USC To Compete At The Mt. SAC Relays This Weekend

    Junior Vanessa Jones bettered her seventh-place standing on USC's all-time list with a time of 52.83 in the 400m dash at the Florida Relays. She also ran the second leg for the 4x400m relay which ran 3:29.42, the third-fastest time in school history.

    April 15, 2014

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    THIS WEEK - The No. 14 USC men's and No. 9 women's track and field teams will compete at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. (April 17-19) and at the Long Beach Invitational (April 18-19) held at Cerritos College in Cerritos, Calif.

    WOMEN'S 4X200M SETS USC RECORD - USC's women's 4x200m relay team of Akawkaw Ndipagbor, Jessica Davis, Alexis Faulknor and Tynia Gaither set a school record when it won with a time of 1:30.99 at the Florida Relays on April 5. USC was first out of 34 relay teams and won its heat which included host Florida and four teams made up of professionals. The previous USC record was 1:32.87 set in 2007 by Candice Davis, Elizabeth Olear, Myra Hassan and Carol Rodriguez.

    RECRUITS SHINE AT ARCADIA INVITATIONAL - Several of USC's recruits for the 2015 season were in action at the Arcadia Invitational from April 10-12. Adoree Jackson won the long jump (25-0.00), Ricky Morgan won the seeded 200m race (21.76) and was sixth in the invitational 400m (48.20) and Randall Cunningham tied for first in the high jump (7-1.00). Also, Marquis Morris took second in both the invitational 110m HH (13.93) and 300m IH (36.94), Jordan Wallin was sixth in the invitational 800m (1:55.60), Madisen Richards was third in the women's long jump (18-10.00) and Madison Ricks was 11th in the women's 800m (2:14.87).

    BROWN IMPRESSIVE IN OUTDOOR OPENER - Senior Aaron Brown, who earned indoor All-America status in the 60m and 200m, opened up his individual outdoor season with style at the Florida Relays on April 4. He placed second while setting a PR in the 200m with a time of 20.19 (-0.6). That time moved him from eighth to third on USC's all-time 200m dash list and at the time was the second-leading time in the world to Florida's Dedric Dukes who won the race. Brown also posted a time of 10.24 (-0.1) in the 100m dash to place fifth. BeeJay Lee also opened in the 100m that day and had a time of 10.31 (-0.1), good for 10th.

    TONG AND SODERSTROM HURDLING UP THE USC 3000M SC LIST - Sophomore Jenna Tong and junior Kira Soderstrom continue to improve and move up the USC all-time 3000m steeplechase list. Tong won the 3000m SC with a PR of 10:42.91 while Soderstrom placed fourth with a PR of 10:57.13 at the Cal-Nevada Championships in San Diego, Calif. on April 5. Tong moved from fourth to third and Soderstrom from 10th to fifth on USC's all-time list in the event. Tong has improved her PR in each of her three 3000m SC races this season, cutting nearly 17 seconds off her time. Soderstrom has bettered her PR twice this season and has also improved 17 seconds from last season.

    MEN'S SPRINT RELAY MAY BE A FACTOR - USC has not entered a 4x100m relay team at the NCAA Championships the last three seasons, but that may be changing this year. USC has All-American sprinter Aaron Brown (10.05) back, as well as Pac-12 100m champion BeeJay Lee (10.07) to build around. The first race of the season on March 22 at the Trojan Invitational the team of Aleec Harris, Brown, Lee and Davonte Stewart ran 39.89, faster that any Trojan relay last season. They then ran 39.60 at the Florida Relays which ranks seventh in the country. It was USC's fastest men's 4x100m relay time since running 39.59 in 2009.

    WOMEN'S 4X100M RELAY LOOKS TO KEEP STREAK GOING... - In each of the last three seasons the USC women's 4x100m relay team has earned All-America status, placing seventh in 2012 and 2013 and third in 2011. USC's All-America quartet of Loudia Laarman, Melia Cox, Jenna Puterbaugh and Vanessa Jones are all back, but the Trojans have many options. Jessica Davis was a key member of USC's 4x100m relay before being injured and the Trojans have added sprinters Tynia Gaither and Alexis Faulknor to the mix. Faulknor ran on UCF's 4x100m relay which took second at the 2013 NCAA Championships and posted the eighth-fastest time ever by a collegiate 4x100m women's relay team. The quartet of Laarman, Davis, Faulknor and Gaither stormed to an opening time of 44.10 at the Trojan Invitational on March 22 and then ran 43.90 at the Florida Relays on April 5, USC's second-fastest time since the 2011 NCAA Championships.

    WOMEN'S 4X400M RELAY SOARS UP THE CHARTS - For the first time since 2010 USC entered a women's 4x400m relay team for the 2013 NCAA Championships and the team of Akawkaw Ndipagbor, Vanessa Jones, Jenna Puterbaugh and Ashley Liverpool finished 11th to earn second-team All-America honors. That quartet won the 2013 Pac-12 Championships and posted the then-eighth-fastest time ever by a USC team of 3:32.31 at the 2013 NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas. A team of Ndipagbor, Jones, Jessica Davis and Tynia Gaither ran 3:29.42 to place second at the Florida Relays on April 5. That time is the third-fastest time all-time by a Trojan quartet and currently ranks third in the country.

    USC RANKING AMONG THE BEST -- There are currently 24 NCAA top 25 marks posted by Trojan athletes early this season: Men: Aaron Brown (100m - 14th, 200m - 3rd), Remington Conatser (Hammer - 1st), Viktor Fajoyomi (Decathlon - 9th, HJ - 18th), Aleec Harris (110m HH - 5th), Davonte Stewart (200m - 17th) and the 4x100m relay (7th). Women: Lauren Blackburn (100m HH - 20th), Lauren Chambers (Hammer - 12th), Alexandra Collatz (Discus - 3rd), Jessica Davis (100m - 20th, 200m - 10th), Alexis Faulknor (100m - 13th, LJ - 23rd), Tynia Gaither (100m - 16th, 200m - 6th), Amalie Iuel (400m IH - 21st), Vanessa Jones (400- 12th), Ashley Liverpool (400m - 24th), Akawkaw Ndipagbor (400m - 25th), Jaide Stepter (400m IH - 13th), the 4x100m relay (6th) and the 4x400m relay (3rd).

    NEXT WEEK - USC's track and field team will compete at the Triton Invitational in San Diego, Calif. on April 25-26.