The USC track team spent the weekend competing against the best teams in the country, including teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12, in the 40th Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational at the Bob Devaney Sports Center Indoor Track in Lincoln, Neb.
Friday’s competition consisted mainly of qualifying rounds for the Trojans.
“This is our first meet this year on a banked track and for most of the freshmen their first time ever,” USC Director of Track and Field Caryl Smith Gilbert said.
The Trojans had eight athletes advance out of their heats into the finals. Among them was freshman Dior Hall who ran a season-best 8.22 in the 60m HH. On the second day of the competition, however, Hall would best her own record with a 8.14 on her way to victory and setting a USC freshman record. Hall is tied for the second fastest time on the NCAA descending order list.
Another top performer for the Trojans this weekend was redshirt senior Conor McCullough. The transfer from Princeton won the men’s weight throw and chalked a new meet and school record. On McCullough’s second throw he notched 74-7.00, which broke a meet record that had been in place since 2007.
“Our throwers have a lot more in the tank, although they had PR’s as well,” Gilbert said.
McCullough smashed the competition, winning by almost three feet. In addition, three of his six throws were good enough to win the event. After his performance, McCullough is three-for-three in weight throw competitions in his career. Friday’s performance puts him in third place in the country.
“Today we performed outstanding[ly] in most events,” Gilbert said. “We had national-caliber efforts and wins in the women’s hurdles, sprints, middle distance, relays and men’s sprints.”
In both the men’s and women’s 60m dashes the Trojans took home first. On the women’s side of the competition, freshman Ky Westbrook placed first with a time of 7.34. The Women of Troy also took second, third, fourth and sixth in the event. For the men, junior Andre De Grasse set a PR and took first with a time of 6.60. The time is good enough for fifth on the NCAA descending order list nationally.
De Grasse had a busy weekend as he also won the 200m dash. With a time of 20.79, which was a new personal record for De Grasse, he placed fifth on the NCAA indoor list for the season.
In the women’s 200m, redshirt junior Tynia Gaither ran her fastest time of the season, a 23.44, and won the event. The time is also the eighth fastest in the nation. The Women of Troy had great success in the 200m. In addition to Gaither’s first-place finish, USC also took second, third, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 13th.
Despite traveling with significantly fewer athletes than the other teams at the meet, both USC squads finished second in the scoring behind home-team Nebraska.
Up next for the Trojans are two meets over Feb. 13 and 14: the Don Kirby Elite Meet held in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Husky Classic run in Seattle, Wash.