Jackson And Cunningham Punch Tickets To NCAA T&F Championships

    Freshman Randall Cunningham was clear over 7-2.50 in the high jump when the event was halted as the top 12 finishers to advance to the NCAA Championships was determined. Cunningham finished sixth today.
    May 28, 2015

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    AUSTIN, TEXAS - Adoree' Jackson in the men's long jump and Randall Cunningham in the men's high jump advanced to the NCAA Championships and 15 athletes advanced to event quarterfinals during the first day of action at the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas today (May 28). In all of USC's races today, the athlete would have to finish in the top three of its heat or have one of the next six best times to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals, while a top 12 finish in the field events would punch a ticket for nationals in Eugene, Ore. from June 10-13.

    After a two-hour and 15 minute delay due to rain and lightening, the men's long jump was started and freshman Adoree' Jackson was the first Trojan to compete on the day in the third of four flights of the event. Although he ranked 24th in the country in the event with the top 12 from each region advancing to the NCAAs, Jackson came into the meet ranked 16th in the West, so he would have his work cut out for him to advance. His first jump went for 25-0.50/7.63m (+1.6) which moved him into ninth place. His next attempt was his best, jumping 25-8.00/7.82m (+3.2w) to temporarily move into fifth in the competition. Had it not been for the high wind backing, he would have moved into a 10th-place tie on USC's all-time list which no Trojan has cracked since 2003. He now will have another meet to attempt that. His final attempt went of 25-7.25/7.80m (+2.2w) and he finished seventh to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

    Similarly, the women's hammer throw was pushed back an hour and a half before it got underway with senior Jenny Ozorai throwing in the second of three flights. She began with a throw of 190-5 (58.04m) and improved in each attempt, throwing 195-1 (59.47m) and then 197-0 (60.05m). After two flights she stood in sixth place, but the final flight of 16 throwers remained. After the final group of women had thrown, Ozorai had dropped into 19th place. Ozorai completes her USC throwing career as a three-time first-team All-American in the hammer throw, with a best finish of fourth in 2013.

    The first running event on the track was the women's 400m IH and the Trojans had a pair of athletes qualified in sophomore Amalie Iuel and junior Jaide Stepter. Iuel was in the first heat and left no doubt by cruising to victory in a time of 57.57. Stepter also made easy work of the fifth heat, easing to a win with a time of 58.45. They both grabbed automatic qualifying spots and advanced to tomorrow's 400m IH NCAA quarterfinals. Iuel had the second-fastest qualifying time and Stepter the fourth-fastest.

    The USC women's 100m dash was next and the Trojans had five runners qualified. Junior Alexis Faulknor won the first heat to automatically advance with a time of 11.28 (+2.2w), while freshman Deanna Hill took fifth with a time of 11.44 (+2.2w). She also advanced as she claimed one of the sixth next best times. Redshirt junior Tynia Gaither then won the third heat to automatically advance, posting a time of 11.27 (+3.8w). Freshman Ky Westbrook finished second in the sixth heat with a time of 11.38 (+1.7) and sophomore Destinee Brown was third with a time of 11.50 (+1.7) to both automatically advance. Freshman Gabriella Cantrell took sixth in the fifth heat with a time of 11.65 (+3.9) to finish 39th overall. Among the qualifiers, Gaither was fourth, Faulknor fifth, Westbrook 13th, Hill 20th and Brown 24th.

    Senior BeeJay Lee then got things started for the men's sprinters by winning the first 100m heat to automatically advance with a time of 10.03 (+3.7w). Senior Bryan Mercado was sixth with a wind-aided PR of 10.37 (+3.7w) and finished 26th overall. Junior Andre De Grasse got off to a slow start, but came back to take second in the fifth heat to automatically advance with a time of 10.09 (+2.7w). Lee had the fourth and De Grasse the seventh-fastest qualifying times.

    Next up was the women's 400m dash races. Sophomore Cameron Pettigrew was in the first heat and had a time of 54.19 to finish fifth and would have to wait through the other heats to see if she qualified. Senior Akawkaw Ncha-Ndip then took fourth in the second heat with a time of 53.18 and also would have to wait. Freshman Kendall Ellis then took second in the fourth heat to automatically advance with a time of 53.00, which was eighth overall. Senior Vanessa Jones ran in the sixth and final heat and took second to automatically advance with a time of 52.28. Her time was second among the qualifiers. Ncha-Ndip ended up with the 17th and Pettigrew the 23rd fastest qualifying times.

    Senior Davonte Stewart was fifth in the second heat of the men's 400m dash with a time of 47.28. He finished 30th overall and did not advance to tomorrow's quarterfinal. Freshman Ricky Morgan won the fifth heat with a PR of 46.51 to automatically advance and he had the sixth-fastest qualifying time.

    In the women's long jump, Faulknor had a best jump of 20-1.50/6.13m (+2.2w) to finish 15th and freshman Madisen Richards had a best leap of 19-9.50/6.03m (+1.3) to finish 21st. The top 12 in the event advanced to the NCAA Championships.

    Freshman Randall Cunningham also earned his way to the NCAA Championships with a clearance of 7-2.50 (2.20m) to finish sixth in the men's high jump. Once the competition was down to a top 12 qualifiers, the event ended. Cunningham cleared 7-2.50 in his third attempt. He also had a miss at 6-9.75 before clearing it and made 6-11.75 and 7-1.50 in his first attempts. Senior Michael Krone cleared 6-9.75 (2.08m) and finished tied for 28th.

    The final event for USC on the first day of the regional was the men's 800m race. Freshman Robert Ford was second in the fourth heat with a time of 1:50.01 to automatically advance to tomorrow's quarterfinals. His time turned out to be 18th among the qualifiers. Senior Myles Andrews finished sixth in the sixth heat and 35th overall with a time of 1:51.22.

    Along with the 15 athletes who qualified today for quarterfinals tomorrow, the men's and women's high hurdles, men's and women's 200m and women's steeplechase first rounds will take place tomorrow as well as the women's discus throw, men's hammer throw and men's shot put.