Stately And Erdelyi Punch Tickets To NCAA Championships

May 27, 2010


AUSTIN, TEXAS - USC's Brysun Stately and Zsofia Erdelyi punched their tickets to the NCAA Track & Field Championships and eight more Trojans advanced to quarterfinal rounds in the first day of competition at the NCAA Track & Field Championship West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas today (May 27).

In the new format, athletes competing in the East and West Preliminary Rounds have to finish in the top 12 of their event in their region to advance to the NCAA Track & Field Championships to be hosted by Oregon in Eugene, Ore. from June 9-12. In the running events USC was entered in today except for the 10000m race which was an NCAA semifinal, athletes had to finish in the top three in their heat or have one of the next six fastest time to advance to a quarterfinal round on Friday or Saturday. All of the field events are NCAA quarterfinals with the top 12 athletes moving on to the NCAA Championship semifinals at Oregon.

USC got off to a tough start at the meet. The Trojans may have been one of the first teams to feel the sting of the new system as sophomore Cooper Thompson finished 21st in the men's javelin with a throw of 206-11 (63.08). Although his best mark was not up to his usual standards, the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds featured 14 of the top 16 javelin throwers in the country, so there was little room for error. In the old regional format, he may have advanced taking one of the five at-large berths since he had the second farthest throw in the country entering the competition (253-3). Senior Ben Brown also competed but fouled in his three attempts in the event, ending his USC javelin career with a best throw of 206-3 which ranks 10th on the Trojans' all-time list.

Redshirt senior Brysun Stately quickly got things turned around for the Trojans, placing 12th in the women's pole vault with a clearance of 13-7.25 (4.15) to advance to the NCAA semifinals in the event to be held in Oregon. Stately has earned All-American status in the event in all three of her previous season (2006, 2007, 2009). She cleared 12-9.50 (3.90m) and 13-5.25 (4.10m) on her first attempt, made 13-7.25 on her second attempt, before missing three times at 13-9.25 (4.20m).

Junior Zsofia Erdelyi closed out the action for the day by placing sixth in the women's 10000m semifinal race with a time of 34:32.32 to earn her way to the national championships in the event. Last season Erdelyi earned All-America honors in the 3000m steeplechase by placing eighth.

The first Trojans on the track were freshman Reggie Wyatt and sophomore Dalilah Muhammad in the intermediate hurdles and both easily advanced to Friday's quarterfinals. Wyatt won his men's 400m IH heat with a time of 50.87, the fifth-fastest qualifier and the top freshman time. Muhammad rolled to a win in her women's 400m IH heat with a time of 57.18, the second-fastest time on the day.

Seniors Ahmad Rashad and Judith Onyepunuka were next in the men's and women's 100m dashes respectively. Rashad eased into the lead at about 40 meters and cruised to victory in his heat and onto tomorrow's quarterfinals with a time of 10.30. He had the second-fastes qualifying time on the day. Onyepunuka took third in her heat with a time of 11.83 to automatically advance to Friday's quarterfinals.

The men's 400m runners were next and both redshirt sophomore Bryshon Nellum and sophomore Joey Hughes took care of business by winning their heats and automatically advancing to tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinals. Nellum went first and took his head with a time of 45.95, just .01 off his season best. Hughes than eased in at 45.85 to win the next heat. Hughes posted the third-fastest qualifying time, while Nellum had the fourth-best time on the day.

The Trojans also advanced both women's 400m runners as senior Elizabeth Olear placed second in her heat with a season-best time, while senior Myra Hasson took third in her heat with a time of 54.51 to automatically advance. Hasson made it exciting, though, coming out of the last turn in seventh place, but outsprinting four runners down the line and edging UCLA's Joy Eaton at the tape. That was a difference between advancing and being eliminated, as the last of the six next best times to advance outside of the top three in each heat was 54.41. Both Olear and Hasson will run in tomorrow's quarterfinals with a shot at advancing to the NCAA semifinals in Oregon.

Sophomore Blake Shaw was next in the men's 800m race and he placed seventh in his heat with a time of 1:51.70 and did not advance to Friday's quarterfinals.

The Trojans then got more bad news as junior Brendan Ames' hamstring injury sustained in taking second in the long jump at the Pac-10 Championships on May 15, continued to bother him in warm-ups for the long jump and he had to withdraw from the meet, meaning he also will not compete in the 110m hurdles tomorrow.

Right after that junior Kristine Busa placed 19th in the women's javelin with a best throw of 149-4 (45.51m) and did not advance to the semifinals in Oregon. Busa entered the day ranked fourth in the country this season (172-7) and took ninth in the event at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

First day summary:

Athletes advancing to the NCAA Championships: Brysun Stately (pole vault)

Athletes advancing to quarter finals: Myra Hasson (400m), Joey Hughes (400m), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH), Bryshon Nellum (400m), Elizabeth Olear (400m), Judith Onyepunuka (100m), Ahmad Rashad (100m) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH).

Athletes competing tomorrow:Alitta Boyd (long jump), Shalina Clarke (100m HH), Brandon Estrada (pole vault), Lauren Guerrieri (discus), Myra Hasson (400m), Trey Henderson (hammer), Joey Hughes (400m), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH), Bryshon Nellum (400m), Elizabeth Olear (400m), Judith Onyepunuka (100m), Ahmad Rashad (100m), Derek Scott (pole vault), Oscar Spurlock (110m HH), Manjula Wijesekara (high jump) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH).

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