Track and field teams prepare for indoor challenge

With a strong performance to begin the season at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York, the men’s and women’s track and field teams continue to prepare for the upcoming Texas A&M Challenge, which will take place Saturday.

The teams are seeking to prove themselves against the toughest indoor track competitors nationwide. USC has traditionally proven successful in the outdoor season; the men have won 26 NCAA championships while the women won their first championship in 2001.

But contrary to the outdoor team’s dominance, track and field has held relatively little influence indoors, claiming only two NCAA titles. Despite this apparent lack of success in the spring, the program is continuing to grow indoors.

During their competition in New York, the teams faced stiff competition from colleges with traditionally stronger programs, including the University of Oregon and the University of Florida. The team came out of the meet with a single win, with junior Alitta Boyd jumping 20’9-3/4″ to win women’s long jump.

Despite the lack of individual wins, the women’s team managed to finish 18th overall, thanks to the efforts of sophomore Jessica Davis and senior Dalilah Muhammad. Davis placed sixth in the 200 m dash finals, while Muhammad — competing at her last New Balance Invitational — finished eighth in the 60-meter hurdle.

This growth is attributable to longtime USC Track & Field Director Ron Allice, who has been building both programs for more than 16 years. Allice, who has led the program to enormous success: 10 men’s individual titles and USC’s only women’s team title in 2001. Allice continues to build the foundation for a storied chapter of USC athletics that has dominated collegiate track and field, seeking to add yet another set of plaques to the National and Olympic Monuments in Loker Stadium.