With only three regular season meetings remaining, USC is sitting in the driver’s seat in the annual Crosstown Gauntlet competition against rival UCLA.
The competition awards 10 points each to the victors of football, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball, and all other sports have five points at stake.
After trailing for the majority of the year, USC has surged from behind to take a 5-point lead, 52.5-47.5, in this battle for city bragging rights and school pride. The first program to reach 60 points will clinch the Crosstown Gauntlet Trophy.
Last weekend, it was the USC baseball team’s sweep of the defending national champion Bruins that catapulted the Trojans into the lead. It marked the first sweep of the Bruins since 2005. It was an impressive turnaround for the Trojan baseball squad, who lost to UCLA four times last season.
For the second year in a row, USC put itself in an early hole by losing the rivalry football game. This season, USC hosted UCLA in its regular season finale and fell 35-14 to cede the 10 points to the Bruins.
But USC made up for its failings in football by earning 10 points in women’s volleyball. In November, the No. 7 Women of Troy easily swept the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion (25-22, 25-11, 25-13).
Though UCLA’s men’s basketball program earned the Bruins 10 points this season, USC’s women’s team countered by winning 10 points of their own.
UCLA earned five points in women’s soccer, men’s water polo, women’s cross country and women’s tennis.
USC won five points in women’s swimming, baseball, men’s and women’s golf and women’s sand volleyball.
A few programs split their head-to-head series, with 2.5 points going to each team, including men’s volleyball, men’s tennis and women’s water polo.
The Trojans are looking to take back the gauntlet, which they held for five straight years before the Bruins captured it during the 2012-2013 athletic campaign.
The regular season events remaining between the schools include an early morning clash in women’s rowing at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday May 3, followed by the annual USC vs. UCLA dual meet in men’s and women’s track and field on Sunday, May 4, in Westwood.
USC’s eighth-ranked women’s rowing team looks in good shape to beat the No. 12 Bruins this season, as the Women of Troy are a perfect 12-0 in dual meets this season. Last year, USC pulled off a 6-1 win over UCLA.
Ranked No. 8 on the women’s side and No. 12 on the men’s, USC track and field will be looking for retribution on the track after the Bruins swept last year’s meet at Loker Stadium.
The sprinters will likely lead the way for USC with senior All-American Aaron Brown looking to achieve a career sweep of the Bruins in the 100m dash. On the women’s side, the Trojans, led by senior Jessica Davis, hold five times in the Top 25 in the 100m and 200m dashes.
Should the two teams meet in postseason play in men’s tennis, women’s water polo or baseball, the winners of those events will also earn points for their respective schools.