After three action-packed days of qualifying in Austin, Texas, the NCAA track and field championship fields are set, with 25 Trojans in the finals. The championships will be held in Eugene, Oregon, from June 10-13.
The first athlete to qualify was freshman and two-sport standout Adoree’ Jackson, in the long jump. Jackson entered the competition ranked 16 in the region with only the top 12 advancing. Jackson, who jumped 25 feet 8 inches, moved up to seventh place.
Jackson has a chance to break into the top-10 all-time USC list, which has been left undisturbed since 2003. All eyes will be on Jackson in the championships to see if he can continue his ascension to the top, as well as to see if he can score a place on USC’s record list.
The men’s high jump will also see a Trojan, freshman Randall Cunningham, competing in the championships. Cunningham cleared 7-2.5 in his third attempt, which was good enough for sixth place and a ticket to Eugene.
On the second day of action, sixteen Trojans qualified for the championships, in a variety of field events.
Among them, senior Conor McCullough, who decimated the competition with a 246-1 on his second attempt in the hammer throw to win by over 10 feet. Leading up to the preliminary rounds of qualifying, only three other throwers had a distance of over 230 feet. McCullough will be looking to cap his year with a national title.
Junior Tera Novy found success in the discus throw, finishing fourth in the competition. Fellow discus thrower, senior Alexandra Collatz, secured a ticket to Oregon by finishing just behind Novy in the fifth position of the competition.
With the final day of qualifying on the schedule, the 4×100 relay team for both the men and the women qualified for championships by finishing with the fifth fastest qualifying time.
The Women of Troy found significant success in the 100 HH. Two USC athletes advanced to Oregon, freshman Dior Hall and senior Melia Cox. Hall had the second fastest qualifying time, with a 13.15. Cox set a personal best with her time of 13.24. The time set Cox into a tie with Natasha Neal for 10th place on USC’s all-time 100 HH list, and was also the fifth-fastest time in the competition.
Senior BeeJay Lee and junior Andre De Grasse qualified not only as members of the men’s 4×100 relay, but also in both the 100m and 200m races. De Grasse and Lee were side by side in the 200m, and De Grasse finished with a winning time of 20.17 with Lee in second with 20.47 to leave little doubt of their qualifications.
The final event of the day proved perhaps most exciting for USC. The women’s 4×400 relay was the fastest time in qualifying and also set a new USC school record. Junior Jaide Stepter, sophomore Amalie Iuel, freshman Kendall Ellis and senior Vanessa Jones not only led the whole time, but also added to their margin of victory with each leg extending the lead.
The time of 3:27.86 cracked the USC record of 3:28.08 that had stood since 1999. The time is also the second fastest in the nation this year.