The outdoor season is just beginning, but the USC track and field team has business to take care of in the indoor season.
The team secured a number of wins at their outdoor meet and finished first in the women’s 4x400m relay at last Friday’s NCAA Last Chance meet in Seattle, Washington. The relay team — freshmen Akawkaw Ndipagbor and Vanessa Jones, sophomore Jenna Puterbaugh and senior co-captain Dalilah Muhammad — achieved the best 4×4 relay time at the meet with a time of 3:37.57, but it was not enough.
The team failed to make qualifying marks for the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships that will take place Friday and Saturday in Nampa, Idaho.
“We just missed qualifying in the 4×4,” coach Ron Allice said. “We could have maybe waited for some scratches, but we felt that we couldn’t run faster, and we needed to be more concerned with being prepared for outdoor [competitions].”
Despite this loss, the Trojans will still compete at Jackson Indoor Track Friday and Saturday. Junior Alitta Boyd will be the sole representative for the Trojans at the Indoor Championships, competing in the long jump.
As the team wraps up their commitments in the indoor track and field season, the outdoor season will consume the rest of the track and field efforts. Though the Trojans will have two meets — a meet this weekend at Cal State Fullerton and a meet next weekend at Cal State Northridge — before competing at home, the team will be mentally and physically preparing for USC’s own Trojan Invitational.
The meet will be the first event featuring serious Division I competition, and will be the first in a string of Division I meets, including the Texas Relays and the Stanford Invite.
“[We will] need a few acid tests before we get to the dual meet conference,” Allice said.
Though upcoming meets will be a factor in the team’s performance in the outdoor season, they can be of even greater significance for the 2012 Olympics. At a time when international recognition of track and field is at its peak, the Trojans will train and prepare their athletes for not only the NCAA Championships, but the Olympics as well.