The USC women’s track and field team captured its second consecutive Pac-12 title Sunday while the men’s team placed fifth overall at the Pac-12 Championship in Tuscon, Ariz.
The Women of Troy surged to victory with the help of strong efforts from their relay teams. Meanwhile on the men’s side, junior distance runner Isaiah Jewett and sophomores jumper Earnest Sears III and hurdler Cameron Samuel put up impressive individual performances.
In the women’s 4x100m relay, redshirt junior Angie Annelus, freshman Lanae-Tava Thomas and sophomores TeeTee Terry and Chanel Brissett stepped up to the starting blocks for the Trojans. Brissett got USC off to an early lead on the first leg of the race. The Trojans retained their lead for the entire race, and Terry finished the relay for USC well ahead of the rest of the pack. The team’s time of 42.45 seconds won the event for the Trojans for the 13th time since 2000. The time was also the second-fastest relay time in the world this year, only behind the 42.44 record the Trojans set the previous day at the preliminaries.
USC’s women placed 1-2-3 in the 100m hurdles. Brissett jumped to an early lead and never let it go, becoming the Pac-12 100m hurdles champion once again with a personal record of 12.70. The time was .02 seconds shy of the stadium record and moved Brissett to second on USC’s all-time 100m hurdles list. The time was also the fourth-fastest in the world this season. Brissett’s teammates, juniors Anna Cockrell and Mecca McGlaston, placed second and third in the event, earning the Trojans 24 points.
USC then earned 22 points in the 400m dash. Sophomore Kaelin Roberts placed first in the race with a time of 51.25. The time was a personal best for Roberts and was good for third place on USC’s all-time list. Junior Kyra Constantine and freshman Bailey Lear both posted personal bests and placed second and fifth, respectively.
In the 400m hurdles, Cockrell earned her second consecutive Pac-12 title with a time of 56.46. Her performance earned USC 10 more points and extended its lead over Oregon to 18 points.
In the women’s 200m dash, Annelus, Thomas, Terry and McGlaston effectively put the competition away by placing first, second, third and sixth, respectively. Annelus’s time of 22.71 was a season best and Thomas’s second-place time of 22.91 was a personal record. Following this race, the Trojans led the Ducks 136-96.
Lear, Cockrell, Constantine and Roberts put an exclamation point on the Trojans’ championship performance by winning the women’s 4×400 relay with a season best time of 3:29:23. The time moved the women to ninth on USC’s all-time list and earned the Trojans 10 points. USC’s women’s team finished with 154 points, outpacing Oregon by 17.
On the men’s side, Sears III became a repeat champion in the men’s high jump. He cleared a personal record of 7-5.25 (2.27 meters) which moved him into third place on USC’s all-time list and seventh in the world this year. Jewett won the men’s 800m race with a time of 1:49.25 and Samuel won the men’s 400m hurdles title with a personal record of 49.09 seconds. The time moved Samuel up to seventh on USC’s all-time list and was also the seventh fastest time in the world this year.
Samuel and Jewett teamed up with freshmen Ayden Owens and Noah Green in the men’s 4×400 relay. The group posted a time of 3:05.73, winning the race and tallying up the Trojan’s final 10 points of the day, good for fifth in the men’s team competition.
Despite the program’s success, USC’s track and field director Caryl Smith Gilbert saw room for improvement.
“We have some sharpening up to do. It was finals this past week and graduation, so we are a little tired and rusty, but we will be ready in two weeks for what we have left to come,” Gilbert said in an interview with USC Athletics. “It was a great, exciting weekend and I look forward to seeing what else we can do.”
Both teams now look ahead to the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Sacramento. The three-day meet begins May 23. Nationals will take place June 5 in Austin, Texas.