With nearly two weeks having passed since they last competed, the No. 8-ranked USC men’s and women’s (NR) track and field teams are anxious to get back in the spotlight.
This weekend, they finally get their chance, as they will compete at the highly competitive Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. from April 18-20 and at the Cal State Los Angeles Twilight Meet on April 18.
The last time the Trojans competed was at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla. from April 5-6.
The Mt. SAC Relays, now in its 55th year, attracts top schools around the nation annually, and the Trojans will be seeing many of their Pac-12 foes in the field, such as Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State.
Some members of the team will also be heading to the Cal State L.A. Invitational, where more than 40 universities and junior colleges will be represented.
In the Florida Relays, USC fared well on both days against top-notch competition, but the best thing that happened to the team — on the men’s side, at least — was the return of senior Bryshon Nellum, who was cleared for competition after battling injuries, and ran his first 400-meter race of the season.
He got out of the starting blocks fast and maintained his blistering pace, posting the fastest 400-meter time in the country with a winning time of 45.54.
This is nothing new for Nellum. Last season he won the Pac-12 400-meter dash title and then ran a personal best of 44.80 to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. There, he brought home a silver medal in the 4×400 meter relay race.
In other men’s races, junior Aaron Brown, who was the Pac-12 male track athlete of the week for the week of April 1-7, won the 100m with a time of 10.15. He also placed second overall in the 200m dash with a time of 20.64.
Junior thrower Remington Conaster has had an impressive season so far. The transfer from Saddleback College moved into the top 10 of USC’s all-time hammer throw leaderboard with a mark of 219-4 at the Trojan Invitational on March 22. Hitting that mark was quite an impressive feat considering that Conaster did not even learn how to throw the hammer until the 2011 season.
Three USC women’s relay teams posted very impressive times, the most notable being the 4×100 relay team of junior Jenna Puterbaugh, junior Jessica Davis, sophomore Akawkaw Ndipagbor and junior Loudia Laarman. The group notched the top collegiate time and finished third overall with a season-best time of 44.20.
Another standout on the women’s side has been sophomore discus thrower Alexandra Collatz, who was stellar last season, when she set a USC freshman discus record in her very first meet. Collatz has continued that success this season, setting a personal best at the Cal-Nevada Championships on April 5 with a throw of 178-6, good for second on USC’s all-time list.
After this weekend, USC will have a dual meet against rival UCLA on April 27 before heading to the Pac-12 championships the following weekend.