Track And Field Travels To Desert For Pac-10 Championships

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May 11, 2004

Los Angeles -

THE MEET

The USC men's and women's track and field teams travel to Tucson, Ariz., this week to compete in the 2004 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of Arizona at Roy P. Drachman Stadium on Friday and Saturday (May 14-15). The two-day affair will display over 200 athletes from nine schools (Oregon State does not offer track) as they compete for the 74th men's title and the 18th women's title. Oregon is the defending men's champion, while the UCLA women will be shooting for their eighth-consecutive crown. The contest finishes on Saturday at 9:35 p.m. with the running of the men's 1600m relay. Fox Sports Net will broadcast the event on tape delay at various times starting on May 20.

USC PAC-10 HISTORY

The Trojan men finished fourth at last season's Pac-10 Championships hosted by USC at Loker Stadium. It was the first time the meet was held on the USC campus. The Trojans actually captured the men's team championship with 139 points, but were later forced to relinquish the title due to use of an ineligible athlete. As a result, Oregon was awarded the men's team title. On the women's side, the Women of Troy also finished fourth with 101 points. Over the years, the Trojan men have won 35 conference championships (the last coming in 2000), while the Women of Troy have won two (the most recent in 1996).

RANKINGS

The Pac-10 is well-represented in the latest Trackshark.com Top 25 rankings. For the men, No.4 Arizona State, No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 Arizona, No. 13 USC, No. 15 Stanford and No. 24 California are all ranked, while No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 USC, No. 8 Stanford, No. 15 ASU and No. 18 Arizona are featured on the women's list.

RETURNING CHAMPIONS

USC returns two champions from last year's conference championships--junior Wes Felix in the 200m and senior Inga Stasiulionyte, a three-time winner in the javelin.

SO FAR THIS YEAR FOR THE USC MEN

The Trojans, ranked 13th by Trackshark.com, are led by a quality group of sprinters and jumpers and an emerging corps of middle distance runners and throwers. Junior Allen Simms was the 2004 U.S. Indoor and 2003 NCAA Indoor champion in the triple jump and is the Pac-10 record holder in the event with a best of 56-7 1/2. He also is an excellent long jumper with a top mark of 26-3 3/4. This season he has outdoor bests of 25-5 1/4 in the long jump and 54-10 3/4 in the triple jump. Simms is joined in the jumps by three-time All-American high jumper Jesse Williams, a sophomore who transferred to USC from North Carolina State this past fall and has gone 7-3 so far this season. In the sprints, USC has four of the top five 100m marks in the conference, thanks to sophomores Garry Jones (10.26w) and Phillip Francis (10.35) and juniors Marvin Anderson (10.31) and Wes Felix (10.31). Felix also has the top 200m time (20.57), while Anderson is fourth (20.84). In the middle distances, the Trojans have nationally-ranked times by sophomore Raphael Asafo-Agyei (1:48.63 for 800m), junior Anthony Heckman (1:49.73, 800m) and sophomore Tomasz Babiskiewicz (3:44.99 for 1500m). Asafo-Agyei is currently injured and will miss the rest of the season. And in the throws, the Trojans have two young shot putters--sophomore Noah Bryant and redshirt freshman William Denbo--who have topped 60 feet this season. Bryant has a best of 62-5 and Denbo's best is 61-9. Both have made their way onto the Trojan top-10 chart. Continuing USC's fine hammer tradition is senior Michael Murray, who leads the conference with a best of 214-11.

SO FAR THIS YEAR FOR THE USC WOMEN

The Women of Troy, ranked 6th by Trackshark.com, are led by a deep middle-distance corps, a throws corps with a mix of veterans and newcomers and a solid group of sprinters and hurdlers. Seniors Inga Stasiulionyte and L'Orangerie Crawford hold Women of Troy standards in the javelin and shot put, respectively. Stasiulionyte's best of 186-10 is a Pac-10 record, while Crawford's 56-0 is a top 10 conference mark. Crawford also has a best of 209-8 in the hammer. Joining them is junior Leslie Erickson, who has returned from injury to throw a season-best 154-1and freshmen Julia Rozenfeld, whose 202-1 is a school freshman mark for the hammer throw, and Kate Hutchinson, whose 168-1 in the discus is fourth all-time at USC. The rising star on the team is sophomore Virginia Powell, who already holds the school record in the 100m hurdles (13.07) and was an All-American as a 2003 freshman. Powell is also an outstanding sprinter, with a PR of 11.39, 10th on the all-time Pac-10 list. Senior Miya Edmonson, with a best of 23.46 in the 200m and 11.59 in the 100m, is one of the top sprinters in the conference, as is junior Alexis Weatherspoon (11.62/23.76). Sophomore Tracee Thomas has had a solid season, with a best of 52.99 in the 400m. Incoming junior Iryna Vashchuk has been the rock of the middle distance group with a team-leading 2:08.48 in the 800m and 4:17.90 in the 1500m. The latter mark is fourth on the school top 10 list for 1500m. She's backed up in the 800m by junior Gina Clayton (2:08.60) and freshman Treani Swain (2:09.09). In the long distances, senior Julia Budniak is the top steeplechaser in school history at 10:45.7, while senior Beth Van Alstine has the conference's second-best mark in the 10,000m (34:29.62). And freshman Michelle Sanford has been outstanding for USC in the jumps, with bests of 43-10 1/2w in the triple and 20-10 1/2 in the long jump.

PAC-10 LEADERS

Several Trojan athletes are leading in their events heading into this weekend's meet, including Garry Jones (100m), Wes Felix (200m), Allen Simms (Triple Jump), Michael Murray (Hammer), Virginia Powell (100m) and Inga Stasiulionyte (Javelin).

USC COACH RON ALLICE AT THE PAC-10s

Trojan coach Ron Allice's men's teams have won three conference team titles (1997, 1999, 2000) and have two second-place finishes in his nine years at the helm. On the women's side, he has won once (1996), while finishing second five times.

USC's NCAA TITLE HISTORY

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, far more than any other school. In fact, in the history of the NCAA, only the Oklahoma State wrestling program (31) has more national titles than USC men's outdoor track and field. The Trojans also have had 127 individual champions over the years. The Women of Troy won their first NCAA team championship in 2001 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The Women of Troy have had 18 individual collegiate champions.

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