Success comes at cost of injured stars

Coming into this weekend’s competitions with a number of injuries, it seemed unclear if USC would be able to work through significant injuries on the men’s and women’s track and field teams.

The team started off a busy weekend at the annual Cal State Los Angeles Twilight Open. The huge outdoor meet, which consisted of more than 60 universities and clubs, took place fairly close to home at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

Good showing · Sophomore sprinter Jessica Davis and the rest of the track and field team had several athletes place in the top five in their events. - Photo courtesy of Sports Information

In addition, the team competed at three different meets from Thursday to Saturday; a heavy schedule coming off of Easter weekend break. The meets resulted in a number of individual USC victories.

The Trojans came out of the Twilight Open with a single victory, while the Women of Troy also secured a few top-five finishes. Senior James Leckie captured the sole USC victory for the track and field team, winning the men’s 1500-meter with a time of 3:59.44. The time is a new personal record for Leckie, who usually runs the 800-meter and 1500-meter.

Senior co-captain Dalilah Muhammad finished second in the women’s 100-meter high hurdles with a time of 13.55, while fellow senior Anniya Louis finished second in the women’s 800-meter with a time of 2:14.42 (a season best).

Senior Tamara Baumann placed second in the women’s hammer throw, posting a mark of 54.02 meters, followed closely by redshirt junior Ashley Pyka in third with a mark of 53.14 meters.

Though squads did compete at the CSLA Twilight Open, much of the team’s effort focused on the Mt. San Antonio College Relays. The multi-day event that took place at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut, Calif., and featured a number of Olympic development races in addition to regular intercollegiate events.

The competition represented an important acid-test for the team as the Summer Olympics inch close; a number of USC athletes will be competing for the United States as well as other countries in the upcoming Olympic Games. A few athletes, particularly star sophomore Jessica Davis, made their season debuts at the meet, and the competition was an important indicator of the team’s performance at the collegiate level midway through the season as well.

USC finished the Mt. SAC Relays with a single win and a handful of top-five placements. Freshman Davonte Stewart finished first in the men’s 200- meter dash Olympic Development race, followed closely by fellow USC sophomore Aaron Brown.

In a wildly dramatic race, senior Bryshon Nellum fought on to achieve a personal record of 45.18 in the men’s 400-meter while also setting the nationally leading collegiate time. Unfortunately in the very same race senior co-captain Joey Hughes succumbed to an existing hamstring injury and was unable to compete for the rest of the weekend.

USC will next compete at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet on April 29.