Wilson, Jaworski And Kapek Win Individual Titles As Trojans Finish Third At NCAA Track And Field Championships

June 14, 2003

Sacramento, Calif. - Seniors Ryan Wilson, Dawid Jaworski and Julien Kapek each won NCAA individual titles on Saturday, as the USC men's track and field team put together its best performance in 26 years and finished third in the team race at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Sacramento State's Alex Spanos Sports Complex.

The Trojans scored 41.5 points, their most since scoring 48 in 1977. It was also the highest team finish for USC since also finishing third in 1997. Arkansas took home the team title with 59 points, while Auburn was second with 50 points.

The USC women scored 19 points to tie for 13th. LSU won the women's title with 64.

'This was a special meet for us,' said USC Director of Track and Field Ron Allice. 'We knew this was a big meet team. We wanted to win the Pac-10 Championships because we were hosting it, but it is far more important to do well here. Once again we proved that you can be strong in a dual meet, the conference meet and at the nationals. These guys just came to compete.'

Troy scored 36 of its points on the final day thanks in large part to the efforts of its three seniors. The last time USC had three NCAA individual winners at the men's meet was 1968. USC now has 111 NCAA individual titles in men's track and field, by far the most of any other school.

Dawid Jaworski won the high jump with a personal-best and USC-school-record height of 7-5 3/4 despite competing with a sore right ankle. He survived with a clutch third clearance at 7-3 1/4, then jumped into the lead when he was the first in the field to clear 7-4 1/2. He sailed over the winning height on his second attempt, but Shaun Kologinczak of Nebraska matched him, so the bar was raised to 7-7. Neither man could clear the height and Jaworski took the crown, the first Trojan to win the NCAA high jump title since Lew Hoyt did it in 1963.

'I can't believe it,' said Jaworski, who was second in the high jump at the NCAA meet last season. 'It is a great feeling. I was in some trouble early, but I got out of it. I thought of a happy place and looked over at my coaches and saw that they were supporting me.'

While Jaworski was atop the winner's platform, Ryan Wilson was getting ready for the 110m high hurdles.

'I saw Dawid over there and that fired me up,' said Wilson.

Apparently, it made a difference, as Wilson got out to a great start, took control of the race at the fifth hurdle, then held off Texas A&M's Chris Pinnock for the first NCAA 110m hurdles title by a Trojan since Mark Crear won it in 1992. Wilson's time of 13.35 was a personal best and just shy of Crear's school record of 13.33.

'I got a good start,' said Wilson, who ends his career as a three-time All-American. 'I struggled on hurdles three and four, got out to a lead in the middle and then got a little scared on seven and eight. I knew Chris was right on me. When I finished, I didn't even look at the time. I was just hoping the wind would allow some fast time. If I hadn't hit the last hurdle, I might have got the school record. Maybe years from now I will look back and wish I hadn't, but right now it doesn't matter.'

As Wilson cruised to his win, Julien Kapek watched from the triple jump runway. Then he jumped a personal-best 56-2--what turned out to be the winning jump--as he became the first Trojan since Luther Hayes in 1961 to win the NCAA triple jump title.

'Seeing Ryan win gave me some extra energy,' said Kapek. 'I hurt my back in the West Regionals and could barely walk the day after. So my back was hurting. But I knew I just needed one big jump to win.'

Pac-10 record holder Allen Simms--who was sick during much of the week--jumped 55-5 1/2 to take third, just missing a Trojan sweep of the top two spots by one-half inch.

USC scored 28 points in the jumps to go with Wilson's win and Jeff Ryan's fifth place tie in the pole vault.

In the women's meet, USC scored 19 points to tie for 13th thanks to second place finishes from junior Inga Stasiulionyte in the javelin and senior Julianna Tudja in the hammer. Tudja upped her Pac-10 record to 218-9.

The biggest surprise for the USC women came from Virginia 'Ginnie' Powell. The freshman from Seattle, Wash., ran 13.07 to break the Women of Troy record while finishing an unexpected sixth in the 100m high hurdles. She scored three points for the USC team.

'My goal was to be the winner,' said Powell. 'I knew I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I wasn't surprised. I knew I just had to not freak out and I'd be okay.'

'Powell is better than advertised,' said Allice. 'And Tudja rebounded from a tough year last year in fine fashion. I don't know a lot about the hammer, but I do know she's one of the most proficient technicians out there.'

Several Trojans on both the men's and women's teams will now compete at the U.S. Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., on June 19-22.

USC 2003 NCAA ChampionsRyan Wilson, 110m HH (13.35)Dawid Jaworski, High Jump (7-5 3/4)Julien Kapek, Triple Jump (56-2)Allen Simms (indoor), Triple Jump (56-7 1/2)

USC All-AmericansRyan Wilson, 110m HH (1st)Dawid Jaworski, High Jump (1st)Julien Kapek, Triple Jump (1st)Allen Simms, Triple Jump (3rd), Long Jump (7th)Jeff Ryan, Pole Vault (5th tie)Inga Stasiulionyte, Javelin (2nd)Julianna Tudja, Hammer (2nd)Virginia Powell, 100m HH (6th)Natasha Mayers, 100m (9th)

Quotes by USC Coach Ron Allice:

(On Ryan Wilson)'He is one of the all-time great hurdlers at USC. That's saying a lot. He's the best combo hurdler in USC history. He supposedly doesn't have a start and isn't very fast. But he beat a world-class field and that's some pretty good company.'

(On why Wilson's win and freshman Ginnie Powell's school-record-breaking performance was extra special)'Our hurdles coach Joe Lanning suffered a stroke and some broken ribs earlier this year and he came back to coach Ryan Wilson and Ginnie Powell. This was really special for him. He was my coach and did a lot for the sport, so to see his athletes get those performances made me really emotional.'

(On Dawid Jaworski)'What a job he's done at USC. Last year, he almost won this event. And this year, he was almost out of it, but he pulled off a clutch jump with his back to the wall. It was an unbelievable performance.'

(On Julien Kapek)'He's a great competitor. What he did in the dual meet and Pac-10 (where he competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump) was amazing and that competitiveness carried over today.

(On Allen Simms)'You have to realize that he's been jumping all year. He's had so many jumps. And he was sick all week! For him to come back on his last jump and almost pull off a second place....God help the rest of the competition when he is fresh and rested. He is reallyspecial. He loves his event. We tried to pull him out of competition the other day, but he wanted to stay in, that's how competitive he is.'

(On his team)'We didn't sandbag like some teams did this year, what with the new regional format. We competed and we did well. I am very proud of this team.'

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