up the runway indoors. Simms jumped a PR 55-5 (the nation's leading mark) and Kapek went 53-2 1/4 as both Trojans went 1-2 at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 15. Simms also won the long jump at that meet with at leap of 24-11 1/4. Look for both Kapek and Simms to battle for the USC triple jump record as the season progresses and for both to score some big-time points at the NCAA meet in June.


That's right. Senior high jumper Dawid Jaworski is the third member of USC's outstanding jumping triad that could be the nation's best in 2003. He was the 2002 NCAA runner-up in the high jump with a jump of 7-4 1/2--a mark that tied the USC school record set by Anthony Caire in 1983. It was also the highest finish at the NCAAs by a USC high jumper since Larry Hollins took second in 1971. If he stays healthy, Jaworski should be a challenger for the NCAA title in June.


This year, senior Ryan Wilson will attempt to become only the second Trojan ever to be a three-time All-American in the 110m HH (William Erese from 1997-99 is the other). Wilson finished third in the event at the NCAAs as a sophomore and sixth last season. He also has two Pac-10 110m HH titles to his credit. A fine all-around athlete, Wilson also runs the 400m IH (with a best of 50.82) and should help Troy on the 1600m relay as well. Wilson is a fine arts major who has had a few turns as an actor in some student films.


You can't talk about the future of USC track and field without mentioning All-American sprinter Wes Felix. The sophomore had a fine debut season in 2002, helping the Trojan 400m relay squad to place fifth at the NCAAs. He then went on to establish himself as one of America's top young sprinters last summer when he won the U.S. Junior 200m title and then ran a leg on the U.S. 400m relay squad that won the World Championship in a world-junior-record time of 38.92. He also placed third in the 200m at the World Junior Championships with a PR 20.82. If he continues to progress, he'll be knocking on the door of the prestigious USC top 10 charts very soon.


With the graduation of Sultan McCullough and Kareem Kelly, the Trojans don't have their usual strong contingent of part-time footballers running track, but there are a few familiar names who will be around to help out. While he won't be competing until late in the season, senior Darrell Rideaux is a veteran sprinter who is one of the better lead-off men around in the 400m relay. He is coming off a nice year as a cornerback for the Trojan football team. Another senior, Marcell Allmond, is one of the best hurdlers in the Pac-10 and also one of its best defensive backs. Senior sprinter Miguel Fletcher no longer plays football, but he came to USC as a tailback. He brings a lot of experience to the sprint corps.



Last season, senior Natasha Mayers became the first USC female to win the NCAA 200m title and she also was runner-up to teammate Angela Williams in the 100m. That's 18 points in one NCAA meet, for those keeping score at home. This season, she has her eyes set on winning the 100 and 200m at the NCAA meet.And get this: she only ran in one meet for USC last season (the NCAAs), but she enters 2003 already in fourth on the all-time Women of Troy 100m chart (11.16, though her PR is 11.09) and third on the 200m chart (22.80). Imagine what she could do in an entire season!


USC has perhaps the nation's finest javelin thrower in junior Inga Stasiulionyte. She is the Pac-10 record holder in the event with a mark of 186-10. Last season, she finished second at the NCAAs, as it took an American record by Purdue's Serene Ross to beat her. The previous year, she won the NCAA javelin title as a freshman, bringing her two-year scoring total at the big meet to 18 points. She also has won two consecutive Pac-10 championships. As usual, health is key when is comes to the javelin, but expect her to defend her Pac-10 title and possibly reclaim her NCAA crown in 2003.


Junior L'Orangerie Crawford is USC's top thrower and a returning All-American in the hammer. She is second on the USC hammer list (205-5) and third on the shot put list (53-8 1/4). Last season, she took sixth in the hammer at the NCAAs.


USC also has its hammer school record holder returning this season in senior Julianna Tudja. Tudja placed third at the NCAAs in 2001 and ninth last season. She also finished second at the 2002 Pac-10 meet. In addition, the Women of Troy return senior Amy Thiel, who has a best of 187-5 in the hammer and who took seventh at the Pac-10s last season.


Senior Nakiya Johnson, who was a 2003 All-American in the 1,600m relay, is USC's top 400m runner and a team co-captain. Last season, she ran a team-best 52.29, a time that places her fourth on the all-time USC 400m chart. She advanced to the semifinals of the 400m at last year's NCAA meet.


That's what the USC track coaches call freshman hurdler Virginia Powell, who goes by the name 'Ginnie.' Powell, who hails from Rainier Beach High in Seattle, Wash., has already ensconced herself in the USC top 10 for 100m HH thanks to the 13.81 she ran at last week's Claremont Relays. The 5-10 Powell also will give the Women of Troy help in the 400m relay. She has a bright future.


It's not always easy to measure which school has the best track and field program, but consider this: In the last four years, only USC has finished in the top three at the NCAAs while also winning an NCAA team championship at least once. USC has also shined on the individual side, winning 10 NCAA titles during the same time span. And in case anyone forgot, USC's Angela Williams last year became the first track and field athlete since 1990 to win the Honda-Broderick cup honoring the nation's top female collegian.


Under the guidance of Director of Track and Field Ron Allice, the Trojan men are on a run of seven consective top 10 finishes (six of them under Allice)--a feat last accomplished during the 1970s under Vern Wolfe. Meanwhile, the Women of Troy have finished in the top 5 for three straight years and in the top 10 four of the last five years - a level of success not seen since the late 1980s. Last year

Running Events

12:00 Women's 5000m

12:30 Women's 400m relay

12:35 Men's 400m relay

12:45 Women's 1500m

12:55 Men's 1500m

1:15 Women's 100m HH

1:30 Men's 110m HH

1:45 Women's 400m

1:55 Men's 400m

2:05 Women's 100m

2:20 Men's 100m

2:40 Women's 800m

2:50 Men's 800m

3:10 Women's 400m IH

3:20 Men's 400m IH

3:35 Women's 200m

3:50 Men's 200m

4:05 Men's 3000m

4:20 Women's 1600m relay

4:30 Men's 1600m relay

Field Events

Field Events

9:30 Women's Hammer at West L.A. College

10:30 Men's Hammer at West L.A. College

11:30 Women's Pole Vault Women's Javelin

12:15 Women's Long Jump (West Pit) Men's Long Jump (North Pit)

12:45 Women's Shot Put (follows women's javelin)

1:15 Women's High Jump Women's Discus (follows women's shot put) Men's Javelin (follows men's long jump) Men's Triple Jump (follows men's long jump)

1:30 Women'sTriple Jump (follows women's long jump) Men's Pole Vault (followes women's pole vault)

2:30 Men's High Jump (followes women's high jump) Men's Shot Put (follows men's javelin)

2:45 Men's Discus (follows women's discus)

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