The Trojan track and field team comes into the week off a pair of impressive performances at the Power 5 Trailblazer Challenge and the California Collegiate Invitational the past two weekends. The outdoor season is now well underway as the Pac-12 championships, starting on May 5, are fast approaching. The team will be gearing up for the Sun Angel Challenge in Tempe, Ariz. this coming weekend.
USC took home 12 victories at the Trailblazer Challenge, all on the second day of competition. The men’s and women’s squads split the wins evenly, securing six apiece.
Sophomore Michael Norman continued his dominant streak, following up his record breaking performance in the 400m dash last month with a win in the 200m sprints with a time of 20.37. He and his teammates, freshman Zach Shinnick sophomore Alexander Barnum and senior Ricky Morgan Jr., once again dominated the 4x100m, blazing a 38.88, the fourth fastest time by a Trojan quartet. Morgan Jr. picked up another win in the men’s 400m race, where he ran a time of 46.34. Barnum also got an individual victory, winning the men’s 100m dash on a time of 10.36. Senior Robert Ford also secured a relatively easy victory in the men’s 800m race on a time of 1:48.97.
The women’s 4×100 team impressed as well, winning on a time of 43.18 run by redshirt juniors Dior Hall and Ky Westbrook, senior Deanna Hill and freshman Twanisha Terry. Terry also won the women’s 100m dash, posting a remarkable time of 10.97, followed narrowly by Hill’s second place time of 10.98. USC secured a victory in the women’s 200m dash as well, with senior Kendall Ellis running a time of 23.07. Sophomore Anna Cockrell took first in the women’s 100m hurdles on a time of 13.02, wrapping up a big day that she opened by performing the national anthem.
Redshirt senior Breana Jemison won the women’s shot put with a best distance of 55-5.50, securing a narrow victory by just two inches. Redshirt junior Alexa Harmon took first in the women’s high jump, clearing 5-8.00 for her best jump of the season.
Despite the absence of senior Randall Cunningham, the Trojans earned a victory in the men’s high jump as well with freshman Earnest Sears III clearing 7-0.25 to win the event.
Terry and Norman were each awarded Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week for their impressive performances at the meet.
The Trojans sent a much smaller delegation to the California Collegiate Invitational the following weekend, with only the throwers and a few jumpers attending. Nonetheless, they managed to pick up three victories over the course of the meet.
Jemison set a USC record in the women’s shot put, also taking with a throw of 51-8.25. Redshirt senior Nick Ponzio also won in the shot put for the men’s team, throwing for 59-9.50 to win the event. Freshman Cassidy Palka took first in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 5-6.0.
The Trojans are now preparing for next weekend’s Sun Angel Challenge in Tempe, where they will face other Pac-12 schools. Temperatures at the meet are expected to be in the 90s, the highest temperature the Trojan’s will have had to compete in so far this season. They will look to fight both the heat and the competition as championship season rolls closer.