Hayward Field

Colorado sweeps the Men’s 5,000 meters with no Cheserek

By Maverick Pallack

More than 20 runners dropped out of the 5,000 meters before the gun at the Pac-12  championships, including 17-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek.

Without Cheserek, confidence was gained by some runners, including Zach Perrin of Colorado, the eventual winner.

“Obviously when a guy like that’s not in it, you start to be a little more hopeful and think you can win it.” Perrin said. “My goal was to place as high as I could and then with two to three laps to go, I was like, ‘Holy smokes. I’m feeling pretty good; I think I might be able to do it today.’” (more…)

USC’s Sloan and Smallwood double down in men’s triple jump

By Shawn Medow

USC triple jumpers Eric Sloan and Dominic Smallwood are called “Dumb and Dumber” by their friends and teammates. The two live next door to each other, and along with high jumper Randall Cunningham, they make up what they call “jump squad.” They train together and compete against one another frequently.

But, that sense of competitiveness was not evident during the Pac-12 championships Sunday at Hayward Field as each celebrated the other’s jumps, even if it bested their own.

“I told him that if he didn’t beat me, I was gonna be mad at him,” Smallwood said.

Sloan won the title with a jump of 52 feet, 6 inches, and Smallwood finished second at 51-8 1/2 inches. On the final jump, Smallwood took the lead ahead of Sloan, who had led since the third jump, but Sloan won it all on his final leap.

“Right before I jumped, coach Caryl (Smith Gilbert) came over,” Smallwood said. “She told me to relax and just do what coach told me to do.”

“I didn’t know it was beating him, but I knew it was a decent jump,” Sloan said. “I knew he jumped big, so I got hyped up and knew I had to jump big too. I just let out the emotion.”


Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen Dominates Throws at Pac-12 Championships

By Morgan Sudduth

Maggie Ewen sometimes goes by the nickname “Maggi-tron,” according to one of her athletic trainers at Arizona State, and  she sure lived up to the name at the Pac-12 championships at Hayward Field Sunday.

Maggie Ewen not only won the women’s hammer with a throw of 230 feet, 4 inches, but also women’s discus with her first throw of 196-2.  And the day before, she won the shot put, giving her 30 team points for Arizona State and the honor of Female Athlete of the Meet.

 “It feels great, you know, I couldn’t have asked for obviously any more. I couldn’t have done anymore,” said Ewen. “I’m just so happy it came all together when it needed to.”

Ewen, the defending champion in the hammer throw, had only two good throws, but her best was more than 230 feet and untouchable. Washington’s Onyie Chibuogwu came in second with a throw of 201-5. (more…)

Simpson and Holmes dominate in men’s long jump and place in other events too

By Becky Hoag

Oregon junior Damarcus Simpson was bound to be one of the favorites in the Pac-12 championship men’s long jump, not only because the event took place at Hayward Field this weekend, but also because he broke a 12-year indoor Oregon track record, jumping 26 feet, 3.5 inches to win the Columbia East-West Challenge in New York earlier this year.

After a slight rough start with a foul on the first jump, Simpson jumped 26-1 even with a +2.5 wind, setting a high standard for the rest of the competition. UCLA freshman Isaiah Holmes accepted the challenge.

“He was out there saying, ‘Hey, you better get those spikes back on,’” Simpson said. “Hey, that was great for him. I’m always rooting for competitors to do really good. Even if it’s better than me, we have to compete; that’s what we are out here for.”

Even though Holmes got close, he fouled on his last attempt, settling for second with 25-11, his personal outdoor best. Simpson’s 26-1 stood up as the winning mark.


UO Freshman Foster gets unexpected women’s long jump victory

By Becky Hoag

Oregon welcomed competitors of the Pac-12 championships first day with copious amounts of rain. This posed an extra challenge for those coming from warmer areas like Southern California and Arizona. Still, the competition did not let up.

Originally it looked like it would be a competition between Oregon and Oregon State during the women’s long jump, but USC sophomore Margaux Jones would not let the weather get in the way of placing.

“Being a SoCal girl, it is definitely different, but you can’t blame the competition or performance on weather,” said Jones. “You’ve just got to do the best you can.”

While she was hoping to get first place, Jones was satisfied with second place with 20 feet, ½ inch, scoring eight points for her team.


Stanford’s Little Makes a Big Mark in Women’s Javelin

By Morgan Sudduth

Mackenzie Little began her track and field career in high school doing hurdles. Although she loved it, it was on a rainy day like Saturday’s Pac-12 Championship where she stumbled upon an event that would change her career.

“The hurdles was canceled and so I went over to the javelin instead, which was still on in the rain,” said Little. “And then the coach told me to come back.”

Little, an Australian, won the Pac-12 javelin title on the final throw with a mark of 173 feet, 11 inches. (more…)

Boreman wins steeplechase for Colorado’s second straight win

By Ariel Sax

Colorado’s Madison Boreman won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Pac-12 championships on Saturday by sprinting from third place in the last 50 meters to pass Colorado’s Sage Hurta and Utah’s Grayson Murphy.

Her winning time was 10 minutes, 6.83 seconds.

The last two laps were a major turnaround for Colorado and defined their strengths. Hurta, who placed second with a time of 10:07.87, and Boreman came in with specific tactics in mind.

“We weren’t going to go out there and take the lead from the start because it was just about getting to the last 200 meters for us,” said Hurta. “We’re more middle distance runners.”


Cal’s Bethan Knights comes third in 10,000 with her biggest fan in attendance

By Shawn Medow

Nerys Knights could not stay seated while her daughter, Bethan, ran the 10,000 meters Saturday at the Pac-12 championships. She rose to her feet, went back down to her seat, then rose again to take a photograph with her camera. Nerys did not take her eyes off the track.

Bethan, a Cal junior, placed third behind Colorado runners Erin Clark and Makena Morley, who finished in 33 minutes and 23.92 seconds and 33 minutes and 29.22 seconds, respectively.

“I wanted to compete for her —Mother’s Day weekend,” Bethan said. “It means so much for me to have my family come out. They make it to all the events and that makes a difference because I want to put myself out there.”

Even with the third-place finish, Bethan set her personal record at 33 minutes, 30.13 seconds—1.12 seconds better than her previous best.

“I wasn’t going for time today—just kind of going in there to get some points for Cal,” Bethan said. “I just like running the 10K. I just went in there to compete today; I didn’t have a time goal —you know I actually thought it was going to be a lot slower — one second PR is pretty good.”


Roth Wins 3,000-meter Steeplechase With Help From U.S. Olympian

By Maverick Pallack

Arizona distance runner Bailey Roth’s training partner is no ordinary friend; he is his idol as well. Bernard Lagat is a five-time Olympian and is the American record holder for the 1,500, 3,000 and the 5,000 meters.

“I grew up looking up to him,” Roth said. “I have always studied his form and training. Now to have my dreams come true and to be able to train with him and call him a friend, is just unbelievable.”

Saturday in the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships, Roth used what he learned from his friend and training partner to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes, 39.83 seconds after trailing for most of the race.

Roth used what he calls “the slingshot curve” to take the lead on the last water jump, and take the championship from UCLA runner Austin O’Neil, who finished second in 8:46.78. (more…)

U.S. Olympic Trials: What Happened on Day 6

DeAnna Price reacts after her third-place finish in the women's hammer throw. (Photo by Dillon Vibes)

DeAnna Price reacts after her third-place finish in the women’s hammer throw, which put the 2016 NCAA champ in the Olympics. Photo by Dillon Vibes

For many of the athletes, Wednesday was designated for rest. For our bureau of track reporters, however, it was just another day. The hammer throw was the main attraction, and only event, on Day Six, and for the first time ever it was contested on the infield at Hayward Field, rather than on the practice field known as the “Back 40.”

Check out some of our coverage for the day.

In the first event of the day, the women opened several track fans’ eyes to the hammer throw and how exciting it can be. In a spectacular display of events, Amber Campbell, Gwen Berry and DeAnna Price took turns capturing the top spot. Within a span of 15 minutes, each thrower also set a new meet record, only to be outdone by the next competitor. Campbell ended up on top, but the three of them will go to Rio. Hannah Bonnie has the story.

In the men’s hammer competition, Emma Decker wrote for DyeStat.com and Romaine Soh wrote for SOJC Track about Rudy Winkler, the first college athlete to win with since 1956, a milestone he achieved with a PR of 251 feet, 10 inches. However, Neither nor the second- and third-place finishers, Kibwe Johnson and Conor McCullough, have hit the Olympic standard, so they will not automatically qualify for the Rio Olympics. Should the field not fill up, there is a still a chance that the Americans could be extended an invitation to compete, but as of now it is in question.

Winner of the 2016 NCAA championshipsin the hammer throw, DeAnna Price, was one of the women to qualify for the Olympics on Wednesday. Zac Neel, writing for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, talked to her about the long road she traveled to get here, and how she went back on her vow to never pick up a hammer again after her freshman year in high school.

Kylee O’Connor wrote for the Tribune Chronicle in Warren, Ohio, covering Matthias Tayala, who surpassed many expectations by finishing sixth in the hammer throw. Tayala was pleased with his performance and is certain his future in the sport is bright.

Keeler McJunkin wrote about the concerns surrounding the Zika virus, and how athletes plan to cope with this threat while staying in Rio during the Olympics. While several athletes from around the world have announced that they will be boycotting the Olympic Games this year due to the danger, many track and field athletes say that the concerns won’t stop them from competing.

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