USC's Orban Wins NCAA Hammer Title, White Second In Javelin
June 13, 2008
DES MOINES, IOWA - Eva Orban won the women's hammer throw title and Corey White placed second in the men's javelin to lead the Trojans today (June 13) at the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships being held at Jim Duncan Track and Johnny Bright Field on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Entering tomorrow's final day of competition and with six Trojans still competing, the USC women's team is tied for seventh place with 14 points and the men's team is tied for 18th place with 10 points.
USC's White was the first Trojan to score points for USC and earn All-America honors when he placed second in the men's javelin with a throw of 255-2 to earn eight points in the team competition. He was the first Trojan to place at the NCAA Championships in the javelin since Nils Fearnley also placed second in 1995. White's throw was the farthest ever by a Trojan in the javelin competition at the NCAA finals, topping Jan Sikorsky's mark of 249-4 set in 1962.
'I felt I did alright,' said White. 'It was probably my most consistent meet so far and the conditions were great. Coach Dan Lange did a great job of training me. The runway was a little short for my approach so I had to work on making some adjustments. I really loved the crowd. If they could have been all around me on the runway it would have been great. I would have liked to have thrown farther - maybe a meter more - but I'm happy with it.'
The competition was supposed to be a battle between Georgia's Chris Hill (81.72m), White (81.67m) and Florida's Adam Montague (80.20m) who had the only three throws this year of 80 meters or more and that is exactly how it unfolded. Hill and Montague were first and second after the first round with the redshirt junior White in third. White moved into second place after his second throw of 74.57m, but Hill threw 78.41 (257-3) in his second throw to extend his lead. White's third throw was 77.79 (255-2) to pull away from Montague and make it a two-man battle, but neither thrower had a better mark in the finals.
The third time was the charm for the junior Orban in the women's hammer throw as she won the NCAA title with a throw of 225-5 (68.71m) after finishing second as a freshman and third as a sophomore. Orban continued her streak of not finishing lower than third place in any of the postseason competitions at the Pac-10, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Championships in her collegiate career. Orban becomes USC's first NCAA women's hammer champion and broke her school best mark in the finals of 220-11set in 2006. She earned USC its first 10 points in the team competition and achieved All-America honors.
'It feels awesome, wonderful, I feel so happy,' said Orban. 'I had a wonderful experience the last two years, I I think it helped me today. My coach told me I was ready today and I believed him. It still wasn't perfect, but I felt good.'
Orban led the entire way, but not without a late scare. Southern Illinois' Brittany Riley, who has the second-farthest throw this season and placed second at the 2007 NCAA Championships, had long final throw of 221-3 (67.44m) which moved her from fourth into second place, just over four feet behind Orban.
'At first I thought she had thrown farther, so I was ready to throw it farther (myself), but fortunately I didn't have to' added Orban.
Sophomores Shalina Clarke and Nia Ali competed next in the women's 100m HH semifinals. Clarke placed fourth in her heat with a time of 13.28, but had the fastest non-automatic qualifying time to advance to Saturday's finals. Ali, running in the same heat, had her pesky hamstring act up and she could not finish the race.
Senior Kai Kelley, who qualified for the men's 400m hurdles finals yesterday, advanced to the men's 110m HH finals also with a time of 13.64. He finished fourth in his heat, but had the top non-automatic qualifying time.
In the 400m IH finals later in the evening, Kelley could not match his 49.79 semifinals time run yesterday which was eighth best all-time at USC and placed seventh with a time of 50.34. Kelley earned USC two points in the team competition and earned All-America honors in the event. Georgia's Justin Gaymon was disqualified after the race, moving Kelley up from eighth to seventh.
Seniors Carol Rodriguez and Lionel Larry were next to advance to finals as they both moved on in the 400m race. Rodriguez automatically qualified by placing third in her heat with a time of 52.32. Larry took second in his race with a time of 45.68 to automatically qualify. Rodriguez is a six-time All-American, but has not competed in the 400m race at the NCAA Championships, earning all her honors in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Larry, a three-time All-American, placed second in the 400m race at the 2007 NCAA Championships, missing the title by .02 seconds.
Senior Jessica Onyepunuka picked up her fourth All-America honors by placing fifth in the women's 100m dash finals with a time of 11.43. She placed seventh in the 100m dash at the 2007 NCAA Championships. Onyepunuka earned four points in the team standings for the Trojans.
Freshman Zsofia Erdelyi competed in her first NCAA Championships and placed ninth in the women's 3000m steeplechase with a time of 10:10.71, just outside the scoring and All-America honors. Erdelyi was one of two freshmen to make the finals.
Redshirt sophomore Manjula Wijesekara finished 12th in the men's high jump with a clearance of 6-10 3/4 (2.10m). He cleared the opening height of 2.10m easily, then passed at 2.14, before missing three times at 2.17m.
Shana Wood's day did not start well in the heptathlon as she clipped a hurdle and ran 14.38 in the 100m HH to place 18th in the event in which she has a lifetime best of 13.76, but she responded the rest of the day which included her toughest event the shot put. In the high jump she cleared 5-5 1/4 (1.66m) with ease to match her season best, but could not make it over 1.69m. She then threw the shot 33-10 (10.33m) which is two inches off her season best and ran a 24.28 200m dash, just .07 seconds off a season best, to finish the first day of competition in 17th place with 3,235 points. Last season when Woods placed 13th in the heptathlon, she had a first-day total of 3,247 points, good for 15th place.
Redshirt senior Michelle Sanford jumped 41-2 1/4 (12.55m) in the women's triple jump preliminaries, but did not qualify for tomorrow's finals.
Former Trojan NCAA high jump champion Jesse Williams was the presenter of the women's high jump awards.
The Trojans will have six athletes competing in the NCAA Championship finals tomorrow which will be televised on CBS 1-3 p.m. PT. Those athletes competing to win an individual NCAA title and score points for USC in the team competition are Larry and Rodriguez in the men's and women's 400m races, senior Duane Solomon in the men's 800m, Clarke in the women's 100m HH, Kelley in the men's 110m HH and Woods in the final three events of the women's heptathlon (long jump, javelin and 800m).