It all began in 2001, when Lexus Motors decided to sponsor a celebration of Los Angeles’ crosstown rivalry between UCLA and USC by awarding a trophy based on how the two schools performed against each other in all the sports where both schools fielded a team, rather than just football.
The trophy, then called the Lexus Gauntlet but is currently called the Crosstown Gauntlet as Lexus ended their sponsorship in 2009, symbolized how knights challenged each other to duels in medieval times – one of them threw down his gauntlet in front of the other and if it was picked up, the duel was on.
The details of this Crosstown Gauntlet are simple: ten points are awarded for wins in football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball, and five points are awarded for all the other sports. The first school that gets 55 points wins the Gauntlet.
After five straight years in the hands of USC, UCLA won this year’s Gauntlet by a score of 60-45, the Bruins clinching the trophy by recently finishing in 2nd place in the Pac-12 Men’s Golf championships (to ‘SC’s 7th place finish) and sweeping the Trojans in their annual men’s and women’s track and field meet at Loker Stadium on the USC campus, the Bruin men winning 85-78 while their women counterparts beating the Women of Troy by an even bigger margin, 90-73.
UCLA’s marquée triumph in this year’s Gauntlet competition was undoubtedly the football team’s 38-28 win at the Rose Bowl on November 17th, their first win over the Trojans since 2006 which netted them ten points.
But the Bruins also did their part in women’s basketball, men’s volleyball, and mens’ tennis as UCLA’s lady basketballers beat ‘SC twice on the hardwood, the volleyball team doing the same thing while the Bruins on the tennis court won three of four matches with their Trojan rivals, which included beating them for the Pac-12 title on April 27th.
Besides the fact that the Bruins’ 108 NCAA championships leads the nation while the Trojans’ 96 ranks third, in an illustration of how prestigious the athletic programs are at L.A’s two main institutions, it was determined after some research that if the Gauntlet Trophy competition had begun when the two colleges first began playing each other in sports in 1928 – UCLA beat USC in a baseball game that year, marking the first time the two schools participated in a sporting event against each other – with this year’s Bruin victory UCLA and the Trojans would have won the Gauntlet 43 times each.
As such, the tally stands at nine Gauntlet trophies to four in favor of the Trojans.
Three baseball games remain between the two schools, to be played at USC on May 17th, 18th, and 19th.
But since UCLA has already amassed their 55 points for the win, those games are officially a moot point.
In the meantime, congrats to the UCLA Bruins on ending USC’s five-year stranglehold and bringing the Crosstown Gauntlet trophy back to Westwood.