Mac Fleet

History Made at ‘Oregon Twilight’

The night was truly star-studded last night at the Oregon Twilight Invitational. Former, current, and future Ducks all toed the line, which made for some pretty special races. Future Duck Matthew Maton had a night he would never forget. He...

Track and Field 2014-15: Ducks on Track to a Dynasty

The 2014 NCAA track and field season was one of the best in recent years — if not ever — for the Oregon Ducks men’s and women’s teams.  After both teams won NCAA indoor championships and completed a strong regular outdoor season, the Ducks excelled in the regional qualifiers, sending a total of 37 men and women athletes to the NCAA Championships at Historic Hayward Field.  The men’s team won its first national outdoor title since 1984 while the women’s team took third. The meet was highlighted by outstanding individual performances from many Duck athletes, and the Ducks will look to repeat, or possibly even exceed, the success of this year in the indoor and outdoor 2014-2015 seasons. Here are five reasons why you should be there to watch them next year.

  1. 2014 National Championship Performances
Laura Roesler

Laura Roesler

The Ducks lit up the track all four days of the 2014 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships.  The title-winning men’s team was led by individual championship performances from Mac Fleet, Sam Crouser and sensational freshmen Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  These four scored a total of 48 of the men’s 88 team points.  The women’s team was led by title-winning performances from Laura Roesler in the 800 meter run and Jenna Prandini in the long jump.  Prandini also finished second in the women’s 200 meter dash and third in the women’s 100 meter dash.  Phyllis Francis added second place points in the 400 meters and Laura Bobek, Brittany Mann and Jillian Weir stepped up to give the women’s team unexpected points in the weight events. With unheard of team balance, between the men’s and women’s teams, the Ducks placed individuals in the top eight in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5K, 10K, steeplechase, multi-events, sprint hurdles, hammer, javelin, discus, shot put, long jump and 4 X 400 relay. By comparison, the only events where the Ducks failed to score at least one man or woman were the 4 X 100 relay (only due to a failed exchange), the pole vault, high jump, triple jump and 400 hurdles.  This well-rounded balance as a team not only makes them more exciting to watch, but also increases their chances of meet victories. Plus, even at a championship meet you don’t have to wait long for the next Duck up.

  1. The 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be held at Historic Hayward Field.
Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, OR.)

Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)

With Hayward Field being the most respected and recognized track and field stadium in the nation, the NCAA has decided that Track Town USA will play host again next year for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. Actually, the NCAA is so impressed by what happens at Hayward that it awarded Oregon the meet for the next seven years.  This will give the Ducks a chance to defend their 2014 national title in front of their home crowd at Hayward Field, where they won the men’s title this year.

3. Oregon coaches receive 2014 men’s outdoor coach(es) of the year.

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

After coaching his team to its first national title since 1984, Oregon coach Robert Johnson was named the men’s outdoor coach of the year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).  Also, Johnson’s assistant Andy Powell was named the USTFCCCA men’s outdoor assistant coach of the year. While Johnson has only been the head coach since the summer of 2009, his impact on the program has been immediate.  He has led the women’s team to four consecutive indoor NCAA team titles, and has been named the women’s indoor coach of the year four times as well.  Powell has made his impact by being the distance coach.  He coached NCAA champions Cheserek and Fleet this year, as well as the other competitors in the distance races.  Johnson’s and Powell’s coaching has benefited the team by leading them to victories as well as by attracting young talent in the recruiting wars.

4.  Returning women’s athletes

Jenna Prandini

Jenna Prandini

The women’s team will have many returning competitors in the 2014-2015 indoor and outdoor seasons.  The most notable of the returners is Jenna Prandini, who will be a junior next school year.  She was a fan favorite at the 2014 NCAA championships where she won the long jump, finished third in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash.  Prandini will look to continue her dominance in the Pac-12 Conference as well as nationally next season.  Although Liz Brenner struggled at the NCAA championships in the javelin, she is also a notable returner for the women’s team after her impressive 2014 season.

  1. Returning men’s athletes

For the men’s team, the two returners everyone will have their eyes on are this year’s freshmen sensations Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  Cheserek and Allen arguably had the two most exciting final races of the 2014 NCAA championships, which both of them won.  Cheserek won the 10,000 meter run in truly amazing fashion, bursting ferociously through the last 200 meters to win and holding up the Oregon “O” with his hands as he passed through the finish line.  Cheserek also placed a close second in the 5000 meter run, one of the few exciting races that didn’t go the Ducks’ way.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men's 110 hurdles.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men’s 110 hurdles.

Allen, who improved his time in the 110 meter hurdles every meet this season, ended his season on a spectacular note by winning the men’s 110 meter hurdles, running a life-time best 13.16 seconds and shocking both the field and the ESPN announcers, who barely mentioned his name before the race.  Allen merely broke the NCAA Championship Meet record and ran the second-fastest 110 hurdle time in collegiate history.  Allen has proven himself to be a star worth watching for the Ducks and will look to break more records and defend his national title in the 2014-2015 season. Other notable returning athletes for the men’s team include 2014 NCAA javelin champion Sam Crouser, fourth-place finisher in the hammer-throw Greg Skipper and fourth place finisher in the 5000 meters, Erik Jenkins.

Oregon track doesn’t get much more exciting that this.

So there it is …

This is an incredible time for Oregon athletics, truly a golden age. Teams have made runs at national titles in football, volleyball, softball, track & field and cross country. Teams have made it to post season NCAA championship tournaments in basketball, baseball, golf and tennis. Excellence in athletics at the University of Oregon isn’t the exception. It’s the norm. What is happening in track & field, though, is exceptional even by Oregon standards. Chosen to host the NCAA Championships for the next seven years, Oregon is possibly on the brink of establishing a dynasty for the ages. The devotion of the fans and the ambiance of Historic Hayward Field are not lost on the athletes who earn their way to compete at what is without argument the best running venue in North America. The athletes who attend the World Junior Championships at Hayward this summer are in for a special treat, and if even just a few of them choose to call Eugene “home” for the next four years — and why wouldn’t they? — the love affair between athletes and fans will only grow stronger.

Top photo by Gary Breedlove

Men of Oregon Win National Title, Women are Third

After a strong showing in the preliminary rounds, the Oregon Ducks’ track and field team excelled on the final two days of the 2014 NCAA Championships as their men’s team won the national team title and the women’s team finished third overall. The women’s team scored 59 total team points, while the men scored 88 total points — winning them their first NCAA Outdoor Championship since 1984.

Jenna Prandini, another Oregon national championship

Jenna Prandini, another Oregon national champion.

For the women’s team, Oregon sophomore Jenna Prandini was one of the Hayward Field crowd-favorites throughout the duration of the entire championships and had a spectacular final two days of the championships. After winning the women’s long jump national title on Wednesday, Prandini came into the final two days looking to place high in the women’s finals of the 100- and 200-meter dash.

In the 100-meter dash final, Prandini spent the beginning 50 meters of the race in the back of the group. In the final 25 meters of the race, Pradini exploded to the front, finishing in a cluster of runners indeterminately placing in second to fifth place.

While the audience loudly cheered in the final meters of the race, they became nearly silent immediately after the race as they anxiously waited to hear the final results. The audience joyously erupted once the Prandini was announced as the third place finisher over the intercom.

Prandini finished with an 11.417 time, just .001 of a second faster than the fourth place finisher. In the 200-meter dash final, Prandini finished second after being barely beaten at the finish line by Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M, who won the national title. Brown finished with a time of 22.623, while Prandini finished with a time of 22.63.

Laura Roessler

Laura Roessler

Laura Roesler also had a spectacular championship weekend for the Ducks as she won the national title in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:01.02. Roesler spent the first 600 meters of the race in fifth place, prior to furiously bursting past the pack into first place with 200 meters left. She then extended her lead further to win the race by more than 10 meters in front of a cheering Hayward audience.

Roesler, also ran exceptionally well as the third leg of the women’s 4×400-meter relay team. She received the baton in seventh place to the other competitors, but raced her way into handing the baton off with the Ducks in third place, where they finished as a team.

Phyllis Francis

Phyllis Francis

Phyllis Francis was also able to provide the Ducks with a massive point swing in the 400-meter run. Francis was seeded seventh in the 400 meter final, and was placed in lane eight for the final race. She was able to maintain her staggered lead throughout the race, and finished second in impressive fashion. Francis finishing five places higher than expected provided the women’s team with a surplus of unexpected points that helped them secure their third place finish.

The men’s team was able to gain an abundance of points in the exciting men’s 5000-meter run final. Edward Cheserek, who won the 10000-meter run national title on day two, finished second to Arizona’s Lawi Lalang.

Edward Cheserek pacing himself in Saturday's 1500m run at the NCAA Finals

Edward Cheserek (shown in third place) pacing himself in Saturday’s 5000-meter at the NCAA Finals.

Cheserek was followed down the home stretch by his two teammates Trevor Dunbar and Eric Jenkins, who were able to sprint for third and fourth place finishes. While Cheserek lost in the final meters of the race, he, Dunbar and Jenkins secured second, third, and fourth place to provide the men’s team a huge point swing.

Mac Fleet

Mac Fleet

In the 1500 meter run, Mac Fleet provided one of the most exciting races for the Ducks over the weekend. Fleet came into the 1500-meter run final hoping to successfully defend his 2013 national title in the race. After the first two-and-a-half laps of the race running in second and third place, he put on a burst with about 150 meters left and exploded down the home stretch in front of a standing and roaring Hayward Field audience.

Fleet and Arizona’s Lalang (who won the 5000-meter run national title) battled as they sprinted side-by-side down the last 100 meters racing for the title. The two runners finished in extraordinary fashion. And after several seconds of quiet anxiety from the crowd, it was announced that Fleet had barely finished in front of Lalang, running an official time of 3:39.088, making Fleet the national champion.

Devon Allen after winning the NCAA Championship in the 110m hurdles

Devon Allen after winning the NCAA Championship in the 110-meter hurdles.

Oregon’s Devon Allen, who has improved his 110-meter hurdle time every meet this season, won his first national championship, finishing with a time of 13.16. He popped through the last three hurdles of the race to burst past the leader and barely finish first in front of a standing and screaming audience. Allen’s finishing time broke the NCAA championship meet record, and made him the third-fastest 110-meter hurdle runner in collegiate history.

Oregon’s Sam Crouser also won a national championship of his own in the men’s javelin throw. Crouser entered the final round of the javelin in second place. The Hayward Field crowd clapped rhythmically and cheered as Crouser approached the javelin runway for his sixth and final throw of the competition.

With the fans behind him, Crouser was able to throw a whopping 252”07’, which pushed him to first place and the national championship. The already roaring crowd exploded again once the announcement was made.

Sam Crouser

Sam Crouser

Allen and Crouser’s first-place victories boosted the men’s score to 88 points, which guaranteed the men’s team the NCAA championship victory, regardless of what occurred in the rest of the day’s finals. The men’s team’s 88-point performance set a new meet-record for total team points and was the largest margin of victory the meet has seen since 1994.

After a captivating weekend at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the men’s national title now hangs in Track Town, USA.

 

Feature photo by Ben White

 

 

Ducks Shine on Days 1 and 2 of NCAA Track and Field Championships

Day 1 of the 2014 NCAA Div. I Track and Field Championships at historic Hayward Field was highlighted by spectacular performances from multiple Duck athletes.

Oregon’s Laura Roesler excited the home crowd while winning her preliminary heat and running the fastest overall women’s 800 meter dash of the day. Roesler spent most of the race comfortably running in third place, prior to racing into the lead with 200 meters left. She then burst down the 100-meter home stretch in front of a cheering Hayward audience, finishing with a time of 2:02.60 seconds, just fast enough to hold off Claudia Saunders of Stanford who finished second.

Phyllis Francis finished third in the third heat of the women’s 400 meter dash. Francis however ran a 51.69, which was still fast enough to advance her to the women’s 400 meter dash final as the seventh seed.

In the men’s 400 meter dash preliminaries, Oregon’s Mike Berry cruised to a comfortable s 400 meter final.

All Duck competitors performed well for the team overall, but it was sophomore Jenna Prandini and freshman phenom Edward Cheserek who highlighted the first day of the NCAA Championships the most with their incredible performances.

Jenna Prandini winning her preliminary heat of the women's 200 meter dash.  Photo By: Ben White

Jenna Prandini winning her preliminary heat of the women’s 200-meter dash.

Prandini ran an 11.11 second 100-meter dash time, exploding in the last 50 meters to barely win the closest heat of the day and advance herself to the final. Immediately after her victory in the 100-meter preliminaries, Prandini returned to the women’s long jump final, which she had checked out of in order to race in the sprint.

With the home crowd still loudly cheering after her victory, Prandini burst down the long jump runway to a boomingly loud traditional “Hayward clap” for her second attempt of the final. Prandini jumped out to a lifetime-best 21′ 01.25″ advancing her from third place to the women’s long jump national champion.

In the final of the 10,000 meter run, the last event of the evening, Cheserek sparked the loudest eruption from the Hayward audience of the day. He spent the first 24 laps of the race up in the front of the pack with three other competitors.

At the start of the final 400 meters of the race, Cheserek sped up to running neck and neck with the lead runner. With around 250 meters remaining in the race, Cheserek began running like a man possessed. He exploded from his comfortable run to a dead sprint, progressively distancing himself further and further from the runners behind him. He eventually finished approximately 30-40 meters ahead of the second place finisher.

Cheserek crossed the finish line, with a time of 28 minutes and 30.18 seconds, proudly holding up the trademark Oregon “O” with his hands in front of a roaring Hayward Field audience. It has been a long road to this national title for Cheserek, who first came to the United States in 2010 from Kenya. Once in the U.S., Cheserek attended Saint Benedict Prep in Newark, New Jersey, where he eclipsed the 49-year-old record in the high school indoor 2-mile held by Gerry Lindgren, one of only two runners to defeat Steve Prefontaine in any NCAA Championship. Cheserek will look to add to his lengthy resume on Friday, when he will compete in the men’s 5000 meter run final.

Trevor Dunbar also contributed to the total team points by finishing fifth in men’s 10,000 meter run with a time of 28 minutes and 58.81 seconds.

The Ducks were able to carry this momentum through the second day of the NCAA Championships.

After a spectacular Day 1, Prandini came back to win the third heat of the women’s 200-meter dash preliminary round with a time of 22.95 seconds. With a long jump national championship already under her belt this week, Prandini will be competing in both of the women’s 100-meter dash finals on Friday and the 200-meter dash final on Saturday.

Oregon’s Laura Bobek also had an exceptional performance in the women’s discus throw. Bobek was seeded 18th in the discus throw coming into the championship. However, after making it to the final round, Bobek threw a 184”08’ on her sixth and final attempt of the competition, which was good enough to bump her up to third place in the competition. This was a huge performance for Bobek and provided a huge swing in points for the women’s team.

The men’s team also acquired some needed points in the field from Greg Skipper, who placed fourth in the final of the men’s hammer throw.

Devon Allen finishes his heat of the 110 meter hurdles in first place.

Devon Allen finishes his heat of the 110-meter hurdles in first place.

Also, Devon Allen won his preliminary heat of the men 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.52 seconds, which advances him as the third seed for Saturday’s final.

After spending the first two-and-a-half laps of the 1500-meter run in the back of the pack, Mac Fleet exploded to the lead with 100 meters left to win his heat in exciting fashion. While Fleet was bursting past the pack for the win, Oregon’s Sam Prakel was following right behind him to secure second place and advancement to the final as well.

(Right) Mac Fleet bursts down the home stretch, followed by (Left) Sam Prakel for 1st and 2nd place finishes in their heat.

(Right) Mac Fleet bursts down the home stretch, followed by (Left) Sam Prakel for 1st and 2nd place finishes in their heat.

Both of the Duck’s men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relay teams finished second in their respective heats, and secured spots in the finals.

After a strong first two days of the championships for the Ducks, they are now looking to maintain their momentum and take advantage of their opportunities the rest of the way. Both the men’s and women’s teams will need capitalize primarily in the distance races, 4×400 meter relays, and remaining field events in order to give them the best shot at securing the title on Saturday.

 

Feature photo by Ben White

Freshman Edward Cheserek captures Pac-12 cross-country title

Saturday’s Pac-12 Cross-Country Championships featured the No. 1 teams in the country for both the men and women, and each squad justified its top ranking.

The Colorado men and the Arizona women convincingly won their respective races, while Oregon’s freshman phenom Edward Cheserek captured the men’s individual crown.

The top-ranked Buffaloes dominated the men’s field, as they placed their top-five scorers in the top nine overall. Blake Theroux, Connor Winter and Ben Saarel finished 3-4-5 in the 8,000-meter race, Pierce Murphy placed seventh and Ammar Moussa rounded out Colorado’s top five in ninth.

The Oregon men finished second to Colorado in the team scoring and were led by Cheserek, who took home the individual honors. Cheserek ran with the front pack for the majority of the race before distancing himself from the field over the final 2,000 meters to win in 24:36. Stanford’s Jim Rosa took second in 24:42.

Seniors Parker Stinson and Mac Fleet were the next Oregon finishers. Stinson placed sixth overall with a time of 24:56, and Fleet edged out Stanford’s Erik Olson for 10th in 25:23. Freshman Jake Leingang ran 25:37, good for 16th overall, and French transfer Tanguy Pepiot finished 21st in 25:52 to round out Oregon’s top five. Daniel Winn finished 27th in 25:56, and Cole Watson was the 33rd overall finisher in 26:08.

On the women’s side, Arizona duked it out with Colorado, but the Wildcats ultimately came out on top with their top-heavy attack. Arizona placed three runners in the top six overall, as Elvin Kibet finished second and teammates Kayla Beattie and Nicci Corbin finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Arizona edged out Colorado 69-75 to capture its first Pac-12 championship in program history, and Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe took home the individual honors for the women, breaking the tape in 21:04.

The Oregon women finished fourth in the team standings and were once again led by Megan Patrignelli. The Oregon senior finished the 6,000-meter race 17th overall in 22:18 and has led the Ducks in all five of their races this season. Patrignelli was closely followed by teammates Abbey Leonardi (21st, 22:25), Maggie Schmaedick (22nd, 22:26), Annie Leblanc (25th, 22:31) and Lindsay Crevoiserat (28th, 22:37). Maria Elbon finished in 35th in 22:51 and Molly Grabill followed in 37th in 22:52. Oregon’s top five women were separated by just 19 seconds but were edged out by Washington for third place by a score of 111-113.

On Nov. 15, the Ducks will travel to Sacramento, Calif., to compete in the NCAA West Regional, where the top two teams for both the men and women will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Championships the following weekend.

Follow Chris Mosch on Twitter @chris_mosch

Oregon cross country men finish runner-up to Colorado at Pre-Nationals Invitational, women finish fifth

Saturday morning featured a Pac-12 showdown of sorts at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., as the No. 2-ranked Colorado men squared off against No. 4 Oregon at the site of November’s NCAA cross country championships.

Individually, it was the Kennedy Kithuka show, as the reigning NCAA champion from Texas Tech distanced himself from the rest of the field within the first mile and navigated the 8,000-meter course in 22:52, just one second off the course record. Coming in 32 seconds later was UTEP’s Anthony Rotich, who ran in no-man’s land for the majority of the race and finished second in 23:25.

Through the first 5,000 meters, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek and Parker Stinson were part of a four-man chase pack that included Tulsa’s Chris O’Hare and Iona’s Matt Gillespie. Colorado held a close 97-102 lead over Oregon through 5,000 meters in the team battle.

Cheserek and O’Hare battled it out for third place, with O’Hare pulling ahead of the Oregon freshman over the final 50 meters. O’Hare crossed the finish line in 23:32 with Cheserek coming in one second later at 23:33.

Stinson ran well for most of the race, but was overtaken by a handful of runners during the final mile and finished 15th overall in 23:45. Coming in one second after Stinson in 16th place was Oregon senior Mac Fleet, who looked strong in his season debut.

Freshman Jake Leingang was the 34th finisher at 24:03 and junior Daniel Winn rounded out Oregon’s top five, finishing 44th overall in 24:09. Matthew Melancon was 74th in 24:26 and Jeramy Elkaim came in 141st at 24:54.

Colorado opened up its team lead a bit during the final 3,000 meters, beating Oregon by a score of 90-113. Colorado put five runners in the top 28, including sophomore Morgan Pearson who was the Buffaloes’ top runner in seventh overall. Iona finished third with 126 points, with Stanford edging Tulsa out for fourth place, 148-159.

The race for the women’s top individual honors was much more suspenseful than that of the men’s. There was a large lead pack for the majority of the 6,000-meter race and just three seconds separated the first 19 women through 4,000 meters.

With just over 1,000 meters to go, Florida State’s Hannah Walker created some separation from the pack, building a twenty-meter lead over Boise State’s Emma Bates and the rest of the field.

As the women hit Terre Haute’s notoriously long final straightaway, Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe charged to take the lead with approximately 400 meters to go. Cuffe appeared to have the race wrapped up, but Bates threw down a wicked finishing kick, passing the Cardinal junior during the final 50 meters to take the win in 20:09. Cuffe finished second in 20:10 and Walker crossed in 20:14, good for sixth place.

The Oregon women formed a tight pack for much of the race, as Molly Grabill, Megan Patrignelli, Annie Leblanc, Maggie Schmaedick and Abbey Leonardi were all positioned between 35th and 44th with a three-second spread through 4,000 meters.

Patrignelli made a strong move over the final third of the race, finishing 25th overall in 20:46. The senior has been Oregon’s top finisher in each of the team’s four races this season. Grabill finished 36th in 20:53 and Schmaedick came in 45th in 20:59. Leblanc finished 53rd in 21:03 and Leonardi rounded out Oregon’s top five at 55th overall in 21:05.

Oregon finished fifth in the team scoring with 214 points, a far cry behind Georgetown, who had 116 points. The Hoyas had a 21-second spread amongst their top-five runners, who all finished in the top 32 overall. Florida State finished second with 162 points, Butler notched 176 points for third place and Virginia came in fourth with 191 points.

Oregon will take a two-week break from racing before running at the Pac-12 Championships in Louisville, Colo. on Nov. 2.

Oregon men jump eight spots to No. 4 in latest cross country poll

After a dominating performance at this past weekend’s Boston College Cross Country Invitational, the Oregon men’s squad moved up eight places to No. 4 in Tuesday’s USTFCCCA National Coaches poll. The ranking is the highest the Oregon men have received since their preseason No. 4 ranking in 2011.

Without top transfer Eric Jenkins and NCAA 1500 champion Mac Fleet, the Ducks scored 22 points in Beantown, easily dispatching of a talented field that included No. 10 Syracuse, No. 18 Providence and No. 19 Wisconsin. Freshmen Edward Cheserek and Jake Leingang were the top two finishers for the Ducks.

Oklahoma State received all 12 first-place votes and Colorado leapfrogged Northern Arizona for second place in the polls. UCLA moved up one spot to No. 12, Stanford dropped three spots to No. 23, and Arizona State moved up one spot to No. 28.

On the women’s side, Oregon dropped two spots to No. 5 after finishing second to No. 1 Providence at this past weekend’s meet. Arizona switched places with Oregon, jumping from No. 5 to No. 3, and Colorado jumped one spot to No. 14. Washington and Stanford stayed at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

Oregon men and women win Pac-12 Track and Field Championships again

The Oregon track and field team showed why Eugene is TrackTown USA. when both the men and women put on dominant performances in the Pac-12 Championships in Los Angeles this weekend. The women won their fifth consecutive conference championship, and the men won their seventh.

While Saturday and Sunday saw a mix of trials and finals, most of the finals took place on Sunday and Oregon was prominent on the medal stands in a litany of events.

For the women, the 200 meters was an all-UO affair, with English Gardner, Phyllis Francis and Jenna Prandini going 1-2-3, with Gardner’s 22.62 being a school record. In the 800 meters final, Laura Roesler led the way with a first place finish. Anne Kesselring came in third and Annie LeBlanc was fifth. In the 400, Phyllis Francis and Chizoba Okodogbe took first and second.

For the men, Elijah Greer won the 800 meters, Mike Berry was beaten just slightly in the 400, taking second. In the 110 meter hurtles, second and third place went to UO’s Johnathan Cabral and Trevor Ferguson. Mac Fleet placed third in the 1,500 meters.

More coming including final team point totals.

Oregon Men Take First, Women Second at Pepsi Invitational

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The University of Oregon men’s track and field team used impressive efforts all across the board on a rainy day at Historic Hayward Field to continue their impressive season, overcoming the top-ranked Texas A&M Aggies at the Pepsi Team Invitational on Saturday.

Ranked fourth in the nation heading into the meet, the Ducks recorded victories in the 800 meters, 110 meter hurdles, 400 meter dash, hammer throw, and 5,000 meters. The Oregon women, ranked second in the nation heading, saw themselves finish second behind the No. 4 Aggies.

The Ducks’ men’s team recorded their first victory in the 110 meter hurdlers after runner-up finishes in the 4×100 meter relay, javelin throw, long jump, 1,500 meters, shot put, and pole valut. Johnathan Cabral jumped out of the gates and finished over half a second before Chris Williams of Washington with a time of 13.81 seconds.

(Gary Breedlove)
(Gary Breedlove)

Mike Berry then followed up Cabral’s win with a victory of his own in the 400 meters to give Oregon another nine points and place them in first after 10 events. His time of 46.20 seconds was quickly followed by Ricky Babineaux from Texas A&M, who finished second with a pace of 47.38 seconds. Kevin Anding finished third in the event with a time of 47.53 seconds to give the Ducks another six points.

The Aggies then recaptured the lead from Oregon with a first and second place finish in the 100 meters, as Prezel Hardy, Jr. recorded a time of 10.47 seconds and Michael Bryan finished with a time of 10.57 seconds to give Texas A&M an additional 16 points. De’Anthony Thomas finished third in the event with a time of 10.61 seconds to give Oregon six points.

Mac Fleet then jumped right out of the gates in the 800 meters and held off the rest of the field, finishing with a time of 1:48.70 to give the Ducks another nine points. Boru Guyota finished second in the event after an impressive closing effort that saw him run a 1:49.81.

Oregon would then place three competitors in the top-5 of the hammer throw, with Greg Skipper winning the event with a throw of 65.94 meters. Casey Strong of Texas A&M finished second with a distance of 59.05 meters.

After the Aggies used an impressive performance in the 200 meters to even the point total between them and the Ducks at 147.5, Oregon dazzled in the 5,000 meters as Jeramy Elkaim, Parker Stinson, and Matthew Melancon finished 1-2-3 in the event. Elkaim crushed the field in the event, running away from the competition with a time of 13:57.24, nearly eight seconds ahead of Stinson. Oregon then capped the day with a second place finish in the 4×400 meter relay, finish under a second behind Texas A&M’s time of 3:05.85.

On the women’s side of things, Oregon captured victories in the long jump, hammer throw, 1,500 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and the high jump.

The Duck women recorded their first victory on the day with a win by Jenna Prandini in the women’s long jump. She reached a distance of 5.97 meters to give Oregon an early advantage after nine events. LaQue Moen-Davis captured seven points in the event for the Aggies, jumping a distance of 5.90 meters. 

Jillian Weir then took first place in the next event to finish, the hammer throw, with a distance of 58.47 meters. Lauren Sens and Laura Bobek finished behind their Duck teammate to keep Oregon in the lead.

Jordan Hasay continued the trend of Oregon victories in the 1,500 meters, finishing with a time of 4:20.19. Becca Friday finished second behind Hasay with a time of 4:22.05 to give Oregon a valuable 16 points in the event.

After Texas A&M captured a victory in the 100 meter hurdles, Phyllis Francis gave the Ducks another win by finishing with a time of 52.55 seconds in the 400 meter dash. Laura Roesler then won the 800 meters with a time of 2:03.94. Teammate Anne Kesselring secured an additional seven points for the Ducks, finishing second in the event with a time of 2:05.69.

Oregon’s last women’s victory on the day came in the form of Lauren Crockett, who reached a height of 1.72 meters in the high jump.

Ducks recover from fall to take second in men’s distance medley relay

Oregon avoided a possible disaster in the first 50 meters to finish second in the men’s distance medley relay Friday at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City on Friday.

The Ducks posted their best team of the season at 9:35.06 to finish just behind Stanford.

Brett Johnson, a transfer from Virginia, started off the race for the Ducks took a hard fall at just 50 meters into the race. Johnson then picked himself up, grabbed the baton, and ultimately put the Ducks back into the race. By the time he finished his 1,200 meter leg, Johnson impressively moved from last to fourth place.

Junior Mike Berry then ripped through the 400 meter leg to pull the Ducks into a draw for the lead with Stanford at the second exchange.

Junior Elijah Greer then moved the Ducks in front on the first turn of the 800 meter leg, putting the team a step in front at the final exchange.

Junior Mac Fleet fell just short of Stanford on the final lap of the 1,600 meter leg but Oregon still turned in its best time of the season.

Stanford’s and Oregon’s times were the second- and third-fastest in the nation this season, respectively, behind Texas’ 9:31.82.