Trojans ready for Texas

The USC track and field team may have broken records last Saturday, but the season is far from over.

Taking first place in numerous events at USC’s own Trojan Invitational, both the men’s and women’s teams clinched a win that set the standard as the NCAA outdoor track and field season begins.

Baton pass · Senior Aareon Payne (above), along with sophomores Loudia Laarman and Jenna Puterbaugh and freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor, placed second in the 4x100-meter relay with 44.64. - Photo courtesy of Sports Information


These victories prove that the outdoor team is capable of going toe-to-toe with top-ranked teams, an important fact considering that the competition will only get tougher as the season continues.

Regardless of the performance that track and field gave on Friday and Saturday, the outdoor season remains unclaimed and USC will again be competing this weekend to test their skills against top-ranked Division I teams.

USC travels south to compete at the annual Texas Relays, held at the University of Texas, Austin.

The four-day event begins today, but the first day features only the heptathlon and decathlon.

The individual and relay events, which USC will be participating in, do not start until Thursday.

Though the name suggests otherwise, the competition does not only consist of relays and will feature numerous individual events in addition to field events.

The meet will feature nationally recognized competition that includes Arkansas, Oregon and Texas A&M.

The Trojans come into the meet ranked 13th nationally; the Women of Troy enter the meet ranked third.

The events held at Texas are the first competition of the official outdoor season for many of the participating teams, and as such represent the beginning of the campaign to achieve ultimate glory at the NCAA outdoor championships.

How the team will perform outdoors has yet to be seen, but there is an even bigger stage that USC (or at least USC’s athletes) will be competing on this summer.

Even if the NCAA finals remain the most immediate goal for the track and field team, the possibility of competing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London motivates the performances of many athletes this season.

“It’s a time when people recognize our sport, a time when our athletes start to receive the most recognition and exposure [referring to the Summer Olympics]. It is a time when people within our sport have an aspiration to not only represent their school, but also to represent their country,” Director of Track and Field Ron Allice said.

After considering the exposure and recognition awarded by of the Olympic games, even the most important NCAA event seems relatively insignificant.

USC has sent numerous Olympians, many of them international, to the games and this year will be no different.

Allice estimates the number of athletes that USC will send to London to be in the “double-digits.”

With the possibility of international glory motivating many athletes, the track and field team will undoubtedly have the championships, as well as the Olympics, on their minds as they seek victory against their opponents Thursday.