Track and field proves its prowess once again

Redshirt senior hurdler Dior Hall finished seventh in the women’s 60-meter hurdles in this weekend’s Tyson Invitational. (Photo courtesy of USC Athletics/John McGillen)

The Trojan track and field team continued its dominant start to the 2019 season this weekend at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Pitted against stiff competition from the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 conferences, the Trojans compiled four first-place finishes and rewrote the USC track and field record books.

Sophomore hurdler Cameron Samuel secured the first of the Trojans’ top-three finishes over the course of the weekend, earning third place in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 47.46 seconds.

Three Trojans qualified for the finals of the women’s 60-meter hurdles. Sophomore sprinter and hurdler Chanel Brissett followed her first-place finish at the Texas Tech Invitational last week with another victory in Fayetteville, setting a personal record and earning the second-fastest time in USC history, with a time of 7.9 seconds. Junior Anna Cockrell and redshirt senior Dior Hall finished in sixth and seventh place with times of 8.15 and 8.17, respectively.

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, freshman Ayden Owens set consecutive personal bests and USC freshman records in both the qualifying round and finals. Owen’s final time of 7.83 seconds was good for sixth place, both at the meet and in USC history for the event.

USC extended its prolific sprinting results to the women’s 60-meter dash. Sprinters sophomore TeeTee Terry and freshman Lanae-Tava Thomas both advanced to the final round of the event despite a crowded field. Terry clocked in at 7.25 seconds to earn a third-place finish, while Thomas finished seventh with a time of 7.36 seconds.

Freshman sprinter Brendon Stewart added to USC’s tally of top-three finishes, as his time of 6.64 seconds earned him second place in the men’s 60-meter dash.

Junior distance runner Chloe Berry burst ahead on the final straightaway of the women’s one-mile race to complete a come-from-behind win by a thin margin of 0.37 seconds.

A pair of Trojan freshmen registered impressive finishes in the women’s 800-meter race. Freshman distance runner Jemima Russell took home first place while breaking the USC freshman record for the event with a time of 2:05.90, and fellow freshman distance runner Alyssa Brewer, the previous USC freshman record-holder, clocked in at 2:07.88 to finish fourth.

On the men’s side, junior Matthew Myrtue set a new personal record and climbed to sixth on the USC records list in the men’s 800-meter race by registering a 1:51.64 finish.

Junior sprinter Kyra Constantine helped the Trojans end the first day of competition on a high note, securing USC’s fourth first-place finish of the meet with a time of 53.07 in the women’s 400-meter race.

On Saturday, the Trojans sustained their success at the invitational with strong results in the field events and relays. Sophomore jumper Cassidy Palka tied for third place and moved up the rankings to eighth in USC history by clearing the 1.67-meter bar in the women’s high jump.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay team passed the University of Florida’s team on the anchor leg to finish in first place with a time of 3:30.43, while the men’s 4×400 meter relay team clocked in at 3:06.78 to come in fourth.

With the No. 2 women’s team and No. 11 men’s team nationally, USC aims to build off last weekend’s impressive showing with the beginning of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships in Seattle on Feb. 22.