Trojan Men Take Pac-10 Track Title; Women Make Strong Showing
May 18, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) - USC and UCLA, each featuring an athlete who won two hurdles events, captured the men's and women's team titles, respectively, at the Pacific-10 Conference Track and Field Championships, which concluded a two-day run Sunday.
Trojan senior Ryan Wilson won his third Pac-10 title in the 110-meter high hurdles in a wind-aided 13.42 seconds, then returned about 90 minutes later to win his first conference title in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 49.33 seconds.
``I would like to have run both events before,'' Wilson said after becoming the first man to sweep both Pac-10 hurdles titles since Steve Herko of UCLA in 1985. ``But I was always too hurt so I concentrated on the shorter race.''
UCLA senior Sheena Johnson won her third consecutive 400-meter hurdles title in 56.45 seconds after earlier capturing her first championship in the 100-meter event with a clocking of 13.10 seconds.
``This was my last Pac-10 meet, so I decided to try to win both races,'' Johnson said. ``I was a little tired for the 400, but I really wanted to defend that title.''
Before Johnson, Janeene Vickers, also of UCLA, was the only woman to win both Pac-10 hurdles events in the same year. Vickers won both events in 1989 and 1990.
The 20 points Wilson and Johnson accumulated for each victory were crucial in helping their schools win the team titles.
USC ended Stanford's two-year reign as men's champion with 139 points to 128 for the Cardinal. UCLA racked up 155 points to win the women's title for the seventh year in a row and eighth time in nine years. Stanford's 140 points ranked second among the women.
USC men won five individual events and UCLA women won seven.
In addition to Johnson, the UCLA women prospered from a third consecutive 800-1,500-meter double by Lena Nilsson; Candice Baucham's 42-6 winning triple jump, and victories Saturday by hammer thrower Cari Soong and shot putter Jessica Cosby.
Nilsson, who won the 1,500 meters Sunday in 4:13.21 and the 800 later in the afternoon in 2:03.86 is the first Pac-10 athlete of either sex to win both events three years in a row.
``I wasn't as tired as a I thought I'd be,'' Nilsson said after her victory in the 800. ``I had a lot left after the 1,500.''
Louie Luchini of Stanford added the 5,000-meter title he won Sunday to the 10,000-meter championship he won Saturday and USC's Natasha Mayers won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes for women. Washington State's Anthony Buchanan won the men's 100-meter dash in 10.1 seconds and anchored the Cougars' 4 x 100-meter relay team to an upset victory over USC in 39.68 seconds.
One of the smallest athletes in the meet recorded one of the biggest performances. Becky Holliday, a 5-foot-3 senior at Oregon, easily won the women's pole vault with a meet record climb of 14 feet, six inches. The mark was the third best in history by a woman vaulter and second best in the world this year, behind only a 15-1 -vault by world record holder Stacy Dragila.
``I train with her sometimes,'' Holliday said of Dragila. ``She's worked with me on speed down the runway.'' After clinching her victory, Holliday missed three attempts at 14-9, knocking the bar down with her back leg on the third try.
Oregon senior Adam Kriz threw the hammer 221 feet, three inches, to win the Pac-10 title for the second year in a row. He defeated Stanford senior Nick Welihozzkly, whose best throw was 221-1, by two inches in the competition staged Sunday morning at West Los Angeles College.
UCLA's Dan Ames finished third in the hammer at 206-9 and later added the discus title to the shot put championship he won Saturday. His winning discus throw was 196 feet, four inches. He is the first man to achieve the shot-discus double in the Pac-10 meet since Ian Waitz of Washington State in 1997.
Lewis Banda of Arizona State was the only freshman to win an individual title. He ran the 400 meters in 45.83 seconds, with Sun Devils teammate Seth Amoo finishing second in 46.08 seconds. California freshman Teak Wilburn matched Jaworski's winning mark in the high jump, but needed two tries to clear three lower heights which Jaworski negotiated on his first attempt.