Trojans own track and field win over Bruins

USC men cruise to win; women keep win streak alive after a late scoring change

LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) -The crosstown rivalry between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins was renewed at Loker Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern California on Sunday.

The Trojans and Bruins had completed the hammer throw event the day before, and USC had led by scores of 9-0 for the men and 5-4 for the women entering the second day.

The USC men’s track team was the big winner of the day, scoring a 86-76 victory. The Lady Trojans initially suffered an 82-79 setback to the Bruins, but after an error was discovered in the discus throw event, it was corrected and the score was changed to 81-80 in favor of USC.

“These meets are always close,” said Gwyn George, a senior from UCLA. “We finally have team chemistry since every event is important. In the 800 meters, I decided to run it since my team needed extra points and I delivered.”

George finished third in the women’s 800 meters. The winner of the event was her teammate, Rose Pittman. Pittman came in at the tape with a winning time of 2:05.12.

The women’s victory all came down to the discus throw, which was originally won by UCLA, but after a Bruin discus mark was found as incorrectly entered at 55 meters and corrected to 52 meters, Karlee Freeman of USC was declared the winner. That benefitted the Lady Trojans, who were declared winners as well.

Had the Lady Bruins won, it would have snapped a seven-meet losing streak against USC.

The USC men, meanwhile, had to win the 4 x 400 relay in order to clinch their team victory. After UCLA took the top three spots in the discus throw, winning the dual meet all came down to the final event.

The quartet of Nicholas Ramey, Kasuan James, Eric Allen Jr., and Johnnie Blockburger came through in the clutch for the Trojans. On the third leg, James sprinted into the lead and then Blockburger was able to hold off the Bruins to cross the tape with a time of 3:04.12, just 0.06 seconds ahead of UCLA.

“I had the energy of [James],” said Blockburger. “I had to do everything I could do to finish the race. The rest of my teammates were also in my shoes and by feeding off their energy, I contributed to our win.”

Had the Bruin men won the 4 x 400 relay, the meet would have been a tie, the first in the history of the event.

“Everyone stepped up today,” said USC assistant coach Jabreh Harris. “We are all part of a family, we were all there for each other, and like [head coach Quincy Watts] says, ‘one teaches one’ and that’s what we did today as well as all season long.”

The next event for both schools is the 2022 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. Last year, USC hosted the event, and the women won the team championship while the men finished as the runner-up.