Kendall Ellis
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USC wins NCAA women’s track and field title in epic relay finish (video)

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USC capped a bonkers final NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field with a comeback for the ages, needing a win in the very last event to claim the women’s team title.

The Trojans’ Kendall Ellis was in fifth place going into the 4x400m anchor leg after a mangled handoff. Ellis, the fourth-fastest 400m runner in the world this year, made up a staggering deficit on Purdue’s Jahneya Mitchell in the last 100 meters to win by .07.

Ellis split 50.05 seconds, 2.03 seconds faster than Mitchell, to pull off the comeback. USC needed to win the relay to pass Georgia, which didn’t have a team in the 4x400m final, for the NCAA team title.

Notably, University of Kentucky freshman Sydney McLaughlin split 50.03 on the third leg, then announced she’s turning professional at age 18. McLaughlin won the NCAA title in the 400m hurdles earlier Saturday. She is the fastest woman in the world in the event this year by nine tenths of a second.

McLaughlin reached the Rio Olympic 400m hurdles semifinals as a 17-year-old, the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to make an Olympic team since 1980 and the youngest to compete in the Olympics since 1972.

The University of Oregon’s Hayward Field is to be demolished this summer and replaced by 2020.

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Study shows which colleges produce most U.S. Olympians

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Want to be an Olympian? Go West, young athlete.

An OlympStats.com study found that Stanford, UCLA, USC and the University of California were the top colleges or universities attended by the 9,000-plus Americans to compete in Olympic history.

Olympic historians Bill Mallon and Hilary Evans spent the summer compiling the statistics.

They found that Stanford had at least 289 Olympians, followed by UCLA with 277, USC with 251 and Cal with 212.

Stanford and UCLA tied for the most Summer Olympians with 280.

The most Winter Olympians? The University of Minnesota with 93, more than two-thirds being hockey players.

Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale dominated the early editions of the Summer and Winter Olympics.

But USC topped the list at every Summer Games from 1928 through 1964 (tied with Cal in 1948). UCLA’s run went from 1968 through 2004. Stanford had the most in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

In Winter Olympics, the University of Utah topped the 2002 and 2006 teams, followed by Utah’s Westminster College in 2010 and 2014. Many skiers and snowboarders who train in Park City take classes at those two schools.

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USC CB Adoree’ Jackson given green light to try for Olympics

Adoree' Jackson
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USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson will focus on the long jump this spring in an attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team, Trojans football coach Clay Helton said Sunday.

“When you get the opportunity to go work for the Olympics, you need to go work at that,” Helton said. “Really focus his energy on, hopefully, winning a gold medal. That [opportunity] was something that we promised him in recruiting.”

Jackson, the 2014 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and an all-Pac-12 first-team defensive back, ranked outside the top 10 in the U.S. in the long jump for 2015 with a best leap of 7.91 meters. He placed fifth at the NCAA Championships.

Jackson must jump 8.05 meters or farther, indoors or outdoors, before June 27 to automatically qualify for the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., in July, but he might still make it without reaching that mark.

The top three at the Olympic trials are in line to make the U.S. team for Rio.

The No. 3 U.S. man this year recorded an 8.34-meter jump.

Jackson will try to follow the path of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who finished 10th in the 2012 Olympic long jump as a University of Texas wideout. Goodwin ranked seventh in the U.S. this year.

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