Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Trojan Invitational

On Saturday I descended upon Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium to watch my first collegiate track meet. The 2012 Trojan Invitational featured high schools from the LA area as well as the home team USC Trojans, BYU, Michigan, 3-time Pac-12 Champion Oregon, 3-time National Champion Texas A&M, Washington and Washington State.

What started as a cloudy morning turned into a bright and sunny afternoon. Likewise the Trojan Invitational heated up late, saving its best event for the end as USC's 4x400m quartet of Bryshon Nellum, Joey Hughes, Reggie Wyatt and Josh Mance beat defending champ Texas A&M with a blistering 3:02:24. It was the second-fastest 4x400m in school history and the fastest time of the year.

I remember watching RS senior Nellum and senior Hugues on TV during their glory days at Long Beach Poly, which makes me feel old. Bryshon was a huge track star in high school and was expected to become a huge star. An unfortunate gunshot wound to the leg and several injuries perhaps robbed him of fulfilling his potential but Nellum, having also won his 400m heat in 46.45, is off to a good start this season.

Mance and Hughes finished first and third in their 400m heat with times of 45.65 and 46.24 respectively. Meanwhile Wyatt electrified the crowd with a blistering sub-50 second effort in the 400m hurdles.

All that speed built high expectations for the final 4x400m and the Men of Troy did not disappoint. In other events:

Marquise Lee won the long jump with a 23'11.5" leap that looked silky smooth. That the football team will retain him for at least two more seasons makes me giddy.

Indoor champ Ameer Webb ran an excellent 20.46 in the men's 200m.

The In-N-Out Burger Truck showed up on campus!

Sam Barkley, brother of Trojans QB Matt, ate in on his final hurdle in the 400m hurdles. I know what an awful feeling that is, myself having tripped in high school while finishing the 330m hurdles. Trooper that he was Sam finished the race.

Taft High looks like it will field a very strong track team this season.

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