USC's Women Tie For 9th At NCAA T&F Championships

    June 11, 2016

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    EUGENE, ORE. -- USC scored eight times in six different events led by a school-record in the 4x100m relay on the final day of the women's competition at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. today (June 11). Despite having no points coming into the day and 38 teams already on the board, the Trojans would finish in a ninth-place tie with 28 points.

    USC's women have scored 77 points in the first three seasons with Caryl Smith Gilbert as the Director of Track & Field, its most points in a three-year stretch since scoring a total of 86.5 points from 2006-08.

    "Another NCAA championships in the books," said Smith Gilbert. "We started the day with a tremendous performance in the 4x1 relay. Our handoffs were solid and we ended up second with a new school record. I am very pleased with the execution of the race. The women's 100m was an excellent race although it was slightly wind aided and we did not execute in the middle of the race exactly the way we should have. Jaide Stepter ran strong in the 400m hurdles and is now a two-time all American in that event. In the 200m Tynia (Gaither) ran a PR and Deanna (Hill) did a great job from lane two.

    "We were in contention to be a top four team and bring home a trophy with a win in the 4x400m relay. Kendall Ellis led off in 51.8 but Amalie Iuel took off running before she secured the stick and dropped the baton. Track and field is full of ups and downs, but is our responsibility is to capitalize and come through in championship situations. Overall we have a young team, so it is important to emphasize that we still have Olympic trials and Jr, nationals to go and we must learn from our mistakes, make corrections and move on. We are headed back to L.A. to train for the summer series of events and get ready for Rio!! Fight On!"

    USC's 4x100m relay team of junior Destinee Brown, sophomore Deanna Hill, senior Alexis Faulknor and senior Tynia Gaither got things started for the Trojans in style by setting a school record and finishing second with a time of 42.90. That time also makes them the eighth-fastest time by a school all-time. USC's previous school record in the 4x100m was 42.96 set by Virginia Powell, Jessica Onyepunuka, Candice Davis and Carol Rodriguez in 2006 at the NCAA Championships. All four USC runners had a strong leg with Brown going down on the track after the handoff to Hill and Gaither running-down a few teams down the stretch. This was the sixth-straight season that USC's 4x100m relay team scored at nationals. USC picked up its first eight points in the team competition. The winning LSU team set a Hayward Field record with a time of 42.65.

    Senior Tera Novy started up next in the women's discus throw and finished seventh overall with a best throw of 189-4 (57.70m) to earn the Trojans two points. She becomes a two-time discus throw All-American and becomes USC's seventh All-American in the event and fifth in the last four years. Novy's first discus throw attempt went for 188-7 (57.49m) which moved her into sixth place after the first round of the second flight. Her second throw didn't approach her first attempt, so she took a foul for no mark. Her third attempt was a slight improvement to 189-4 (57.70m) and she advanced to the finals in seventh. She fouled in her first two attempts of the finals and remained seventh heading to the final round. Her final throw went for 181-11 (55.44m) and she hung on for seventh place.

    Gaither and Hill then ran in the women's 100m dash finals and took fourth and sixth respectively. Gaither had a wind-aided PR of 11.08 (+2.6w) and Hill a time of 11.21 (+2.6w). Together they scored eight more points for USC in the team competition. It was the second time in the last three seasons that Gaither scored in the 100m dash.

    Senior Jaide Stepter then placed sixth in the women's 400m IH with a time of 55.30, just off her PR of 55.22. The first five finishers in the race ran under 55-seconds. Stepter scored three points in the event and became a two-time 400m IH All-American, the 10th time a Trojan has scored in the event.

    Gaither and Hill then continued their busy day by running in the women's 200m final. Gaither took fifth with a PR of 22.54 (+1.9) and Hill placed seventh with a time of 22.75 (+1.9) to earn USC six more points. Gaither's time moved her to third on USC's all-time 200m list and bumped Hill into fourth. Gaither (2014 & 2016) and Hill (2016) are the only Trojan women to score in both the 100m and 200m since Carol Rodriguez in 2006.

    The final event was the women's 4x400m relay and the Trojans ran a team of sophomore Kendall Ellis, junior Amalie Iuel, Stepter and Hill. Only one race removed from setting a school record at the West Preliminary Rounds (with junior Cameron Pettigrew instead of Hill), a win would have gotten the team into fourth and a second-place finish into a tie for fifth in the team competition, but it was not meant to be. The exchange between Ellis and Iuel ended up on the track and by the time Iuel was able to pick it up and take off, USC had fallen way behind the group. USC finished with a time of 3:40.61 to grab eighth and earn one point in the team competition. Ellis, Iuel, Stepter and Hill all earned All-America honors in the event.