Sean Larson, EDN Sports
The men and women of Oregon continued their dominance on the track, sweeping the team titles at the 2012 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships in front of 7,144 fans at Hayward Field in Eugene on Sunday afternoon.
The win marked the sixth straight conference title for the men and the fourth straight conference title for the women. The Oregon men finished with 140 points, while the Oregon women finished with 200.50 points.
In the first event of the day, Arizona State surged away to a Pac-12 title in the 4×100 meter relay, winning in 39.47 seconds. An explosive anchor leg from Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas helped the Ducks finish second in a race that they were projected to finish sixth in. Oregon’s time of 40.09 was good enough for 7th on the school’s all-time list.
On the women’s side, a clean handoff paired with an explosive final two legs from Oregon’s Lauryn Newson and Amber Purvis clinched a win as the Ducks crossed the line in 43.72 seconds, the second fastest time in school history.
In the men’s 1500, Oregon’s Trevor Dunbar made an aggressive move with 500 meters to go to take the lead, but Lawli Lalang of Arizona was able to answer shortly after the bell. A 53 second lap would seal the win for Lalang, who crossed the line in 3:47.66. Dunbar would go on to finish third in 3:47.84.
In the women’s race, Washington’s Katie Flood set the early pace, but Oregon’s Jordan Hasay tucked right behind, eventually making her move to take the lead with 200 meters to go. Hasay was able to fight off Flood to win in 4:13.28.
The Oregon men were able to pick up 14 points in the 110 meter hurdles, including 10 points from freshman Jonathan Cabral, who won the final in 13.61 seconds.
In the 400 meter race, Oregon’s Mike Berry led with 100 meters to go, but a late surge from Bryshon Nellum of USC led to a second place finish for Berry in 48.85 seconds.
In the women’s 100 meter dash, English Gardner of Oregon blew away the field in a dominating performance, winning easily in 11.00 seconds flat.
Elijah Greer used an impressive final 200 meters to win the 800 meter race in 1:48.48. Greer trailed behind Washington State’s Joe Abbott, but swung around on the final curve to take the win.
“I had to dig deep and fight back hard for that period,” said Greer. “It was definitely a fight and a strain, it was good.”
The women’s 800 offered what was without a doubt the most thrilling finish of the day. With just a few meters to go, Oregon teammates Becca Friday and Claudia Francis surged into second and third respectively to join teammate Laura Roesler on the podium.
Roesler won the final in 2:05.13, while Friday finished second in 2:05.34, and Francis right behind to finish third in 2:05.42.
“It feels amazing,” said Friday. “I’m so proud of our girls. The last 100 I just kept repeating in my head 1-2-3, and I’m just really happy and really proud of everyone, it was a lot of fun.”
Roesler used Friday’s move with 250 meters to go to help carry her to the win.
“Without Becca’s move at 250, I don’t know if it would have worked out like that for me,” said Roesler. “That was sooner than I was planning on going, but she really got me ready and I just went with her.”
The women’s 200 featured another sweep for the Ducks. English Gardner turned in another dominating performance, winning in 22.82. Phyllis Francis, finished second in 23.03. Oregon senior Lauryn Newson finished third in 23.09.
“People kind of shut us down because they see all the great individual runners at other schools,” said Gardner. “They don’t realize that when the time is ready, we all pull our bootstraps and get the job done.”
The Ducks will have a weekend off before heading to Austin, Texas for the NCAA West Regionals, where spots in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa will be at stake.