The amazing Trojan women came from way, way back to finish #1 at the NCAA Track and Field Championships just held at Oregon’s legendary Hayward Field. The Trojans scored 52 of their 53 title-winning points today.
Before the final day of competition began this afternoon, the ESPN crew didn’t even include the Trojans as a top five contending team for the championship.
The conditions were nothing short of brutal, with the rain often in a total downpour, mixed with hail and unpredictable wind. As expert analyst Dwight Stones laughably said at one point, it was hard to tell where the steeplechase water hazard began or ended.
After the women’s 200m, surprisingly won by USC’s Anglemme Annelus, the Trojans led the meet with 43 points over Georgia (42, no 4X400m relay team), Kentucky (41), Stanford (40), LSU (38), Florida (34), Oregon (27) and Purdue (26). But Georgia again took the lead with 52 points.
As predicted by many, the meet came down to the final event, the 4X400m relay. USC needed to outright win the relay to capture the national championship and beat the Bulldogs by a point.
The Trojans ran far behind the leading Purdue runners, in fourth place for most the race, and seemed impossibly lagging the Boilermakers down the stretch — yet in the end, the Trojans somehow won it in near-miracle fashion!
Kendall Ellis, who nearly stumbled down and dropped the final baton exchange, ran an absolutely amazing desperation come-from-behind final leg (50.01 split), especially in the last rain-soaked 100 meters, to eclipse Purdue in her last stride, by .07 at the wire.
The Trojans’ win was officially protested due to Ellis’ contact with the final-leg Kentucky runner, but USC (3.27.06) prevailed — to dramatically beat Georgia 53 to 52, with Stanford scoring 51.