USC Track and Field: Six Trojans earned individual All-American honors at NCAAs


May 12, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Dalilah Muhammad of Southern California wins a womens 400m hurdle heat in 57.54 in the 2012 Pac-12 Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

With the conclusion of the 2012 track and field season, five Trojans earned All-American honors at the NCAA Finals. Reggie Wyatt took third in the 400-meter hurdles, Josh Mance took fifth in the open 400m, Aaron Brown took seventh in the 200m, and Dalilah Muhammad took fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, and Marissa Minderler and Jenny Ozorai took eighth and fourth respectively in the hammer throw, to earn All-American First Team honors.

This is the second time that Mance, Wyatt, and Orzorai each have earned All-American honors, and the third time for Muhammad.

Wyatt placed third in an exciting men’s 400m hurdle race, finishing with a time of 49.11, a new personal record. The race came down to the wire as he went at it down the home stretch with Stanford’s Amaechi Morton who won with a time of 48.79 and Jamele Mason of Texas Tech who took second with a time of 48.89. Wyatt’s time moved him from eighth place to fifth place on the Trojans’ all-time list, and was also the second-fastest 400m IH time by a Trojan in the NCAA finals, behind Felix Sanchez’ winning time of 48.41 in 2000.  He also placed eighth in the 2010 finals, and will have a final chance next year as a senior to capture the 400m IH title.

Mance placed fifth in the  men’s 400m final with a time of 45.37.  Tony McQuay of Florida won the event with a blistering time of 44.58. Mance set a PR of 44.83 in the semifinals on Wednesday, the fifth-fastest time in the U.S. this season.

Brown placed seventh in the men’s 200m dash running out of the second lane with a time of 21.13 into a -4.2 headwind. It was the first All-America honors for the sophomore. He also became the first Trojan male to score in the 200m race since Ahmad Rashad placed eighth in 2007. In the semifinals, Brown had a wind-aided PR of 20.44, and earlier this season, a legal PR of 20.55.

Muhammad competed  in the women’s 400m IH, placing fifth with a time of 56.71. It was the third time the senior has scored at the NCAA Championships in the 400m IH, placing third in 2009 and sixth in 2011. She joins Natasha Danvers (1998-2000) as a three-time All-American in the event. Muhammad finishes her USC career ranked third all-time in the 400m hurdles with a PR of 56.04 run from last season. Her best time this season was the 56.19 which she ran in the semifinals.

Ozorai was in the first flight of the women’s hammer throw competition and she had the third-farthest throw of 213-11 (65.20m). She entered the finals rounds in fifth place and remained there after her first throw. Ozorai posted her farthest throw of the competition of 216-3 (65.91m) in the fifth round to jump UCLA’s Ida Storm for the fourth place spot. She did not improve on her mark with her last throw (215-0), but no other competitors passed her best mark, either. She also was the top finisher among underclassmen in the competition and ranks second on USC’s all-time list with a best throw of 223-4 earlier this season.

Minderler’s road to All-America status was a little more interesting. She had two fouls and a throw of 204-3 (62.26m) in the first three rounds and narrowly made the finals in ninth place. Her mark was just one centemeter ahead of DeAnna Price of Southern Illinois who threw 204-2 (62.25m) in her final attempt. Minderler then took advantage of her opportunity, launching a throw of 208-1 (63.43m) in her first throw of the finals to move into seventh place. She was ultimately bumped to eighth on the last throw for Nikola Lomnicka of Georgia. Minderler ends her throwing career at USC as a two-time Pac-12 Champion in the hammer throw and ranks in USC’s all-time top-10 lists in the hammer (3rd, 220-11), javelin (5th, 157-3) and shot put (6th, 50-2.75).

In just under two weeks, these Trojans and a few others will try their hand at mining Olympic Gold, as they will travel to Eugene, Oregon for the U.S. Olympic Trials.