Seven More Trojans And Three Relays Advance To NCAA T&F Championships|
May 30, 2015
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Seven more individual Trojans and three relay teams, including the women's 4x400m relay which set the school record, earned their way to the NCAA Championships during the final day of action at the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas today (May 30). The 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be held in Eugene, Ore. from June 10-13. With today's action all basically being NCAA quarterfinals, an athlete would have to finish in the top 12 of a field event or be in the top three of its running heat or post one of the next three fastest times to advance to the NCAA Championships.
The first Trojan to compete was senior Melia Cox in the women's triple jump. Her first jump went for 40-1.50/12.23m (+2.0) which tied her for 30th. She then ran through her second jump and stood in 36th place with one jump remaining. Unfortunately, she fouled in her third attempt and ended up 38th in the event. The 12th and final qualifier had a jump of 41-10.50.
After the early field events there was a weather delay which caused the remainder of the meet to start at 7:05 p.m. instead of at 6 p.m.
The first Trojans in action after the delay were the women's 4x100m relay team of freshman Deanna Hill, freshman Ky Westbrook, junior Alexis Faulknor and redshirt junior Tynia Gaither. The team advanced by winning its heat with a time of 44.50, but it took a valiant effort from Gaither. Halfway down the stretch it became evident that she was having a right hamstring issue and she more or less hopped and willed herself through the finish line and held off the fast-charging opposition teams. USC still ended up with the fifth-fastest qualifying time.
The men were next in the 4x100m relay and ran a team of senior BeeJay Lee, junior Andre De Grasse, freshman Adoree' Jackson and senior Bryan Mercado. Jackson was inserted into the lineup to ensure that there would be no further aggravation to junior Just'N Thymes' slightly tight hamstring, as he was running in the 200m quarterfinals later in the evening. The team cruised to victory in the third heat with a time of 39.49 to automatically advance. It was the fifth-fastest time among the qualifying teams.
As the relays ended, sophomore Tanya Sapa finished up in the women's shot put. She ended up with fouls in all three attempts and was eliminated.
Freshman Dominic Smallwood was also ending up in the men's triple jump. He fouled in his first attempt, then jumped 45-0.50/13.73m (+1.2) in his second attempt and a best of 47-2.25/14.38m (+0.9) in his final attempt. He finished 44th in the men's triple jump.
Next up on the track was the women's 100m HH quarterfinals. Freshman Dior Hall and the senior Cox ran in the second heat and both automatically advanced to the NCAA Championships as Hall won the heat with a time of 13.15 (+0.1) and Cox was third with a PR of 13.24 (+0.1). Cox moved into a 10th-place tie with Natasha Neal on USC's all-time 100m HH list. Hall had the second and Cox the fifth-fastest qualifying times.
Freshman Marquis Morris continues to improve every race, tonight running a PR of 13.77 (+0.9) to place fourth in the first 110m HH heat. It also lowered his USC freshman record in the event, set yesterday of 13.79. He had to wait it out to see if he would qualify. Going into the final 110m HH heat he owned the last non-automatic qualifying spot, so he would need the fourth-place finisher to have a slower time than him. The fourth person in the final heat had a time of 13.81 and Morris had earned his trip to Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA Championships. Just .02 seconds separated the ninth-12th place finishers.
Westbrook ran in the second heat of the women's 200m quarterfinals and placed third with a PR of 23.22 (+0.6) to automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. Her time ended up being sixth best among the qualifiers. Fellow freshman Gabriella Cantrell had a time of 24.04 (+0.6) to finish seventh in the same heat and 22nd overall. The final heat was to feature USC's top two women's 200m runners on time in Hill and Gaither, but Gaither could not go due to her balky hamstring. Hill, however, took care of business by running 23.28 (+0.7) to finish second in the heat and ninth overall to automatically advance.
De Grasse and Lee were side-by-side in lanes six and five respectively in the first heat of the men's quarterfinals and they left no doubt by finishing first and second to automatically advance to the NCAA Championships in the event. De Grasse won with a time of 20.17 (+0.4) and Lee took second with a time of 20.47 (+0.4). Thymes ran in the final heat and placed fourth with a time of 20.87 (-0.1) which was the fourth-fastest non-automatic qualifying time, so he did not advance despite it being the 12th-fastest time of the night. His heat was the only one with a negative wind reading.
The final event for USC to closeout the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary Rounds was the women's 4x400m relay and the Trojan team of junior Jaide Stepter, sophomore Amalie Iuel, freshman Kendall Ellis and senior Vanessa Jones closed it out in style by setting the school record. The event didn't start until 10:25 p.m. and the Trojans were in the third and final heat. They led the entire way with each successive leg extending the margin to finish with a time of 3:27.86, beating the previous USC record of 3:28.08 set in 1999. It is also the second-fastest time in the country this season, just behind Florida's 3:27.84. The next closest team at the regional was host Texas at 3:30.53.
The Trojans earned 25 individual spots at the NCAA Championships, plus three relay teams advanced during the three-day NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Trojans to advance to the 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships are:
Men: Randall Cunningham (High Jump), Andre De Grasse (100m, 200m), Robert Ford (800m), Adoree' Jackson (Long Jump), BeeJay Lee (100m, 200m), Conor McCullough (Hammer Throw), Ricky Morgan (400m), Marquis Morris (110m HH), Nick Ponzio (Shot Put) and the 4x100m relay.
Women: Alexandra Collatz (Discus Throw), Melia Cox (100m HH), Kendall Ellis (400m), Alexis Faulknor (100m), Tynia Gaither (100m), Dior Hall (100m HH), Deanna Hill (100m, 200m), Amalie Iuel (400m IH), Vanessa Jones (400m), Tera Novy (Discus Throw), Jaide Stepter (400m IH), Ky Westbrook (100m, 200m), plus the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.