UO Track & Field

Ducks struggle a bit, but still think they can win Triple Crown

By Morgan Sudduth

EUGENE, Oregon — Even with the inability to participate in the women 4×100-meter relay due to a disqualification in the NCAA qualifying meet and a difficult first day at the NCAA track and field championships Thursday, the Women of Oregon say they are still in the game to make history.

Having won the NCAA titles in cross country and the indoor track and field championships, the women only need one more title at this week’s NCAA outdoor championships to be the first women’s team in NCAA history to win all three in the same season.

After the first day of competition Thursday, Oregon has zero team points. Georgia is in first place with 24.2 points, and Kentucky is in second with 14. Oregon’s projected toughest competition, USC, is in 14th place with 6 points.

Although the Ducks do not have any points so far, they were able to get 10 women to individually qualify for Saturday’s finals. Four of these events have two in the final: the 200- and 100 meter dashes, and the 100-meter hurdles.

These women now have a chance to get Oregon on the board.

“Every time we get on the line, it’s not just for [us] but it’s for everyone else with an O on their chest,” said sprinter Ariana Washington. “We’re sisters right now, and I think we know that we have something to prove to everyone, we have something to prove for ourselves … we’re almost to the finish line.” (more…)

U.S. Olympic Trials: What Happened on Day 8

Lane Community College’s Dakarai Hightower clears 7 feet ¼ inch in the preliminary round of the high jump, advancing him to Sunday’s final. Photo by Dillon Vibes

Lane Community College’s Dakarai Hightower clears 7 feet ¼ inch in the high jump qualifying, which was contested in a steady rain. He advanced to Sunday’s final. Photo by Dillon Vibes

It was a real Oregon track meet Friday at the U.S. Olympic trials, with the majority of races accompanied by unrelenting downpours. Puddles formed in lane one and athletes walked off the track soaked to the bone, but it didn’t prevent another set of record performances and upsets at Hayward Field. Read our pieces on individual events and athletes below.

Kylee O’Connor covered the men’s discus for DyeStat, where Wyoming grad Mason Finley won the competition with a throw of 208 feet, 1 inch, followed by Travis Bailey in second, and Andrew Evans in third. Finley said the rain did affect his performance, and there were 28 total fouls out of 60 attempts for the field.

Tori Bowie of Mississippi advanced to the semifinals of the 200. The University of Mississippi alum already has a spot on the Olympic team after coming in third in the finals of the 100. Isiah Young, also from Mississippi, failed to qualify for the finals of the men’s 200 by .28 seconds, coming in third in his heat. Emma Decker covered the events for two Mississippi newspapers, the Clarion-Ledger and the Hattiesburg American.

Keeler McJunkin followed the women’s 100-meter hurdles final, where nine of the top 12 times in the world this year have been posted by Americans. Brianna Rollins came in first with a time of 12.34, and joining her on the Olympic team are second place finisher Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali in third. It was a finish that surprised the field, as Keni Harrison, who had posted the top three times in the world this year and was a favorite to make the team, finished sixth.

The Oregon Ducks put on a show on their home turf, with eight competitors in the men’s 1,500 semifinals either current or former Ducks. Six qualified for the final on Sunday. The ones who did not make it were current Oregon athletes Matthew Maton and Sam Prakel. Isaac Gibson has the story. 

The high schoolers came out to show what they’re made of on day eight, with four prep athletes competing, two of whom qualified for final rounds. Romaine Soh talked to Christina Aragon and Kate Murphy, who both failed to advance to the 1,500 final. In the men’s 200 semifinal, Vista Murrieta High School senior Michael Norman beat Justin Gatlin to the line by 0.02 seconds. Norman and fellow prep competitor Noah Lyles will run in the finals of the men’s 200 Sunday.

And away from the track, event organizers have worked hard to implement sustainable practices into the trials — reusable water bottles, compost bins and the like. Hannah Bonnie explored efforts to make the Olympic trials green.

U.S. Olympic Trials: What Happened on Day 2

Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver and punt retuner for the Buffalo Bills, soars through the air in the long jump. He finished 12 was was the last qualifier for Sunday's final. Photo by Dillon Vibes

Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver and punt retuner for the Buffalo Bills, soars through the air in the long jump. He finished 12th was was the last qualifier for Sunday’s final. Photo by Dillon Vibes

Our team of journalists battled the heat on Saturday at Hayward Field to cover the U.S. Olympic Trials. Here is what we wrote:

In a single jump, Brittney Reese secured her spot on the Olympic team, recorded the longest jump in the year thus far, and broke the Hayward Field record. Reese now holds the second-longest jump by an American, sitting only behind American record-holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Emma Decker has the story for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver and 2012 Olympian Marquise Goodwin qualified for the men’s long jump final, but just barely. Zac Neel, writing for the Syracuse Media Group, asked him about his training balance between track and football, and what it would take to seal a trip to Rio.

Trayvon Bromell, who’s been struggling with injuries in his first season as a pro, posted the top time in the men’s 100-meter prelims, and Romaine Soh has the story for the Tampa Bay Times.

After pulling up short of the finish line cost her a world championship medal in 2015, Molly Huddle refused to let up in the women’s 10,000 meters, taking home the gold and securing a spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Kylee O’Connor has the story.

A total of six current and former Oregon Ducks advanced to the semifinal in the women’s 100 meter dash, with the likes of Jenna Prandini and English Gardner at the front of the pack. Hannah Bonnie anchored our coverage.

Keeler McJunkin wrote for the Tuscaloosa News, covering University of Alabama’s Quanesha Burks, who failed to advance in the women’s long jump. Burks finished in ninth place, one spot away from qualifying for the final.

And Isaac Gibson told the story of javelin thrower Nick Howe, who combined law school with training, for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

 

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…)

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…)

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…)

Two of three Oregon men advance to to NCAA 1,500-meter final

By Madison Layton

With a mix of talent, kick and just a pinch of fortune, Oregon advanced two of its three men’s 1,500-meter runners to the final after contrasting qualifying races.

Blake Haney and Sam Prakel will represent the Ducks in the men’s 1,500 Friday, leaving behind teammate Matthew Maton, who missed the qualifying mark by a couple seconds.

Haney and Prakel each skated into final in the final stretch of their races, with Haney finishing fifth in his heat in 3 minutes, 49.54 seconds, with Prakel taking third in 3:40.93.

“I think at that point you have to have a little bit of luck,” Haney said. “You’ve got to be ready to battle here. That’s what I was ready to do; I was ready to dive for the finish.”

Though each qualified, Haney and Prakel were each part of very different races.

Haney’s pack took things out painfully slow, while Prakel’s race, complete with standouts Henry Wynne of Virginia and Izaic Yorks of Washington, ran a race on par with season-best times.

“We knew it was going to go out fast to begin with because of the way Yorks and Henry Wynne run,” Prakel said. “They like to lead from the front, which is smart, and it definitely pulled a bunch of guys along in our heat.”

Noticeably absent from Friday’s action though will be freshman Maton, who entered the prelim with the best time from the Oregon field but finished 21st in the 24-person field.

“It’s a bummer,” Haney said.“Obviously, he’s one of my good friends and good teammates, so I really wanted him to get through.”

Haney and Prakel will advance to the Friday evening final to take on a field of 12 of the best men’s 1,500 runners in the country. With one fewer athlete in the running for Oregon points, the pair plans to make the most of the race.

“We need to score as many points as possible to help the team out,” Prakel said. “That’s the main goal.”

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