The USC track and field team performed well in a field containing some of the world’s best athletes at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, coming away with several first place finishes and strong showings.
“There were a lot of good performances out there,” USC coach Ron Allice said. “I thought we had a pretty solid weekend.”
Senior sprinter Ahmad Rashad highlighted those performances by winning the men’s 100-meter dash with a wind-aided time of 10.08 seconds. Rashad’s sprint is the second-best collegiate time all season, and his first place finish was even more impressive considering he ran in the same heat as 2008 Olympic sprinter Rodney Martin.
Sophomore sprinter Joey Hughes added to USC’s first place finishes at Mt. Sac, winning the men’s 400-meter dash with a time of 45.37.
In addition to being the fastest time at the Invitational, the time placed Hughes fifth in the world, second in the country and eighth on the Trojans’ all-time list in the event.
The USC hurdlers also made their presence felt. Junior Brendan Ames finished first in the men’s 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 13.80, a new personal best. Freshman Reggie Wyatt also ran his best time of the season in the men’s 400-meter intermediate hurdles, a 50.45 that was good enough for a second place finish behind two-time NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson of Washington State.
Hughes and Wyatt, along with redshirt sophomore Bryshon Nellum and senior Nate Anderson ,made up the men’s 4×400-meter relay team, which closed the Mt. Sac Invitational with a winning time of 3:03.70.
“All four of those guys ran great legs,” Allice said. “It was really the ultimate team effort.”
For the USC women, senior Elizabeth Olear won the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.95, a second better than her previous personal record. Senior hurdler Shalina Clarke also had a solid day, placing third with a time of 13.38 in the women’s 100-meter high hurdles.
Next up for USC is the Triton Invitational on April 23, hosted by UC San Diego, and the USC-UCLA dual meet the following week. Allice said the meet helped prepare USC for the rest of the season.
“Now we start evaluating where we stand as far as the dual meet and within the conference,” Allice said. “We now have a much clearer picture than we did before. From here on in, it’s championship time.”