Pac-10 Men's preview

This weekend the clash among Pac-10 men's powerhouses competing in Palo Alto will reverberate across the nation. A rejuvenated USC team and up-and-comer ASU have overtaken recent perennial powers Oregon and UCLA.

USC had a drop in success for a few years (three Pac-10 titles from 1979 – 2005, no NCAA titles since 1976) and was overcome by their rival, UCLA (12 P-10 and three NCAA), but now is consistently contending at the Pac-10 and NCAA level once again.

During the greatest run of success (1935 to 1968) of any collegiate team ever (16 NCAA outdoor champs in 21 years and 21 in 33), USC developed world record holders and Olympic champions (15). They were tremendously successful in the sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws, and had the greatest success in the 400 (12 NCAA champions) 110 high hurdles (12) and pole vault (18). This year they have a chance to contest for an NCAA title because of their tremendous strength in the throws and hurdles, led by NCAA indoor champ Noah Bryant, highly ranked hammer thrower Adam Midles, and hurdler Kai Kelly.

Greg Kraft of ASU has built a strong team that seems to improve every year. The Sun Devils have not finished better than third in the pac-10 standings since 1983 and from 1984 through 1999 did not finish higher than fifth in the pac-10. A series of third place finishes and his strongest team ever gives him an excellent shot at breaking that streak. His teams have proven to be strong in every area of track performance. Highlight performers include Aaron Aguayo (trying to win his fourth straight Pac-10 championship) in the steeplechase and newcomer Matt Turner in the three jumps (except PV).

NCAA indoor champions Ryan Brown (800 indoors and 2006 outdoors) and Noah Bryant (Shot Put) will try to win an outdoor championship. Galen Rupp (10,000 meters) just ran an American collegiate record and will try to double with the 5,000 meters (no doubles from 1982 to 1997 but seven since then). Four time NCAA champ Tommy Skipper is entered and will try to win his third pole vault championship but injuries (torn calf muscle) have slowed him this season.

This year's meet will come down to direct competition between top performers in the sprints and shot put and the ability for USC to dominate the 800. The Discus Throw (first event of the meet) will almost be as competitive as the NCAA meet. Six of the top nine and 13 of the top 19 competitors are from the Pac-10. Last year the seventh place finisher in the West regional (Greg Garza of UCLA) finished seventh in the NCAA meet.

Pac-10 Preview

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