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…)

Danniel Thomas gets surprise victory in NCAA shot put

By Abigail Winn

EUGENE, Oregon — Kent State University senior Danniel Thomas was not fazed by the women she was competing with for the NCAA shot put title, including two-time NCAA outdoor champion and 2016 Olympian Raven Saunders.

“I just go out there and try to be in my own zone,” said Thomas, who competed in the Rio Olympics for her native Jamaica.  “I didn’t really let the fact that she was in the competition get in my head. If I do what I’m supposed to do, I will do very well.”

She did more than well. Thomas won the title with her final throw of 62 feet, 10 inches, over four feet further than second-place Louisville senior Emmonnie Henderson, who threw 58-9 1/2. USC post-grad and former Oregon Duck Brittany Mann took third with 57-4 3/4.

Saunders, the favorite, finished fourth. Her best throw was her first, 57-3 3/4, and she fouled on four of her six throws.

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NCAA MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS: WHAT HAPPENED ON WEDNESDAY

By Linden Moore

The top highlight from the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday, the first day of the men’s competition, including Tennessee’s Christian Coleman qualifying for the 100-meter final in 9.82 seconds, the fourth-fastest time on American soil. He also qualified for the 200-meter final in 20.21.

Maggie Vanoni has the story on his quest to become the first man since Justin Gatlin to double in the 100 and 200 at the NCAA championships via the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Other highlights, also covered by the SOJC track bureau:

Troy Faley qualified for the final in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, becoming Gonzaga’s first ever NCAA men’s outdoor finalist. Jack Butler covered the race for 406mtsports.com

Cornell’s Rudy Winkler threw 243 feet, 2 inches to secure the men’s hammer throw championship on the same field where he won the 2016 Olympic trials. Ariel Sax wrote the story on his victorious return to Hayward for Run Blog Run.

Florida teammates KeAndre Bates and Grant Holloway went one-two in the long jump. RJ Chavez has the story for Run Blog Run on the teammates, who became the first to finish 1-2 in the long jump for the first time 1987.

Tulsa’s Marc Scott suffered a seizure two days before the 10,000 meter finals, but came out strong to win the NCAA title. Kim Holm spoke to him for Run Blog Run about his victory in 29 minutes, 1.54 seconds just days after he was put in the hospital.

South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen had a third-place finish in the pole vault with a height of 17-10 1/2 inches, a strong performance for a freshman but one that fell short of his victory at the indoor championships. Gus Morris spoke to Nilsen about his bittersweet performance for the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan.

 

 

Harris qualifies for NCAA Championship 800-meter final

By Becky Hoag

Penn State sophomore Isaiah Harris looked relaxed during his preliminary race for the men’s 800 meters on Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and he did what he needed to do: qualified for Friday’s final.

He got caught behind some of the runners and remained around fifth place in his heat until the last 200 meters, then moved his way up to the front of the race.

The last 200 meters ended up being close, but Harris still finished second in his heat with a time of 1 minute, 46.62 seconds, the second fastest time in the prelims. First place finisher in his heat UTEP’s Michael Saruni qualified first overall in 1:46.38.

“We ran the hard way,” Harris said. “We negative split it, but I felt good. It was the most stacked heat out there, and I’m happy with the finish.”

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Tulsa senior Marc Scott wins NCAA 10K title two days after a seizure

By Kim Holm

Tulsa 10,000-meter runner Marc Scott was out Monday morning in Eugene with his trainer, and he was four miles into his 10-mile run when he had what he called a mini-seizure.

He said he was too far from his car to turn around and go back. So he just finished his six miles and went back to the car.

So he then went to the hospital, where they kept him for 24 hours. Doctors gave him a CT scan and checked out his heart, and everything came back inconclusive. They don’t know what caused it. But they cleared him Tuesday afternoon to compete on Wednesday, and Scott said he wasn’t worried about it at all.

Wednesday at Hayward Field, two days later, Scott won the NCAA title at 10,000 meters with a time of 29 minutes, 1.54 seconds. It was his first national title in five years at Tulsa, including his redshirt year.

“I didn’t know how it would affect me after I was released,” Scott said. “The lack of sleep was the biggest issue.”

That’s because medical personnel kept having to wake him up at night to check on his condition. (more…)

Gators Leap to History With 1-2 finish in NCAA men’s long jump

By RJ Chavez

The last time two teammates finished one-two in the long jump event at the NCAA Track and Field Championships was in 1987.

Thirty years later, at the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Championships on Wednesday at Hayward Field, the dynamic duo from the University of Florida, KeAndre Bates and Grant Holloway, rewrote the history books.

“It’s not about how you start, but how you finish,” said Holloway. “And KeAndre came out with a wonderful jump on his last one.”

In the last round of the long jump final, Bates leaped for what would end up being a winning jump of 26 feet, 5 inches. Two inches behind Bates was Holloway.

“A loss is a loss in my book,” said Holloway. “But best for it to be against another Gator.” (more…)

Rudy Winkler excels again at Hayward, winning NCAA hammer throw

By Ariel Sax

EDespite a recent back injury, Cornell’s Rudy Winkler won the NCAA men’s hammer championship with a distance of 243 feet, 2 inches Wednesday at Hayward Field.

“This was the first meet where I felt really comfortable and I was able to throw the way I wanted to throw,” said Winkler.

He reached his highest distance with his third throw. However, he wasn’t that comfortable with his form and physical ability until this championship. He believes that now he is on the path to throwing further and further.

The last time Winkler competed at Hayward Field, he won the 2016 Olympic trials with a hurl of 251-10, which is his personal best. He said his confidence was raised coming into the NCAA because he felt the same way that he did when going into the trials. (more…)

Oregon vs. USC rivalry may continue at NCAA championships

By Abigail Winn

Oregon head coach Robert Johnson and USC head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert didn’t show any visible signs of competitiveness Tuesday at the press conference advancing the NCAA championships.this week. The coaches focused on the success of their their own teams, not bragging rights over the other one.

“The competition is against everyone, not someone in particular,” Gilbert said.

Back in May, the Oregon women won the Pac-12 team title with 189 points, followed by USC’s women, who took second with 135 points. Additionally, the Oregon men won their Pac-12 title with 175 points, and USC’s men took second with 115.5.

The Oregon women are favored to win the team title this week, which would make them the first women’s team to win NCAA titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in the same year.

Gilbert has been working her team hard in preparation for this year’s NCAAs, coaching them in all kinds of weather and focusing on the finer details.

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Texas A&M and Florida to battle again for NCAA men’s title

By Linden Moore

For the first and second-ranked track and field men’s teams, Texas A&M and Florida, the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Wednesday and Saturday at Hayward Field, bring a possibility of déjà vu. The last time the two teams competed against each other, top-ranked Texas A&M beat Florida 46-45.5 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March on a last-second win in the 4×400-meter relay.

“I expect this year to be another exciting finish,” said Florida Head Coach Mike Holloway. “If you’re a big-time track and field fan, or a casual track and field fan, get your popcorn and sit down beside your computer or your television and enjoy the competition.”

The competition for the outdoor title is going to be tight. According to Track and Field News, Florida is projected to beat Texas A&M 63-61.

“It all comes down to who hits it on this day, because there are teams in here that are very capable of winning this championship,” said Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “You have to be almost flawless to win. If we can get Mike’s group to slow down a little bit, we’ll be in business.”

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Injured Cheserek absent from NCAAs, but is he still a Bowerman Award contender?

By Becky Hoag

When Oregon’s Edward Cheserek sustained a lower back strain, which caused him to withdraw from the NCAA West Regional, he was unable to defend his NCAA titles in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Cheserek is a 17-time NCAA champion, 14 in track, three in cross country, and a five-time USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Year. While he has been a finalist for the Bowerman Award, the highest honor for any track and field athlete, for three years in a row, he has never won. This fact has shocked Oregon head coach Robert Johnston.

“Bowerman is the highest award you can get in track and field, right?” Johnson said Tuesday at a press conference previewing the NCAA championships, Wednesday through Saturday at Hayward Field. “Edward won the most national championships in NCAA history. Is there someone sitting here that thinks that that is an oxymoron? I don’t know how those things can be in the same sentence and Edward Cheserek not be awarded.”

Johnson said Cheserek should have at least received the award his first year or in 2016 and yet he did not. And now, Cheserek can’t compete in the NCAA championships, potentially hurting his chance of receiving the award this year.

(more…)

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