USC Turns Up The Heat At The Florida Relays

    Jessica Davis and Vanessa Jones shown here teamed up with Akawkaw Ndipagbor and Tynia Gaither to run the third-fastest 4x400m relay in USC history.

    April 5, 2014

    GAINESVILLE, FLA. - The USC women's 4x200m relay team won with a school record time, Viktor Fajoyomi won the men's high jump and soared into USC's all-time top 10, Tanya Sapa won the women's shot put and moved up the school all-time charts and the women's 4x400m relay team ran the third-fastest time in school history to lead the Trojans during the final day of the 70th annual Florida Relays held at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. today (April 5).

    Freshman Tanya Sapa got the day started for the Trojans in the women's hammer throw. She placed eighth with a mark of 168-10/51.47m. She competed in the first flight and had that mark in her first throw, but then had two fouls and had to wait to see if she would advance to the finals. She did with the seventh-farthest throw, but had three more fouls in the finals to finish in eighth. Today's throw was just four feet off her PR set earlier this season. She would come back seven hours after the start of her first event to win the women's shot put with a collegiate PR.

    Senior Lauren Chambers and junior Alexandra Collatz then competed in the women's hammer Invite. Chambers grabbed the last spot into the finals, but did not improve and finished ninth with a best throw of 184-6/56.24m. Collatz fouled in all three throws and did not place.

    The first race for USC on the day was the women's 1600m sprint medley of a 200m, a 200m, a 400m and an 800m. USC's team of senior Lauren Blackburn (200m), junior Melia Cox (200m), sophomore Jaide Stepter (400m) and freshman Amalie Iuel (800m) posted a time of 3:59.08 to win its heat and finish 10th. Iuel ran a strong anchor leg by not panicking as several runners passed her early in her two laps only to run them all down to close out the race.



    Things really got rolling for the Trojans with the women's 4x100m relay. The team of senior Loudia Laarman, senior Jessica Davis, sophomore Alexis Faulknor and sophomore Tynia Gaither placed sixth, third among college teams, with a season-best time of 43.90. That time currently ranks fifth among college teams and was the second-fastest time turned in by a Trojan quartet since the 2011 NCAA Championships when they ran 43.42.

    The men's 4x100m relay team of senior Aleec Harris, senior Aaron Brown, junior BeeJay Lee and junior Davonte Stewart took to the track next. They stormed around Percy Beard Track in a season-best time of 39.60 to win its heat and finish sixth overall, second among college teams. It was also USC's fastest men's 4x100m time since running 39.59 on May 2, 2009.

    Things were just heating up.

    USC had two women's teams running in the 4x200m relay. USC "A,", a team of junior Akawkaw Ndipagbor, Davis, Faulknor and Gaither ran in the first heat featuring pro teams and host Florida and proceeded to blaze to the title with a school record of 1:30.99. The previous USC record was 1:32.87 set in 2007 by Candice Davis, Elizabeth Olear, Myra Hasson and Carol Rodriguez. USC's time is the fastest recorded in by a college team this season and only four schools have ever recorded faster times: Texas A&M, LSU, Texas and South Carolina.

    The USC women's "B" team of Laarman, junior Vanessa Jones, senior Ashley Liverpool and freshman Cameron Pettigrew also had a strong time and won its heat with a time of 1:34.68 to finish sixth, third among college teams.

    The men's 4x200m relay team of Harris, Brown, Lee and Stewart also had an impressive time, winning its heat with a time of 1:22.17, as Stewart made up a slight deficit and pulled away for the victory in the final 100 meters. USC's time was tops among the college teams and third overall. The USC quartet's time is the third-fastest by a men's college team this season.

    Then the senior Fajoyomi cleared a collegiate PR of 7-1.00/2.16m to win the men's high jump competition. For Fajoyomi, it was his first time clearing 7-feet since winning as a freshman at the 2011 USC-UCLA Dual Meet with a jump of 7-0.25. His jump today also moved him into a ninth-place tie on USC's all-time high jump list. He was clean up to 7-3 where he and one other contestant missed all three attempt, but he won on misses. Senior Herb Dew also competed in the high jump and tied for 11th with a clearance of 6-9.00/2.06m. Redshirt freshman Errin Baynes celebrated his birthday by clearing his USC best of 6-7.00/2.01m to tie for 15th.

    Sapa then gave throws coach Dan Lange who was also celebrating a birthday a present when she came back seven hours after her first event to win the women's shot put competition with a collegiate PR of 49-9/15.16m. Her throw moved her from 10th to eighth place on USC's all-time shot put list. Her second-best throw today of 48-8.25 also beat her previous best and would have been .02 meters short of winning the competition.

    In the women's triple jump, senior Oluwakemi Olonade placed 13th with a jump of 40-11.00/12.47m (+0.5) and Cox finished 17th with a jump of 39-11.50/12.18m (+0.7). Last year's Trojan teammate Alitta Boyd won the event with a leap of 43-2.50/13.17m (+2.0). Also today, junior Allen Williams competed in the men's triple jump, but did not land a clean jump so he did not place.

    The USC relay teams were not quite done with amazing efforts on the day as the women's 4x400m relay team of Ndipagbor, Jones, Davis and Gaither then ran 3:29.42 to place second to Florida which set a school record with a time of 3:27.38. USC's time ranks third in the country this season and moves the quartet into third place on USC's all-time 4x400m list. USC was in third place after each of the first two laps and moved into second place on a strong close to lap three by Davis. Gaither then brought it home with a low-51 split. USC's time was its fastest since Natasha Danvers, Malika Edmonson, Brigita Langerholc and Kinshasa Davis set the school record with a time of 3:28.08 in 1999.

    The Trojans closed out the meet with a men's 4x400m relay team of freshman ALex Rohani, Fajoyomi, junior Bryan Mercado and junior Jemal Williams. They ran a time of 3:18.11 to place 50th overall.