Culver City Observer -

By Eric Lambkins II
Sports Reporter 

USC and UCLA get ready for the Pac-12 championships after a thrilling dual meet

 

George Laase

Jasmine Jones of USC won the 100 meter hurdles in 13.08 at the USC/ UCLA dual meet on May 1. Breanna Bernard-Joseph (far right) finished second in 14.01 and Maci Simmonds finished third by .003 of a second. The Women of Troy outscored the Bruins by one third place point to win the cross-town rivalry for the eighth straight year.

The UCLA and USC men's and women's track and field teams will compete this weekend in the Pac-12 Championships in Eugene, Oregon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The meet will be shown on the Pac-12 Network.

After competing in one of the most exciting dual meets in their long history both schools will be trying to win a Pac-12 championship this weekend. Leading the way for the USC men's team will be sprinter Johnnie Blockburger, the defending Pac-12 champion in the 400 meters, high jumper, Earnest Sears, sprinter Davonte Burnett and hurdler Tade Ojora and both relay teams.

USC will send sprinters Celera Barnes, Bailey Lear and Kaelin Roberts and Temi Ojora in the triple jump and both relays. Leading the way for the UCLA women will be sprinter Shae Anderson, who is a transfer from the University of Oregon and Chinyere Okoro in the sprints and Lyvante Su'emai in the hammer and the discus and both relays. For the UCLA men sprinter Ismail Turner and the 400 meter relay will try to win championships.

The dual meet at USC on May 1, was one for the record books. After the final event the UCLA women celebrated what they thought was a three-point win but found out thirty minutes later they actually loss by one point. UCLA Bruins women's track team thought they had ended the Lady Trojans' seven-year reign of track dominance by their crosstown foes with an 82-79 victory. But as they smiled and emphatically did the eight-clap around USC's Cromwell Field track, something more unfortunate and embarrassing than blowing a three-second lead in the 4x400 was in tow. In a comical twist of irony, a scoring judge's error in tallying the score in the discus would render the Lady Bruins' victory lap in vain.

Nearly a half-hour after UCLA took their celebratory lap around Loker field, officials noticed a miscalculation in the discus throw results. Trojan discus thrower, Karlee Freeman, threw for 53 meters on her last attempt of the day, cementing nine points in the event for the victory for the Lady Trojans. However, officials mistakenly awarded the Bruins a throw of 55 meters, which caused confusion.

So, in their annual meet to determine who runs Los Angeles, the Trojans swept the Bruins in the 2022 rendition of "The Dual." This marks the eighth consecutive year that the USC has split or swept in the Los Angeles track and field showcase.

Both the men's and women's competitions came down to the final event of the day, the 4x400 meter relay. The Trojan women cemented their eight-year streak when Jan'Taijah Ford blistered around the track with a 51.48 anchor leg, overcoming a 20-meter deficit to catch the Bruins at the wire to give USC a dramatic 81-80 victory.

Jevone Moore

USC's All-American high jumper Earnest Sears will try to win his event at the Pac-12 Championships this weekend.

UCLA's men had an opportunity to split the day with a tie when USC 400 meter phenom, Johnnie Blockburger, held off a charging Bruin team at the line by 0.06 seconds in the 4x400 meter relay, securing an 86-76 victory for the Trojans.

USC's Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, Quincy Watts, summed up the day. "I feel great," Watts stated."I am so proud of how the men and women performed. It took a lot of guts, grit and perseverance to come up with both of these wins today. There were so many personal bests with clutch runs, clutch throws and clutch jumps. All of the event areas made up the whole and that's why it was a great team win. I couldn't be more proud of both teams."

The Bruins will have to wait a year to calculate a track and field victory against the Trojans.

Follow Eric on Twitter @elambsquared and Instagram at @elamb5quared.

 

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