WSU’s Vallery Korir edges BYU’s Ashleigh Warner in 3,000

By Collin Catman

On a day where a torrential rain came down sideways, thanks to gusts of wind up to 49 miles-per-hour, Vallery Korir of Washington State won the women’s 3,000 meters Saturday at the Pepsi Invitational, edging out BYU’s Ashleigh Warner by 0.46 seconds.

Up until the last two laps, Korir was last in the pack. She kept a steady pace throughout and was able to outlast the field, narrowly escaping with the win in 9 minutes, 51.38 seconds.

Korir and Warner eventually separated themselves from the rest of the pack, and Oregon’s Carmela Cardama Baez, who finished third, crossed the finish line a second after Warner.

“We just wanted to get out here and get good training in,” said Warner. “I didn’t really care about my time. I knew my time would come.”

The conditions played a significant part for not only Warner, but the rest of the field as well. Korir’s winning time also fell short of her personal best, 20.4 seconds faster at the UW vs. WSU Dual in 2017.The weather negatively impacted her time, which was 9:51.84.

“I think that time was maybe 30 seconds off my personal best, but with these conditions I can’t complain,” Warner said.

Though Warner did not win the race, she didn’t put too much stock into the time, saying that she would not compete in the 3,000 in the postseason.

“You can’t run that at regionals or nationals, so it really was just to get some more milage in and some more training in,” Warner said. “But I feel good and excited for the rest of the season.”

With wind at his back, Ja’Maun Charles finishes second in 100

By Nate Mann

Although Ja’Maun Charles is from Pleasanton, California, training in the rain of Pullman, Washington, prepared him for races like Saturday’s 100 meters at the Pepsi Team Invitational. In fact, he had endured a similar environment at Hayward Field itself, placing third in the poor conditions of Pac-12 Championships’ 100-meter race last year.

In Saturday’s 100 meters, to counter an impressive headwind, meet officials shifted the 100-meter race to the east straightaway. Charles braved the storm alongside 14 others for a competitive 100 meters, finishing second in his heat and second overall, running a near-personal-record of 10.41 seconds, wind-aided. Clark Brown of BYU won the race in 10.34.

Charles appreciated the swap of race location, saying, “Whenever you get a chance to run with the wind, that’s always a plus. Running into the headwind, that’s kind of hard sometimes.”

Learning from the 2017 Pac-12 Championships, Charles took the necessary precautions to avoid weather-caused injuries. “I do a lot longer warmup just because it’s cold and raining, and then I usually try to keep my tights on as long as possible. Your muscles get cold and then you get injury – we’re really trying not to make that happen right now.”

Charles was still affected by the weather, though. Even with the wind behind him, rain clouded the sprinter’s vision. “When the rain’s going in your face … you can’t really see that well and you think, ‘I hope I’m staying in the lane right now.’”

Charles criticized his start for being a little slow, saying his reaction time isn’t where he wants it yet. He understands his potential when benefitting from a strong start: “With some fine tuning, we’ll have it right by the next race. We’re competing for 10ths or 100ths of seconds, so anything will help.”

Charles also competed in Washington State’s 4×100-meter relay, which finished second behind Brigham Young University. But the two second-place finishes might not have been Charles’ favorite aspect of this year’s Pepsi Invitational. His inner track fanboy emerged when he said, “It’s always a plus getting to run on this track, so many fast people run on it. Whenever we get a chance to compete here, I’m always excited. Even in the rain.”

Mick Stanovsek happy with second place in 800 after a hard week of training

By Bryce Dole

Walk-on turned three-time All-America Mick Stanovsek was one of three Ducks who set the pace in the men’s 800 meters Saturday at the Pepsi Invitational in trying conditions of rain pushed sideways by winds averaging upwards of 20 mph.

He ended up in second place with a time of 1 minute, 52.21 seconds, just .17 seconds behind Brigham Young runner Abraham Alvarado.

“We’re in a hard block of training, so I think we got as much as we could out of it,” said Stanovsek. “Obviously, whenever you toe the line you want to win. That’s why we run at Oregon.”

“The goal was just to win,” agreed Alvarado, whose time was 1:52.04 and who hopes to challenge for an NCAA title in the 800 or 1,500 this season. “We didn’t care about the time today, so we’re pretty happy with it.”

Stanovsek thought he had a chance to win, but he couldn’t keep up with Alvarado in the homestretch.

“Eighty (meters) to go is what I’ve been working towards,” Stanovsek said. “I just told myself if you don’t catch him in the first 20, then just keep your form like coach tells you and try and catch him in the last 80 … He’s a very strong runner and today just turned out the way that it did.”

Stanovsek is coming off a promising indoor season that included a personal best for the mile in 3:57.90 in January at New York’s Columbia Challenge, which placed him ranked all-time for the indoor mile at Oregon. When asked if he would be pursuing the 800 this season, Stanovsek said, “We’re definitely looking for some fast times, but the focus is the 1,500 meter.”

Despite a fall during preliminary rounds of the men’s mile at the NCAA Indoor National Championships in March, Stanovsek came back with an impressive 1:47 800-meter split in the men’s distance medley relay, helping his team to a third-place finish.

This team aspect also pushed Stanovsek in Saturday’s race when teammate Sam Prakel took the lead at the bell lap. Prakel pressed a hard pace down the back stretch and around the Bowerman curve until being passed by the top two finishers, placing third in 1:52.48.

“Sam is an awesome guy and a really good friend,” said Stanovsek. “It kind of made it feel a bit more like practice.”

Next stop for the mid-distance men of Oregon is the Bryan Clay Invitational in Los Angeles, where Stanovsek will be running his second 1,500 of the outdoor season.

Sprinter Shae Anderson Shines in First Home Meet at Hayward Field

By Jenny Sanchez

Oregon freshman sprinter and hurdler Shae Anderson has been dreaming about sprinting at Hayward Field since becoming a Duck. That dream came true at Saturday’s Pepsi Team Invitational as Anderson helped her team win the 4×100-meter relay in 43.92 seconds and third in the 200-meter dash in a wind-aided 23.82.

To contribute to her first home-meet jitters, Anderson celebrated her 19th year of life.

“Coming into the track meet, I was pretty pumped because today is my birthday,” Anderson said. “So it is pretty exciting to have a home meet on my birthday and for my first-time ever race running at Hayward Field. I just have a lot of adrenaline running through me today.”

Gusty rain took up most of the events, but the California springer said the weather did not affect her performance too badly.

“I never ran a race before in the rain, but I adjusted pretty well to this weather,” she said. “The water kept going in my eyes. So, it was kind of hard and I just couldn’t see, but I still felt good and I still ran a pretty good race.”

In her first season, Anderson has a goal to record her personal best in every event, go up in the rankings and to compete in the NCAA championships.

As one of the most decorated and accomplished athletes to come out of the state of California in 2017, Slim Shady, as her friends and teammates like to call her, also wants to contribute to Oregon’s team success.

“My main focus for the season right now is the 400 meters, and my PR for that from high school is a 51.99,” she said. “I definitely want to break those personal bests, and to top the season off, I want to contribute to the successes of my fellow teammates.”

Oregon Freshman Jasmin Reed shocked with wind-aided 100-meter PR

By Katelyn Hansen

Heavy downpour and fast headwinds typically hinder an athlete’s race, but not for freshman Jasmin Reed on Saturday in the women’s 100 meters at the Pepsi Team Invitational. Finishing second behind her teammate Venessa D’Arpino, Reed ran a wind-aided personal best of 11.38 seconds.

“As soon as I saw my time, I was like, `Whoa, are you kidding me?’ And I ran to my teammate and gave her a high five,” said Reed.

Reed returned to competition after a groin injury two weeks ago at the Aztec Invitational. She was not happy with her execution and speed there and said her nerves were “all in the air” preparing to run at Hayward Field for the first time.

“But I used them as good nerves and used it to my advantage,” she said, “and I did better than I had thought.”

Reed had the advantage with the wind on her tail, pushing her to the finish line and blowing out her old PR of 11.57. Although she is from Oregon, she is not used to running in the rain because in high school she ran under the grandstands.

For the future, she plans on living and learning through her coach’s words: “It’s a lifestyle, not a two-hour-a-day sport.”

She hopes for an even better time when the weather conditions are different and believes winning is what Oregon does. “I am excited to continue the legacy with my team this year,” she said.

 

NCAA Championships: Here’s what happened on Day Four

Day Four of the NCAA outdoor track and field national championships proved to be an exciting day right to the end. Just as it did Friday with the men’s team race, Saturday’s race for the women’s team title came down to the final event: the 4×400-meter relay.

In the men’s relay, Florida needed to finish fourth to beat Texas A&M in the overall points. But in the women’s relay, Oregon needed to win for the Ducks to earn the title and the first ever triple crown (cross country, indoor and outdoor national champions) in women’s NCAA history. Emma Childs covered the Ducks’ triumph for Run Blog Run.

Sisters Danielle and Christina Aragon of Billings, Montana, finished 12th and seventh in the 1,500 meters, and the two managed to spend time together off the track while in Eugene. Sierra Webster has the story for 406 Montana Sports.

Also competing in the 1,500 was Nikki Hiltz, who finished second by .02. Linden Moore has the story for the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Texas A&M sprinter Aaliyah Brown set the goal of running in the 100 and 200 at the NCAAs, and she did just that, finishing seventh in the 100 and fourth in the 200. Isaac Gibson has the story for the Houston Chronicle.

In a dramatic 200 in which the favorite to win, Oregon’s Deajah Stevens, fell with 15 meters to go, Harvard’s Gabby Thomas finished third for the second year in a row. Shawn Medow has the story for Thomas’ hometown newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The women of Oregon were not the only athletes to get a triple crown on Saturday as Missouri runner Karissa Schweizer earned the distance triple crown with a win in the 5,000 meters. Maverick Pallack has the story for Run Blog Run.

An American junior record was set by Colorado’s Madie Boreman, who finished second in Saturday’s steeplechase. Abigail Winn has the story for RunBlogRun.

Close NCAA team victory gives Oregon women the sport’s first-ever triple crown

By Emma Childs

It was tough for the No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks after having zero points heading into the final day of competition at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, but the Oregon women proved that they are “tougher together” after they made NCAA history Saturday.

The Ducks became the first women’s team to caputure the triple crown with team titles in cross country, indoor track and field and now outdoor track and field. They won with 64 points, just 1.8 ahead of Georgia.

“All around the country you hear about Bowerman and ‘the men of Oregon,’” said Raevyn Rogers, who won the 800 meters and anchored the winning 4×400 relay. “But now it’s like. … I wouldn’t say it’s ‘Johnson and the women of Oregon,’ now it’s like the women of Oregon themselves. … It’s all building up to what it is now.”

The win did not come about easily for the Ducks. Sprinter Deajah Stevens fell 15 meters from the finish line while leading the 200-meter dash, costing her the NCAA title and the Ducks basically eight team points because Stevens and Ariana Washington were predicted to finish 1-2. Hayward Field was silent.

Stevens brushed off her scrapes and frustration to race in the team’s 4×400 meter relay later on. Rogers outkicked USC’s fourth runner to win the Ducks a collegiate record, 3:23.13, and the national title.  

“We all depend on each other in the 4×4,” Stevens said. “We all have to do our part, and having Raevyn on the anchor leg we were very confident. We knew she was going to fight.”

Oregon had to fight for that triple crown. Georgia, which scored all of its points in field events, took the team lead right before the last event, so the Ducks needed to win the 4×400 relay in order to win the entire meet.

Stevens was disqualified after her fall, making her eligible to race again. Georgia claimed Stevens shouldn’t have been eligible to race in the relay and protested the win.

The Oregon women stood nervously on the infield waiting for the official results, and when their win was confirmed, they embraced and Hayward Field erupted. (more…)

Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer Wins NCAA Distance Triple Crown

By Maverick Pallack

Missouri distance runner Karissa Schweizer won the 5,000-meter triple crown after winning the 5,000 meters Saturday at the NCAA track and field championships at Hayward Field with a time of 15 minutes, 38.93 seconds, besting her third-place finish last year in the same meet.

Schweizer won the 6,000-meter NCAA cross country championship on Nov. 19 with a time of 19:41.70, won the NCAA indoor championship on March 11 with a time of 15:19.14 and on Saturday ended her season with another win.

She became the first female athlete to achieve the triple crown since Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego in 2008, the same year Kipyego set the record for the 5,000 meters at the NCAA outdoor meet.

Schweizer knew what was at stake before the race and knew exactly what she had accomplished when she crossed the finish line.

“Truly unbelievable,” Schweizer said. “I never would have thought that would happen. It means so much to me, my team, my school and my coaches. It’s just an awesome feeling.” (more…)

Freshman Madie Boreman finishes second in NCAA steeplechase with U.S. junior record

By Abigail Winn

Madie Boreman wasn’t even thinking about qualifying for the NCAA championships this season. But she did that and more. She took second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final and set a new American junior record.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” she said. “It’s feels really surreal right now.”

The Colorado University freshman took second with a time of 9 minutes, 46.48 seconds, around five seconds behind the winner, Boise State freshman Allie Ostrander, at 9:41.31. Penn State senior Tori Gerlach took third.

Fourth-place finisher Elinor Purrier said she didn’t really see Boreman and Gerlach pass her in the last 100 meters for the podium. “It was kind of a blur,” she said.

(more…)

NCAA Championships: Here’s what happened on Day Three

By Shawn Medow

Day Three of the NCAA Championships was action-packed as the men’s championship came down to the final event of the day: the 4×400 relay. Texas A&M won the relay, but Florida finished in fourth, which was just enough for the Gators to win the national championships with 61.5 points to Texas A&M’s 59.5. (Oregon finished ninth with 19.5 points.) Isaac Gibson covered the Aggies throughout the men’s meet for the Houston Chronicle.

Tennessee sprinter and 100-meter collegiate record holder Christian Coleman is the 2017 NCAA national champion in both the 100 and 200. Read Maggie Vanoni’s story for the Knoxville News Sentinel on Coleman’s double here.

In the men’s 800-meter final, Penn State’s Isaiah Harris finished second after a collision on the final lap between UTEP runners Michael Saruni and Emmanuel Korir. Read Gus Morris’ story for the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine.

Gonzaga steeplechaser Troy Fraley became the school’s first track All-American in the steeplechase, and Colorado’s Zach Perrin finished 11th in the 5,000 meters. Read Jack Butler’s story on the two Kalispell alums for 406mtsports.com.

New Mexico’s Josh Kerr took the 1,500-meter race in 3 minutes, 43.03 seconds, 0.47 seconds ahead of Michigan State’s Justine Kiprotich. Gus Morris wrote about the race for Run Blog Run.

Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley won the 400-meter race in 44.10 seconds after out-kicking the field in the final 100 meters. Kim Holm has the story for Run Blog Run. 

Florida junior Christoff Bryan reached a season-high in the high jump at 7 feet, 3 inches, beating Texas Tech junior Trey Culver to win the NCAA title. Becky Hoag wrote the story for Run Blog Run.

Florida freshman Grant Holloway was instrumental for the Gators’ team national championship, winning the 110-meter hurdles and anchoring the 4×400 relay at the end of the meet to help clinch the title. Ariel Sax has the story for Run Blog Run.

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