Men’s and women’s track prepare for National Outdoor Championship

Senior Tade Ojora had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles event. He ranks fifth in USC’s all-time 100-meter hurdles list. (Photo courtesy of USC Athletics)

USC’s men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to compete at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. from Wednesday to Saturday. The Trojans have a total of 20 athletes competing this week.

The No. 12 ranked men’s team has seven individual qualifiers and two relays, for a total of 11 men competing in Eugene. The men will have nine scoring opportunities. As for the No. 17 ranked women’s team, it will feature six women in individual events and two relays, for a total of nine women competing at the Championships. 

The 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships feature the top 24 athletes in the country in each track and field event. The top 12 finishers in each event at last month’s East & West Preliminary Rounds in Indiana and Arkansas, respectively, advanced to the Championships. Seven individual men and six individual women, as well as all four relays, finished in the top 12 to advance to Eugene. 

Sophomore hurdler Jasmine Jones and freshman hurdler Jalaysiya Smith both ran season-best sub-13 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles to advance to the Championships. Graduate student hammer thrower Joy McArthur advanced on a tie-breaker after tying for 12th place in the hammer throw, and graduate student sprinter Celera Barnes ran a sub-11 second 100-meter dash to punch her ticket to Eugene. 

On the men’s side, the 4×100-meter relay ran a 38.71, the third-fastest time in USC history. Senior hurdler Tade Ojora finished second in the 110-meter hurdles. Graduate student high jumper Earnest Sears III also won the Pac-12 title for the third time. 

For the women, junior sprinter Jan’Taijah Ford, junior sprinter Chioma Okonkwo, Barnes and Jones will compete in the 4×100-meter relay. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team will feature sophomore sprinter and jumper Kimberly Harris, senior sprinter Bailey Lear, Ford and Jones. 

The men’s 4×100-meter relay team will consist of sophomore sprinter Ashton Allen, sophomore Johnnie Blockburger, graduate student sprinter Kasaun James and senior sprinter Brendon Stewart. The quartet of senior sprinter Eric Allen Jr., junior sprinter Nicholas Ramey, Blockburger and James makes up the men’s 4×400-meter team. 

Other Trojans competing in the Championships are hammer thrower sophomore Trey Knight and 800-meter runner senior Sam VanDorpe. Some athletes competing in the relay competitions will also compete for individual titles. 

The USC men’s track and field program leads the NCAA with 26 national championships. It finished in fifth place at last year’s NCAA Championships. The women’s team won the 2021 team title and placed in the top three in the last four Outdoor Championships. It has won three national championships overall. The Trojans have come home with at least one winner in 23 of the last 29 NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

The men’s and women’s meets will compete on alternate days, with the men’s semifinals on June 8 and finals on June 10. The women’s semifinals will be on June 9 and the finals on June 11. 

The 2022 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. will be televised on ESPN Networks starting Wednesday.