Ducks Set Qualifying Marks at MPSF Championships

Devon Allen wins his heat in the 60m hurdles at the MPSF Indoor Championships in Seattle. Photo courtesy - Paul W. Harvey IV

Devon Allen wins his heat in the 60m hurdles at the MPSF Indoor Championships in Seattle. Photo courtesy – Paul W. Harvey IV

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The Oregon track and field team added a few more names to its NCAA entry list after some noteworthy performances at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Friday.

The night ended with some dramatics as the men’s distance medley relay entered the meet on the outside of the NCAA Championships field looking in. With this being the final chance for the team to qualify, the quartet of Blake Haney, Ben Thiel, Grant Grosvenor and Sam Prakel took to the track.

After three strong legs, Prakel, who has already broken four minutes in the mile this season, took the baton for the 1,600 meter anchor leg just on the heels of his opposition from Cal. As he entered the final 400 meters it appeared the pace had slowed from the necessary qualifying time which was set at 9:30.6. It was then that Prakel took off at the urging of his teammates and coaches with enough in the tank to lean across the finish line in 9:29.89 for the No. 10 time in the country, qualifying for the national meet.

The Ducks added a few more qualifying marks in the women’s 200 as Deajah Stevens led a trio of Ducks while shattering both the Dempsey Indoor and MPSF Championships records. Stevens won the event in 23.14 which is tied for seventh in the NCAA this season while her teammate Hannah Cunliffe took second in 23.24. Cunliffe, who already sits at No. 3 in the nation in the 60, is now at tied at No. 12 in the 200. Sophomore Ariana Washington took fourth place in a season best of 23.43.

Greg Skipper won the men’s weight throw for the third time this season, setting a season best in the process. Both Skipper’s first and last throw surpassed 72 feet and it was his first attempt that stood to win the competition by nearly five feet at 72-6.5 (22.11m).

A portion of the day was spent in preliminaries where the Oregon athletes advanced in droves. The Ducks were a perfect 3-for-3 in qualifying for the 60 hurdles. Sasha Wallace and Alaysha Johnson secured the top two spots in the women’s race, finishing in 8.14 and 8.15, respectively. Devon Allen recorded the second fastest time in the men’s prelim, winning his heat in 7.88.

Half of the women’s 60 meter finals field will be made up of Ducks as Cunliffe (7.28), Jasmine Todd (7.32), Stevens (7.40) and Washington (7.42) all advanced through the preliminaries. It was another impressive mark for Stevens, as the personal record was the sixth-fastest time of the day and slotted her ninth on the Oregon all-time list.

Kirk Merritt set a personal best in the men’s 60 with a time of 7.77 and will take part in tomorrow’s final.

Mitch Modin finished the first day of the heptathlon in second place with 3,225 points, only 32 points out of the lead. Modin was propelled by a personal best in the long jump of 23-7.25 (7.20m) and ended the day with an indoor PR of 6-6.25 (1.99m) in the high jump. The junior, who is looking for an NCAA qualifying mark, is on record pace after finishing the day 71 points ahead of his previous first-day best from 2015 (3,154).

Cole Walsh set an indoor best in the pole vault of 17-3.75 (5.28m). The redshirt junior took three more good attempts at 17-9.75 which, would have been a personal best, but came up just short to finish tied for third in the event.

Brittany Mann finished second in the women’s weight throw after tossing a best of 64-8 (19.71m) on her third attempt.

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