Solomon Advances to 800m Finals At U.S. Olympic Trials

June 28, 2008

USC's Duane Solomon advances to the men's 800m finals while former Trojan Torri Edwards makes the women's 100m team as 12 Trojans competed in the first two days (June 27-28) of the U.S. Olympic Trials held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Solomon, who finished third in the 800m race at the 2008 NCAA Championships, had the second-fastest time in his heat and on the day of 1.45.82 to advance to Monday's finals. Among the people Solomon beat in his heat today was Jacob Hernandez, who won the 2008 NCAA title while running for Texas. Solomon finished third at the 2007 U.S. Track and Field Championships to make America's team for the 2007 World Championships.

Edwards, who ran for USC from 1996-99 and was a 2000 Olympian, placed second with a time of 10.894 to make the U.S. Olympic women's 100m team as the first three athletes qualify. Edwards was one of three former Trojan students to reach the finals, as 4-time NCAA Champion Angela Williams (1999-2002) placed sixth with a time of 11.02, while Allyson Felix (graduated from USC in 2008, but did not run for the Trojans) placed fifth with a time of 10.96.

Alexis Weatherspoon (2002-05) advanced to the semifinals with a best time of 11.08 in the quarterfinals, while 2008 Trojan Jessica Onyepunuka, who placed fifth in the women's 100m dash at the 2008 NCAA Championships earlier this month, ran an 11.486 time in the qualifying round and did not advance.

USC school record-holder and 2007 NCAA shot put champion Noah Bryant (2003-04, 2006-07) advanced to the finals in his specialty event, but placed seventh with a best put of 65-10 (20.08). He qualified for the finals by finishing ninth in Friday's prelims.

2008 Trojan Kai Kelley, who placed seventh at the NCAA Championshipsin the 110m high hurdles and sixth in the 400m intermediate hurdles, ran a 52.29 time in the 400m IH quarterfinals and did not advance.

Other Trojans competing and not advancing at the U.S. Olympic Trials include Kate Hutchinson (2004-06, 2008) in the women's discus (162-7), Allen Simms (2003-05) in the men's long jump (24-3 1/2) and Kevin Elliott (2001-02) in the men's 800m (1:49.49).

USC's Lionel Larry, who placed second at the 2007 and 2008 NCAA Championships in the 400m dash by a total of .03 seconds, will be begin his quest for the U.S. 400m team tomorrow. Larry placed third at the 2007 U.S. Track and Field Championships to make the team that competed at the 2007 World World Championships.

Jeff Ryan (2000-03) on Friday advanced to Sunday's finals in the men's pole vault with a clearance of 18-0 1/2 (5.50m).

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