Trojans To Compete At The Northridge Relays

March 17, 2006

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2006 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC Trojans men's and women's track and field teams will partiicpate in the Cal State Northridge Relays on Saturday, March 18 in Northridge, Calif.

LAST WEEK - At the Ben Brown Invitational hosted by Cal State Fullerton, Jessica Onyepunuka won the 100m dash with a personal-best time of 11.31 and Michelle Sanford won the long jump at a distance of 20-3. Inman Breaux won the triple jump at 49-10, Noah Bryant won the shot with a personal best of 62-10 and Adam Midles won the hammer with a throw of 212-1. Also, Talia Stewart had the fastest time amongst competing collegians in winning the 100m hurdles (13.99), Kai Kelley the best collegiate time in the men's 100m HH at 14.39

TROJANS CLAIM TWO INDOOR TITLES - The Trojans had a strong showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships, despite sending just five female and one male athlete to the event in Fayetteville, Ark. Jesse Williams defended his 2005 indoor title by jumping 7-6 to win the 2006 NCAA indoor high jump championship. Virginia Powell ran 7.84 to win the 60m hurdles title for the second consecutive season. Her time was the fastest ever recorded by a female college athlete in the 60m hurdles Candice Davis placed eighth in the 60m hurdles and Carol Rodriguez second in the 200m race to lead the USC women's team to a tie for eighth place in the team competition with 21 points.

RANKINGS - The latest Trackwire rankings have the USC women's team ranked tied for 16th and the men's team is not ranked in the top 25.

THE MEN'S TEAM - The men's team placed sixth at the NCAAs last season and return many of the top athletes from that team. Leading the way is Jesse Williams who has won the last three NCAA high jump titles (two indoor, one outdoor). He is joined in the high jump by Manjula Wijesekara who ranks second all-time at USC in the event behind Williams. In the sprints, USC returns two top-notch runners in Philip Francis and Garry Jones, both members of USC's 4x100m relay team that ran a 38.9. Lionel Larry can also be a big part of the short distances if he can return to health. Also, Kai Kelley and Blake Frazier return to anchor a strong hurdler group. In the 800m, Duane Solomon and Raphael Asafo-Agyei both qualified for the NCAAs last season. Tomasz Babiszkiewicz returns in the 1500m as a two-time All-Pac-10 performer.

THE WOMEN'S TEAM - The women's team placed seventh at the NCAAs in 2005 and have added some key new members to the team that could score at the championships. Virgina Powell anchors the team having run a 12.61 in the 100m hurdles, tied for the fastest time ever by a collegiate hurdler. She is the returning NCAA champ in the 100m hurdles and will also compete in the 100m dash. Jessica Onyepunuka and Carol Rodriguez will give the Women of Troy strength in the sprints. Candice Davis and Talia Stewart also should give the Trojans a good shot in the hurdles events. Michelle Sanford has returned to health and teams with Katarzyna Klisowska and decorated freshman Brittany Daniels to give USC a very good 1-2-3 punch in the long jump and triple jump. Former school record-holder in the pole vault Shannon Lewallen and current record-holder freshman Brysun Stately give the Trojans a solid pole vault group. Florida transfer Karen Freberg can score for USC in the shot. Julia Rozenfeld returns in the hammer and is joined by freshman Eva Orban.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS - Jesse Williams in the high jump (1st), Adam Midles in the hammer (6th), Virginia Powell in the 100m HH (1st), Candice Davis in the 100m HH (7th).

SCHOOL RECORD HOLDERS - Jesse Williams in the high jump (7-6 1/2), Virginia Powell in the 100m HH (12.61), Brysun Stately in the pole vault (13-5 3/4).

TROJAN INVITATIONAL ON DECK - USC will be hosting the Trojan Invitational on Saturday, March 25 at Loker Stadium. Joining the Trojans in at the meet will be Oregon, Washington State, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona, San Diego State, Cal State Los Angeles, UCSB, Cerritos College, Long Beach CC and Pasadena CC.

CARDINAL AND GOLD INVITATIONAL - The following weekend, Saturday, April 1, USC will host the Cardinal and Gold Invitational which will feature USC, New Mexico and Texas A&M. Also on that day, the Trojans will be hosting the Los Angeles City Relay Championships featuring the city's top track athletes in the 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay, sprint medley (200m, 200m, 400m, 800m) and the distance medley (1200m, 400m, 800m, 1 mile).

USC TRACK AND FIELD HISTORY - USC is well known as one of the most successful athletic programs in the history of the NCAA, with 106 men's and women's national championships. The Trojans have won far more NCAA team and individual titles combined than any other university. However, the most dominant force in USC's slate of athletic programs is not the baseball team (12 College World Series titles) or the football squad (nine national championships) but the men's track and field program, with an unprecedented 28 NCAA titles (including nine straight, 1935-43). 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. Trojan athletes have dominated the track and field scene for decades. From the exploits of sprinter Charlie Paddock and thrower Clarence 'Bud' Houser in the 1920s and 1930s, sprinter Mel Patton in the 1940s, thrower Parry O'Brien in the 1950s,sprinter Lennox Miller and pole vaulter Bob Seagren in the 1960s, sprinter Quincy Watts in the 1980s, to four-time NCAA hammer champion Balazs Kiss (only the fifth collegian to win four in a row) in the 1990s and World Champion hurdler Felix Sanchez in the 2000s, USC is synonymous with track and field excellence.

Ron Allice AND SUCCESS GO HAND IN HAND - Esteemed Director of Track and Field Ron Allice enters his 12th season at the helm of the USC program. With the outstanding coaching staff he has assembled, the Trojans have returned to prominence on a national level once again. In 2005, the Trojans were one of two schools to place both the men's and women's teams in the top seven in the country. Under his guidance, the Trojan men's team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA finals in eight of his 11 seasons, including a sixth-place finish last season. The Women of Troy won their first-ever national championship in 2001 under Allice, who has guided the women's track and field team to a top 10 finish seven times in 11 seasons, including a seventh-place finish in 2005. USC's past successes in track and field are well known: 29 NCAA championships (including two indoor titles), 61 world records, 87 Olympic team members, 40 Olympic gold medals and 16 inductees in the U.S. National Track and Field Hall of Fame - all encapsuled in 104 years of a rich and storied tradition.

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