USC travels to Iowa, prepares for NCAAs
1976 and 2001.
These are two very important years to the USC track and field team. They mark the years when the menâs and womenâs teams, respectively, last won an NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
Entering this yearâs competition, the menâs team ranks No. 6 in the nation and the womenâs team comes in at No. 7.
Both teams are primed to make some noise at the NCAAs as USC will look to use its 19 qualifying athletes to conquer 15 different events throughout the course of the competition.
With the events taking place at historic Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, the team hopes for the best in continuing its legacy.
Yes, a legacy.
Even though it has been quite some time since the USC menâs and womenâs teams, took home the national title, that doesnât mean the Trojans havenât seen overall success.
The menâs team has won the most NCAA outdoor titles â 26 in total â which is more than double the next-best program in Arkansas.
As for the womenâs team, its only title was in 2001. Regardless, USC as a whole has constantly appeared in the top-10 at the NCAA championships.
Junior captain Joey Hughes expressed his optimism, especially in terms of the menâs team, for this yearâs competition.
âI have confidence in our team,â Hughes said. âI feel like we will do excellent. We have a strong group of guys and we will do good overall for the menâs side.â
One of the fastest 400-meter runners in the country, Hughes will be a big asset to the team at the NCAA championships. He will also participate in the 4×400-meter relay with junior Duane Walker, sophomore Reggie Wyatt and freshman Josh Mance â one of the fastest relay teams in the country.
The young USC team, which heads to Des Moines with only four seniors, has done a few things to prepare for competition.
âOne thing that we did versus the other teams is that we got here a few days earlier,â Hughes said. âWe will be used to the time zone, we wonât feel like we just flew in and feel uncomfortable. And we had lighter practices before this so we wouldnât be tired.â
Even though they are scarce in number, two of four USCâs seniors will be a force to reckon with.
Seniors Oscar Spurlock and Brendan Ames are ranked third and fourth in the nation, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles.
As for the teamâs biggest strength, the junior captain named three key areas, in addition to hurdles, where the Trojans excel.
âOur strength is in the hurdles, 400 and the throws,â Hughes said. âWe have two strong hurdlers, runners and throwers who qualified.â
The competition begins today with the womenâs 4×100-meter relay at 5:30 p.m. and runs through Saturday.