Five Current Trojans Qualify For U.S. Junior Team

June 28, 2009

EUGENE, ORE - USC freshmen Joey Hughes in the 400m dash, Dalilah Muhammad in the 400m intermediate hurdles and Blake Shaw in the 1500m race automatically qualified for the U.S. junior national team to highlight the Trojans' efforts at the 2009 USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Eugene, Ore. this weekend. The top two finishers in each event, as long as they meet the qualifying standard, earn a spot on the U.S. team that will compete at the 2009 IAAF World Junior Championships in Trinidad in July.

Also, freshmen Aareon Payne and Duane Walker made the team as members of the relay pool and incoming freshmen Alitta Boyd (long jump & triple jump) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH) made the team by winning events. Another incoming freshman Lauren Chambers finished third in the hammer throw and will be an alternate for the games.

Hughes placed second in the 400m race with a time of 46.26 to automatically make the team, while Walker placed fourth with a time of 46.99 in the finals to automatically qualify for the 4x400m relay pool (top 6). Hughes was a two-time All-American as a freshman at USC.

Muhammad cruised to the title in the 400m IH by posting the fastest time in the prelims and then winning the final with a time of 57.32. Muhammad placed third at the 2009 NCAA Championships in the event and was a two-time All-American for USC in her first season.

Shaw placed second in the men's 1500m race with a time of 3:49.49 to make the team. He ran the fastest qualifying time in the prelims of 3:50.75.

Payne had a time of 11.57 in the preliminaries of the 100m dash to advance to the finals where she placed sixth with a time of 11.63. That was good enough to qualify her for the 4x100m relay pool. She also advanced to the finals in the 200m dash with a time of 23.95, but her hamstring was bothering her and she did not run in the final.

Walker also placed third in the 400m IH with a time of 51.42 and with serve at USA's alternate in the event. He had the second-fastest qualifying time of 51.99. Walker earned All-America honors in the 4x400m relay as a freshman for USC.

Winning the 400m IH was incoming USC freshman Reggie Wyatt who had a time of 50.02 in the finals, despite hitting a hurdle late in the race. Wyatt also had the fastest preliminary time of 51.32.

Boyd was a two-time winner, taking the gold in the triple jump with a leap of 43-8 and in the long jump with a mark of 20-7 1/4.

Chambers placed third in the hammer throw with a best toss of 180-1.

At the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships also held in Eugene, Ore., former Trojans Virginia Powell, Lionel Larry and Allyson Felix qualified for Team USA which will compete in August at the 2009 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, Germany. The World Championships will be held at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium, where National Track & Field Hall of Famer and American icon Jesse Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and long jump.

Powell showed signs she is reverting to form following a 2008 season fighting back from injury by taking second in the women's 100m HH with a time of 12.47 to automatically make the team. Another fromer Trojan Candice Davis made the semifinals in the event, but did not advance to the finals.

The top three finishers automatically qualify for the U.S. team and despite a fourth-place finish by Larry in the 400m dash with a time of 45.40, he moves on as third-place finisher Kerron Clement had automatically qualified in the 400m IH and will not run in this event. Larry will also be part of Team USA's 4x400m relay pool.

Felix won the women's 200m dash title with a time of 22.02. She won a Silver Medal in the event at the 2008 Olympics. Felix also ran in the 100m dash and placed ninth in the semifinals, just missing out on a spot in the finals. Former Trojan and fellow 2008 Olympian Torri Edwards also reached the semifinals in the 100m dash. Current Trojan Judith Onyepunuka and former Trojan Jessica Onyepunuka ran in the 100m prelims, but did not advance to the semifinal round.

USC junior Ahmad Rashad competed in the men's 100m dash and reached the semifinals, but did not advance to the finals. He had a best time of 10.13 in the preliminary round. Rashad finished second at the 2009 NCAA Championships in the 100m dash with a time of 10.10.

Competing in the men's javelin throw was 2008 and 2009 NCAA runner-up Corey White and he placed seventh with a best throw of 238-11.

Other Trojans who competed, but did not make the U.S. team were Jesse Williams in the high jump (4th), Noah Bryant in the shot put (6th), Jeff Ryan in the pole vault (7th) and Duane Solomon (28th) and Raphael Asafo-Agyei (31st) in the 800m run.

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