Trojan Track And Field Teams Take Aim At NCAA West Regional Championships

May 23, 2006

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TROJANS HEAD TO NCAA WEST REGIONAL - The defending NCAA West Regional champion USC men's track and field team and the USC women's team, a fourth-place finisher in 2005, will be competing at the 2006 NCAA West Regional hosted by BYU at Clarence F. Robison Track in Provo, Utah on May 26 and 27. The men's team will send 23 athletes to BYU to defend their title, while the women's team will be comprised of 10 athletes. The USC men's team has finished first or second in the NCAA West Regional in its first three years of existence, while the Women of Troy placed third in 2003, second in 2004 and fourth in 2005. The top five athletes and top three relay teams in each event will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships to be held in Sacramento, Calif, June 7-10.

MEN'S TEAM WINS 2006 PAC-10 TITLE; WOMEN PLACE THIRD - USC's men's team won the 2006 Pac-10 Track and Field Championship on May 14 in Eugene, Ore. when they stormed back from a sixth-place standing after the first day of action to clinch the title on the last event by winning the 4x400m relay. It was USC's first Pac-10 crown since 2000 and their fourth in the last 10 years. It was a complete team effort, but the following men won events and earned 10 points for the Trojans individually or as part of the relay team: Philip Francis (100m, 200m, 4x400m), Duane Solomon (800m), Jeff Garrison (4x400m), De'Sean Cunningham (4x400m), Lionel Larry (4x400m), Jesse Williams (high jump) and Noah Bryant (shot). The USC women's team entered the final day of competition tied for eighth with eight points, but scored 104 points in the last day to finish third. Their point total on Sunday alone, was more than everyone but Arizona State and Stanford had the entire meet. Winning individual titles or being part of a relay team to earn 10 points were: Virginia Powell (100m, 100m HH, 4x100m), Carol Rodriguez (200m, 4x100m), Candice Davis (4x100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m) and Eva Orban (hammer). Powell became just the second Pac-10 female to win the conference 100m dash title three times (2004-06).

TROJANS IN THE RANKINGS - The latest USTFCCCA rankings have the USC women's team third and the men's team 14th. This week's Trackwire rankings list the women of Troy third and the men's team seventh.

V.P. OF THE TRACK - Senior hurdler/sprinter/relay specialist Virginia Powell has continued to win virtually every sprint hurdles event she enters, winning the Pac-10 Championship with a time of 12.64, the second-fastest time in the world so far this season as Priscilla Lopes of Nebraska ran a 12.63 on the same day (May 14). Powell had a wind-aided time of 12.68 to win the 100m HH at Mt. SAC on April 15 to earn women's Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Week (April 10-16). She won every major hurdles event she entered last season and has not lost a meet yet this season. Since the beginning of the 2005 season, she has won the 2005 and 2006 NCAA indoor 60m hurdles championships, the 2005 NCAA 100m HH outdoor championships, the 2005 and 2006 Pac-10 100m HH championship, the 2005 NCAA West Region 100m HH championships and set the school record and tied the collegiate record (12.61) in the 100m HH. She also ranks among the Trojans' all-time top 10 in the 100m dash (3rd - 11.10) and has been part of three of the top 10 women's 4x100m relays in school history. So far this season, she has posted the second fastest collegiate female 100m HH time (12.64) and the fifth-fastest 100m dash time (11.10). Powell (2005-06) joins Gail Devers (1987-88) as the only Pac-10 female runner to double up and win the 100m and 100m HH at the Pac-10 Championships.

ORBAN AND STATELY SET SCHOOL RECORDS - Eva Orban won the Pac-10 women's hammer title with a school-record and meet-record throw of 221-7 (67.53m) on May 14. Her throw bettered Julianna Tudja's school mark of 218-9 set in 2003. Brysun Stately finished fourth in the pole vault, but bettered her school record with a vault of 13-7 1/4 (4.15m) on May 14. Her old mark of 13-5 3/4 was set on March 4.

2006 NCAA T&F CHAMPIONSHIPS TO GET RECORD COVERAGE - The 2006 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Championships from June 7-10 in Sacramento will feature four and a half hours of live television coverage on CBS and College Sports Television, the most live coverage in the 86-year history of the finals. CBS will air two and a half hours on the day of the finals (June 10) from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and CSTV will televise two hours (8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on June 9. This will be the first live coverage of the event since the 1982 NCAA Track and Field Championships.

RETURNING 2005 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), Garry Jones, Philip Francis and Jeff Garrison in the 4x100m relay (5th).

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 (13-7 1/4), Kate Hutchinson in the discus (189-5), Karen Freberg in the shot (57-7 1/2), Carol Rodriguez in the 400m (51.51) and Eva Orban in the hammer (221-7).

TROJANS IN THE TOP 25 THIS SEASON - The following Trojans currently have posted times or marks that rank among the top 25 in the country so far this season: Men: 100m - Philip Francis (10); 200m - Francis (5); 400m - Lionel Larry (10), Jeff Garrison (23); 800m - Duane Solomon (6), Raphael Asafo-Agyei (13); 400m IH - Kai Kelley (21); 4x100m - (20); 4x400m (11, 16); High Jump - Jesse Williams (T-1); Shot - Noah Bryant (7), William Denbo (15); Hammer - Adam Midles (8). Women: 100m - Virginia Powell (5), Carol Rodriguez (16), Jessica Onyepunuka (T-25); 200m - Rodriguez (5), Powell (23); 400m - Rodriguez (1); 100m HH - Powell (2), Candice Davis (5); 4x100m - (2, 10); Pole Vault - Brysun Stately (9); Triple Jump - Michelle Sanford (19); Shot - Karen Freeberg (4); Discus - Kate Hutchinson (4); Hammer - Eva Orban (3), Julia Rozenfeld (14).

TROJANS CLAIM TWO INDOOR TITLES - The Trojans had a strong showing at the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 10-11), 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.

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.


Last year the USC men's track and field team won the NCAA West Regional and the women's team placed fourth. They then moved on and the men finished sixth and the women's team seventh at the NCAA Championships, one of just two schools in the country to have both the men's and women's team finish in the top seven. This season, the Trojans have posted 38 individual qualifying marks for the NCAA Regionals (as well as all four relay teams), where they will compete in Provo, Utah from May 26-27 for the chance to advance to the NCAA Championships, held June 7-10 in Sacramento, Calif.. The following is a list of the athletes which achieved the qualifying standard (in parenthesis) and the events they have chosen to compete in at the 2006 NCAA West Regional with a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships.

MEN						WOMEN100m (10.50):		Garry Jones, Philip Francis		100m (11.75):		Jessica Onyepunuka, Virginia Powell,200m (21.19):		Philip Francis						Carol Rodriguez400m (47.26):		Lionel Larry, Jeff Garrison		200m (23.96):		Carol Rodriguez, J. Onyepunuka800m (1:50.40):		Raphael Asafo-Agyei, Duane Solomon	100m HH (13.92):		Virginia Powell, Candice Davis			De'Sean Cunningham		4x100m Relay (45.70):	Powell, Onyepunuka, Davis Rodriguez1500m (3:47.80):		Tomasz Babiszkiewicz		Pole Vault (3.80m):		Brysun Stately110m HH (14.30):		Blake Frazier, Kai Kelley, Logan Taylor	Long Jump (5.97m):	Michelle Sanford400m IH (52.51):		Kai Kelley				Triple Jump (12.32m):	Michelle Sanford4x100m Relay (40.66):	Jones, Palmer, Francis, Alugbue	Shot (14.30m):		Karen Freberg4x400m Relay 3:10.00):	Larry, Garrison, Palmer, Asafo-Agyei	Discus (47.30m):		Kate HutchinsonHigh Jump (2.10m):	Jesse Williams, Nathan Gwozdz	Hammer (54.15m):		Eva Orban, Julia RozenfeldPole Vault (5.05m):		D. Scott, D. Corrigan, B. SlinkardLong Jump (7.34m):	Jesse WilliamsTriple Jump (15.08m):	Inman BreauxShot (16.80m):		Noah Bryant, William DenboHammer (55.60m):		Adam MidlesJavelin (61.60m):		Dennis Rice

FREBERG AND FRANCIS WIN PAC-10 T&F HONORS - USC seniors Karen Freberg and Philip Francis were selected as Pac-10 Track and Field Athletes of the Week for the week of April 24-30. Freberg was honored as the Women's Pac-10 Field Athlete of the Week and Francis was selected Men's Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Week. Freberg had a banner two days at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet, setting personal bests in the shot, hammer and discus. Freberg won the shot put competition with a throw of 57-7 1/2 (17.56m), bettering her school record in the event. She had set the school record originally on April 15 with a throw of 56-5 3/4. Freberg also placed third in the hammer competition with a career-best throw of 184-4 (56.20m), moving into ninth place on the USC women's all-time hammer throw list. She also came in fourth in the discus with a career best of 151-4 (46.12m). Francis led a Trojan men's sweep in the 100m dash with a personal best time of 10.23, which ties him for the 10th fastest time in school history. He was a three-time winner on the day as he won the 200m race with a then personal best of 20.59 (He ran a 20.39 at the Pac-10 Championships, tied for the fourth best time in school history). He also was part of USC's winning 4x100m relay team, which posted a season-best time of 39.75 at the Dual Meet.

IN THE THROWS OF BATTLE - The USC throwing corps currently has nine members (4 men, 5 women) who rank in the school's all-time top 10 in their events: Men - Noah Bryant in the shot (4th), William Denbo in the shot (7th), Dennis Rice in the javelin (4th) and Adam Midles in the hammer (7th). Women - Karen Freberg in the shot (1) and hammer (9), Kate Hutchinson in the discus (1), Andrea McBride in the javelin (3), Eva Orban in the hammer (1st) and Julia Rozenfeld in the hammer (5).

JUMPING JESSE - USC senior Jesse Williams is tied for the best high jump among all NCAA male high jumpers again with a jump of 7-6 1/2 (2.30m) on April 15 at the Mt. SAC Relays. That mark was matched by Mickael Hanany of Texas-El Paso on May 13. Williams' jump at Mt. SAC tied his school record originally set on July 26, 2005 at the DN Galan Track and Field Championships in Stockholm, Sweden. Williams, who has won the last two indoor high jump championships and won the 2005 outdoor high jump title, is attempting to become the eighth high jumper in history to win the outdoor title outright in consecutive years, the last being Mark Boswell of Texas in 1999 and 2000. In all, 15 high jumpers have at least shared the high jump title in consecutive seasons. Last season, Williams became the first USC high jumper to win both the indoor and outdoor championships in the same season and has that possibility again this year. When he won the NCAA indoor title on March 11 this season, be became just the second repeat champion since 1989 (Boswell of Texas, 1999-2000).

SUDDEN IMPACT - Among the newcomers on the women's track team this season, four of them have already placed their names in the USC record books with a top 10 all-time result. Freshman Eva Orban set the USC freshman record and school record in the women's hammer with a throw of 221-7, freshman Brysun Stately set the school women's pole vault record clearing a height of 13-7 1/4, senior transfer Karen Freberg set the school shot put record with a throw of 57-7 1/2 and ranks ninth in the hammer with a throw of 184-4 and freshman Brittany Daniels, the 2005 Gatorade High School Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year, has a triple jump of 41-2 1/2, the sixth farthest in school history. The men's team has certainly had strong contributions from the newcomers, too. Sophomore transfer Roy Alugbue is part of USC's 4x100m team that ran a season-best 39.75 on April 29 and has run the third fastest 100m dash (10.59) and 200m dash (21.33) by a Trojan this season. Freshman Matthew Palmer is also part of the 4x100m team, freshman Derek Scott has pole vaulted a USC season-best 17-1 and freshman Nathan Gwozdz has high jumped 6-10 3/4, just off the school's top 10 list.

YES, THAT SANFORD - Junior jumper Michelle Sanford has returned to health this season following an injury-plagued sophomore season and has comeback strong. She currently has posted the third farthest triple jump in the Pac-10 (43-0/13.11m) and the seventh farthest long jump (20-2 3/4/6.17m). As a freshman in 2004, Sanford scored a team-best 18 points at the Pac-10 meet, winning the long jump and taking second in the triple jump. This season at the Pac-10s, she finished second in the triple jump and 10th in the long jump. In case you are wondering, she is the daughter of James Sanford, the fastest Trojan ever, who ran a 10.03 in the 100m dash on May 11,1980.

NEEPER WAS A KEEPER - Senior distance runner Kate Neeper was hampered by injuries last season and slowly came around as the 2006 season went on, finishing 14th at the Pac-10s in the 10000m. Prior to the injuries, she placed fifth in the Pac-10s in the 10000m race in 2004 and set the USC freshman record in the 5000m race in 2003. In the class room, the double major in international relations and Spanish never lost her stride, graduating this year as the salutatorian of the USC Class of 2006 with a 3.98 GPA. Neeper is heading to Ecuador for an internship with the U.S. State Department this summer. In the fall, she will begin graduate work in international affairs at George Washington University, with an eventual goal to work in Latin American foreign policy, with a focus on Mexico or Cuba.

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