Ellis Breaks Her USC 400m Record And 11 Trojans Qualify For The NCAA T&F Championships

    Katnik & Ponzio qualify in the shot put.
    May 26, 2017

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    Kendall Ellis broke her school record in the 400m dash to lead 11 Trojans advancing to the NCAA Track and Field Championships and six Trojan athletes moved on to NCAA quarterfinals tomorrow during the second day of the 2017 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds held at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas today (May 26). To advance in an event to the NCAA T&F Championships in Eugene, Ore. from June 7-10, an athlete must finish in the top 12 at the West Preliminary Rounds.

    • Freshman Michael Gonzalez began the day's action for the Trojans competing in the men's pole vault. He had a best clearance of 16-4.75 (5.00m) to finish 34th. He cleared that height and the opening height of 15-11.00 (4.85m) on his second attempt, but missed on all three at 16-10.75 (5.15m) which would have been a new personal best. He entered the regional tied for the 41st-best clearance.

    • The first running event of the day was the women's 100m hurdles and redshirt sophomore Dior Hall was in the second heat. She had a wind-aided time of 13.00 (+4.3w) to take second in her heat to automatically advance to tomorrow's quarterfinal. Freshman Anna Cockrell then won her 100m hurdles heat with a time of 13.00 (+3.7w) to automatically advance. Cockrell (12.991) ended up fourth and Hall (12.995) ended up fifth among the qualifying times.

    • Marquis Morris then took care of business by winning his men's 110m hurdles heat with a time of 13.62 (+2.1w) to automatically advance to tomorrow's quarterfinal. His time ended up second among the qualifiers.

    • The Trojans then got down to the business qualifying to nationals as the junior Ellis and senior Cameron Pettigrew ran in the women's 400m quarterfinal and both easily advanced to the NCAA Championships. Ellis won her heat and broke her school record with the fastest time of the day of 50.45. That time also broke the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds record of 50.88 set by Ashley Spencer in 2013. Pettigrew took second in her heat and was sixth overall with a time of 51.83.

    • Then both junior Ricky Morgan Jr. and freshman Michael Norman automatically advanced in the men's 400m, as they both took second in their heats. First Morgan Jr. had a PR of 45.44 to finish second to Fred Kerley of Texas A&M, who broke Quincy Watts' collegiate record with a time of 43.70. Norman then stormed down the stretch moving from well back in the pack to take second in his heat with a time of 45.38 to also earn a trip to nationals.

    • Again the Trojans advanced in pairs as both redshirt junior Nick Ponzio and sophomore Matthew Katnik punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships in the shot put. Ponzio's best mark of 63-9 (19.43m) was good for third and Katnik's best shot put was a PR of 62-8.75 (19.12m) and was good for fourth. They both had their best marks in the first round.

    • Next in the women's 100m dash quarterfinals both junior Deanna Hill and redshirt sophomore Ky Westbrook advanced to nationals. Hill won her quarterfinal heat with a time of 11.06 (+3.7w) to automatically advance with the third-fastest time on the day. Westbrook took fourth in the first heat with a time of 11.27 (+2.9w) and had to wait out the final two heats to see if she would advance. When all three heats were concluded, she had the second-fastest non-automatic qualifier and finished 10th overall.

    • Freshman T.J. Brock placed sixth in the first heat of the men's 100m dash quarterfinals with a time of 10.26 (+3.1w). He had the last non-automatic qualifier, but two heats remained. When the heats were concluded he finished 16th, with the top 12 advancing.

    • Next up was the women's 800m quarterfinal and sophomore Mikaela Smith was in the final heat. She finished sixth in her heat and 16th overall with a time of 2:09.06.

    • Junior Robert Ford then earned a trip to nationals in the men's 800m by running a season-best time of 1:47.58 to take third in his heat to automatically advance. His time ended up being the seventh-fastest of the qualifiers.

    • Cockrell and senior Amalie Iuel kept it rolling for the Trojans as they both won their women's 400m hurdles heats to automatically advance. Cockrell had a time of 56.37, second among the qualifiers, and Iuel a time of 56.87, fourth among the runners to advance to Eugene, Ore. for the championships.

    • The day ended with the women's and men's 200m dash prelims, with the top three in each heat and the next six-fastest times advancing to the quarterfinals tomorrow. Hill got things started by winning the first women's 200m heat easily with a time of 22.66 (+1.0) to automatically advance to the quarterfinal. Westbrook was in the fifth heat and she fell behind early and couldn't catch up, finishing with a time of 23.78 (+0.7) to take sixth in her heat and 31st overall.

    • Sophomore Christian Sourapas and redshirt senior Just'N Thymes closed out the day for the Trojans both running in the second heat of the men's 200m. They both automatically advanced to the quarterfinal tomorrow as Sourapas finished second with a time of 20.73 (+1.2) and Thymes third at 20.78 (+1.2). They ended up 15th and 17th respectively among the qualifiers.

    Trojans in action tomorrow in the final day of the West Preliminary Rounds will be: Anna Cockrell (W-100m HH), Randall Cunningham (M-HJ), Dior Hall (W-100m HH), Deanna Hill (W-200m quarterfinal), Brittany Mann (W-SP), Marquis Morris (M-110m HH), Tanya Sapa (W-SP), Eric Sloan (M-TJ), Dominic Smallwood (M-TJ), Christian Sourapas (M-200m), Just'N Thymes (M-200m) and both the men's and women's 4x100m and 4x400m relays.