tracktown - Page 5

Interview With Oregon Track Freshman Greg Skipper

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Greg Skipper (GoDucks)
Greg Skipper
(GoDucks)

Oregon freshman thrower, Greg Skipper, was upbeat after his fourth place finish in the Men’s hammer; but it was obvious he is still hungry and anxious to improve.

Looking back on the year Skipper classified it as a success.

“My freshman year went well!” he then quickly added “it was alright. The training was fantastic, all of the training I received from (coach) Wilhoit was correct.”

After a fourth place finish at your first NCAA’s, how do you feel?

“Good. I was projected to finish fifth and I ended up fourth, so I got a fighter’s point there; but I feel good.”

How has your exposure to sports through your family help you prepare?

“Through my (family) I gained a lot of guidance and a mindset for competing. At first it helped me a lot to prepare, now (competition is) second nature.”

In all of the freshman’s comments their was an air of unfinished business. I asked him about his goals for the future, he didn’t mention any individual awards like a Pac-12 championship, or even a national championship, all he gave was a number.

“The 70-meter barrier is a big barrier for a hammer thrower and I hope to hit that number.”

It’s clear that Skipper is focused on bigger things than just his success with the Ducks. And, with his pedigree and focus, 70 meters better watch its back!

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NCAA Track & Field National Championships Day Two (Live Update)

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Oregon high jumper Dakotah Keys (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Oregon Ducks star Dakotah Keys
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Day two of the NCAA Championships is underway at Hayward with continued competition in the decathlon and the start of the Women’s heptathlon.

Check back throughout the day for updates from all the events and to find out how Oregon athletes are faring.

Oregon athletes in action today include:

Dakotah Keys in the decathlon final, Greg Skipper in the hammer final, English Gardner in the 200 meter semifinal, Anne Kesselring in the Women’s 1,500 meter semifinal, Jonathan Cabral in the 110 meter hurdle semifinal, Megan Patrignelli in the women’s steeplechase semifinal and Matthew Melacon and Parker Stinson in the Men’s 10,000 meter final.


10:40 PM UPDATE

In an interesting duel between the brawny Johannes Hock from Texas and the lithe Jeremy Taiwo from Washington, Hock managed to muscle his way to championship in the Men’s decathlon.

Taiwo was posting top marks in the jumping events but Hock dominated the throws and did enough in the rest of the events to win the title with a total of 8,263 points. Taiwo finished with 8,239 points.

Oregon Sophomore, Dakotah Keys, finished in 11th place with 7817 points.


10:30 PM UPDATE

The Oregon Men’s sprinters were on-point this afternoon.

In the Men’s 110 meter hurdles Oregon Sophomore, Jonathon Cabral, advanced to the finals on Saturday by winning the second qualifying heat of the day with a 13.46.

In the Men’s 4×100 meter relay the Oregon Men posted the fastest time in the preliminary heats. The Pac-12 champions will run for the championship on Saturday.

In other results:

  • Lawi Lalang of Arizona won the Men’s 10,000 meters with a 29:29.65. Oregon distance runner, Parker Stinson, finished sixth with a time of 29:46.45.
  • LSU jumps expert, Damar Forbes, won the long jump with a leap of 27′ 4 3/4″. The points were valuable for LSU as the SEC school hopes to make a run for the team title.

Check back tomorrow for the first large batch of finals results and more in-depth analysis!


5:14 PM UPDATE

The Oregon Men and Women made a strong showing in the 1,500 meter semifinals. On the Women’s side both Becca Friday and Anne Kesselring automatically qualified for the final on Saturday by finishing in the top five of their respective heats. For the Men, Mac Fleet advanced to the final on Saturday after winning his heat.

Other results:

  • In the Women’s discus the entire state of Arizona was in the spotlight with Arizona State Jr. Anna Jelmini taking down the event with a throw of 190′ 1″. In the runner-up slot was Arizona athlete Julie Labonte with a throw of 184′ 6″.
  • The Men’s hammer finished with Virginia Tech thrower Tomas Kruzliak emerging as the victor with a best of 227′ 3″. Just behind Kruzliak, from USC, was Remy Conaster with a best on the day of 224′ 1″. Oregon Freshman Greg Skipper finished in fourth with a throw of 219′ 11″.

3:22 PM UPDATE

A few notes on early action at Hayward.

Oregon Track and Field legacy, Greg Skipper, posted the second best throw in the qualifying rounds in the Men’s hammer throw, with a 219′ 11″. He is chasing Tomas Kruzliak of Virginia Tech who threw a 227′ 3″ in qualifying. He will compete in the finals after the top nine competitors from qualifying finish their warm-up period.

Dakotah Keys, the Oregon Decathlete, is sitting in 17th place after seven events. He should move up the standings after a strong showing in the vault where he cleared 16′ 3/4″. After the vault two events remain, javelin and the 1,500 meters.

NCAA Track and Field National Championships Highlights: Day One

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NCAA Track 538
Oregon star Elizabeth Brenner
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Yesterday was a busy day at Hayward, replete with personal bests and more than a few surprises.

Here are a few of the results and bits of information that you may have missed:

  • The Men’s pole vault was a duel between Ole’ Miss Sophomore, Sam Kendricks, and Oral Roberts’, Jack Whitt. Both vaulters cleared their first heights over 18 feet before Kendricks managed to clear the winning height of 18′ 8 1/4″. Whitt took a pass at that height and attempted to clear 18′ 10 1/2″. Both Kendricks and Whitt came up just shy on their final attempts leaving Kendricks with the best height cleared and the championship.
  • The Women’s hammer featured three Pac-12 athletes in the top five. The event was won by Chelsea Cassulo of Arizona State with a throw of 226′ 9″. Joining her on the podium were Jenny Ozorai of USC and Ida Storm from UCLA finishing in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Other final results from Wednesday:

  • Texas Sophomore and Oregon native, Ryan Crouser, took home the medal in the Men’s shot put with a throw of 66′ 7 3/4″.
  • The Women’s javelin was won by Freya Jones of Georgia with a best throw of 180′ 3″. Oregon super-frosh, Elizabeth Brenner, finished an exciting eighth with her new PR of 168′ 9″.
  • The Women’s long jump crown was taken home by TCU Jr., Lorraine Ugen, with a jump of 22′ 2 1/2″.
  • Finally, Women’s 5,000 meter indoor champ, Besty Saina, a Sr. from Iowa State, began her outdoor championships by winning the 10,000 meters with a time of 33:08.85. She will run for the indoor/outdoor double in the 5,000 meters at 6:15pm on Friday.

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Day One Highlights of NCAA Championships

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Oregon high jumper (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Oregon high jumper Dakotah Keys
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

The NCAA outdoor track and field championships got underway Wednesday with five field event finals, the women’s 10,000 meter finals and qualifying in a number of other events on the track including qualifying heats of the men’s 100 meters that saw three times at or under 10.00.

Chelsea Cassulo threw 69.12 meters to win the women’s hammer throw, finishing ahead of Brittany Smith and Alena Krechyk with the top three finishers separated by less than three feet. Cassulo’s winning throw came on her final toss of the competition

In the women’s long jump, TCU’s Lorraine Ugen easily out-jumped the competition posting a best jump of 6.77 meters, equalling a mark set by the legendary Gail Devers.

In the men’s shot put Texas’s Ryan Crouser at long last dethroned five time indoor and outdoor national champion Jordan Clarke of Arizona State by less than an inch.

Ole Miss’s Sam Kendricks was the only pole vaulter to clear 5.70 and took first place in the event when Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts elected to pass at 5.70 but couldn’t clear the bar on either of his jumps at 5.75 meters.

Florida freshman Marija Vucenovic made the most of the first throw of the meet, throwing 54.76m, ultimately good enough to win the event. Oregon multi-sport phenom Liz Brenner was eighth overall in the javelin.

On the track preliminary rounds of sprint events saw both fast times and heartbreak. Oregon’s Mike Berry missed out on the 400 meter final by four one-thousandths of a second.

“I talked a little bit on ESPN about the ebbs and flows of a championship meet,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “It’s going to be like that tomorrow and the rest of the weekend, and those that handle those highs and lows the best will be happy on Saturday.”

Oregon's English Gardner (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Oregon’s English Gardner
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Among the highs for Oregon were a heat victory for Elijah Greer in the 800 and the women’s 4×100 relay team. Jenna Prandini and English Garner — both members of the relay team as well — both finished second in their 100 meter heats to advance to the final.

“Just like indoors, she wasn’t even ‘supposed to’ be in that race,” Johnson said. “Those people that create those form charts, Jenna Prandini seems to be one of those people that messes them up every time.”

Meanwhile in the men’s 100 prelims Dentarius Locke of Florida State turned in a 9.97 time only to be outdone moments later by Charles Silmon‘s 9.92. Texas A&M’s Prezel Hardy Jr was the first one out of the 100 meter final despite running a 10.11.

In the women’s 10,000 meter final Betsy Saina finished in 33:08.85 to win it for Iowa State. The race ran as a tight pack early on with a relatively slow early pace before Saina made a late kick to pull ahead.

The NCAA championships continue on Thursday with the conclusion of the decathlon, the men’s 10,000 meter finals, men’s hammer throw and long jump and the women’s discus.

Oregon decathlete Dakotah Keys is in 15th after five events, about 400 points behind leader Jermey Taiwo of Washington. Just six points behind Taiwo is Duke’s Curtis Beach, responsible for setting the pace in the decathlon 1500 Olympic Trials that clinched the World Record for Ashton Eaton.

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Photos: NCAA Track and Field National Championships

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It was a big first day of the NCAA Track and Field National Championships with several impressive performances. Oregon four-star athlete Liz Brenner was eighth overall in the javelin, good enough to advance to the finals. The Ducks’ women sprinters also had a good day with the 4X100 team advancing and English Gardner as well in the 100 meters.

NCAA Track & Field National Championships (Live Update)

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imagesThe NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships are underway!

The University of Oregon is hosting another in a string of high-profile track meets this weekend. The NCAA Championships are the highlight of track season. The meet features athletes from nearly 150 schools from across the country. These athletes comprise the pool from which many nations will draw future olympians. Come to Hayward this weekend, watch the event on the ESPN family of networks or follow the content online with EDN, to catch a glimpse of sport at its most pure as athletes compete for team, school and self; pushing the limits of what even they imagine their potential to be as they compete in the sport’s most sacred cathedral.

Check back frequently for the latest updates from Hayward Field! Click Here for the complete schedule of events

There will be plenty happening this week at Hayward. In addition to the competition happening on the field the University of Oregon and the NCAA have planned a number of events and booths for spectators to visit during the meet. Be sure to take full advantage of everything happening at the meet!


6:54 PM UPDATE

Oregon four-sport athlete Liz Brenner officially qualifies for the javelin finals coming in at eighth place. Brenner has played basketball, volleyball, softball and now adds track to her incredible year.


6:37 PM UPDATE

Ole Miss’ Sam Kendricks is your 2013 national champion in the men’s pole vault. Kendricks cleared 18-8.25 to beat Oral Roberts’ Jack Whitt (18-6.25) and brings home 10 points for the Rebels.


5:59 PM UPDATE

In the Men’s 800 meters Oregon athlete Elijah Greer met expectations by winning his semifinal heat with an easy run, setting the third best overall qualifying mark in the process. The Oregon senior, Pac-12 and NCAA indoor champion posted a 1:48.76. He will run for the national championship Friday at 5:30pm.

In the Women’s 400 meters Oregon runner Phyllis Francis qualified for the finals by setting the 5th best mark overall. The pack 12-Champion will run in the final on Friday at 5:55pm.

In the Men’s 400 meters Oregon’s Mike Berry Jr. missed the finals by four one-hundredths of a second running a 45.70. The top three qualifiers were Verberg from GMU (45.14), Landere from Texas A&M (45.36) and Nellum from USC (45.42).

Wonder-Woman made an appearance for Oregon in the Women’s javelin as freshman all-world, do everything, super-athlete, Elizabeth Brenner, has posted a personal best of 168’9″, crushing her previous best mark by nearly ten feet! Still relatively new to the sport, she is merely beginning to unleash her potential as a thrower. Currently sitting in fifth place, if she continues setting PR’s at this pace she may just take the event down!

The Oregon female sprinters blazed the Women’s 100 meters semifinals. Freshman Jenna Prandini and junior English Gardner both automatically qualified from their heats, Prandini running an 11.14 and Gardner running an incredible 11-flat. Both women will compete in the finals at 5:10pm on Friday.


4:55 PM UPDATE

In the women’s 800 meters Oregon runner Laura Roesler won the second heat with a time of 2:03.63 followed closely by Stanford teammates Fedronic and Wissenbach. Roesler won the Pac-12 championship and was the runner up at the indoor championships held earlier this year. With her win she will automatically qualify for the final to be held Friday at 5:20pm.

The University of Oregon Men’s 4×100 meter team was not able to keep pace with their female counterparts as they failed to make the finals. The top qualifiers in the 4×100 were a trio of southern schools, Florida State, LSU and Arkansas.


4:24 PM UPDATE

The Lady Ducks are off to a fast start in the 4×100 meters! The Pac-12 champions won the second qualifying heat with an easy 43.74. They will run in the 4×100 meter finals this evening.

University of Oregon Decathlete Dakotah Keys is currently making a strong showing in the fourth event of the day, the high-jump. He is still alive after having cleared 6’7 1/2″. Keys began the meet by throwing a new personal best of 13.28 meters in the Shot Throw. Dakotah, the Pac-12 Champion, is hoping to make a strong push to win the National Championship.

Cain’s Performance Highlights Outstanding Prefontaine Classic

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The Prefontaine Classic may have come to an end yesterday, but plenty around the nation are still buzzing about the performances that were turned out at the 2013 meet. One of the main highlights for the thousands in attendance was high school phenom Mary Cain‘s showing in the women’s 800 meters.

Competing in a field that included Francine Niyonsaba (BDI), Brenda Martinez (USA), Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN), and Alysia Montano (USA), Cain used a fast field to finish with a time of 1:59.51, a personal best for the budding track and field star that also saw her set the high school and U.S. Junior records in the event. Finishing up her junior year in high school, Cain has yet to announce where she will attend college, though there were plenty of fans encouraging her to bring her talents to Eugene, as they familiarized her with the “Come to Oregon!” chant.

The first high schooler to run the 800 meters in under two minutes, she bested the previous high school record of 2:02.04 that was set by Amy Weisenbach in 2011. Placing fifth overall, she finished right behind Montano, who edged Cain with a time of 1:59.43. After the race Montano gave her signature orchid to the high school phenom, signaling the emergence of a great track and field athlete.

Mary Cain astonished the Hayward faithful at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic | (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)
Mary Cain astonished the Hayward faithful at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic | (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

“I’m just so thrilled, I broke two minutes,” said Cain after the event. “Part of me was out there thinking today, no one has ever done this before. I’d be the first person to do it. That’s been my goal since eighth grade. I’m going to be that kid, I’m going to do it.”

Coming in first place in the women’s 800 meters was Niyonsaba, who finished with a time of 1:56.72 to set a new meet record while becoming the world leader in the event.

Aside from Cain’s astonishing finish and Niyonsaba’s world leading finish, plenty of other athletes set records and bests at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic, with one area record being set, 13 world leaders established, five meet records set, and three national records broken.

Setting the lone area record at the meet, Mutas Essa Barshim (QAT) cleared a height of 2.40 meters in the men’s high jump to overcome a strong field that included Erik Kynard (USA) and Derek Drouin (CAN). His clearance also made him the world leader in the event while also setting a new meet record and national record for his country. Drouin’s clearance of 2.36 meters set the new Canadian national record.

Silas Kiplagat (KEN), meanwhile, established a world leading time in the Bowerman Mile with a time of 3:49.48. He narrowly edged Asbel Kiprop (KEN), who finished right behind Kiplagat with a time of 3:49.53. Aman Wote of Ethiopia placed third in the event with a time of 3:49.88, a personal best for the 29-year-old.

Hansle Parchment (JAM) also established a world leading time in the 110 meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 13.05 seconds that also saw him set a new Jamaican national record.

Renad Lavillenie (FRA) finished just as he did at the Olympic Games, placing first in the men’s pole vault to once again overcome Bjorn Otto (GER) and Raphael Holzdeppe (GER), who also finished just as they did in the past Olympics. Lavillenie cleared a height of 5.95 meters to become the world leader in the event this year.

Aleksandr Menkov (RUS) took home first in the long jump, as he reached a distance of 8.39 meters to become the world leader in the event. Mauro Vinicius Da Silva (BRA) placed second in the event, reaching a distance of 8.22 meters.

The men’s discus was won by Robert Harting (GER), who also became a world leader, throwing a distance of 69.75 to overcome Piotr Malachowski‘s (POL) distance of 68.19, a seasonal best for the 29-year-old.

James Kiplagat Magut (KEN), who did not finish in the Bowerman Mile, made up for his performance in the men’s international mile, becoming the world leader with a time of 3:55.24.

Edwin Sheruiyot Soi (KEN) became the world leader in the men’s 5,000 meters, finishing with a time of 13:04.75 while Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) finished with a time of 27:12.08 to become the world leader in the men’s 10,000 meters.

Several women’s records fell at the 2013 Prefontaine Classic as well, with Niyonsaba’s impressive performance leading the way. Aside from her effort, meet records in the women’s javelin and 1,500 meters were also set, as Christina Obergfoll (GER) threw for a distance of 67.70 in the javelin and Hellen Obiri (KEN) ran a 3:58.58 in the 1,500 to set the new meet records.

Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH), meanwhile, became the world leader in the women’s 5,000, finishing with a time of 14:42.01 to pace the field. A new world leader was also established in the women’s 400 meter hurdles, as Zusana Hejnova (CZE) finished with a time of 53.70 to see herself finish in first.

Olha Saladikha (UKR) rounded out the new world leaders at the Pre Classic, as she reached a distance of 14.85 in the women’s triple jump for the leading distance.

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Spartans leap into striking distance

Marist’s Liam Henshaw fist- pumped his way out of the long jump pit and all the way back down the runway. His third jump was a personal best and he was pretty certain it would be good enough to win the state 5A long jump competition. “I thought I saw …

Jordan Hasay’s 10K trouble is Oregon’s only blip at NCAA West Preliminary Round

A near-perfect opening day at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, turned to disaster in the final event for the Oregon women’s track and field team on Thursday. UO senior Jordan Hasay, who was ranked second among collegians in the 10,000 meters with a school record of 32 …

South Eugene’s Clark Reflects on 3,000-meter Record Run

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Erink Clark and SE distance running coach Jeff Hess (David Saez/Eugene Daily News)
Erin Clark (left) and South Eugene High School distance running coach Jeff Hess (Right)
(David Saez/Eugene Daily News)

Erin Clark heard the rumblings as she caught her breath on the track at Roseburg High School. Moments after winning the 3,000-meter race Thursday at the Southwest Conference district meet, the South Eugene High School senior remained unaware that she’d also set the new state high school record with a time of 9 minutes and 37.91 seconds.

So when she overheard several of her teammates’ parents say she’d run two seconds under the state record 9:39, she didn’t believe it. “I was like, ‘What? I don’t really think that’s right.’ It didn’t feel like we ran that fast.” Confirmation came a minute or two after the race when South Eugene distance running coach Jeff Hess told her she’d broken the 33-year-old record.

Actually, as the race neared its conclusion, even Hess was uncertain if Clark was on pace to break the state mark. Hess said he was standing near Crater High distance coach Justin Loftis at the time. “(Loftis) was saying, ‘She’s going to break the record! She’s going to break the record,” Hess said Friday. “And I was like, ‘No she’s not.'”

With less than 300 meters left in the race, Hess looked at his watch, but he’d calculated wrong and expected Clark to finish at about 9:40. Clark, 18, broke the record set in 1980 by Sprague (Salem) High School’s Kim Roth, who went on to run at the University of Oregon. While there was no big announcement or production made of it at the district meet, there is no underplaying the significance of her performance.

“We kind of had to spread the word,” Hess said. “Most people weren’t aware. They knew it was fast, and they knew Erin’s race was incredibly impressive. Everybody watching it regardless of if they knew the time could tell that it was something special, but there was no announcement about the significance of the time.”

To Hess, the race was significant for two reasons. First, of course, was the obvious: Clark ran the 3,000 faster than any other girl in Oregon high school history. At a different level, though, was the way in which she achieved it. Hess described the first 2,000 meters as nothing special for Clark and Sheldon’s Maggie Schmaedick, who finished second at 9:44.20. Everything changed with about a kilometer left. It was then that Schmaedick made the initial move to pick up the pace, and Clark followed.

“At that point it became obvious they were going to run faster than the average race for them,” Hess said. “…it was a beautifully powerful finish…It was Maggie’s move that made Erin’s finish possible because if they’d just cruised along at the same pace…(Erin) wouldn’t have run as fast.”

Sara Tsai, Paige Kouba, Phacelia Cramer and Erin Clark after breaking the national record in the 4x1 500 relay in 2012 (Curt Hawkinson)
Sara Tsai, Paige Kouba, Phacelia Cramer and Erin Clark after breaking the national record in the 4×1 500 relay in 2012
(Curt Hawkinson)

To highlight the speed at which Clark turned it on, Hess points to the 3:01 in which she ran the last kilometer. “Those who understand the significance of it will be wowed,” he said. “That, ultimately, is the second most significant thing about it.”

A day after the record-setting race, the lanky, blond runner who will run for the University of Colorado next year was preparing for her final district meet events, the 1,500-meter race and 4×400-meter relay. On Saturday at districts, Clark won the 1,500 (4:29.42) and her team finished sixth in the 4×400 (4:05.48). Next up is the state championship meet this Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.

“It’s definitely exciting,” she said. “My focus is on the state meet for sure and trying to place as well as I can there…It’s exciting to have done and it gives me some confidence going into that race, I suppose.”

“My goal is to have some really strong performances and running with everything I have at the state meet. I’d love to come out with the win, but I know there are a lot of good girls in the race and anything can happen on that day.”

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