Month: April 2016

Allen does a little of everything at Oregon Relays

Saturday at the Oregon Relays, the sun brought Devon Allen out to run.

After running the 200 meters Friday, he was going to compete only in the 4×100 meter relay and the 400 hurdles.

“I wasn’t going to run the 110s until I got here and it was like 70 degrees and it was the perfect day to run,” Allen said.

Allen ran .08 seconds short of the Pepsi Invitational meet record he set last weekend,13.48. He won by almost a full second Saturday, but even that wasn’t good enough for him.

“I was a little frustrated because I wanted to run faster with a 1.9 tailwind,” Allen said.

He went on to win the 400 hurdles and helped the 4×100 relay team to win in a close finish. Allen ran first leg for the men’s A team that ran 40.18, edging the crew from Ultimate Speed Athletic, 40.35.

Even Allen’s three wins weren’t enough to make the top of head coach Robert Johnson’s highlight list.

“I’d say it’s par for the course,” Johnson said. “Probably the highlight today for us was Cole Walsh.”

Walsh set a personal record in the pole vault, 17 feet, 9 inches, to win the event and make up for no-heighting in the Pepsi Invitational last weekend.

“Last year, I was really inconsistent in my approach, and that’s something that I worked pretty hard on over the summer,” Walsh said. “That was one of the biggest things that affected how I jumped today.”

Walsh and his teammate Matt Hidalgo have been training with the decathletes in recent practices.

“They’re always working hard,” Walsh said. “Having people who are looking towards the same goals as you can be very valuable.”

After winning at 17-9, Walsh tried for the 18-1 mark. He missed all three attempts, but setting a personal best for the first time in two years was enough to keep him happy.

“You can never be mad with a PR,” he said.

Pole vault wasn’t the only field event to have a field day.

Oregon men’s triple jumper Chance Whitehurst won the event in 49-9¼ , breaking his own personal record from last weekend.

“Chance is somebody that we’ve been working a lot on a few things,” Johnson said. “Let’s keep him on that runway and maybe we can keep getting PRs.”

Now finished with back-to-back weekends of home meets, the Ducks are taking a bye week before heading to Pennsylvania on April 28.

Devon Allen branches out with 200-meter win

Devon Allen, the NCAA champion in the men’s 110 meter hurdles, ran a career best in the men’s 200 meters Friday night at the Oregon Relays with a time of 20.68.

His teammate, 400-meter runner Marcus Chambers, finished second in 20.94, also a personal best.

“New PR, so you can’t complain,” Allen said. “I wanted to run a little bit faster, but I think that’s a good time for that for sure.”

He also said it should be nice to get a little more rest before tomorrow, when he will run both hurdles events. Last week at the Pepsi Team Invitational, he ran in four events in one afternoon.

Allen knew he would have a tough competitor in his teammate, Chambers.

“He’s a beast. He’s a 400-meter guy,” Allen said. “Especially in the 200 meters I knew I had to get out in front of him.”

Allen explained that his goals are “just to run fast and stay healthy. The number one key is just stay healthy because you can’t run for a national title if you’re not in the race.”

He said he isn’t practicing in spring football so he can focus on track and that he is feeling better and faster.

“Wherever they can throw me in there to get some points or to get a chance to win, I’ll do it,” he explained.

He even joked that he would do the 5,000 but, “only if Edward Cheserek is racing.”

 

Modin wins the decathlon to most likely qualify for NCAAs

With a meet record in the decathlon 110-meter hurdles and a personal record in the discus, Oregon junior Mitch Modin accomplished what he came to do: qualify.

With a score of 7,468 points, Modin won the decathlon Friday at the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field and produced a top-24 ranking in Division I. If it holds up, as expected, he will qualify for the NCAA championships in June. His score ranks ninth according to Direct Athletics, putting him in a decent position to stay among the top 24 throughout the rest of the season.

“It will be pretty close,” Modin said. “But luckily we have Pac-12s to post a better one. I’m confident that it was what I could do with what I had, so I’m pretty happy with it.”

Modin ended day one with a total of 3,916 points, 184 points fewer than he scored after the first day of the decathlon in the Oregon Relays last year.

He started off day two strong, winning the 110 hurdles in 14.67, a near-personal record, and winning the discus with a lifetime best of 126 feet, 9 inches.

“Discus—I finally showed some improvement in that,” Modin said. “I was pretty happy with how my discus went and now it is just a matter of getting that to 40 meters.”

Modin went on to clear 14-7 1/4 in the pole vault, good enough for fourth place in the event. Teammates Joe Delgado and Blake Kemp cleared a height of 15-3, a personal best for Delgado, and Lane Community College athlete Grant Shurtliff won the event with a vault of 15-7.

Modin got back to his leading pace when he won the javelin with a throw of 179-4. After nine events, Modin led with 6,847 points and Delgado trailed with 6,592 points.

In the 1,500-meter race, the final event, Delgado dominated. His time of 4:20.17 beat Modin’s second-place time by over 29 seconds. Modin still came away from the event with 621 points to bring his total to 7,468 points.

McNamara satisfied with third place in 5,000–for now

Racing for the first time in seven months, Jordan McNamara simply wanted to feel again. He missed the nerves, he longed for the crowds in the grandstands and he wanted to rub elbows with some of the best distance runners in the country.

But it was the pain, the pain of distance and the pain of losing, which felt the best.

McNamara, a former Oregon All-American and currently a runner for Oregon Track Club, finished third in the 5,000-meter Friday night at the Oregon Relays with a time of 13:57.87. His return to racing also marked his first time competing in the 5,000 since he finished his Oregon career nearly four years ago.

“It’s a different beast,” McNamara said. “But it’s fun to get out there…to just hurt again, it felt good.”

Nike Oregon Project’s Suguru Osako won in 13:45.39, and Canadian runner Luc Bruchet, running for Asics Canada, came in second in 13:49.30. Oregon freshman Tanner Anderson, running unattached, finished fifth in 14:00.37.

McNamara said he had no expectations coming into the race. Before his team heads to train in Flagstaff, Arizona, next week in preparation for the Olympic Trials, he wanted to see where he was at in a competitive setting. A positive effort was the only bar he set for himself.

“Box and check there,” he said.

But as the lap counter started marking down, and the minutes starting added up, McNamara felt the difference between running a mile and running a 5,000.

“It felt about eight laps too long, honestly,” he said. “That was a long one for me.”

Still, McNamara felt that if he could keep the leader within three seconds heading into the final lap, he could catch him. When that time came, McNamara, in no man’s land between the leader and the rest of the pack, saw six seconds separating himself from Osako.

“I looked up and saw that I was a long way from there,” McNamara said.

McNamara shifted his focus to fending off the rest of the runners behind him. He successfully did, finishing a race for which he had no expectations in third.

After the race, McNamara, steam waving off his sweaty head, turned his attention toward training for the Olympic Trials, scheduled for July 1-10 at Hayward Field. He remembered missing out on making the U.S. 1,500 team in 2012 by just over a second and the pain that he felt.

In Flagstaff, where the altitude is almost 7,000 feet, McNamara said he expects his training to increase. Seventy-mile weeks will turn into 90. He plans on doing everything he can to make the Olympics this time around.

“Now it’s time to really turn the screw and take some risks,” he said, “because I either want to be on the team, or it doesn’t really matter.”

“I’m throwing everything into it. All the eggs are going into the basket.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

White wins long jump by more than a foot

After fouling his first two jumps, Oregon redshirt sophomore Travonn White won the long jump on Friday during the second day of the Oregon Relays with a distance of 24 feet, 8 inches—a foot farther than the rest of the field,

When he fouled on his second jump, White looked at the official in disbelief. He had barely been off the board. On the verge of elimination in the qualifying round, White kept calm. For his third and final jump, his distance was 24-3, propelling him to the finals with the farthest distance that round.

In the final round, White made all three of his jumps. The closest distance to him was 23-2 by Portland State sophomore Spenser Schmidt, who had previously earned second in the Big Sky this indoor season. He achieved second in this long jump as well.

“I wasn’t too concerned about winning; I was more concerned about progressing,” said White.

White did improve by about a foot and a half from last week’s Pepsi Team Invitational, where he finished sixth of nine participants with a jump of 23-3.4. After last weekend, Coach Robert Johnson had the team do easier practices this week, in order to keep their bodies fresh.

“Today, I felt more technically sound and more powerful,” said White.

To make that improvement, Johnson told White to work on his technique and “staying tall.”

“People don’t know about the long jump. People just think you run up and jump in the sand as far as you can. But it’s more technical than a lot of people think. So once I get technically sound, it all comes together, ” said White.

 Also in the field was Northern Colorado senior Rolyce Boston, who earned third with a jump of 22-6.5. Northwest Christian junior Javonte Byrd jumped a distance of 20-1. Byrd holds NCU’s long jump record with a distance of 22-1.5. Byrd earned ninth place out of twelve participants.

Washington wins 100 ‘by a lean’

Oregon’s Ariana Washington expected to run three races in Saturday’s Pepsi Invitational, but only two of them were familiar. She was comfortable running the 200-meter dash and 4×100 relay, but hadn’t run a 100-meter dash since her prep career at Long Beach Polytechnic in California. Naturally, Washington felt pre-race jitters.

“Nerves were running high,” Washington said.

USC’s Tynia Gaither jumped out to an early lead in the race, but Washington remained calm. With 30 meters left, she made her move.

“When I hit about 70 [meters], I was like, ‘OK, I can stay patient and lift,’” Washington said. “I knew that the best part of my race was that last 30 meters.”

Gaining ground in the latter half of the race, Washington surmounted just enough to finish in 11.34 seconds, while Gaither finished in 11.37. Both sprinters broke the Pepsi Invitational women’s 100 dash record of 11.41, set by Oregon’s Amber Purvis in 2009.

“[I] didn’t panic,” Washington said. “That’s one thing I learned about my redshirting, is to really stay patient and not let my confidence get the best of me.”

Washington competed against a much more experienced Gaither, an All-American redshirt senior and USC’s longest tenured women’s sprinter. Washington felt Gaither closing in on her after grabbing the lead, and knew leaning would likely make the difference at the finish.

“I had to make sure I lean because if I don’t [Gaither] is going to get me,” Washington said.

Behind Washington’s first place finish, which gave the Oregon women nine points, Deajah Stevens finished third in 11.53 seconds and Danielle Barbian placed fifth in 11.57.

Less than an hour prior to the 100-meter dash, both Washington and Stevens were part of the women’s 4×100 relay team that broke the all-time school record. Along with Jasmine Todd and Hannah Cunliffe, Oregon’s ‘A’ team finished in 42.88 seconds, dethroning the 43.27 mark set in 2010.

Washington ran the anchor leg as a warm up for the 100 meter dash, and was surprised to see they broke the record.

“We kind of trained through this meet, so I was confident that we would run 42, but I didn’t think we would run as fast as we did,” Washington said.

 

Defending Pac-12 long jump champ settles for second

Adoree’ Jackson hovered over the tape measurer, anxiously awaiting his announcement on the distance of his final long jump attempt.

Jackson’s jump was the last of the event, and he needed a mark better than 25 feet, 7¼ inches to unseat USC teammate Eric Sloan and win the event at the Pepsi Invitational at Hayward Field Saturday afternoon.

“Twenty-five feet, two inches,” a meet official announced. Good for second place.

Jackson cringed, shook his head and laughed.

It was not what the defending Pac-12 champion had hoped for on this particular day. But it is the first step of what he hopes will be one of the great seasons in NCAA history.

“I’m not frustrated at all,” Jackson said. “I just know I wanted a better mark because last week I went 25-10 and I was hoping for somewhere closer to that. At the end of the day, you can’t always go out there and do big jump after big jump week after week. I know it’s a process, and we’ve got to be patient.”

Sloan’s winning leap of 25-7 ¼ was his best thus far as a Trojan. The junior transfer spent the last two seasons at San Joaquin Delta College and was a junior college All-American last season.

The combination of Sloan and Jackson — who was named a third-team All-American defensive back for the Trojans — gives USC one of the most dynamic groups of horizontal jumpers in the conference.

“It’s always great to come out to Eugene and show everybody what we’re about,” Jackson said. “We really don’t get shown a lot as track athletes…. This is Tracktown, and a lot of people here want to see a track meet. It was just nice to come out here and compete.”

Jackson spent the 2015 football season as a do-it-all superstar on the football field for the Trojans. Jackson earned first team All-Pac 12 honors as defensive back and also played significant time at wide receiver with 27 catches for 414 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns.

Last spring Jackson won the Pac-12 outdoor long jump title in his first season of collegiate track and field, and this year he has an outside shot at qualifying for the Olympics.

He plans to qualify for Rio.

Next fall, he will return to the football field for USC, and following the 2016 season he will have the opportunity to enter the NFL Draft, where he is already being slated as a top-50 prospect.

So, if Jackson ultimately does qualify for the Olympic Trials and possibly the Olympics, what does that do to his football future?

“Same thing it’s doing right now,” Jackson said, laughing. “I’m just going out there and competing and having fun. If I make it to trials, obviously I’m going to take it. And if I was fortunate enough, God bless me, to make the (USA) team, of course I’m going to go for it.”

 

Oregon men end Pepsi Invite in a ‘freaking tie’

The Oregon men’s track team didn’t lose the Pepsi Team Invitational on Saturday, but that wasn’t enough to make coach Robert Johnson happy.

“I freaking hate ties,” Johnson said, “and I hate losses even more. A tie kind of feels like that.”

A third-place finish for the Ducks in the 4×400 relay – the final event of the meet – combined with a Penn State victory resulted in a 181.5 point tie between the two teams.

“Penn State is the real deal,” Johnson said.

Johnson said there were both good and bad moments for his team during Saturday’s meet.

Redshirt sophomore Devon Allen highlighted the good. Allen, who missed all of last track season after tearing his ACL in the Rose Bowl, returned to the track at Hayward Field, winning the 110 and 400 hurdles.

“Devon’s a stud,” Johnson said.

Allen also competed in the 4×100 – which Oregon won – and the 4×400 relay. Running in four events, separated by an average span of 44 minutes, was tiring for him, especially because he had admitted earlier in the week that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy.

“It was more like a workout, and I came out healthy,” Allen said. “A little bit tired, but that’s good.”

With his family in town, Allen had breakfast at the Wild Duck Café, just across from the University of Oregon campus. Usually a disciplined eater, Allen elected to stray away from a normal pre-meet meal. Instead, he loaded up on what he called a “hearty” meal: corn beef, hash browns, an egg and a pancake.

Allen had doubts about being a part of the 4×400 team – that is, until he puked.

“I was tired,” Allen said. “I was talking to my coach about not running it. Then I went over and threw up and I felt better. I decided to do it to finish out my workout.”

Running in four events, so close in proximity to each other, had its challenges. But Allen pulled through.

“The only other person I know that can do that is Edward Cheserek.”

Cheserek, who has 13 national titles during his time in an Oregon uniform, was a little “dinged up” heading into Saturday’s meet, according to Johnson. The Oregon coaching staff tried to hold Cheserek out of racing, but Johnson said Cheserek had other ideas.

“He wanted to push through and run here for our fans, unbeknownst to us trying to get him not to,” Johnson said. “That’s who he is and the type of commitment he has.”

Cheserek lost to Washington’s Corey Gilbert by just over six seconds.

“Probably next time we’ll exercise veto power no matter what,” Johnson said.

Despite the tie, Johnson recognized that his athletes worked hard. He also said going up against some good competition like Penn State is beneficial.

“For us to compete the way we did today, this weekend, I think it bodes well for us moving forward,” Johnson said.

Oregon’s Marcus Chambers (400) and Greg Skipper (men’s hammer throw) also won individual events on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big breakfast powers Allen to four wins

Even a breakfast of corned beef hash and eggs with a pancake and four events wasn’t enough to stop Devon Allen at the Pepsi Invitational Saturday. The sophomore plowed through his event schedule, winning the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles, and helping Oregon’s relay teams to a win 4×100 meter and a third-place finish in the 4×400.

Never one to doubt himself, Allen acknowledged the difficulty of the his meet schedule.

“Being able to run four events at 25 or 30 minutes apart, the only other person I know that can do that is Edward Cheserek,” Allen said, referring to his distance-running teammate, a 14-time All-American and a 13-time NCAA champion in track and cross country.

Allen opened the event-heavy day with a big breakfast at the Wild Duck restaurant with his family.

He followed up the breakfast by competing in the 4×100, running the first leg. He quickly gained ground for the men’s team on the opening corner before handing off to Kirk Merritt, who maintained that speed.

The men won the relay in 40.06 seconds, edging out Penn State by less than a half second.

Allen readied for his next event just 25 minutes later. Next up was his specialty, the 110 hurdles.

Allen shot out of the blocks strong and maintained until about the halfway mark, at which point he said he “just fell apart.”

For Allen, falling apart means losing form, yet he still won the event and secured a meet record in 13.40.

Allen maintained the momentum, running the 400 hurdles just over an hour later.

In this race, the dual-sport athlete gunned the first 100 meters, making up the stagger. With 300 to go, Allen had the clear advantage.

He finished the race in 52.25, a second off his personal best, winning his third event of the day.

With just one event to go, Allen started to feel sick. That big breakfast began catching up to him, and he questioned if he wanted to compete in the last event of day: the 4×400 meter relay.

“I talked to my coaches about not running,” Allen said. “But then I went and threw up and felt better.”

Allen took on the second leg of the relay for the Ducks, who took third in the event in 3:15.50 behind Penn State and Washington.

Though he confirmed he will be competing for the Ducks next weekend in the Oregon Relays, joking that he may even compete in the decathlon, for today, Allen is going to take things easy.

“I’m going to go hang out with my family tonight, enjoy the day.”

Mulder’s kick gives him 800-meter win

After four months of rehab, Tyler Mulder of Oregon Track Club Elite opened his 2016 outdoor season with a win in the 800 meters at the Oregon Relays.

Mulder has dealt with hamstring tendinopathy for the past four months, a rare injury found in distance runners. This injury hasn’t stopped him from running completely; it’s just slowed his progress.

Nathan Fleck of High Performance led through the first three quarters of the race, with Mulder trailing by 10 meters. With 150 meters to go, Mulder made his move, easily passing Fleck on the Bowerman curve. Oregon senior Grant Grosvenor went with him. Mulder was able to hold Grosvenor off in the last steps, claiming the victory in 1:50.50.

“It’s not a fast time or anything but most importantly I haven’t really raced much, I’ve been banged up and hurt,” he said. “Which was hard to bounce back from, so coming out here and getting a win is pretty good.”

Mulder said he tried not to think about the fact that he came into the race as the number one seed.

“I tried to come in just thinking of myself as someone who’s getting over rehab and just coming through to be competitive,” he said. “I didn’t want to take the spotlight and charge from the front which is where I feel comfortable. I like a fast pace, but not quite yet.”

Mulder is hoping to hit the 1:46 standard needed to compete in the Olympic Trials later this year.

“I like my situation,” he said. “I’m a bit of an underdog, so no one is probably expecting much of me, and I’m just going to go with that approach.”

He leaves Sunday morning to Flagstaff to join his team for a couple weeks of altitude training before competing again at the Drake Relays later this month.

 

 

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