USC Women's Throwers To Compete At Triton Invitational

    All-American discus thrower Alexandra Collatz is coming off a big week in which she set a PR and broke the previous USC discus record (as did teammate Tera Novy) with a throw of 189-8 and had a season-best hammer throw of 184-10.
    April 22, 2015

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    THIS WEEK - USC's women's throwers will compete at the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif. on April 24, while the rest of the track and field team will train through the week in preparation for next week's annual Dual Meet against crosstown rival UCLA. Both the USC men's team (No. 5) and women's team (No. 4) are in the top five of the USTFCCCA weekly rankings for the first time since the sixth week of the 2008 season.

    THREE MORE TROJANS EARN PAC-12 WEEKLY HONORS - Andre De Grasse (Men's Track), Conor McCullough (Men's Field) and Tera Novy (Women's Field) all garnered Pac-12 Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors for the week of April 13-19. A USC track and field athlete has won 11 of the 20 Pac-12 athlete of the week awards given out this outdoor season, with De Grasse and McCullough winning twice and Novy a conference-leading three times. De Grasse had the world-leading 100m (9.87w) and 200m (20.16) times, McCullough the third farthest hammer throw in USC history (241-9) and Novy set the school discus throw record (193-10).

    DUAL MEET ON DECK - The Trojans will be hosting the annual USC-UCLA Dual Meet at Loker Stadium on May 3 from 2-6 p.m. The hammer throw competition will be held at Cal State L.A. on May 2 from 2-4 p.m. The meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network from 4-6 p.m. on May 3. The complete meet schedule is posted on the USC website: under the track and field page. Since USC hosts the Dual Meet every other year, the 50th anniversary teams honored will be from 1964 and 1965 and the 25th anniversary teams to be honored will be from the 1989 and 1990 seasons. USC's 20 seniors will also be saluted during the day's festivities.

    DE GRASSE DAZZLES AT MT. SAC RELAYS - Junior sprinter Andre De Grasse from Markham, Ontario, Canada put on a show at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 18, winning the Invitational 100m, 200m and being part of the winning 4x100m relay. In the 100m he defeated a field of professionals with a wind-aided PR of 9.87 (+4.0w), tying for this season's world-leading any conditions time. He then won the 200m with a PR of 20.16 (+0.3) which tied Aaron Brown's Canadian record and third-place standing on USC's all-time list. De Grasse, BeeJay Lee, Just'N Thymes and Bryan Mercado won the 4x100m relay with a time of 38.98 and became the first college team to win the Mt. SAC Invitational 4x100m since 2002 and only the second in the last 29 years. De Grasse came to USC from Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan. as a five-time NJCAA Champion and with big shoes to fill with the graduation of All-American sprinter Aaron Brown, also from Canada, but has proved to be up for the challenge. In his first outdoor individual races at the Florida Relays on April 3, De Grasse ran the eighth-fastest 100m (10.11) and fourth-fastest 200m (20.20) times in USC history, both PRs at the time. He also ran on the 4x100m relay which ran the eighth-fastest time in school history of 38.97. During the indoor season, he posted a best of 6.60 in the 60m and placed second in the 200m at the NCAA Championships with a USC and Canadian indoor record of 20.26, both marks formerly held by Brown (20.53). De Grasse ran a 9.96 (+5.0w) 100m dash to win the 2013 NJCAA title.

    SCHOOL FRESHMAN RECORD HOLDERS - Kendall Ellis set the USC women's 400m freshman record with a time of 53.01 on April 11, then bettered it with a time of 52.96 at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 18, the same day Dior Hall set the USC freshman 100m HH record with a time of 12.89. They join senior teammate Alexandra Collatz who set the freshman discus throw record in 2012 (177-11) as current Trojans who hold USC outdoor freshman records. During the 2015 indoor season three USC freshman records were set: Hall in the 60m HH (8.01), Ricky Morgan in the 400m (47.14) and Robert Ford in the 800m (1:49.21).

    NOVY SETS SCHOOL DISCUS THROW RECORD - USC junior discus thrower Tera Novy cracked into USC's all-time top 10 early in her freshman season and has steadily moved up the charts, finally claiming the top spot with a winning throw of 193-10 (59.12m) at the Cal State L.A. Twilight Meet on April 16. That mark currently ranks second among college throwers and fifth among U.S. women. She had a then-PR of 186-0 (56.69m) to win at the Trojan Invitational on March 20 to better her then third-place standing on USC's all-time top 10 list. The next day she placed second in the shot put with a PR of 50-0.50 (15.25m) which moved her into seventh on USC's all-time shot put list. Novy entered the season with a college best in the discus throw of 179-2 (54.60m) which she had in placing fourth at the 2014 Pac-12 Championships. Novy has also won the discus throw competition at the California Collegiate on April 4 (182-10) and at the Jim Click Shootout (184-10). Novy competed indoors this season in the shot put and had an indoor PR of 49-11.00 (15.21m) to place seventh at the MPSF Championships on March 28.

    McCULLOUGH BRINGING THE HAMMER - USC redshirt senior Conor McCullough returned to action in the indoor season, but now will take aim at an NCAA title in the men's hammer throw. In his first collegiate outdoor meet since 2012, he threw 233-7 (71.21m) to win and had four throws over 231. His second meet was the Mt. SAC Relays and he won the Invitational with a best throw of 241-9 (73.70m), the third-farthest throw in USC history, third-farthest by a U.S. male this year and currently 16th in the world. He had a very strong series, improving as he went and systematically moving up the USC all-time list. With his second throw of 237-6 (72.39m), McCullough moved from fifth to fourth on the USC list, then with his fifth throw of 239-11 (73.13m) he moved into third on the list and bettered it with his final throw of 241-9. McCullough began his career at Princeton in 2010 and won the NCAA East Region hammer throw competition in 2012, but did not compete at the NCAA's that season. McCullough enrolled at USC last year and was not able to compete, but was granted a sixth year of eligibility for this season. McCullough competed indoors this season and placed second at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw with a school-record toss of 80-3.75 (24.48m), but had not competed collegiately outdoors since winning the NCAA East Region hammer throw title on April 24, 2012. He has won his last 10 collegiate hammer throw competitions and 11 of 13 overall since he began at Princeton in 2010. McCullough has a college-best throw of 242-10 (74.01) set on April 6, 2012. McCullough has a personal-best of 253-3 (77.20m) which he threw at the at the Edmonton International Track Classic in Edmonton, Canada on July 6, 2014.

    ELLIS SETS USC FRESHMAN RECORD - Freshman Kendall Ellis won the 400m with a USC freshman-record time of 53.01 at the Jim Click Shootout on April 11, besting Malika Edmonson's old mark of 53.02 set in 1998. She then bettered it in her next meet, placing third at the Mt. SAC Relays Invitational 400m dash with a time of 52.96. That time moved her from ninth to eighth on USC's all-time list. She is currently ranked No. 16 in the country in the 400m. Ellis also ran a 53.11 400m race at the Florida Relays on April 3. She opened with a time of 53.49 in the 400m at the Trojan Invitational on March 21 and ran a then 200m PR of 23.55 (+0.1) that day. She bettered that with a time of 23.54 (+0.1) at Mt. SAC. Ellis graduated with the class of 2014 from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She was a four-time Florida State champion in the 400m dash, winning in 2014 with a PR of 52.95. She is also the four-time female MVP. Ellis' 400m dash time ranked fourth in the country among all high school women in 2014.

    USC PONZIO SCHEME PAYING DIVIDENDS - Redshirt freshman Nick Ponzio has steadily been improving in the shot put, posting the eighth-farthest throw in school history of 63-2.25 (19.26m) in winning the college shot put competition at Mt. SAC on April 17, taking the competition title in his final attempt. The next day he competed in the Mt. SAC Invitational shot put and placed fifth with a mark of 62-11.50 (19.19m). He opened his collegiate career by winning at the Trojan Invitational on March 21 with a throw of 60-0.25 (18.29m) and then winning at the California Collegiate on April 4 with a mark of 61-0.75 (18.61m). Ponzio also has a discus throw best this season of 169-3 (51.59m) at the California Collegiate. Ponzio came to USC after spending the 2013-14 school year at Florida, but he did not compete there. Ponzio is a 2013 graduate of Great Oak High in Temecula, Calif. and was the California state champion that season with a throw of 66-2.50. His high school shot put best was 69-7.25.

    KIJIMA SETS PR AT BEACH INVITATIONAL - Junior Reika Kijima transfered to USC from APU this season and has made an immediate impact on the cross country and track and field teams. This track season she keeps inching her PR in the 800m down with her latest personal best of 2:10.93 coming at the Beach Invitational on April 18. Kijima's time was the best 800m time by a Trojan since the 2011 season when Christine Cortez posted a time of 2:10.01 on May 13.

    BATTLE BREWING IN THE WOMEN'S SPRINTS - The women's team for USC and Oregon currently have posted most of the top marks among conference runners in the sprints. In the 100m dash, a Duck or Trojan has posted the nine top times and in the 200m, the top 11 and 13 of the top 14 times. The also own the top two 4x100m relay times by Pac-12 teams this season.

    TROJANS' BIG THREE - Currently USC sprinters Andre De Grasse, BeeJay Lee and Just'N Thymes rank first, second and third respectively among Pac-12 runners in both the 100m and 200m dashes. They also team with Bryan Mercado to form the conference's top 4x100m relay team.

    STEPTER & IUEL POSE QUITE A HURDLE FOR THE OPPOSITION - Junior Jaide Stepter and sophomore Amalie Iuel currently rank second and third respectively among college 400m hurdlers and tied for third and fifth in the world with times of 55.83 and 55.92 run at the Florida Relays on April 3. Those times also place Stepter third and Iuel fourth on USC's all-time list and they are less than one second off the school record of 54.95 run by Natasha Danvers in 2000.

    COLLATZ REMAINS SECOND, BUT BEATS FORMER USC DISCUS RECORD - All-American senior discus thrower Alexandra Collatz entered the season less than two feet off the school record in the discus throw with a PR of 187-6 (57.15m). Kate Hutchinson held the USC record in the event with a best of 189-5 (57.73) set in 2006 and at the same meet in which Tera Novy set the new standard of 193-10 (59.12m), Collatz surpassed Hutchinson with a throw of 189-8 (57.82m) to take second at the CSULA Twilight Meet. Collatz thus remains second on USC's all-time discus throw list and is currently fourth in the country. Collatz placed eighth in the discus throw at the 2014 NCAA Championships with a toss of 174-1 (53.07m) and placed fifth in 2013 at the NCAAs with a throw of 181-11 (55.46m). Collatz dramatically won USC's first-ever conference title in the women's discus throw on her final attempt with a mark of 184-3 (56.17m) on May 18, 2014. Collatz also has a hammer throw PR of 185-8 (56.60m) and has a best this season of 184-10 (56.35m).

    REMEMBER ME? - Three-time All-American women's hammer thrower Jenny Ozorai had surgery in early March of 2014 to repair a disc in her back and was forced to miss the 2014 outdoor season. Ozorai placed fourth in the hammer throw at the 2013 NCAA Championships and ranks second all-time in the event by a Trojan with a best mark of 223-4 (68.08m). She also placed fourth at the 2012 NCAA Championships and sixth at the 2011 NCAA Championships in the event. Ozorai competed outdoors at the Cal State L.A. Invitational on March 6 for the first time since the 2013 NCAA Championships and had a best throw of 191-8 (58.21m). She won the hammer throw competition at the Trojan Invitational with a throw of 199-4 (60.75m) on March 20, currently 24th in the country.

    USC RANKING AMONG THE BEST - There are currently 34 NCAA top 30 marks posted by Trojan athletes this outdoor season: Men (11): Randall Cunningham (HJ - T-4th), Andre De Grasse (100m - 1st, 200m - 1st), Adoree' Jackson (LJ - T-18th), BeeJay Lee (100m - 3rd, 200m - 2nd), Conor McCullough (HT - 2nd), Nick Ponzio (Shot - 17th), Just'N Thymes (200m - T-5th) and the 4x100m relay (3rd, 15th). Women (23): Gabriella Cantrell (200m - 24th), Alexandra Collatz (Discus - 4th), Destinee Brown (100m - T-16th), Melia Cox (100m HH - T-17th), Kendall Ellis (400m - 16th), Alexis Faulknor (100m - T-5th, LJ - 27th), Tynia Gaither (100m - 10th, 200m - 7th), Dior Hall (100m HH - 4th), Deanna Hill (100m -T-18th, 200m - 3rd), Amalie Iuel (400m IH - 3rd), Vanessa Jones (400m - 18th), Tera Novy (Discus - 2nd), Jenny Ozorai (Hammer - 24th), Jaide Stepter (400m IH - 2nd), Ky Westbrook (100m - 4th, 200m - 16th), the 4x100m relay (4th, T-8th) and the 4x400m relay (7th, 13th).