May 2012 Candygrams

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012---The Coaches Tour 2012 at Manhattan Beach

My husband Jim and I arrived early at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan Beach. The lobby was already bustling. We checked in, walked around, and checked out the door prizes. Soon, more guests arrived.

Robert WoodsByron WesleyTrojan Candy wondered which USC athletes would be the guest speakers tonight. I walked around among the guests, and then I saw two friends. Byron Wesley and Robert Woods (8/19/2010) were talking to some guests. It was so nice to get a big hug from Byron and Robert!

Kevin O'NeillAs I walked around in the lobby I saw two coaches. Coach Kevin O'Neill told me that, with new NCAA rules, the men get to have eight practices during the summer starting on June 20th. He is very enthusiastic about the upcoming basketball season. Me too!

Monte KiffinEntering the lobby door was Coach Monte Kiffin. He was nice enough to pose for a picture, and then he happily walked off with his grandchildren.

Then, the Spirit of Troy marched through the lobby and into the ballroom. That meant that it was time for dinner.

John Robinson, Lane Kiffin, and Kevin O'NeillThe program began shortly after dinner. Coach John Robinson was the moderator. Coach Lane Kiffin and Coach O'Neill joked and bantered with Coach Robinson. Both coaches talked about their players and their upcoming seasons. Then, they introduced Robert and Byron as the next speakers. Coach Kiffin said that Robert is, "a special student athlete, a great leader on the team, from a phenomenal family and amazingly, can play through injury!" Coach O'Neill said that Byron, "Is a legitimate All-Pac-12 player, will play in the NBA, is a tough-minded competitor, and is a great guy who has a soul and a heart."

Coach Robinson talked with Robert and Bryon. Robert spoke briefly about his rewarding experience in Haiti. Then, about the upcoming football season, he said that the team is ready to get started, that the guys are definitely in tune with one another, and that it is his responsibility to help get the incoming freshmen ready to compete. Byron spoke about how hard it was to adjust from high school to college. The experience was "humbling" but forced him to develop a "better work ethic!" FIGHT ON, Robert! FIGHT ON, Byron!

The Spirit of Troy played "Conquest" to end the exciting and enjoyable evening.

May 13, 2012---Such Fond Memories, and a VICTORY, too!

Being Sunday, the traffic congestion was finally gone! The stands were rather full, since fans knew that this match was the final home match for Senior friends Steve Johnson (4/26/2012), Daniel Nguyen and Ben Lankenau.

USC Team Huddle
The second round match against Texas A&M Aggies started with a team huddle.
Roberto Quiroz and Steve Johnson
Roberto Quiroz and Steve Johnson won Doubles #1
Emilio Gomez and Yannick Hanfmann
Emilio Gomez and Yannick Hanfmann gave them a fight at Doubles #2
Ray Sarmiento and Daniel Nguyen
Ray Sarmiento (3/11/2011) and Daniel Nguyen clinched the doubles point
Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson won his 62nd consecutive singles victory!!!
Daniel Nguyen and Peter Smith
Head Coach Peter Smith gave Daniel Nguyen a big hug for his final home singles match which was suspended
Steve Johnson
Steve posed for one more picture before the NCAA third round.

In Singles, Roberto Quiroz clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Jackson Withrow on the 6th court. Head Coach Peter Smith hugged Daniel Nguyen after his match was suspended.

Our men are on to Georgia to win their fourth NCAA title in a row. What a nice Mother's Day gift!

FIGHT ON, USC Men's Tennis Team!

May 12, 2012---Twice the Pleasure!

Being Saturday, there should not have been any congested traffic! WRONG! There was a run/walk for Breast Cancer Survivors that started and ended at the Coliseum. The traffic on campus was just as bad, if not worse, because Jefferson was closed as well as Exposition. It took us 45 minutes to get to the Marks Tennis Stadium from the Harbor freeway.

The agitation was worth it! Our Men's Tennis Team competed against Fairfield in the first round. We won the Doubles quickly and then the necessary three Singles to win the Match.

Trojan Candy took pictures of each of the Singles.

FIGHT ON, Men's Tennis!

Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson
Yannick Hanfman
Yannick Hanfmann
Roberto Quiroz
Roberto Quiroz
Steve Johnson and Peter Smith
Steve Johnson (4/26/2012) and Coach Smith joking around
Emilio Gomez
Emilio Gomez
Ray Sarmiento
Ray Sarmiento (3/11/2011)
Steve and Allison Johnson
Steve with Allison
Corey Smith, John Meadows, Roberto Quiroz, and ?
Corey Smith, John Meadows, Roberto Quiroz,and ?

After an hour wait, our Women of Troy played in the second NCAA round versus Vanderbilt. As spectators waited in the stands for the match to begin, some of the Women of Troy Team members handed out a rose to each mother for Mother's Day. What a nice gesture! Thank you, Women of Troy, for my red rose!

We won the Doubles, but the Singles was tougher for our women this match. Friend Kaitlyn Christian finally beat Vanderbilt's Ashleigh Antal in the third set to give USC a hard fought victory at 4-1. It's off to Georgia for our women.

FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Tennis!

Zoe Scandalis
#1 Singles: Zoe Scandalis
Danielle Lao
#2 Singles: Danielle Lao
Sabrina Santamaria
#3 Singles: Sabrina Santamaria
Kaitlyn Christian
#4 Singles: Kaitlyn Christian
Gabriella DeSimone
#5 Singles: Gabriella DeSimone
Valeria Pulido
#6 Singles: Valeria Pulido

May 11, 2012---USC Women's Tennis

My husband Jim and I braved the Commencement traffic to attend the First Round of the Women's NCAA Tournament at the USC Marks Tennis Stadium.

People were everywhere. Parking spaces were sparse. Luckily, we got a parking space near the stadium. While we waited for the match to start, a line of friends and family of some graduates swelled from the Loker Track Stadium, the entire length of the Marks Tennis Stadium and around the curb. Thank goodness we didn't have to stand in that line!

Graduation line
Graduation line
Our Women of Troy warmed up
More warmups
More warmups with Assistant Coach West Nott (can't see him) hitting the balls
Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian
Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian clinched the doubles point

Then the Women of Troy easily disposed of the Fairfield women 4-0.

It's on to the second round for our Women of Troy!

May 10, 2012---USC Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration

My husband and I were lucky to be invited to our second USC Student-Athlete Graduation Celebration. This year we were allowed to sit near the ramp that the athletes walked down as they exited the stage. Trojan Candy knew that she could get lots of pictures of my friends!

Kyle NegreteBefore the ceremony started, I walked in the lobby and around the seated guests looking for familiar faces. In the lobby, I heard my name called, looked around and saw friend Kyle Nygrete. I always get a nice hug from Kyle!

Frank GiffordThen, I walked to my seat and saw a familiar face, but Trojan Candy has never met him. It was Frank Gifford! He came to his son Cody's graduation. Mr. Gifford was so cordial when I asked him if I could take his picture. I gave him my TrojanCandy card, told him that I had met his son Cody and quickly took his picture. FIGHT ON, Frank Gifford!

Other friends whom I encountered before the ceremony began were Briana Gilbreath, a group of rowing friends, rower Jelena Miladinovic, and football alumnus Alex Holmes.

Briana Gilbreath
Briana Gilbreath with her beautiful smile.
Tanya Ouyang, Katherine Gleadow, Eglit Vosu, Marlena Adamska, Alumna Kinga Mikolajczyk, Jennah Blau, and Alumna Alexandra Tapley
Rowing Friends Tanya Ouyang, Katherine Gleadow, Eglit Vosu, Marlena Adamska, Alumna Kinga Mikolajczyk, Jennah Blau, and Alumna Alexandra Tapley
Jelena Miladinovic
Jelena Miladinovic with her beautiful smile

When I got to the row where Alex was sitting, Trojan Candy saw Troy Polamalu sitting on the end of the row. Alex and Troy are brothers-in-law, and they both came to see Alex's younger brother Khaled Holmes walk across the stage. There were two little boys sitting with Troy. He said that they are his sons. FIGHT ON, Alex! FIGHT ON, Troy!

Troy Polamalu, Alex Holmes, and Paisios Polamalu
Troy Polamalu, Alex Holmes (9/22/2011), and Troy's older son Paisios
Troy Polamalu holding Ephraim
Troy Polamalu holding his younger son Ephraim

Coaches from all the USC sports sat on the stage. During the Procession, the graduating seniors filed in while "Pomp and Circumstance" was being played and then took their seats in the front rows. The program was opened by A.D. Pat Haden. President C.L. Max Nikias spoke about the battle of Marathon in 490 BC being a major turning point in world history, and he told the athletes in the audience, "You are Trojans for Life. We are Family...the Trojan Family!" Awards were announced, and there were two Senior Speakers, Geena Urango and Greg Woodburn. The "Legend of Troy" was awarded to Barbara Hedges; the Gimble Award (most cooperative) was awarded to Briana Gilbreath and Daniel Nguyen; the Willis O. Hunter Honor (highest GPA) was awarded to Greg Woodburn; and the Trojan Diamondeer (athlete who has brought the most fame and distinction to USC) was awarded to Matt Barkley and Katinka Hosszu. Congratulations to all the winners!

Grads on Galen stepsAs the Athletic Seniors walked in the Procession, received their diplomas and walked down the ramp from the stage to their seats, posed for a group photo outside on the Galen steps, and mingled with their family and friends in the post-ceremony reception in the Galen Center Lobby, Trojan Candy took over one hundred pictures.

Taffy, Abe, and Barry MarkowitzThank you, Abe Markowitz, for inviting some of the Heritage Hall Volunteers to your party after the ceremony. The volunteers were my sister Pat, brother-in-law Dudley, Marianne Hunt, my husband Jim and yours truly. It was so nice to meet your family (parents Taffy and Barry) and friends. The food prepared by your mom and aunt was scrumptious! FIGHT ON, Abe!

I created a Picasa album for these pictures and the ones that were not used for this story. They're 2 megapixels in size. You might notice one picture of Justin Fargas in the album. He came back to USC after his NFL career to finish his degree in Sociology. FIGHT ON, Justin! See if you can find a friend or yourself in the Picasa album by CLICKING HERE.

Congratulations and FIGHT ON to all the USC Athletic Graduates!

May 3, 2012---Two Champions Came!

This morning I was at the Davidson Center to take pictures of the Trojan Guild Installation of officers for 2012-2013. Trojan Candy was sworn in as the Photographer of the Trojan Guild. Then I walked from Davidson Center to Heritage Hall around 11:15 a.m.

Doris ChenMcKay CenterMy husband Jim had taken pictures of the John McKay Center (click the McKay Center link above to see the latest slide show) and had set up at the Heritage Hall desk in my absence. He had also taken a picture of our friend Doris Chen. She was the first champion to come to the desk! Doris just won the Pac-12 Individual Golf Title on April 29th. Congratulations, Doris! Good Luck, Women of Troy Golf in the NCAA tournament!

When I walked in, my husband was helping to stuff envelopes for the upcoming 2012 Coaches Tour. Also in the lobby stuffing envelopes were fellow Heritage Hall volunteers Pat Chapman (Tuesday) and Marianne Hunt (Monday). The lobby was fairly quiet. Luckily, four new friends came to the desk for the first time. One of them was the second Champion!

My husband went upstairs to get more posters to pass out. Then he came down with a smile on his face! He said that he had just seen Daniel Nguyen waiting at the Administration reception desk. (My Two Down, One to Go, 4/26/12, Senior on the Men's Three Peat NCAA Tennis Champions!) My husband said that he asked Daniel to come downstairs to see me at the desk so that I could interview him, and he agreed to do that after his scheduled visit with AD Pat Haden. I was so anxious not to miss him, I sprung into action. I grabbed my red USC notebook and camera and went upstairs. Daniel was nowhere in sight! I asked Jill if he had left. She said that he was still in Pat Haden's office. Phew! I didn't miss him! Then, I saw Daniel walk out the door. I followed down the stairs right behind him. "I'm right behind you, Daniel!" I said. He didn't even look back. Instead, he walked right to the desk. Yeah! Trojan Candy got the third Tennis Senior and my second Champion!

Daniel NguyenTennis Championship picture in trophy caseD. Nguyen wrote that he majored in Communications. He is from Oxnard and has two older brothers. Both brothers played tennis in high school but not in college. Can you imagine if there had been three Nguyen brothers competing at USC? Daniel said that his best friend in high school and he were recruited by UCLA. He said that his best friend became a Bruin, but that, unfortunately, the UCLA Tennis Coach told him there were no more scholarships. I corrected him and said, "Fortunately there were no more Bruin scholarships!" With a smile, Daniel then said that he "walked on" to the USC Men's Tennis Team! He played at the #6 position his Freshman year when Jason McNaughton was injured. Earning a scholarship and three NCAA Championships ensued, with a fourth one yet to come in his Senior year! D. Nguyen wrote that his mother got him interested in tennis since she herself played and that he started playing tennis when he was five years old. He plans on playing professional tennis after graduation and was the first Vietnamese-American to play in the U.S. Open in 2010! What a distinguishing honor! Daniel likes to listen to every type of music and enjoys going to Laker games. His favorite book is "Open" written by (my favorite non-USC tennis player ever!) Andre Agassi! Congratulations and FIGHT ON, Daniel!

Khaled Holmes and Emily BooneEmily BooneThe second new friend was Freshman Emily Boone. Emily, who is from Costa Mesa, plays Mid-Fielder on the USC Women of Troy Lacrosse Team. She wrote that she has played Lacrosse for eight years now! As Trojan Candy was interviewing Emily, friend Khaled Holmes (4/14/2011) walked up to the desk, introduced himself, and started talking to Emily. Trojan Candy tried not to "eavesdrop" and waited to finish her interview after taking a picture of the two of them. Now, continuing...Emily's favorite television shows are "Modern Family" and the "Big Bang Theory." She wrote that her hobbies are playing lacrosse, watching sports (another Trojan after my own heart!), reading and traveling. Emily has traveled to Mexico, Canada, England, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, France and Croatia! What a world traveler! FIGHT ON, Emily!

Cody TempleCody TempleHe came to the desk for the first time after meeting us last week outside Heritage Hall. Cody Temple is true to his word! He had said that he had to meet us first before he would stop at the desk. Now, Trojan Candy has a new friend! Cody, who is from Bakersfield, is undeclared in his major. He started playing football when he was in the third grade. Cody admits that he is a strong kinesthetic learner and that he likes to work out until his muscles hurt. (No thanks for me) His favorite books are "Call of the Wild," "White Fang," and "Heroin Diaries." Cody wrote that his hobbies are stereo designing (Cody and Ben Lankenau should get together. Ben could build the car, and Cody could install the stereo!), building and construction, and music. He plays the drums and bass. Cody said that he likes to set up for parties and to be the "boom guy" that plays the music LOUD! Good news! Cody's cast is off, he is walking around in a boot for only two more weeks, and then he will start rehab. Get better, and FIGHT ON, Cody!

Erick JepsenTrojan Candy got just a glimpse of my fourth new friend. I knew that he was on the football team but couldn't recall his name right away. However, that did not deter me from running through the lobby, catching him at the north doors and literally grabbing his arm as I asked if I could interview him. With a shy smile, Erick Jepsen walked with me back to the desk. Erick, who is from Moreno Valley, is a Freshman majoring in Sociology. He plays the Offensive Guard position on the football team, and he started playing football in the sixth grade. Erick's favorite movies are "Talledega Nights" and "Taken (Good movie!)." His favorite music artists are Wiz Khalifa and YG. For hobbies, Erick likes to hang out with friends, play basketball and play video games. "NCAA Football" is his favorite video game. When I asked what he will be doing this summer, Erick said that he has a job in the Accounting Office. A hard worker, too! FIGHT ON, Erick!

Seen at the SCene:

Boomer RoepkeMatt BarkleyFriend and graduating Senior Boomer Roepke stopped by the Heritage Hall desk today. Such an engaging smile! I first encountered Boomer and Billy O'Malley on the train to the 2009 Cal-USC football game (see Oct. 4, 2009 Candygram). Congratulations, Boomer!

Trojan Candy finally remembered to bring my small football to Heritage Hall. Luckily, Matt Barkley stopped by, and I was able to get his autograph for my son. Thanks, Matt!

Daron Park, Ariya Crook, Michael Cooper, and Tai DillardCoaches: Football: Lenny Vandermade, Jeff Fucci, Lane Kiffin, John Baxter. Track and Field: Ron Allice, John Johnson. Women's Basketball: Michael Cooper, Tai Dillard, Daron Park (the women's basketball coaches were at Heritage Hall to meet a prospective coach for an interview).

Heritage Hall Friends: Joyce (back from her vacation), Craig Kelley, J.K. McKay, Dr. John Petruska, Don Ludwig, Dr. Bryce Nelson, Rebecca Morin, Ron Orr, Haili Sun, Luke Stephens, Karen Bowman, Michael Sylvester, Ryan Cobb, Susie Cognetta, Monica Mureta, Kira, Lizzie Maggi, Scott Thompson, Grant Nichol, Darcy Couch, Fed-Ex Dave, Irene Puentes, Joyce Hirayama, Tim Tessalone, Donna Heinel, Christian Sutton, Deanna Ductoc, Lacie Phan

Rowing: Many of the ladies who came to the desk today looked at the pictures that my husband Jim and I took at their victory over UCLA on April 28th. Magda Janicka, Kajsa Olsson, Hannah Bowen, Jelena Miladinovic, Caroline Trawick, Vineta Moca, Tanya Ouyang, Caroline Sederowsky

Soccer: Mia Bruno, Erica Vangsness, Shayla Sabin

Women's Water Polo: Adrienne Taylor

Men's Water Polo: Mace Rapsey, Michael Rosenthal, Will Simon

Men's Golf: Steve Lim

Men's Basketball: Curtis Washington, who told us he is transferring to Georgia State for two reasons. He wants to be near his grandfather who is sick with cancer, and he can get more playing time. We'll miss you, Curtis! You'll always be a Trojan!

Track and Field: Allen Williams, Lauren Blackburn, Farren Benjamin, CoCo Ndipagbor, Kemi Olonade, Alitta Boyd

Women's Basketball: Ariya Crook, Dominique Scott, Thaddesia Southall

Football: Kyle Negrete, J.R. Tavai, Khaled Holmes, Andre Heidari, Jawanza Starling, Joe Houston, Boomer Roepke, Zac Kusnir, Victor Blackwell, Hayes Pullard, Robert Woods, Torin Harris, Dion Bailey, Matt Barkley, Aundrey Walker, Kevin Greene, Tony Burnette

Haiti Update: SID Tim Tessalone emailed that two more participants are football Freshman Scott Starr and Luke Freeman who works in the football office. Take Care!

It's the end of the Spring 2012 semester. During the Summer my husband and I plan to volunteer at Heritage Hall at least once in June and July. Dates to follow.

Heritage Hall will be closed for remodeling after the John McKay Center opens. The Administrative Office will be moved temporarily. It has not been determined where, or if, we Heritage Hall lobby volunteers will be able to continue when Heritage Hall is closed.

All that I know is, whenever my husband and I volunteer next, Trojan Candy will be providing treats that are more healthy!

May 2, 2012 ---Fight On, forever, Junior Seau!

Trojan Candy has one very fond memory of Junior Seau. I was one of the lucky Trojans to see him play that day in the Coliseum. Junior blocked an opponent's punt all by himself, caught the ball in mid-air, and ran in for a touchdown, untouched! When he scored, there was no offensive or defensive player within ten yards of him. What an outstanding play! What a fabulous Trojan memory! FIGHT ON, forever, Junior!