Eight More Trojans Advance To NCAA Championships

May 28, 2010

Shalina Clarke and Oscar Spurlock advanced to quarterfinal rounds in the high hurdles to highlight USC's efforts on the second 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 28).

In the new format, athletes competing in the East and West Preliminary Rounds (May 27-29) 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.

Redshirt sophomore Lauren Guerrieri was the first Trojan to compete and she finished 36th in the discus with a best throw of 145-8 (44.39m). Her final throw looked like it might have been her best effort on the day, but it landed just outside of the sector. Guerrieri had a strong season in the discus, posting the fifth-farthest throw ever by a USC female of 168-6 (51.37m).

The men's pole vault was next to finish and Brandon Estrada made it look easy, tying for first at a clearance of 17-4.50 (5.30m). Estrada entered the competition at 17-2.75 and made that in his first attempt as he did at 17-4.50 and by that point the field was whittled down to the 12 NCAA semifinalists. Redshirt senior Derek Scott missed on three attempts at 16-8.75 (5.10m) and does not advance. He had plenty of height on at least two of the attempts, but clipped the bar on the way down.

The first race on the track was the men's 110m high hurdles and with junior Brendan Ames scratched from the meet due to a sore hamstring, it was left to junior Oscar Spurlock to carry the Trojan torch alone and he did not disappoint. Running in the fourth heat, Spurlock raced to the lead early and cruised to the finish in second place with a time of 13.89. He automatically advances to tomorrow's NCAA quarterfinal round.

Shalina Clarke then won her heat in the women's 100m hurdles with a blistering time of 13.11 to automatically advance to Saturday's quarterfinals. Clarke's time was a new PR and bettered her third place standing (13.13) on USC's all-time list. She had the second-fastest time on the day and the fastest wind-legal time.

The men's 400m dash quarterfinals was next and both sophomore Joey Hughes and redshirt sophomore Bryshon Nellum were in the second heat. Hughes won the heat to advance to the NCAA Championships with a time of 45.35, while Nellum had a time of 47.05 and did not advance. It would have taken pretty much his season-best time to move on as the last qualifying time was 45.98. Still he showed amazing progress after sitting out two seasons with leg injuries and running the open 400m race in just three meets this season, with his best time being 45.94. Nellum and Hughes will also run tomorrow as part of USC's highly ranked 4x400m relay team. Hughes advances to nationals for the second time in two seasons.

The women's 400m dash was next and senior Elizabeth Olear continued to run well, placing third in her heat to advance to the NCAA Championships in the event with a PR of 53.29. However, senior Myra Hasson placed seventh in her heat with a time of 54.64 and does not advance. Both Olear and Hasson will run tomorrow as part of the 4x400m relay team.

Senior Ahmad Rashad then punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships by winning his 100m quarterfinals heat with a time of 10.32 to automatically advance to Oregon and the NCAA finals.

Senior Judith Onyepunuka was not as fortunate as she placed seventh in her quarterfinal heat of the 100m dash with a time of 11.85 and does not advance. She will be on the track with USC's 4x100m relay team tomorrow running for a trip to Oregon and the NCAA Championships.

Freshman Reggie Wyatt then placed second in the third 400m IH quarterfinals heat with a PR of 49.46 to automatically advance to the NCAA seminfinals in Oregon. Wyatt's time was the fourth fastest on the day and moved him from ninth to eighth on USC's all-time 400m IH list.

Quickly joining him with a trip to the nationals was sophomore Dalilah Muhammad by winning the first heat of the women's 400m IH with a time of 57.16. She posted the fastest quarterfinals time.

The men's high jump took nearly three hours to compete, but redshirt senior Manjula Wijesekara needed only two jumps to finish tied for first, making the fewest jumps in the competition and advancing to the NCAA semifinals to be held in Eugene, Ore. He entered the competition at 6-11 (2.11m) and cleared that easily, then also cleared 7-1 (2.16m) on his first try and didn't need to make another attempt.

Junior Trey Henderson threw 216-11 (66.13m) twice in the men's hammer to easlily advance to the NCAA semifinal in Eugene. His throws today placed him second in the competition, eight inches off the winning mark.

The final event on the day for the Trojans was the women's long jump which featured USC freshman Alitta Boyd who had a season-best of 19-11.50 (6.08m). Thirty-four jumpers entered the event with a better season-best mark, but Boyd advanced to the final rounds of the NCAA quarterfinals (top 16) with a season-best jump of 20-3.00 (6.17m) in the preliminary rounds. She could not better that mark in the finals and finished in 15th place, an inch and a half outside of advancing to the NCAA Championships in the event. She will be back tomorrow, though, competing in the women's triple jump.

Second day summary:

Athletes advancing to the NCAA Championships so far:Zsofia Erdelyi (10000m), Brandon Estrada (pole vault), Trey Henderson (hammer), Joey Hughes (400m), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH), Elizabeth Olear (400m), Ahmad Rashad (100m), Brysun Stately (pole vault), Manjula Wijesekara (high jump) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH).

Athletes competing tomorrow: Ekene Anene (triple jump), Tamara Baumann (hammer), Alitta Boyd (triple jump), Colin Campbell (discus), Lauren Chambers (hammer), Shalina Clarke (100m HH), Aaron Dan (discus), Marissa Minderler (hammer), Oscar Spurlock (110m HH), Aven Wright (triple jump), men's 4x100m (Amechi Egbe, Ahmad Rashad, Jason Price, Joey Hughes, Tony Burnett-alt.), women's 4x100m (Shalina Clarke, Judith Onyepunuka, Elizabeth Olear, Aareon Payne, Alitta Boyd-alt., Myra Hasson-alt.), men's 4x400m (Bryshon Nellum, Nate Anderson, Joey Hughes, Reggie Wyatt, Duane Walker, Jason Price, Scott DeYoung) and the women's 4x400m (Shalina Clarke, Elizabeth Olear, Myra Hasson, Dalilah Muhammad, Judith Onyepunuka-alt.).

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