Month: June 2016

Eaton, Felix say injuries won’t stop them at Olympic Trials

By Keeler McJunkin

Defending Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton and four-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix updated the status of their respective injuries during a news conference at the Eugene Hilton Wednesday afternoon previewing the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials that begin Friday at Hayward Field.

Eaton, an Oregon alum, said he injured his quad at a meet in late May, while Felix has been nursing an ankle injury suffered in April.

The injuries caused both to change their training routines leading up to the Olympic trials.

Eaton has been nursing a quad injury suffered during the long jump at Ostrava Golden Spike in the Czech Republic. He said the injury wasn’t serious, but added he could have handled the whole situation better.

“It was simply bad judgment on my part,” Eaton said. “I’d never had something like that. I should have got it scanned right away, and then done all the appropriate things like stay off of it. I just didn’t do it because I’d never had it before.” (more…)

Devon Allen believes he can hang with the ‘big dogs’ in 110 hurdles

By Isaac Gibson

When Oregon hurdler Devon Allen looked back on what inspired him to pursue his Olympic dreams, he remembered watching Usain Bolt breaking world records at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“I was 12 and was running club track by then, and all my friends were talking about it,” Allen said. “I think that was the first time I ever thought that was a possibility, and it was something that I wanted to do.”

Allen, a redshirt sophomore, will join 10 other Oregon teammates who will be competing for a spot on the Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic trials, July 1-10 at Hayward Field. He just finished his collegiate season by winning the NCAA championships in the men’s 110-meter hurdles and was also the Pac-12 champion in both the 110 hurdles and 200 meters.

This will be Allen’s second time facing off against the best runners the U.S. has to offer. Allen was just a freshman when he won the 2014 U.S. outdoor championships in 13.16. He ran that same time at the NCAA outdoor championships that year, which set both a school and a meet record. However, this year should be more challenging, and Allen is expecting that.

“It will definitely be at a higher level because every Olympic year guys are fine-tuned and locked-in to run fast,” he said. “I think being the 2014 champion kind of gives me more confidence, but it doesn’t really matter how fast you run. The goal is to place top three.” (more…)

Raevyn Rogers defends her NCAA 800-meter title

by Romaine Soh

Right before Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers toed the line for the 800 meters Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, teammate Ariana Washington, the newly crowned 100-meter champion, walked past Rogers, pointed at her and said, “It’s your turn.”

Said Rogers, “I’m just like ‘Shh!’ I know. Just don’t add that pressure on me.’”

With 150 meters to go, déjà vu set in as Rogers executed her signature kick to take the lead, reminiscent to last year, when she blasted past the leader. This year, once past the leaders, Rogers never looked back, steadily extending her lead to win the race with a time of 2 minutes, 0.75 seconds and become a back-to-back champion.

Rogers has already qualified for the Olympic Trials with her winning time of 1:59.71 at last year’s NCAAs. Now, she can focus on breaking the 1:59 barrier.

“It was a different feel winning it for the first time last year,” said Rogers, who made sure to mention teammates, including 15-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek and two-time 110-hurdle champion Devon Allen. “I give Ches, Devon, all of them so much credit. It’s so difficult. But I’ve had a lot of support and positivity this week, and that’s really helped me.”

Stanford sophomore Olivia Baker put in a final surge on the home straight to clinch second with a time of 2:02.65, a new PR. Brigham Young junior Shea Collinsworth outlasted last year’s runner-up Claudia Saunders to finish third with a time of 2:02.83. Saunders finished fourth in 2:02.99.

Rogers’ win marks the third consecutive time an Oregon woman has won the event. Laura Roesler won in 2014, and Rogers has continued the legacy with her wins the past two years. (more…)

Ariana Washington sweeps NCAA sprints for Oregon women

By Isaac Gibson

Last year, as a freshman, Oregon’s Ariana Washington sat on the sidelines due to a broken foot during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. “I remember watching the 100 and watching Jenna (Prandini) win and come back for the 200,” Washington said. “You just don’t think, ‘That is going to be me next year.’ You just don’t, and it never crossed my mind.”

But now as a healthy redshirt freshman, Washington was the deciding factor.

On Saturday at Hayward Field, she shocked the home crowd by winning the 100-meter and 200-meter titles, scoring 20 team points for the Ducks. She also anchored the women’s 4×100 meter relay team to a third-place finish. Her performance helped the Oregon women, who struggled on the first day of the meet, to finish in second place with 62 points, 10 points behind Arkansas.

Washington started the day with the relay, leading the team, which was without Hannah Cunliffe, who was injured on the first day, to a third-place finish in 42.91 seconds. “The 4×100 has always been a warm-up for me,” said Washington. “And after running it, I had a good feeling about how I was gonna do in the 100.”

That good feeling led Washington to a new personal best of 10.95 in the 100, her first time breaking the 11-second barrier for the first time. “I was like, ‘Umm, oh my God, what the heck, did I just do that?’ she said.

Washington beat San Diego State’s Ashley Henderson by .01 second. (more…)

Brazier smashes Jim Ryun’s 50-year-old record in winning NCAA 800 meters

By Madi Layton

Entering his 800-meter race Friday at the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, Texas A&M freshman Donavan Brazier said he didn’t anticipate running anything special.

But after a grueling two laps, Brazier shattered Jim Ryun’s 50-year-old national collegiate record by nearly a second. Brazier ran 1 minute, 43.55 seconds, breaking Ryun’s 1966 mark of 1:44.3.

“I was just focused on a place,” Brazier said. “I knew if I got in the right place, like first, second or third, I’d have a good time. I didn’t expect first, though.”

As though it needed to be said, Brazier also broke the NCAA meet record with his historic win. (more…)

Allen and Cheserek win NCAA titles for Oregon; Ducks finish fourth overall

By Romaine Soh

The Oregon Ducks faced many hurdles going into the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this year. Redshirt sophomore Devon Allen was just getting back after tearing his ACL last year. Junior Edward Cheserek had been struggling during low-key home meets after a stellar cross country and indoor season.

Though the Oregon men failed to defend their NCAA team title Friday, two of them managed to score three individual titles. Allen powered through several hurdles to win his second NCAA 110-meter hurdles title. Cheserek executed his signature kick to successfully defend his 5000 and 10,000-meter titles, firmly dispelling any doubts that both of them were too injured to compete, let alone win.

Allen and Cheserek contributed 30 points to the team’s 48 points, which saw the Oregon men finishing fourth. Florida won the title with 62 points, followed by Arkansas (56) and Texas A&M (50).

“It was probably not what we were looking for, but our kids put in a valiant effort,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “We didn’t give it away. Florida came and they took it.” (more…)

A year after fall, Mason Ferlic comes back to win NCAA steeplechase

By Kylee O’Connor

After falling headfirst into Hayward Field’s steeplechase water barrier at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last year, Mason Ferlic was looking to prove himself.

One year later, at the NCAA championships 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday, Ferlic left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was the best runner in the field.

Ferlic, a redshirt senior at Michigan, led nearly the entire race and won in a personal best time of 8 minutes, 27.16 seconds.

“It was kind of like a rags to riches story, I guess—something like that,” he said. “But, I try not to think about that fall. I’m past it, you know, I can have a good sense of humor about it. It changed me as a person and an athlete and just made me stronger.” (more…)

Clayton Murphy Wins first NCAA Outdoor title in 1,500

By Isaac Gibson

Akron junior Clayton Murphy took the lead down the homestretch of Hayward Field and won his first NCAA outdoor championship in the 1,500 meters Friday in 3 minutes, 36.38 seconds, the leading time in the U.S. this year.

“I’ve never gotten to run a victory lap around Hayward before,” said Murphy. “Getting to do that for the first time was really cool.”

Murphy is known for running the 800 meters. It has been his event in every championship race he has competed in as a collegian. He won the NCAA indoor title in the event and has a personal best of 1:45.49.

In Friday’s race, Murphy stayed toward the back of the lead pack. As the race began to spread out, it was a battle between Izaic Yorks of Washington and Henry Wynne of Virginia.

Yorks’ plan was to run a fast race to take the finishing kick out of Murphy. “But obviously that didn’t work,” Yorks said. (more…)

Oregon women endure tough Day One at NCAA championships

By Zac Neel

The rain started to pour down midway through the second day of the NCAA Track and Field Championships on Thursday at Hayward Field, and with it, the Oregon women’s track team’s hopes to defend its national title slowly washed away.

From a dropped baton in the 4×400 meter relay resulting in a DQ to sophomore Hannah Cunliffe pulling up short of the finish line in the 100 due to an injury, the chances for Oregon to finish the weekend with a spot on the podium, let alone repeat as national champions, is looking bleak. The Ducks are tied for 22nd with four points, well behind the leader, Arkansas, which has 26.

Oregon coach Robert Johnson said he wasn’t sure the Ducks have enough competitors remaining to contend for the title. “But we are going to go back out there and try, of course,” he said. “That is why they run the race.”

Oregon’s woes continued when freshman Lilli Burdon missed qualifying in the 1,500 by six seconds and freshman Alaysha Johnson missed the cut in the 100 hurdles.

Junior Brittany Mann was the only athlete to score for the Ducks, placing fifth in the shot put with a distance of 57 feet, 4 inches, a personal best and school record. (more…)

Cheserek win 10,000 to push Oregon men to NCAA lead

By Kylee O’Connor

After two uncharacteristic losses at Hayward Field this season, which led to lingering questions of unknown injuries, Edward Cheserek said that he was 90 percent as he won the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday.

The Oregon junior won in a time of 29 minutes, 9.57 seconds, about 40 seconds off of his personal best time of 28:30.18, which he ran at this meet as a freshman. It was still a little over a second ahead of second-place finisher Futsum Zienasellassie of Northern Arizona.

This is Cheserek’s third-straight NCAA 10,000-meter title and his 14th NCAA title overall in track and cross-country. The win pushed the Oregon men into the lead for the team race. Oregon has 19 points, 10 from Cheserek’s victory, and Arkansas is not far behind with 16.

Cheserek stayed toward the front of the pack throughout the entire race and waited to kick until the opportunity presented itself with 400 to go. Cheserek ran his final lap around 57 seconds. When asked how long he was willing to wait to kick, he responded with “as long as I can.” (more…)

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