USC's Track & Field Team Travels To Oregon This Weekend For Pepsi Team Invitational

April 4, 2007

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2007 USC TRACK AND FIELD - The USC Trojans men's and women's track and field team will travel to Eugene, Ore. this week to participate in the 18th Annual Pepsi Team Invitational hosted by Oregon on April 7 at Hayward Field. The four-team scored event will feature USC, Oregon, Kansas State and Washington. USC will also be sending a distance relay team to compete at the Texas Relays and several other members will participate at the Pomona-Pitzer Track Invitational.

LAST WEEK - The Trojans competed at the Stanford Invitational last weekend and posted some impressive marks. Senior Candice Davis had a personal best for the second consecutive weekend to win the 100m HH with a time of 12.91. Junior Logan Taylor won the men's 110m HH with a personal best of 13.96. Senior Michelle Sanford won both the women's long jump and women's triple jump with season-best marks. Junior Jessica Onyepunuka took second place in both the women's 100m and 200m dashes, with both times the best college mark. Also, junior Irec Sekretarski posted the sixth-best time in school history in the 1500m race to place eighth in his first official race as a Trojan.

THE 2007 WOMEN'S TEAM - The women's team is coming off a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2006, as well as winning the NCAA West Regional and placing third at the Pac-10 Championships. NCAA 100m HH record-holder Virginia Powell has graduated, but the Trojans return a solid group and have added the No. 1 rated recruiting class in the country according to Track and Field News. Leading the way is junior Carol Rodriguez who last season ran the fastest 200m (22.23) and 400m (51.51) in school history. Rodriguez placed her name in the USC record books a third time as part of the 4x100m relay team (42.96) along with current teammates Candice Davis and Jessica Onyepunuka, as well as Powell. Davis has run the second-fastest 100m HH time in school history, setting a new PR of 12.91 on March 31. Also returning is sophomore Eva Orban who set the USC record in the hammer, as well as establishing the Pac-10 record. Added to this nucleous of All-Americans are Troy's freshmen fab five of Shalina Clarke, Myra Hasson, Elizabeth Olear, Judith Onyepunuka and Shana Woods. This group of women garnered nine All-Am ratings in their prep days.

THE 2007 MEN'S TEAM - The men's team is coming off a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships last season, following winning championships at the Pac-10 finals and the NCAA West Regional. NCAA high jump champion Jesse Williams has graduated, but Trojans have a strong group of returning athletes, led by junior Lionel Larry, an All-American in the 400m and 4x400m. Other returning All-Americans for the men's team are Noah Bryant (shot put), DaSean Cunningham (4x400m), Kai Kelley (4x400m), Adam Midles (hammer) and Duane Solomon (800m). Bryant (shot) and Midles (hammer) both set PRs in their signature events on March 24 and both rank fourth all-time at USC in their respective events. Key newcomers for the men include freshmen High School All-American sprinters Nate Anderson, Jamere Holland and Ahmad Rashad and junior transfer Irec Sekretarski (1500m).

RELAY TEAM SEEKS RECORD IN TEXAS - Trojans Duane Solomon, Raphael Asafo-Agyei, DaSean Cunningham and Irec Sekretarski will compete this weekend at the Texas Relays in the 4x800m relay and in the distance medley. At each of the last two Texas Relays, USC's 4x800m team ran a time that placed them in the top 10 in school history. Last season, Cunningham, Asafo-Agyei, Tomasz Babiszkiewicz and Solomon ran 7:18.58, the second-fastest time in school history.

NEXT WEEK - The Trojans will take part in the 49th running of the Mt. Sac Relays held in Walnut, Calif. from April 13-15.

RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS - The Trojans have 10 returning student-athletes who qualified for All-American honrs during the 2006 track and field outdoor season: Candice Davis (100m HH, 4x100m), Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m), Eva Orban (hammer), Carol Rodriguez (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Noah Bryant (shot), DaSean Cunningham (4x400m), Kai Kelley (4x400m), Lionel Larry (400m, 4x400m), Adam Midles (hammer) and Duane Solomon (800m).

SCHOOL OUTDOOR RECORD HOLDERS - Candice Davis (4x100m), Kate Hutchinson (discus)*, Jessica Onyepunuka (4x100m), Eva Orban (hammer), Carol Rodriguez (200m, 400m, 4x100m). * redshirting

USC-UCLA DUAL MEET - The Trojan track and field team will host their third and final home meet of the season at Loker Stadium on April 28 when they host UCLA in the annual dual meet. The meet will be televised on Prime Ticket.

RANKINGS - The first Trackwire outdoor rankings have come out this week and the USC men's team is ranked second and the women's team tied for sixth.

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 13th 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. The last two seasons the Trojans were one of two schools to place both the men's and women's teams in the top 10 in the country. Under his guidance, the Trojan men's team has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA finals in nine of his 12 seasons, including a ninth-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 eight times in 12 seasons, including a second-place finish in 2006. 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 105 years of a rich and storied tradition.

NEAR THE TOP OF THE CHARTS - Trojans Lionel Larry (2nd - 400m), Duane Solomon (2nd - 800m), Noah Bryant (1st - shot), Adam Midles (2nd - hammer), men's 4x400m relay team (2nd), Candice Davis (1st - 100m HH) and the women's 4x100m relay team (2nd) all have posted collegiate mark that rank in the top two so far this season.

IN THE MIDLES OF SOMETHING SPECIAL - Trojan hammer thrower Adam Midles has set a new career best in the hammer throw competition in three straight weeks (March 10-24). At the Ben Brown Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. on March 10, the senior had a throw of 221-7 to move into sixth place all-time on the USC hammer list. A week later at the Pacific Lutheran meet, he set a PLU stadium record with a new career-best throw of 225-2. Then March 24 at the Trojan Invitational, he had the fourth-best throw in school history of 226-6. Midles has already improved more than seven feet this season on his previous career-best throw. If he is to move up farther on USC's all-time list, he will have to improve more than 10 feet to catch Bengt Johansson who threw 236-11 in 1998. Midles has the second-farthest throw by a collegian this season.

BRYANT SETS SCHOOL RECORD WHILE WINNING INDOOR SHOT TITLE - Senior Noah Bryant won the 2007 NCAA Indoor Shot Title with a career-best throw of 67-5 1/4 (20.55m) to defeat the favorite Russ Winger of Idaho at the NCAA Indoor Championships held March 9-10 at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. Bryant's winning shot mark was nearly three feet farther than his previous career best and set a new USC indoor record and is better than any outdoor distance in school history. That is saying a lot, considering that USC has had numerous Olympic champions and world record-holders in the event, including Parry O'Brien, Dallas Long, Wilbur Thompson and Bud Houser. The redshirt senior becomes the first Trojan to win an NCAA shot title since Doug Lane won the 1972 indoor title with a throw of 64-3 1/2. Bryant's throw was farther than Lane's school-record outdoor shot of 66-11 1/4. Bryant threw the shot a outdoor career best 65-8 1/4 on March 24 which ranks fourth best all-time at USC and is the top collegiate mark this season. Bryant has continued his impressive comeback from a freak accident in 2005 which required major surgery after the hammer bounced off the cage and struck him in the face.

DAVIS ALSO EARNS INDOOR ALL-AMERICAN HONORS - Senior Candice Davis joined Bryant in gaining Indoor All-America honors with a fourth-place finish in the indoor finals of the women's 60m hurdles, posting a time of 8.05. Davis was actually leading over the final hurdle, but stumbled and had to settle for fourth. Last season, she ran an 8.32 time to place eighth at the indoor championships. Davis ran a PR of 12.91 in the 100m HH on March 31. That mark improved her second-place standing on USC's all-time list and is the top mark among collegiate hurdlers this season.

RODRIGUEZ LEAVING HER MARK - Junior Carol Rodriguez has had an outstanding career as a Trojan in just her first two and one-half seasons. Rodriguez already owns the USC school record in the 200m with a time of 22.23 and the 400m with a time of 51.51, a Puerto Rican national record. Rodriguez also sits atop the charts as part of USC's fastest 4x100m Relay Team of Virginia Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis and Rodriguez which ran a school-record time of 42.96 last year at the NCAA Championships. Rodriguez also owns the seventh-fastest 100m time, running an 11.32 at the NCAA Championships last season.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR ORBAN - After a fantastic freshman season, one might wonder what is next for sophomore hammer thrown Eva Orban. Last season, she won the Pac-10 hammer title, the NCAA West hammer title and placed second at the NCAA Championships. Along the way, she established a new USC, Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional hammer throw records, with a toss of 226-8 at the NCAA West Regional. The All-American from Papa, Hungary originally set the school record on May 14, 2006 at the Pac-10 Championships with a throw of 221-7, surpassing Julia Tudja at the top of the Trojan hammer chart.

STEWART RUNS A CAREER BEST IN THE 400M HURDLES - Junior Talia Stewart had a great day at the UNLV-Tri-Meet on March 17 in Las Vegas, Nev., setting a new personal best in the 400m IH and finishing third in the 100m HH. Stewart ran a 58.65 to win the 400m HH competition, beating her previous best time of 59.71 set in 2005.

OMAN SELECTED PHI BETA KAPA - Senior heptathlete Lindsey Oman has been selected Phi Beta Kappa and attended an awards luncheon on March 28 at the Founders Club, located in the Galen Center. Oman, a communications major and fine arts minor, maintains a 3.77 GPA and would like to attend graduate school at USC next year. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest undergraduate honors organization in the United States. The society has pursued its mission of fostering and recognizing excellence in the liberal arts and sciences since 1776.

SANFORD SOARS AT STANFORD - Senior Michelle Sanford pulled a double at the Stanford Invitational, winning the women's long jump and triple jump competitions. The daughter of the fastest Trojan ever Jamer Sanford, had a winning long jump of 20-2 1/2 and the top triple jump of 41-1 1/2. Both marks were season bests. After missing much of the 2005 season with injuries, Sanford returned last season and was able to place fourth in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump at the NCAA West Regional. Sanford is jumping well this season and is one again approaching her freshman form which saw her post the sixth-best long jump (20-10 1/2) and third-best triple jump (43-9 1/4) in school history.

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