Pac-12 Track and Field Men’s Freshman of the Year Johnnie Blockburger and his twin sister Alyssa are transferring to USC in what is a significant blow for Arizona.
The Blockburger twins spent one year at UA after graduating from Tucson High School.
Johnnie emerged as one of the top 400m men’s sprinters in the country this spring. He won the Pac-12 400m dash with a time of 45.57 and ran a personal-best time of 44.71 at the Jim Click Shootout on April 10.
Johnnie finished 12th in the 400m dash at the NCAA Championships. He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the event.
Alyssa finished in the top six of every 800m event she participated in including a season-best time of 2:09.41 at the Desert Heat Classic on May 1.
“USC is excited to add the Blockburgers to our roster,” said Trojans Director of Track and Field Quincy Watts. ”Johnnie will be one of the most versatile sprinters in USC history. As a freshman he had times of 10.28 in the 100m, 20.70 in the 200m and 44.71 in the 400m dashes. We are also ecstatic about signing Alyssa. She will add tremendous depth to our women’s distance program.”
The Blockburgers have close ties to USC. Their father, Sheldon Blockburger, was an assistant coach for the Trojans from 2016-2018.
In 2019, Sheldon joined the Arizona staff, where he had previously coached for 10 seasons before his three-year stint at USC. Sheldon was not retained by Arizona head coach Fred Harvey after the 2019-2020 season.
The Blockburgers’ decision to transfer to USC may also have had to do with how they were treated as track athletes at Arizona.
On June 13, one day after Arizona finished competing at the NCAA Championships, Alyssa tweeted, “It’s sad that @AZAthletics has nothing covered on track but will post every other sport. We had several all Americans and school records with no recognition.”
It’s sad that @AZATHLETICS has nothing covered on track but will post every other sport. We had several all Americans and school records with no recognition.— (@a_blockburger) June 13, 2021
Johnnie retweeted his sister’s tweet, as did several members of the track and field team.
The Arizona men’s and women’s programs each finished 30th overall at NCAA Championships.