It's not the blockbuster that it used to be, but the USC-UCLA track and field dual meet remains a point of pride for both programs. Today's meet at UCLA, which includes Cal State Northridge, will focus less on dual and more on duel--in the sprints.
While the overall impact of both UCLA and USC on track and field has waned, great sprinters remain. Both men's teams and USC's women feature some of the nation's best collegians.
Field events begin at 11:30 and running events at 1:30. For this meet only, admission at Drake Stadium is free.
"I think it will be a great day for sprinting," said Tony Miller of UCLA, whose wind-aided time of 20.69 seconds at 200 meters leads the Pacific 10 Conference. His time of 10.33 in the 100 is second in the conference.
"I really enjoy it when there is a strong field of sprinters," Miller, a junior, said. "For some reason, I'm not a great practice runner. I always do better in competition, though. I guess I like all the people."
Miller will be joined by his childhood friend, Quincy Watts of USC. Watts' 400 time of 45.46 is the fastest by a collegian this season. He is entered in the 400 and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Miller also will run on the 4x100 relay.
USC's Inger Miller is No. 2 in the nation in the 100, with a time of 11.16. She anchors the Trojans' 4x100 relay, which leads the Pac-10.
USC women's Coach Barbara Edmonson said she believes that Miller, a sophomore, is ready to run 11 seconds in the 100.
The USC-UCLA track dual meet is one of the city's oldest athletic rivalries and among its most heated. The Trojan men lead the series, 38-20, but the Bruins have won 13 in a row. UCLA's women lead their series, 7-2, having won four in a row.
The Occidental Invitational every year lures runners to its fast track and wide curves. Today's meet is no exception.
Among the entries is world indoor champion Andre Cason, who will test his early-season form in the 100 and 200. Also in the 200 is Innocent Egbunike, a Nigerian Olympian at 400 meters.
The men's 400 hurdles has two Olympic medalists: 1988 silver medalist Amadou Diaba of Senegal and bronze medalist Kevin Young.
Heptathlon world record-holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee is entered in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles, the high jump, the shotput and the javelin.
The meet at Occidental College begins at 4 p.m. with field events. Running events start at 6.