EUGENE, ORE. – Adoree’ Jackson placed fifth in the men’s long jump and Ricky Morgan Jr. advanced to the men’s 400m finals to highlight USC’s action on the first day of the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. today (June 8).
The sophomore Morgan was the first Trojan to compete when he ran in the second of three men’s 400m semifinals heats. The top two runners of each heat and the next two fastest times would advance to Friday’s final in the event. Morgan placed third in the second heat with a time of 45.67 and he owned the last spot on time to advance with one heat to go. The third-place finisher in the third heat had a time of 45.81, so Morgan advanced safely to Friday’s final. The last Trojan to score in the 400m race at the NCAA Championships was Bryshon Nellum who won the event in 2013.
The first jump by the sophomore Jackson in the men’s long jump went for 25-0.75/7.64m (-0.1) and put him in third place halfway through the first round. He was still third when he took his second jump and did not improve with a mark of 24-188.8.131.52 (-1.1). He was still third after two full rounds of jumps. His third jump was an improvement to 25-1.25/7.65m (-0.6) and he remained in third heading to the finals. By the time he jumped in the finals he had slipped to fifth and did not improve with a leap of 24-11.00/7.59m (-1.4), He improved to 25-1.75/7.66m (+1.8) in the fifth round, but remained fifth. His final jump was no improvement (24-7.25) and he finished fifth overall to earn first-team All-American status. Jackson, who also finished fifth in the long jump in 2015, became the first Trojan to score in consecutive seasons in the long jump at the NCAA Championships since Ed Tave did so in 1983 and 1984. Jackson earned USC’s men’s team its first four points in the team competition.
Sophomore Nick Ponzio opened up in the men’s shot put with a mark of 60-6.50 (18.45m) which put him in fourth place early in the first round. He was in 15th place as he took his second attempt which was an improvement to 61-8.25 (18.80m) which advanced him to 10th, with the top nine throwers advancing to the finals. As he stepped into the ring for his third and final attempt he was in 11th place. He had a foul in his final attempt and finished 12th overall to earn second-team All-America honors. Ponzio finished eighth last season and was attempting to become the first Trojan since Noah Bryant in 2006 and 2007 to score in the event in consecutive seasons.
On Friday, June 10, Morgan will compete in the men’s 400m final and sophomore Randall Cunningham will compete in the men’s high jump.