While rain and winds may have been staples at the 2010 NCAA track & field Championships, these disruptive elements were not enough to keep the Trojans from their best finish since 2007.
The USC men’s team placed fifth after four days of competition in Eugene, Ore. This result signified the team’s sixth consecutive top ten finish.
“Based upon the weather and how we performed, I thought we maximized what our potential was,” said Ron Allice, director of USC track & field.
Even though Allice may have been satisfied with the performance, his high expectations for the team signify his resistance to merely settle for the men’s consistent championship success.
“My goal was to have us in the top five in the country, and that’s where we finished,” said Allice. “Was I happy with the top five? To some extent. The idea is, we wanted to be better than that.”
While the team may have hoped to finish even higher in the standings, many Trojans had performances that warrant recognition. One player, whom Allice recalled as having “one heck of a meet,” was sophomore Joey Hughes.
Hughes placed in both individual and team events. Not only did he help the men finish fifth in the 4 x 400 relay after running the third leg of the race, he also placed third in the 400-meter dash. He recorded a time of 45.23 seconds, just .02 seconds behind the runner-up.
Hughes became a two-time All-American as a result of his performance at the championships.
Other Trojans who were granted All-American status include redshirt senior Manjula Wijesekara, who finished second in the high jump; junior Oscar Spurlock, who placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles; and redshirt senior Aaron Dan, who took the fifth place spot in the discus final.
One unfortunate moment for the men’s team came in the 100-meter dash. Senior Ahmad Rashad was disqualified after he was called for a false start in his semifinal heat. Rashad placed second in the race at last year’s championships and was considered the likely favorite at this year’s event. At the conclusion of the meet, the men’s team had earned 35.5 points, just 1.5 fewer points than the fourth-place Arizona State Sun Devils and 19.5 points fewer than the first-place Texas A&M Aggies.
But the Women of Troy were unable to earn any team points throughout the competition and, thus, finished unranked, a disappointing result that hadn’t occurred since the 1981 season.
“We had just, really a lot of letdowns where I felt we did not perform anywhere close to what we were capable of,” Allice said of the women’s team.
With the season over and many players graduating and moving on, the Trojans now face the task of rebuilding and strengthening, with the hope of more success in the upcoming year.
“The recruiting class that we’re bringing in has got to step in and fill the void,” Allice said.