USC Men Place 2nd And Women 4th At Pac-10 Track & Field Championships

May 16, 2010

BERKELEY, CALIF. - Joey Hughes, Manjula Wijesekara and Aven Wright won individual titles and Ahmad Rashad an amazing two to lead the men's team to a second place finish while the women's team placed fourth at the Pac-10 Track and Field Championships hosted by California at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley, Calif. today (May 16). The men's 4x400m relay team also picked up a title in the meet's final event. Heading into the final day of the championships on Sunday, the USC men's team was in fourth place with 40 points, while the women's team sat in seventh with 17 points.

Rashad pulled off his third career double as Pac-10 100m and 200m dash champion, becoming the first conference athlete to win either event three times since the events went from yards to meters in 1976. First he won his third Pac-10 100m dash title with a time of 10.20 making it five 100m dash titles in the last six seasons by a Trojan runner. Rashad also won the event in 2007 and 2009 and in the process today defeated Oregon's Ashton Eaton who took second and was trying to become the first Pac-10 male athlete to win four individual events (decathlon, 110m HH and long jump). Then he came back to make it three 200m Pac-10 titles (2007, 2009 and 2010), this time edging his teammate Hughes, 21.05 to 21.11. Together they earned USC 18 more points.

Earlier the Trojans picked up 18 points in the men's 400m dash as Hughes became the Pac-10 Champion in the event with a PR of 45.16. His time also moved him from eighth to seventh on USC's all-time list. Redshirt sophomore Bryshon Nellum continues to run back into shape after missing two seasons with injuries and he placed third with a season-best time of 45.94 to earn six points. Senior Nate Anderson added two more points with a season-best time of 47.15.

While alternating back and forth between the high jump and triple jump pit, redshirt senior Manjula Wijeseka took care of the men's high jump title with a clearance of 7-2.50 (2.20m). He was the runner up at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships in the event. USC has now won five of the last nine conference high jump titles. He then placed fourth in the triple jump with a best leap of 50-7.50 (15.43m), while teammate senior Aven Wright won the Pac-10 triple jump title with a season-best jump of 51-11 (15.82m). Also sophomore Tony Burnett reached the finals and he placed ninth with a jump of 47-7.75 (14.52m). The Trojans have now won the conference triple jump title in six of the last 10 seasons.

Though the Trojan men were making a strong late run at eventual winner Oregon, the Ducks almost simultaneously to the Trojans picking up 15 points in the triple jump, grabbed seven more in the 5000m race to give them an insurmoutable lead going into the final event, the 4x400m relay race.

In the men's 4x400m relay, the team of Nellum, senior Jason Price, Hughes and Wyatt closed out the meet in style with another Pac-10 title, winning with a time of 3:06.07. Wyatt ran down the Arizona State runner in the final 200m and then pulled away at the finish to secure 10 more points for the Trojans.

The women's 4x400m relay team of Olear, Clarke, Muhammad and senior Myra Hasson appeared to place third with a time of 3:36.76, but following the race were disqualified for using Hasson who officially did not show for her race yesterday, even though it was due to clerical error.

Freshman Lauren Chambers got the day started for USC by placing second in the women's hammer competition with a throw of 195-2 (59.49m) to earn eight points and redshirt sophomore Tamara Baumann placed fourth with a throw of 174-4 (53.15m) to earn USC five more points to jump the women's team's total from 17 after the first day to 30 points after one event. Redshirt freshman Kathryn Daniels had a PR of 159-3 (48.54m) to finish 12th in the competition, while redshirt sophomore Marissa Minderler had one clean throw of 156-5 (47.67m) to place 13th.

The next event to finish was the women's triple jump and freshman Alitta Boyd took fifth with a season-best leap of 41-7 to earn USC four points. It also move her into sole possession of seventh place on USC's all-time list. Senior Ekene Anene, who ranks fifth on USC's list, also had a strong day placing sixth with a best of 40-11.75 to earn three more points.

The first running event for the day was the women's 4x100m relay and USC's team of senior Shalina Clarke, senior Judith Onyepunuka, senior Elizabeth Olear and sophomore Aareon Payne took second with a time of 44.44 to earn eight points in the team competition. The men's team of sophomore Amechi Egbe, senior Ahmad Rashad, sophomore Jahmar Rashad and sophomore Joey Hughes picked up eight points of their own, placing second with a season-best time of 39.88. Hughes again made up distance down the stretch but just ran out of real estate to finish a close second to the UCLA quartet which posted a season-best time of 39.66.

For the second time in the competition a USC athlete had a lead with only one competitor who could better him and again the Trojan was nipped, this time in the men's discus. Redshirt senior Aaron Dan held the discus lead into the final round of the competition with a throw of 192-8 (58.74m), only to have Arizona State's Ryan Whiting beat him by three inches with his final effort. Dan had one last throw, but it sailed just 53.56 meters and he took home second place and eight points for the Trojans. Fellow redshirt senior Colin Campbell also was a force, placing fourth and earning five points with a throw of 178-9 (54.58m). Sophomore Alex Adam came in 13th in the discus with a best throw of 158-6 (48.31m).

Clarke was up next in the women's 100m hurdles and took second with a time of 13.26, just .02 seconds behind the winner. Also taking second and earning eight points was junior Oscar Spurlock in the men's 110m HH with a time of 13.80. For the second consecutive day USC had a runner not start, as junior Brendan Ames, one of the favorites in the race, had to withdraw with a hamstring injury.

In the women's 100m dash, Onyepunuka took fifth, as she did a year ago at the Pac-10 Championships, with a time of 11.81.

Redshirt senior Brysun Stately took fifth in the women's pole vault with a clearance of 13-4.25 (4.07m) to earn four points for the Trojan women.

Sophomore Dalilah Muhammad picked up her second consecutive second-place finish in the women's 400m IH at the conference championships, this time with a season-best time of 57.14. For her efforts she gained the USC women eight more points in the team competition.

Freshman Reggie Wyatt then placed third in the men's 400m IH with a time of 50.37, while sophomore Duane Walker battled a leg injury down the final stretch to finish eight with a time of 54.40. Together they earned the Trojans seven more points.

Payne was a scratch in the women's 200m dash, while Onyepunka placed fifth with a time of 24.02 and Olear seventh with a time of 24.28 to earn six points.

Redshirt sophomore Lauren Guerrieri took second place in the women's discus with a best throw of 162-2 (49.42m) to pick up eight more points for USC.

The final individual runner for USC was junior Zsofia Erdelyi and she took third in the women's 5000m race with a season-best time of 16:12.42 to earn USC six points.

Final standings:

Women: 1.) Oregon 215, 2.) Arizona 109, 3.) Arizona State 89.5, 4.) USC 89, 5.) Stanford 88, 6.) UCLA 71.5, 7.) California 55.5, 8.) Washington State 52, 9.) Washington 47.5.

Men: 1.) Oregon 168.5, 2.) USC 156, 3.) Stanford 92, 4.) Arizona State 85, 4.) UCLA 85, 6.) Washington 68, 7.) Washington State 67, 8.) California 59, 9.) Arizona 26, 10.) Oregon State 6.5.