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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

USC shines at the 2023 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships

 


By Bill Seals Sports Reporter

The 2023 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships were held this past weekend at historic Hilmer Lodge Stadium, on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. The USC Trojans finished a strong second to the Washington Huskies on the men’s side, 151 to 137 and second on the women’s side to the Oregon Ducks, 158.5 to 127 points.

USC had the most total points with 264 between both the men’s and women’s track team. USC won six events on the final day, and a total of nine events over the three-day meet. USC’s Johnny Brackins Jr. was named the Male Athlete of the meet with 22 total points. Brackins won the long jump at 27 feet, 2.75 inches, finished second in the 110-meter-high hurdles at 13.75, ran a leg on the winning 4x100-meter relay and a leg on the 3rd place 4x400-meter relay.

The Trojans were strong in the sprints and hurdles. Omotade Ojora won the 110 meters high hurdles, edging out teammate Brackins with a time of 13.48 seconds. Caisja Chandler won the women’s 200-meter sprint with a time of 22.38. William Jones of USC won the 400 meters in a blazing 44.65 seconds. Jan’Taijah Jones won the women’s 400-meter sprint with a time of 50.44.


The Trojans won the men’s 4x100 meter relay and the woman’s 4x400 meter relay. Elias Gerald won the men’s high jump at 6-feet-11.5 inches, and Allie Jones won the women’s heptathlon, setting a school record with 6,234 points.

The Oregon women won their 11th conference championship since 2009, with Oregon star sprinter Jadyn Mays winning the 100-meter dash in 11.20 seconds, running a very close second in the 200-meter sprint with a time of 22.42 and running a leg on the winning 4x100 meter sprint relay team. Mays was selected the Female Athlete of the meet. The Oregon women won seven titles at the championships.


The Washington men won their first Pac-12 title ever, dominating the distance running. Brian Fay won both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs, Ed Trippas won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Sam Ellis won the men’s 800-meter run, and Nathan Green won the men’s 1,500-meter run, coming from the back-of-the-pack in the final 400 meters in a gutsy and gritty effort to win the race.

Other outstanding performances included a 200-meter win for Stanford’s Udodi Onwuzurike in 19.91 seconds, a Pac-12 conference record. The Oregon State women won their first Pac-12 or Pac-10 individual title when Grace Fetherstonhaugh won the 3,000-meter steeplechase and just to prove it was no fluke, Fetherstonhaugh easily won the women’s 5,000-meter race.


The UCLA Bruins finished 5th in the women’s standings, 8th in the men’s standings. Federica Botter won the women’s javelin throw, breaking the school record by four meters.

Both USC and UCLA will be moving to the Big Ten conference starting in 2024-2025. The 2024 Track & Field season will be their last in the Pac-12 conference. This year’s Pac-12 conference championship track & field meet was moved to Southern California due to construction at Oregon State University. The Pac-12 likes to rotate the track & field championships between member schools.


But it might not be a bad idea to hold some future Pac-12 Track & Field Championships in Walnut, at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. The stadium has a lot of history, including being the site of 21 track & field world records broken at the stadium since 1960.

The Pac-12 conference will want to keep a presence in Southern California after UCLA and USC leave and holding their conference championships at the stadium in the future might be a good way of staying connected to Southern California, along with adding San Diego State University.

 

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