UO T&F Highlites

Table of Contents:
      . Duck 2ND at NCAA's
  • Duck Third 3rd Consecutive Indoor
  • Green Mile: Ducks win back-to-back NCAA titles
  • Prefontaine Classic
  • Scene Stealers
  • Wheating 'kicks' his way to NCAA athlete of the year
  • Rebekah Noble quietly leaves program
  • Ducks sweep PAC10 title
  • Women roll to first NCAA title
Duck Women 2ND at NCAA's

Ducks' Best Score Falls Just Short at NCAAs
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
         Release: 06/09/2012
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DES MOINES, Iowa - Bolstered by a scintillating victory in the 4x400 meter relay, the Women of Oregon scored the most points ever in an NCAA meet by a Duck squad. Unfortunately in the end, Louisiana State came up with more Saturday at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.

The top-ranked Tigers had a nearly flawless meet to win the 2012 national title with 76 points. Oregon was the runner-up for the fourth straight year, scoring 62 points. That was the most the Ducks have ever totaled under the current scoring format that dates to the mid-1980's. Their previous best was 57 in 2010.

"We came out and competed hard, (LSU) came out and competed hard," said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "LSU just came out and had a great meet.

"You always think you could have done a little better here or done something a little differently there, but in the end, 62 points - the women really had a pretty good meet. LSU just had a better one."

Oregon's total would have won the NCAA title five of the last seven years. Three-time defending champ Texas A&M was third with 38 points and Clemson and Kansas tied for fourth with 28.

The Ducks arrived at their final score thanks to a command performance in the 4x400 meter relay.

The team of English Gardner, Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler and Phyllis Francis won in a meet-record 3:24.54. Gardner, who became the Ducks' first NCAA 100 meter champion on Friday, led off and brought the Ducks around the oval in the lead in 50.81. Okodogbe took the next leg in 51.53 and the Ducks were second behind LSU at the halfway point.

Roesler took the third leg in 51.86, closing up on the Tigers. That left Francis to bring home the win. She reeled in LSU's Jonique Day on the backstretch and caught her coming off the turn. Francis closed in 50.15, as the Ducks clipped the Tigers by .05.

"We knew it was going to be really close," said Francis. "We really wanted it this year."

The Ducks' time was not only a meet record, but also a Pac-12 record and the second-fastest time in collegiate history. Only Texas' 3:23.75 from 2004 is faster than what the Ducks ran on Saturday.

"We are a team that fights all the way to the end," said Gardner. "We put a lot of faith in Phyllis. That was a really big win."

Jordan Hasay was a key part of a women's 1,500 meters that lived up to its billing as one of the most exciting finals. The field remained tightly bunch through the bell lap before Florida State's Amanda Winslow broke away early on the final lap.

That set in motion a wild 200 meters that saw Hasay, Katie Flood of Washington and Emily Infeld of Georgetown run down Winslow, and the three runners came off the final turn three across. Flood, the hometown favorite from Des Moines, had just enough in the tank to win in 4:13.79, with Infeld next in 4:14.02 and Hasay third in 4:14.03. The Ducks' Becca Friday was ninth in 4:16.38.

"It was an exciting race," said Hasay. "It certainly lived up to expectations.

"My main mistake was running a lot in lane 2. I was trying to get Katie down the stretch, but she was holding strong. It was a good lesson for me. I was trying to be patient and worried about getting an opening."

The Ducks also claimed five points in the 4x100 relay with a fourth-place finish. Francis, Gardner, Lauryn Newson and Amber Purvis ran 43.58.

Alex Kosinski fought for a point in the 5,000 meters on a hot day in Des Moines. The senior from El Dorado Hills, Calif., took eighth in 16:24.42. Freshman Allie Woodward finished 13th in 16:43.92.

In the triple jump, Newson had a best leap of 42-9.75/13.05m and finished 11th.

The Duck men, who did not have any entries on Saturday, finished tied for ninth with Texas with 22 points.

"Not a bad team finish considering how many freshmen and sophomores we had here," said Lananna.

Florida won the men's team title with 50 points, followed by LSU with 48, Texas A&M with 40 and Florida State with 38.


Theisen win #3

DES MOINES, Iowa - Brianne Theisen leapt her way into heptathlon history, while English Gardner became the first women's 100 meter champion ever at Oregon as the Ducks waged a back-and-forth battle with Louisiana State Friday at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.

Oregon also got points from Laura Roesler and Anne Kesselring in the 800 meters, Lanie Thompson in the steeplechase and Phyllis Francis in the 400 meters.

That left the Ducks with 40 points and tied for first with LSU, well ahead of the field, headed into Saturday's final day.

"I think it's a little early to start counting points," said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "It's going to come down to the last day and probably the last event and every point is going to make a difference."

Theisen completed the second-best heptathlon in NCAA history, winning her third NCAA heptathlon title, and seventh overall, with 6,440 points on Friday.

She opened the second day by setting a personal best in the long jump - her fourth PR of the competition - on her only attempt. Her mark of 20-7.25/6.28m was not only good for 937 points, but it also ranked as the No. 6 long jump in school history.

She then hit her biggest PR yet in the javelin with a first attempt throw of 152-2/46.38m. That was a four-foot personal best that was worth 790 points and was the ninth-best throw in school history.

The senior from Humboldt, Sask., native finished with a relatively easy 800 meters in 2:13.81 to become just the second person in NCAA history to score 6,400 points in a heptathlon competition.

"I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish my career in my last meet as a Duck," said Theisen. "It's just been amazing being here with my teammates competing for a national championship. When I was being recruited, I looked at the scores from the NCAA meet and thought it would be great to finish in the top 13.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win three NCAA titles."

Not only did she attain the triple crown, Theisen became just the third woman in NCAA history to win three heptathlon titles. Jacquelyn Johnson won four for Arizona State (2004, 2006-08) and Jolanda Jones won three for Houston (1986-87, 1989).

Friday, Theisen passed UCLA legend Jackie Joyner-Kersey, who scored 6,390 points at the 1983 NCAA meet, for the No. 2 score in collegiate history. Theisen's mark stands second to NCAA record-holder Diane Guthrie-Gresham of George Mason, who tallied 6,527 points at the 1995 national championships.

Theisen's score also was the second-highest in Canadian history, standing behind only Jessica Zelinka's 6,490 from the 2008 Olympics.

"I'm very glad Brianne came back and won the Pac-12s, won the NCAA indoors, won the NCAA outdoors and is now ready to make the Canadian Olympic team and maybe create some excitement in London," said Lananna.

Gardner was just as impressive in becoming the first-ever NCAA women's 100 meter champion from Oregon. The sophomore from Voorhees, N.J., was quick out of the blocks and clear of the pack at the 50 meter mark. She then powered home to hold off charges from LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan and Semoy Hackett.

Gardner won in 11.10, with Duncan second in 11.16 and Hackett third in 11.33.

"I definitely came out there with a lot of fire and intensity," said Gardner. "My start was a little bit better than yesterday. I wanted to stay calm and just trust my training."

The Ducks picked up nine points in the 800 meters with a 4-5 finish from Roesler and Kesselring. Roesler, a sophomore from Fargo, N.D., finished in 2:02.96, while Kesselring, a junior from Nurnberg, Germany, crossed in 2:03.41.

"That was a hard race," said Roesler. "It was my first NCAA final and hopefully I can learn and improve from here."

The women then picked up three unexpected points from Thompson in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Lurking near the back of the lead pack for much of the race, the sophomore from High Bridge, N.J., moved from 10th to seventh on the final lap, and then, with Theisen shouting her on while awaiting the start of the heptathlon 800, clipped Clemson's Alyssa Kulik at the line to finish sixth in 10:07.18. That was the best-ever finish in the steeplechase by a Duck woman at the NCAA meet.

Senior Kimber Mattox nearly scored in the steeple as well. The Bend, Ore., native ran ninth in 10:15.16.

The last points of the day came from Francis' fifth place finish in the 400 meters in 51.79.

In the women's high jump, Lauryn Crockett had first attempt clearances at 5-7/1.70m and 5-8.75/1.75m before bowing out of the NCAA HJ a 5-10.5/1.79m. The freshman from Ogden, Utah, tied for 17th in her first NCAA appearance.

For the men, Mike Berry ran a thrilling 400 meters and was the runner-up to Florida's talented Tony McQuay. Berry bided his time and made a charge around the last turn, briefly taking the lead heading in to the straight, but McQuay had just enough to edge ahead and win in 44.58.

Berry was second in 44.75, which broke his own school record for the second time this season and was tied for the seventh-fastest time in Pac-12 history.

"Mike Berry ran brilliantly," said Lananna. "I can't remember ever seeing a 400 field as good as that one."

In the 800 meters, Elijah Greer was second at the bell lap and made a bold move down the backstretch, but UC Irvine's Charles Jock countered and won in 1:45.59. Greer, a junior from Lake Oswego, Ore., was third in 1:46.05.

The men wrapped up their NCAA appearance with Trevor Dunbar's sixth-place finish in the 5,000 meters. The sophomore from Kodiak, Alaska, finished in a personal-best 13:44.16. Sophomore Parker Stinson was 10th in a personal-best 13:58.28, while senior Chris Kwiatkowski was 15th in 14:05.38 in his first NCAA appearance.

The men will finish the meet with 22 points, which was good for fifth on Friday. Florida led with 36.

Ducks Claim Third Consecutive NCAA Crown

NAMPA, Idaho - Wins by Brianne Theisen and English Gardner and a solid all-around team performance led the Women of Oregon to their third consecutive NCAA Indoor Track & Field championship Saturday at Jacksons Indoor Track at the Idaho Center.

"It was a great 'team' win," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Our team delivered big performances multiple times throughout the night. It is an exciting night for the University of Oregon and TrackTown USA."

Theisen won the pentathlon for the third consecutive year, Gardner was electric in winning the 60 meters and the Ducks also accumulated points in the mile, 400 meters and 3,000 meters Saturday in tallying 49 points to win. Kansas was second with 30 points, followed by LSU with 27 and Texas with 25.

"We're a true team," said Gardner. "We have a tremendous home field advantage and we bring that Hayward Field magic wherever we are."

The Ducks joined Louisiana State as the only schools to have won three NCAA indoor titles in a row; the Tigers accomplished that in 2002-04 and 1993-97.

"I think it is special, because when I came here as a freshman, we weren't very good," said Theisen, a fifth-year senior from Humboldt, Sask. "It's been really cool to see the team grow."

Theisen set the tone early with her third national title in the pentathlon. She won with 4,536 points, just 19 off her NCAA and Canadian record. Dorcas Akinniyi of Wisconsin was second with 4,299 points, with Maddie Buttinger of Notre Dame third with 4,269.

"I'm happy I won," said Theisen. "I wasn't that nervous going into the 800 and I thought about the record, but I came here to get these 10 points for the team."

The points gave the Ducks their first lead of the meet; it was a lead they would not relinquish.

Yet the pentathlon wasn't a runaway, as Theisen actually trailed in a robust competition three events into her day.

"I think that did mess with my head a little in the long jump," said Theisen.

She looked extremely smooth in the 60 meters hurdles, the pentathlon's opening event. She won in 8.25 seconds, which was a personal best and broke her own school record for the second time this season. The time was worth 1,073 points.

"I really got that great start and got over the first two hurdles," said Theisen.

She then tied her own NCAA Championships meet record by clearing 1.84m/6-0.5 in the high jump. That clearance was tied for first with Akinniyi and was good for 1,029 points.

In the third event, the shot put, Theisen had a best throw of 12.46m/40-14.75 for 692 points. All three of Theisen's throws were within three inches of each other. But Akinniyi had a three-foot PR in the shot of 45-9.25 to take a four point lead on Theisen, 2,798-2,794, at that point in the competition.

In the long jump, Theisen responded by going 19-6.25/5.95m on her second attempt to finish second in the event. Her 834 points put her back in the lead for good.

She then locked up her sixth NCAA title overall by winning the 800 meters in 2:13.95 for 908 points.

"I'm really happy with how I ran the 800," she said.

Theisen became just the second three-time pentathlon champion in NCAA history, joining Arizona State's Jacquelyn Johnson (2006-08).

Gardner was just as impressive in winning the 60 meters.

Getting off to a perfect start out of the blocks, the freshman from Voorhees, N.J., never trailed and scorched the tape in 7.12 seconds. That was not only a stadium record, but also the fourth-fastest 60 ever run by a collegian. It trailed only 7.09 run by both Lakya Brookings of South Carolina in 2011 and Angela Williams of USC in 2001, and a 7.10 timed by Williams in 2001.

"I fixed my start from yesterday and felt pretty comfortable in the race," said Gardner. "I executed everything I was supposed to do."

Oregon scored 11 points in the mile to extend its lead. Jordan Hasay ran out front nearly the entire second half of the race before getting passed by Lucy Van Dalen of Stony Brook and Aisha Praught of Illinois State in the last 20 meters. Van Dalen won in 4:39.76, Praught was next in 4:39.85 and Hasay timed 4:40.09.

Becca Friday, meanwhile, came from deep in the pack on the last two laps to pass at least four runners down the backstretch. The junior from Bellingham, Wash., took fourth in 4:40.24. Anne Kesselring was 10th in 4:47.66.

"I saw a lot of girls in front of me and I decided I needed to get up there," said Friday. "In the back of my mind I was hoping for top three, but I'm definitely happy with fourth."

Hasay came back to finish fourth in the 3,000 meters in 9:16.42.

"Of course I wanted to win, but I was happy I could come out here and score some points for the team," said the junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif. "I still have a long season ahead of me, so I'm O.K. with how this meet went."

The women also saw a terrific performance in the 400 meters from sophomore Phyllis Francis. Seeded 12th coming into the meet, the Queens, N.Y., native had a breakout championships. She finished fourth overall in an indoor personal best 53.01. That was the second-fastest time in school history.

On the men's side, Mike Berry broke the school record in the 400 meters, finishing fourth overall in a school-record 45.93. The sophomore from Seattle, Wash., broke Sammie Parker's school record of 45.95 set in 2005.

Sophomore Trevor Dunbar took 10th in the 3,000 meters in 7:56.24.

Florida won its third straight NCAA men's indoor title with 52 points. Arkansas was second with 47, followed by Arizona with 41 and Arizona State with 31. Oregon tied for 35th with six points.

Green Mile! Ducks Win Back-to-Back NCAA Titles

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Oregon went the extra mile - three times - to win its second consecutive women's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship Saturday the Gilliam Indoor Stadium.

The Ducks used a dominating 1-3-4 finish in the mile by Jordan Hasay, Zoe Buckman and Anne Kesselring to all-but-lock up the 2011 crown. Oregon made it official when Amber Purvis finished sixth in the 60 meters, and then enjoyed the rest of the meet, including a punctuating win by Jordan Hasay in the 3,000 meters.

Brianne Theisen won her second-straight NCAA crown in the event to help Oregon win its second consecutive national title. Her score of 4,540 bettered her previous all-time collegiate best mark of 4,507.

Melissa Gergel also placed fourth in the pole vault and 4x400 meter relay team took eighth.

The Ducks won with 67 points. Texas was second with 38, followed by Louisiana State with 37, Arkansas with 35 and Texas A&M with 32.

"It was a great team effort," said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "All the student-athletes did a fantastic job and the coaching staff did a great job setting the tone."

In the mile, Buckman led from the opening gun, while Hasay settled in behind her with 400 meters to go. Hasay then moved around her teammate with 100 meters remaining and ran to her first NCAA title in 4:33.01. In the process, the sophomore broke one of the most hallowed records in Oregon history, Leann Warren's 1982 mile time of 4:33.26.

"We're just really excited about it," said Hasay. "It shows the strength of our team.

"We all had to step up our game because our points were more important," she said of Oregon's win in spite of losing highly-ranked Alexandra Kosinski to injury prior to the meet.

Buckman held on for third in a personal-best 4:33.76 (No. 3 all-time) and Kesselring also came from deep in the pack to hit a PR in a fourth-place finish in 4:34.96 (No. 4 all-time). That gave the Ducks 21 points in the mile.

"At the start, I got to a spot where I was comfortable," said Kesselring. "I made a big move with 300 meters to go, from ninth to fourth, I think."

Hasay made it a double-win day by winning a riveting battle with Shelia Reid of Villanova in the 3,000 meters. She bided her time for most of the race, floating between fourth and sixth place. Then Hasay, Reid and Lucy Van Dalen of Stony Brook broke from the pack on the final two laps.

The sophomore from Arroyo Grande, Calif., then made a gutsy move by darting between Reid and Van Dalen with 250 meters to go and then held off a furious try by Reid to pass her on the outside.

Hasay won in 9:13.71, followed by Reid in 9:13.86 and Van Dalen in 9:14.12. She became the first Duck to win either the indoor mile or 3,000 meters.

"It was really nice," said Hasay of being able to hold off Reid. "We had a great battle last night. I thought I would just try to out-kick her."

Hasay became the first Oregon woman to win the indoor mile, and just the second to win the indoor 3,000 meters, joining Melody Fairchild in 1996. 

Gergel added a fourth-place finish in the pole vault with a clearance at 14-3.5/4.35m, which matched her season best and scored five points for the team.

Purvis then locked up the trophy with her sixth-place in the 60 meters, running 7.22.

The Ducks added one more point with an eighth-place finish in the 4x400 meter relay. The team of Chizoba Okodogbe, Brianne Theisen, Purvis and Laura Roesler finished in 3:34.98.

The NCAA title was the 18th in school history and the fifth women's NCAA crown for the University of Oregon.

Prefontaine Classic 2010

EUGENE _ The four-minute mile took a drubbing Saturday at Hayward Field in the Prefontaine Classic.
Ten runners in each of two races dipped under four minutes, including Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, who won the Bowerman 
Mile in 3 minutes 49.75 seconds. Andrew Wheating, who just completed his senior year at Oregon, finished fifth in that race, but took down Olympic gold-medalist Joaquim Cruz's school record in the process. Wheating's time was 3:51.74, destroying Cruz's 1984 record of 3:53.00.

Earlier in the meet, Australian Ryan Gregson won the International Mile in 3:53.19 to lead 10 runners under 3:57. Oregon junior A.J. Acosta finished a close second to Gregson in 3:53.76, which moved him ahead of Steve Prefontaine and into third place on the UO list.

It was that kind of meet, with record-setting performance after record-setting performance on a sunny afternoon before an exuberant, capacity-plus crowd of 12,834.

2010 NCAA's

Scene stealersIn another Hayward Field classic, Wheating, Acosta and Centrowitz give Ducks electric sweep of 1,500


The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: SundayJun 13, 2010

The Ducks didn’t win the track meet, but they won its defining moment.

Before a standing-room crowd of 12,812 screaming fans, Oregon runners Andrew Wheating, A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz took the first three places of the men’s 1,500 meters Saturday in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.

In a venue that was hosting its 10th NCAA championships, and that has hosted four Olympic Trials and numerous national meets, the accomplishment became another indelible piece of a proud history.

It was the first time three runners from the same school finished 1-2-3 in the men’s 1,500 in the NCAA championships, and combined with his victory in the 800 meters on Friday night, it made Wheating just the fifth runner to win the middle-distance double in the NCAA meet and the first since Joaquim Cruz did so in 1984.

Then, Cruz led the Oregon men to the NCAA outdoor title on their home track, the last time the Ducks have won it. Saturday, the Ducks had to settle for the third-place trophy as Texas A&M won both the men’s and women’s titles for the second straight year.

In the men’s competition, the Aggies won with 55 points, edging Florida by a point and the Ducks by 10 points. In the women’s competition, Texas A&M scored 72 points with the Oregon women second with 57.

Saturday’s crowd swelled the four-day attendance to 45,847, breaking the NCAA meet record of 41,187 set two years ago at Drake Stadium. In a meet in which the Ducks served some dramatic moments and suffered some pivotal disappointments, the finish in the 1,500 was reminiscent of the Oregon sweep in the Pac-10 meet last year and the hometown sweep in the 800 meters in the Olympic Trials two years ago.

Wheating has been part of all three signature moments, second in the Trials 800 meters as an Oregon sophomore, third in the Pac-10 1,500 last year behind Centrowitz and Galen Rupp.

After his final race for the Ducks, the Oregon senior marveled at the noise that engulfed the runners on the homestretch.

“At the Olympic Trials, I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to it, because it was such a focus getting to the finish,” he said. “Here, I came to the turn and it was ‘get to the finish’ and the vibration of the crowd noise shook me sideways.

“It was so loud, I got so excited, and it pushed me the full 100 meters. My legs were dying, they were totally rubber. If that race is two meters longer I would have gone from first to fifth. I have to thank the crowd a million times.”

Vin Lananna, Oregon’s director of track and field, said he and distance coach Andy Powell had been envisioning a UO sweep for months, though it wasn’t always a given that Wheating would double, or that Acosta, who also ran the 5,000 and steeplechase this season, would wind up back in the 1,500.

“He wasn’t very convincing, but Vin was like, ‘We’ve got a 33 percent chance we could do this,’ ” Wheating said of the sweep. “I was like, ‘Well, that’s not very good odds.’ But I pulled the guys aside and said, ‘Hey guys, it’s our race, it’s our home town, you’ve got 11,000 people here, they’re all here for us, let’s give them a show. I’m not losing to anyone but a Duck, all right.’

“We all got pumped up off that and went out and performed.”

In Lananna’s view, the odds of the Oregon sweep went up exponentially when the race went out at a sluggish 66 seconds for the first lap, and even more when the 800-meter split was 2:12.

“They’re all ferocious competitors, and I think they were hung up in the 1-2-3 thing and not worried so much about who necessarily would win, but trying to go the 1-2-3,” he said.

So slow was the early pace that Acosta found himself a reluctant leader — “I didn’t want to be the sitting duck,” he said — before New Mexico’s Luke Emanuel took it.

With less than 200 meters left, Centrowitz was in front and led the pack of runners into the homestretch, but then Wheating surged past him in a stadium gone beyond delirious.

“I think I made my move with 150 to go,” Centrowitz said. “I didn’t feel the greatest, so I kept pumping my arms. With about 100 to go I looked at the (video) board and saw I had a little lead on the field and they were coming up. I was fortunate it was my teammates.”

Meanwhile, Acosta was able to “slingshot” off the curve and he ran very wide and heard the crowd.

“I could feel it with 50 meters to go, that lifted me up a little bit,” Acosta said. “I always thought it was just like something you talk about, something you say, but there are probably 12,000 people here today and I definitely felt it today.”

Wheating, in the lead with about 30 meters left, would run the last 800 in 1:50.6 and the last 400 in 53.5.

“When we finished, I didn’t know if I’d won, or Centro won or we swept,” he said. “Then I looked up and saw ‘Oregon, Oregon, Oregon,’ and it was all pure emotion. It was the best way to go out.”

With 10 meters left, Acosta said, he knew Oregon had the sweep; he didn’t give up on reeling in Wheating until he ran out of track. Crossing the finish line, Acosta raised his arms, then turned back and jumped into Wheating’s embrace.

Wheating had clocked 3:47.94 to win his first NCAA 1,500 title to go with two 800 crowns. Acosta’s time was 3;48.01, Centrowitz 3:48.08. The 24 points gave Oregon the lead; at that moment, after Jordan Hasay’s third-place finish in the women’s 1,500, the Ducks were also leading the women’s team race.

They couldn’t hold either lead. Ashton Eaton, who won the decathlon in a school and NCAA meet record on Friday, took one attempt in the long jump before the Oregon coaches pulled him, not wanting to risk injury to his tight calves. Jordan McNamara got an eighth-place finish in the 5,000 for Oregon’s only other point in the men’s competition Saturday.

In the end, the Oregon men would look back on their inability to score in the javelin and to qualify a 4x400 team at regionals as the difference between a third-place trophy and a possible team title.

“We were really in it right to the end,” Lananna said. “Sure, of course, you always want to win both. By any stretch of imagination, it was always going to be tough on the men’s side. ...

“Any kid who didn’t do quite what they hoped is going to feel badly about it, but it’s a whole team thing. I think in the end there were some great things that took place. Yeah, we would like to have won it, but I think the men and women will be proud of their accomplishments today.”

And proud of creating another classic moment for Hayward Field.

Oregon Men and Women win Pac-10 Track & Field Championships!

EUGENE, Ore. -- Andrew Wheating and teammates A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz gave the Hayward Field faithful one final lasting magical moment in the men’s 1,500 meters, while the women’s 4x400 meter relay team won a national title for the ages, leading the Duck women to their second straight team runner-up finish Saturday on the final day of the 2010 NCAA Track & Field Championships.

Wheating, Centrowitz and Acosta became the first teammates in NCAA history to run 1-2-3 in the men’s 1,500 in a finish that electrified the sold-out crowd of 12,812 on hand to help Track Town, USA, set the all-time record for attendance at the four-day NCAA Championships at 45,847 fans.

"It was a fantastic meet," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Athletes did really well. A great crowd - really supportive. Track Town, USA, is really awesome especially with the record crowd."

Wheating led the charged Ducks in 3:47.94, with Acosta second in 3:48.01 and Centrowitz third in 3:48.08.

Acosta set a modest pace for much of the race before the final 400 meters turned into an all-out sprint. Wheating covered moves by New Mexico’s Lee Emanual and Ohio State’s Jeff See heading into the final turn and then thundered off the Bowerman Curve for the final time as a Duck to win his last collegiate race at Hayward Field by .07. Centrowitz went with Wheating and nearly caught Acosta at the tape, who also hit a higher gear when Wheating charged.

"If it was three to four meters longer, I probably would have gone from first to fifth," said Wheating, who became the first man to win the 800 and 1,500 in the same NCAA Championships since Oregon’s Joaquim Cruz in 1984. "To cross the finish line 1-2-3 blows everything away.

"I saw Centro take off," said the senior from Norwich, Vt. "I knew he was going to finish strong. Down the last 100 meters, I just had to grit my teeth and finish strong. I could see Centro and I felt a presence over my shoulder, I didn’t know it was A.J. though. I got the results and I was so happy.

"I felt my legs moving faster and faster at the finish line. It was like I hit the tape and all these flashbacks and my college career was over and I didn’t want to believe it."

Centrowitz said the 1-2-3 finish was on their minds going into the race.

"The coaches were telling us before that we had a chance," said the sophomore from Arnold, Md., "We all knew it was realistic to finish 1-2-3. We all had different strategies but it all worked out down the stretch."

The men added their final point of the championships on senior Jordan McNamara’s eighth-place finish in the 5,000 meters in 13:54.30. Fellow senior Michael Maag was 16th in 14:07.98.

Also Saturday, junior Vernell Warren finished 18th in the men’s long jump in 24-01.75, while senior Ashton Eaton, the three time NCAA decathlon champion, attempted only one jump and took 22nd at 23-08.75

The 1,500 runners led the Ducks to a third place finish in the team standings. Texas A&M won its second straight team title with 55 points, a point better than Florida’s 54. The Ducks had 45, with Arizona State fourth at 37 and USC fifth with 35.5.

As exciting as the men’s 1,500 was, the women’s 4x400 meter relay victory was as historic.

Heptathlete Brianne Theisen led off in place of Jamesha Youngblood, who was competing in the long jump, and she handed off to sophomore Amber Purvis who drew Oregon even with the leaders. Junior Michelle Williams then took advantage of a great final exchange to put the Ducks in front, before handing off to Keshia Baker.

Baker ran 50.59 to hold off Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard to give the Ducks their first-ever NCAA title in the 4x400 relay, and second overall national relay crown, joining the 1980 AIAW mile relay squad.

"We were in a great position to attack today and I was happy to be able to contribute to what my teammates did," said Baker. "The last hundred meters, the crowd just carried me through the finish line.

"I’ve been blessed this whole season," said Baker. "It’s been a really amazing year. My freshman year no one even thought we could do that. I am so thankful for my team."

Baker led the charge on Saturday as Oregon fought its way to a second place national finish for the second straight year.

In addition to her anchor leg on the 4x400 relay, she also ran the third leg on the Ducks 4x100 relay team that took third. The team of Mandy White, Purvis, Baker and Youngblood ran 43.74.

"We had a great run and we are so happy that we came in third," said White, a junior from Lake Oswego, Ore. "We knew the weather wouldn’t be too hot in the morning, but unlike other teams we are used to it here. We all had good hand-offs. In every race, we try to edge other teams out."

Youngblood and Jordan Hasay rounded out the point scorers for the women.

Hasay was a surprise third-place finisher in the 1,500 meters as she stayed with eventual winner Charlotte Browning of Florida for much of the distance. Browning, a senior from Florida, took the race in 4;15.84, with Minnesota senior Gabriele Anderson second in 4:16.25.

Hasay, from Arroyo Grande, Calif., then became the highest-placing freshman runner at the 2010 NCAA Championships by taking third in 4:16.25. Junior Alexandra Kosinski, who finished third in the 5,000 meters the night before, was 11th in 4:20.93.

"I was trying to do my best to win points for my team," said Hasay. "I didn’t even think I’d get into the finals and I got here so this was great."

Youngblood, junior from San Pablo, Calif., rounded out the Ducks’ scoring with a fourth-place finish in the women’s long jump with a mark of 21-3.25.

Texas A&M used an impressive 1-2-5 finish in the 200 meters to win the women’s title for the second straight year. The Aggies totalled 72 points, with Oregon next at 57 points. Florida was third with 40, followed by Penn State with 34.

"I’m glad we got second, I’m proud of them because second is not bad," said Lananna. "Jordan Hasay and Jamesha and the 4x400 relay girls did a great job today."

Wheating “Kicks” His Way to National Male Track Athlete of the Year Honors - USTFCCCA.org

Posted by ross on Jun 17 2010, 12:03 AM

Courtesy: Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Wednesday that Oregon senior Andrew Wheating has been named the 2010 National Male Track Athlete of the Year for Outdoor Track & Field in Division I as voted by the nation’s coaches.

At last weekend’s finale to the NCAA Championships, Wheating ran four races in four days to capture national crowns in the 800 and 1500 meters, an accomplishment only matched four other times in the 89-year history of the NCAA Championships. Oregon’s Joaquim Cruiz was the last to pull off the double in 1984 and matched Wheating in winning a second-straight 800-meter title in pursuit of the feat.

Wheating’s 800-meter run on Friday was highly anticipated as he and Virginia freshman Robby Andrews – the NCAA indoor champion – would once again go head-to-head in what was built to be another classic rematch. Wheating (1:45.69) decided to use his “kick” earlier in the competition than usual, covering the final 200 meters in 26.20 seconds, to hold off the surging Andrews (1:46.83) who would place second despite entering the final curve in last place. With the victory, Wheating became the first American since 1994 to defend an NCAA 800-meter crown.

The 1500-meter final on Saturday was much more wide open, with many in the mix who had a legitimate shot at the title. Covering the first half in around 2:12, the pack kept the pace slow and ripe for the picking. Wheating would lead a final Duck charge to the finish line as Oregon claimed the first 1-2-3 NCAA sweep in the history of the event with A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz rallying behind. Wheating’s winning time of 3:47.94 was the slowest by a 1500-meter champ since 1957 (including mile conversions as compiled by Track & Field News).

Wheating would finish the season with the second-fastest collegiate time in the 800 (1:45.69, NCAA final) and the best collegiate time of 2010 in the 1500 – 3:37.52 recorded in being the first qualifier from the West portion of the NCAA’s quarterfinals.

Earlier in the season, Wheating won his third straight Pac-10 title at 800 meters in 1:47.77, becoming the first to win three-straight conference titles in the event since Oregon’s David Mack (1980-82). Wheating also ran a leg of the Ducks’ 4×400 that finished fourth at the conference meet; all in helping Oregon win their fourth-straight league crown. Wheating opened season at the Penn Relays, where he anchored Oregon to a win in the distance medley relay (9:30.69) and a second-place finish in the 4×800 meter relay (7:15.55).

Wheating, a native of Norwich, Vt., has now won five NCAA titles, including two as member of Oregon’s distance medley relay

Oregon has been well represented in this category as Galen Rupp was the winner of the National Track Athlete of the Year honor a year ago.

Wheating has also been on The Bowerman Watch List for most of the season, with the one exception being update number four on April 7. The list of the 10 final candidates for The Bowerman will be announced Monday while the three male and three female finalists for the award will be announced the week of July 12.

The USTFCCCA’s National Female Track Athlete of the Year and the National Male Field Athlete of the Year will be announced Thursday, followed by more national awards spread through the next several days.

Past Winners:

2010: Andrew Wheating, Oregon
2009: Galen Rupp, Oregon
2008: Richard Thompson, LSU
2007: Walter Dix, Florida State
2006: Xavier Carter, LSU

USTFCCCA 2010 National Award Winners, Division I, Outdoor Track & Field

National Track Athlete of the Year: Andrew Wheating, Oregon 
National Field Athlete of the Year: Thursday, June 17
National Assistant Coach of the Year: Wednesday, June 23
National Coach of the Year: Friday, June 25

National Track Athlete of the Year: Thursday, June 17
National Field Athlete of the Year: Friday, June 18
National Assistant Coach of the Year: Tuesday, June 22
National Coach of the Year: Thursday, June 24

Read more: RunnerSpace.com | News | Wheating “Kicks” His Way to National Male Track Athlete of the Year Honors - USTFCCCA.org http://www.runnerspace.com/news.php?do=view&news_id=11231#ixzz0rH2uGzij

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon team captains Ashton Eaton, Andrew Wheating and Marshall Ackley thrilled the crowd with record-setting races and one inspirational act of perseverance Friday at the NCAA Track & Field Championships. Meanwhile, the women picked up 14 points to move into the overnight lead.

"The women’s team race is going to be close now," said Lananna. "We might have to defy the odds."

Eaton set NCAA Championships, Pac-10 and Oregon records in winning the decathlon by scoring 8,457 points. He became the first person in NCAA history to win three decathlon national titles in a row.

He set the tone for the day by running an American decathlon collegiate best 13.68 in the 110 meter hurdles. That was also an NCAA decathlon meet record. He followed that with a throw of 136-10 in the discus, which was the fourth-best effort on the day before clearing 15-5 in the pole vault.

The senior from Bend, Ore., then threw 171-11 in the javelin before winning the 1,500 meters in 4:21.85 to break those three records.

"This is bittersweet," said Eaton. "It’s never going to be like that for me again in an Oregon uniform.

"It’s difficult to describe," he added. "I’m not an artist, a poet or a writer so I can’t put it into words like some people could. But, it is the ending of something I never wanted to see the end to."

Eaton, who will compete in the long jump on Saturday, finally surpassed Pedro daSilva’s 1992 school record of 8,176 points with a wind-legal score, and also broke the NCAA Championships record of 8,276 points, set by Tennessee’s Brian Brophy in 1992, and the Pac-10 record of 8,322 points, set by Mike Ramos in 1986.

"It was fabulous," said Lananna of Eaton. "He is fantastic."

In the men’s 800 meters, Wheating didn’t have to come from the back of the pack to win his second straight NCAA 800 meter title thanks to the brisk first lap pace set by UCLA’s Cory Primm. The runners quickly lined up single file behind Primm, with Wheating keeping in touch in fourth or fifth through the first 600 meters. He began to move up with 200 meters to go and then dropped the hammer with a vengeance off the Bowerman Curve and was clear of the field with 50 meters remaining.

The senior from Norwich, Vt., won in a seasonal-best 1:45.69, more than a second faster than runner-up Robbie Andrews of Virginia (1:46.83).

"I put my full foot on the pedal and didn’t look back," said Wheating, who will run the final of the 1,500 meters tomorrow. "Last year I came off the track with an injury feeling lucky to win. This year I was looking to dominate.

"At home in front of all these Ducks fans – they erupted in the last 100," he said. "That crowd pushed me over the last 100 meters."

Wheating became the first Duck to win back-to-back NCAA 800 meter titles since Joaquim Cruz in 1983-84. He also became the first back-to-back NCAA champ since Tennessee’s Jose Parrilla in 1992-94.

"He was flawless in his execution," said Lananna. "No words were exchanged on strategy, he just nailed it."

Eaton and Wheating gave Oregon 20 team points, which was good for a tie for fourth with Arizona State and Louisiana State. Defending champion Texas A&M led the men’s race with 36 points, while Florida was second with 28 points and USC third with 26.5.

In the men’s hammer junior Jordan Stray missed scoring by three inches. His best of 212-4 was still good enough for ninth on Friday.

On the women’s side, Alexandra Kosinski, Keshia Baker and Anne Kesselring got in the scoring column for the Ducks.

Kosinski ran an inspired 5,000 meters to finish a surprising third in 16:02.90. She trailed only Lisa Koll of Iowa State’s 15:23.80 and Marie Louise Asselin of West Virginia’s 15:53.93.

"It was really windy, I just wanted to to stay in the pack and get a good kick," said the junior from El Dorado Hills, Calif. "I didn’t know what the pace was but I felt pretty good.

"We’re going for the team championship so to get any points always helps."

Senior Nicole Blood, in her last race as a Duck, finished 23rd in 16:41.84, after taking third in a taxing 10,000 meters Wednesday night.

Baker, a senior from Fairfield, Calif., added another five points to the Ducks’ total by finishing fourth in a brilliant women’s 400 meters.

Francena McCorory of Hampton won the race in 50.69, with Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard finishing second in 51.02, Joanna Atkins of Auburn taking third in 52.01 and Baker running fourth in 52.34.

Kesselring rounded out the scoring with a sixth-place run in the 800 meters in 2:05.41.

"The race went out really, really fast and I was kind of expecting that," said the freshman from Nurnberg, Germany. "I didn’t run it the best tactically, but I hung in there.

"It’s awesome to have a team," she said. "I can’t even explain how much it helps. And it’s not just the team it’s the community. Track Town, USA."

The women almost added points from Meliss Gergel in the women’s pole vault, as the white flag went up on her attempt at 14-1.25. But moments after she landed in the put, the bar came off, perhaps caused by a gust of wind, and the red flag came out to indicate a foul. Instead, the junior from Glenwood, Ill. settled for 10th-place at 13-9.25. The clearance at 14-1.25 would have been good for at least fourth place, and five team points.

As is was, the Duck women led with 30 points, with Iowa State fourth with 28 and Texas A&M lurking with 26.

One of the biggest ovations on the day from the Historic Hayward Field crowd of 11,972 went to the inspirational last place finisher in the decathlon, Ackley.

After opening the day by running 14.86 in the 110 hurdles and throwing 120-10 in the discus, he severely injured his left hamstring while warming up in the pole vault, and then further aggravated it on his first attempt for a no height in the event.

But instead of dropping out of the competition at that point, the senior from Nyssa, Ore., drug his injured limb on a short approach in the javelin for a respectable mark of 168-2, and then limped four laps around Hayward Field in the 1,500 meters, crossing the finish line to a rousing standing ovation in 7:04.56.

Ackley placed 22nd with 5,883 points, but all that mattered Saturday was that he finished.

"It’s my last meet as a Duck so to go out that way is extremely disappointing but to finish is something that I’m very proud of," said Ackley.

"He is tough," said Eaton of his teammate and training partner. "I know he wanted to finish his last decathlon as a senior, and I think it was very special."

Lananna also noted the poignancy of the moment for both his senior decathletes.

"You know I’m not a big emotional guy but Ashton winning and Marshall finishing, just spectacular," he said. "That act probably exemplifies all the hard work this class of seniors has put in."

Rebekah Noble, Oregon's fleeting star, quietly leaves program she once set on fire

Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 3:09 PM     Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 3:33 PM
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rebekah.noble.jpgView full sizeBruce Ely/The OregonianRebekah Noble

Long after the cheering stopped, the memories remain. 

"I remember every race," Rebekah Noble says. "I still remember what the old Hayward Field looked like, how the grass used to have a little hump in it, the old scoreboard. I loved the old scoreboard. 

"I remember exactly what the day was like, the weather. I replay it my head." 

For one brilliant season, before Noble's career came off the tracks, people were comparing her to legendary female runners Mary Decker Slaney or Suzy Favor Hamilton. 

An Olympic future seemed possible. 

This week, she could have been about to jump-start a professional career as the favorite in the 800 or 1,500 meters at the USA Track & Field Championships, which begin a five-day run today at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Instead of preparing for nationals, though, Noble quietly went through Oregon's commencement last week for a degree in sociology. 

It's not the way anybody at Oregon back in the halcyon days of 2006 expected her UO athletic career to end. Then she was a brilliant, young freshman, a ferocious competitor who kicked like a race horse. 

She won the 800 meters at the Pan American Junior Championships before setting foot in a UO classroom. 

She became the first freshman to win an NCAA 800-meter title. Her time of 2 minutes 2.07 seconds is No. 4 in Oregon history. 

She represented the United States at the World Junior Games in Beijing and came home with the bronze medal. 

"I watch (a video of) her win the Junior National race just to fire myself up," says Steve Kiesel, who coached Noble at Rogers High in Spokane. "If I'm feeling down, that gets me pumped up." 

Says Pat Tyson, now track coach at Gonzaga but coach at Mead High in Spokane during much of Noble's prep career and, even then, a mentor: "Bekah was electrifying." 

Now the electricity is gone, short-circuited by injury and illness. Only the memories remain. 

Questions remain
The blows landed one after another, beginning with the spring of 2007, Noble's sophomore season. 

She scratched from the Pacific-10 Conference Championships with a sore hamstring, was a disappointing eighth at the NCAA Championships and withdrew from the USA Championships. 

noble.clap.jpgAssociated PressNoble celebrates after winning the women's 800 meter run at the NCAA track and field championships in Sacramento in June 2006. Nobel won with a time of 2:02.7, a mark that is fourth-best in Oregon history.
During a relay race in a youth track camp that summer at South Eugene High, Noble swerved to avoid an exchange-zone collision and felt something pop in her right foot. 

X-rays revealed a broken navicular bone. 

"It was straight through, a clean break," Noble says. "They did a bone a graft and I have two screws in there." 

It was six months before she resumed running. In that time her world changed. 

"One nightmare after another," UO coach Vin Lananna says. "Many, many things entered the picture." 

Before she was hurt, Noble says she was "an athlete-student. People would ask me what I was majoring in, and I would say, 'track and field.'" 

When Tyson called her cell phone, instead of ring tones he heard the broadcast audio of one of her 800 victories. 

She remembers being stopped in grocery store aisles by fans, asking about her next race. 

In a split second, that identity was gone. 

"It was hard because it was something I had been doing every day since sixth grade," she says. "All of a sudden I can't even walk. Then, later on, when I could start walking, I would go to practice and watch, and it got even harder, because I would have to stand there and watch everybody else run away." 

The bad news kept coming. 

Her grandmother died of cancer. 

Noble found she had what she describes as a "medical thing." 

She declines to be more precise, saying only that it's a health problem she still has, and is learning to deal with. 

Depression settled in, dark and heavy. 

She went back to Spokane for a while, living first with her parents and then with a sister. 

"I needed to take a step back," she says. 

By the winter of 2008, she discarded the walking boot she had been wearing on the injured foot and gained the doctor's OK to resume training. 

Lananna expected Noble to pick up where she left off in 2006. 

"I thought it was just a matter of time," he says. 

And time was of the essence, because Oregon was going to stage the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field that June. The UO coaches believed Noble was ready to challenge for a spot on the U.S. team. 

"They wanted me to run the trials," she says. "They were gung-ho about it. I was like, 'Are you kidding me? After everything I went through?' I wanted to back off a little bit, just train. I said, 'Just let me train for a year, focus on outdoor nationals in 2009, and not worry about the trials.'" 

The UO coaches saw that Noble had perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in the Olympics, and they kept pushing. 

But Noble says she felt pushed beyond where she was ready to go. She knew she wasn't eating well. She felt fatigued. She overslept and missed classes. 

In the end, it was too much. Noble did not run in the Olympic Trials. 

In fact, she never seriously ran for Oregon again. 

A support network 
Every Tuesday morning, at the Original Pancake House in Eugene, a group of retirees that has included, among others, former UO men's track coach Bill Dellinger, former Hayward Field public address announcer Wendy Ray, Bill McChesney Sr., and Ed Sullivan, gather for breakfast. 

They talk about life and, often, about track and field. 

For the longest time, they were Noble's exterior support system. 

noble.800.jpgView full sizeAssociated PressThe future is unclear for former Oregon star Rebekah Noble, but it's clear she has plenty of options related to running in her future.
"I think we became a bunch of old grandpas for her," says Sullivan, who used to volunteer in the UO program during Dellinger's tenure. 

Says Noble: "It didn't feel awkward to be around them. That's why I would go to their breakfast. It felt normal, like family." 

There Noble would be every Tuesday morning, pancakes before her, soaking up stories, advice and unconditional love. 

"We would talk to her about how her life was going, how her studies were going and encourage her to get tutors if she had trouble," Sullivan says. "I don't know if she ever meshed with the coaches." 

Whatever their differences, Lananna kept Noble on scholarship for five years, shepherding her to the degree she has all but completed. She trained with the team when she could. 

This spring, when Noble was scholastically ineligible, women's distance coach Maurica Powell offered to let her continue to work out with the Ducks and compete in Oregon's home meets as an unattached athlete. 

By then, though, Noble had refocused on triathlons. She recently completed her first at Blue Lake Park. 

"I loved it," the now 23-year-old says. "Maybe there are more triathlons in the future." 

Certainly, there are options. Tyson has offered her a volunteer coaching job at Gonzaga, and to train her post-collegiately if she wants to resurrect her career. 

Kiesel, now at Mead High, says Noble would be welcome to use the facilities there if she wants to make a comeback. 

"A lot of people here in town want to help her," Kiesel says. "There is a support system here if she wants to go down that road again. 

"I think she has unfinished business out there in track and field." 

-- Ken Goe
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Green Day! Ducks Win NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
          Release: 03/14/2009

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- By himself, Galen Rupp would have tied for 10th at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Fortunately, he had a whole team of Ducks behind him.

Rupp won the 3,000 meters and Ashton Eaton won the heptathlon to lead the Men of Oregon to the first NCAA Indoor national title in school history Saturday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. Rupp became the first person in NCAA history to win the 5,000 meters, 3,000 meters and the distance medley relay in the same championship.

"This has been a fun experience," said Rupp, who joked that he was going on strike from running for a week following his taxing two-day performance. "One of the most fun meets ever. I just wanted to come out today and run well.

"I figured it was my last indoor meet in college, so I might as well go out strong and go for it," said the senior from Portland. "I might hurt tomorrow, but I’m on an adrenaline kick right now."

Rupp also added to his all sports school record with his 12th career All-America award, and in the process passed Matt Scherer and Leann Warren for the most All-America certificates won in track and field with nine.

Meanwhile, the UO women continue to rewrite school history as a clutch performance from Nicole Blood helped Oregon set school standards for the best finish at the Indoor Championships - a tie for ninth - and points with 21.

"It was a great day, a big day for the Ducks," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna, who won his first NCAA Indoor championship. "(The men) had a chance to do something really special at this meet and executed the plan coaching staff developed just about as well as they could have.

"Our women got their first top-10 finish and took a fantastic step forward these past two days," Lananna added.

Entering the day with a commanding lead, the Duck men actually locked up the championship before Rupp set foot on the track, thanks to Eaton in the heptathlon and Andrew Wheating in the 800 meters.

Eaton used a personal-best 7.90 in the 60 meter hurdles to win that event and jump start his day in the heptathlon, building his cushion to 63 points over defending NCAA heptathlon champion Gonzalo Barroilhet of Florida State.

Eaton and Barroilhet then waged an entertaining contest in the pole vault, as both competitors posted a best clearance of 16-8.75, but not before Barroilhet just missed clearing the bar at 17-4.25, which would have tied the competition. That was Eaton’s indoor best and matched his outdoor top effort.

After that, the junior from Bend, Ore., just needed to stay within reach of Barroilhet in the 1,000 meters to win, and he did more than that by finishing fifth in 2:47.68.

"It was a great competition with (Barroilhet)," said Eaton. "It was a tough day, tougher than I expected.

"The hurdles just kind of kick starts you off," he said. "I had to establish that I was coming ready to compete."

Eaton posted the second-highest heptathlon total of his career, 5,988 points. Barroilhet was second with 5,879 points, while Nebraska’s Bjorn Barrefors took third with 5,795 points and Missouri’s Nick Adcock was fourth (5,719).

"I wanted to contribute my part to the team and I’m happy I did that," said Eaton, who scored 10 points for the Ducks.

At the time, Eaton gave the Ducks 33 points and a 13-point advantage over Nebraska, a 14-point edge on Florida State, a 19-point lead on Arkansas.

In the first men’s running event of the night, the mile, sophomore Matthew Centrowitz finished sixth in the mile, running 4:02.69 to add three more points to the Ducks’ total. Centrowitz earned the first All-America award of his career. Also in that race, Arkansas’ Dorian Ulrey took third, scoring six team points for the Razorbacks. That left Oregon with 36 points, 16 better than Arkansas and Nebraska, who were then tied for second with 20, and 17 better than Florida State.

Shortly after the mile, Kirkland Thornton finished fifth in the 60 meter hurdles (7.75) for Nebraska, cutting the Ducks’ lead to 11 points, 36-25.

Then Florida’s Christian Taylor won the triple jump with a leap of 55-8.5 to vault the Gators into second place with 30 points.

But then Wheating, tired from the 800 preliminaries and the distance medley relay a day earlier, fought to a second place finish in the 800 meters to give the Ducks what ultimately proved to be the decisive points of the championship. Wheating ran 1:48.54 to finish second behind Texas’ Jacob Hernandez who ran 1:48.04, as the two repeated their finish from the outdoor 800 meters NCAA Championships last June.

Still, it proved to be enough to ice the meet, as Rupp’s win at 3,000 meters in 7:48.94 merely added to the Ducks’ school record point total.

Oregon was victorious with 54 points, with Florida second with 36 points, Florida State third with 32 points, Louisiana State fourth with 29 points and Arizona State, Baylor and Nebraska tied for fifth with 25 points. Arkansas was eighth with 24 points.

"It’s the first time being part of a national championship team for me and I can tell you it feels pretty good," said Associate Head Coach Dan Steele. "I would like to do it again."

Oregon’s previous best men’s finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships was sixth in 2005 and 2006. The previous high point total was 29 in 2005.

Building on its solid first day, the women claimed points in the 400 meters, pole vault and 3,000 meters to climb into the top 10 and set a school record for points at the NCAA Indoor Championship.

Tennessee was a surprise winner in the women’s chase, scoring 42 points to edge Texas A&M’s 37.

Scoring for the Duck women on Saturday were Keshia Baker, Melissa Gergel and Nicole Blood.

Baker finished sixth in the 400 meters. Her time of 53.39 secured three team points, and also earned the junior from Sacramento, Calif., her first career All-America award.

Gergel, a sophomore from Glenwood, Ill., cleared 13-7.25 on her second attempt to tie for sixth and pick up two team points. She also grabbed her second straight indoor All-America honor and third career.

Then it was Blood, a junior from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., capped the Oregon scoring by hanging on for sixth place in the 3,000 meters in 9:15.84. Those three points broke the previous mark of 18 in 1996.

"I just relaxed and wanted to have fun," said Blood. "I wanted to run well and get All-America, but I was a little tired from (Friday) and when you’ve got tired legs, you’ve just got to stay in your comfort zone."

Saturday marked the sixth career All-America award for Blood.

"I’m very pleased with our women’s team," said Steele. "They certainly didn’t back down."

There is little time to celebrate the weekend as Oregon opens the outdoor season next Saturday by hosting the annual Oregon Preview.


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DUCKS Sweep PAC10 Track Titles
  • Click for Full Article
    • BERKELEY, Calif. -- Oregon’s track and field teams unleashed an unprecedented performance in defending their Pacific-10 Conference track and field titles Sunday at Edwards Stadium.

    • The women rolled to titles in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters, as well as the 4x100 meter relay, to shatter the meet record with 215 points. That was 106 points better than second-place Arizona’s 109. Arizona State was third with 89.5, followed by USC with 89, Stanford with 88, UCLA with 71.5, California with 55.5, Washington State with 52 and Washington with 47.5.

    • Oregon’s point total surpassed the previous Pac-10 record of 189.5 established by UCLA in 1997.

    • The men (168.5 pts) watched USC eat into their 31-point lead in the field events early in the day, but Oregon countered with wins in the 800 and 1,500 meters and the 110 hurdles, plus a depth of scorers across the board, to win their fourth straight Pac-10 title for the first time in school history. The Ducks became the first school to win four in a row since UCLA won five straight in 1992-96.

  • Meet Results (includes Prelims)
  • Meet Results (Finals only. Select by event.)


Pac-10 Championships: Oregon's fleeting use of Matthew Centrowitz, Andrew Wheating indicates Oregon's NCAA ambitions

By Ken Goe, The Oregonian

May 17, 2010, 6:04PM
centro.jpgAssociated PressOregon's A.J. Acosta (right) runs beside teammate Matthew Centrowitz in the 1,500 meters Sunday during the Pac-10 track and field championships in Berkeley. Centrowitz and Acosta finished first and second, respectively.Perhaps nothing underscores how seriously UO coach Vin Lananna is taking the Ducks' push for a sweep of the men's and women's titles at the NCAA Championships -- June 9-12 at Hayward Field -- than the way he used Matthew Centrowitz and Andrew Wheating in the Pac-10 meet. 

Centrowitz won the 1,500, finishing just a step or two ahead of UO workhorse A.J. Acosta, and Wheating blitzed the field in the 800. 

But that was it. Talk of Wheating doing an 800/1,500 double evaporated when the Pac-10 entries came out. Centrowitz dropped out of the 5,000 rather than pushing hard and risking injury. 

USC, meanwhile, seriously threatened Oregon's bid for a fourth straight Pac-10 men's title. And while the Trojans came up short, Lananna apparently was willing to sacrifice the Pac-10 meet in order to position his guys to win the NCAA team title at home. 

Associated PressOregon's Andrew Wheating wins the 800 meter race Sunday during Pac-10 track and field championships in Berkeley.
Expect Wheating to run both the 800 and 1,500 in the NCAA championships. 

"It's definitely a high possibility," Wheating said. "There is a good chance it will happen. Nothing is official until race day, but I would like to double. Vin and I probably will sit down and have a big, long conversation about the best way to go about doing it." 

And, if Wheating is slotted into the 1,500, will Centrowitz run the 5,000? 

He is No. 3 on Oregon's career 1,500 list, but also ran the 5,000 in 13:47.73 this season. 

A last word: Centrowitz raved about Acosta, who gutted out a third-place finish in the 5,000 after previously finishing fourth in the steeplechase and second in the 1,500. 

"I watched him finish the race and I was in awe," Centrowitz said. "I sat there for five minutes after his race to take it all in." 

Women Roll to First NCAA Title; Eaton Sets World Record
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
          Release: 03/13/2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Women of Oregon won their first NCAA Indoor Track and Field national title, while Ashton Eaton set the world record in the heptathlon, Saturday at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Brianne Theisen ignited the women’s victory by winning the pentathlon in the day’s first event and then women’s 4x400 meter relay team put the cherry on top by winning the last event in 3:32.97. In between, a bevy of Ducks contributed as Oregon accumulated 61 points and won by 25 over Tennessee. The Lady Vols had 36 with Louisiana State third at 35 and Florida fourth with 33.

“We got things started off with a win in the pentathlon which was huge for us and it just kept rolling from there and closed it out with style by winning the relay,” said assistant coach Robert Johnson of the women’s victory.

For the first time since 1987, a University of Oregon women's team won a national title. It's only the fourth women's NCAA championship in school history, joining cross country in 1983 and 1987, and outdoor track and field in 1985.

Other point scorers for the women Saturday included Melissa Gergel – second in the pole vault, Keshia Baker – second in the 400 meters, Jordan Hasay – fourth in the mile, Nicole Blood – fifth in the 3,000 meters and Anne Kesselring – sixth in the mile.

Likewise, Eaton set the stage for the men to tie for second with Texas A&M. Florida won the meet with 57 points. Oregon and Texas A&M were tied at 44, Louisiana State was fourth with 42 points and Arkansas was fifth with 38.

The men also saw contributions from Andrew Wheating – second in the 800 meters, Mac Fleet – second in the mile, A.J. Acosta – fourth in the mile, and the 4x400 meter relay team, which ran sixth.

After building a commanding day one lead, Eaton began his assault on Dan O’Brien’s 1993 world and American record of 6,474 points from the get go.

The senior from Bend, Ore., set a meet record in winning the 60 meter hurdles in 7.77 seconds. That mark was a personal best and also ranked No. 2 all-time on the UO indoor list. He then jumped to a heptathlon personal best in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 16-8.75 feet (5.10 meters).

Through six events, Eaton accumulated 5,542 points, and needed to run 2:34.58 in the 1,000 meters – a PR by 3.5 seconds – to break O’Brien’s record. He made that with time to spare, clocking a six-second personal best 1,000 meters of 2:32.67, for a final heptathlon total of 6,499 points.

“Going into the last event, I didn’t think I was going to have what it took to get it,” said Eaton, who won his fourth NCAA individual title (2008 & 2009 decathlon, 2009 & 2010 heptathlon). “Four seconds in the 1,000 is a lot.

“With three laps to go, I felt awesome. I thought, ‘I can do this’.”

Eaton surpassed O’Brien’s mark by 25 points and shattered his own college and school record by 243 points. In all, Eaton set heptathlon personal bests in all seven events, and had lifetime bests in four of the seven – 60 meters, high jump, 60 meter hurdles and 1,000 meters.

Mateo Sossah of North Carolina was second with 5,886 points and Michael Morrison of California was third with 5,826 points.

Just minutes after Eaton’s record, Theisen set the women’s run to a national title in motion with a record-setting win in the heptathlon.

She established heptathlon personal bests in four of the five events in rolling to victory with 4,396 points. The sophomore from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, ran fourth in the 60 meters hurdles in 8.44 and cleared 5-8.5 in the high jump – her only non-PR mark of the day, though she still tied for second in the event.

She then took the lead in the competition with a big PR in the shot put, 41-6 (12.65 meters), which was a foot better than her previous best. She had only one legal mark in the long jump, going 19-11.5 on her second attempt, before bringing home the title with a time of 2:15.58 in the 800 meters.

“I was so excited about that (shot put),” said Theisen, who also won the 2009 NCAA outdoor heptathlon. “As everyone knows, I’m not a really good shot put thrower so having that foot-PR was awesome.

“As soon as it left my hand I thought, 'oh this is going to be huge,' because it felt so good.”

Theisen broke her own school record by 75 points as her score ranked fourth all-time among collegians. Kiani Proft of Maryland was second with 4,242 points, with Sandy Fortner of New Mexico third with 4,156 points.

Theisen became just the second Duck woman to win an NCAA indoor title, joining Melody Fairchild, who captured the 1996 3,000 meter title.

The women backed up Theisen’s win with a pair of strong second place runs.

Baker took second in the 400 meters in a school-record 51.63, and Gergel established a huge PR in the pole vault, taking second at 14-7.25, a school record.

Hasay and Kesselring scored in the mile, with Hasay running fourth in 4:38.29 and Kesselring coming in sixth in 4:40.39. Nicole Blood, who suffered a nasty fall in the 5,000 meters Friday night, capped the individual scoring for the women with a fifth-place showing in the 3,000 meters in a season-best 9:11.23.

The most fun of the night might have been watching the Ducks fend off Louisiana State for the 4x400 meter title. Jamesha Youngblood led off and Oregon surged to the lead on Baker’s second leg. Michele Williams held position before Amber Purvis ran the anchor and held off LSU’s LaTavia Thomas to win in 3:32.97, which was also a school record.

“It was exciting,” said Purvis. “I looked at (Thomas) in the video screen and saw her coming so then I just gave it all I had in the end.”

It was the first Oregon women's relay win at the NCAA meet of any kind - indoors or outdoors. The Ducks 1980 mile relay of Melanie Batiste, Rhonda Massey, Leann Warren and Grace Bakari won the AIAW championship at Hayward Field.

The men also captured big points in the mile. Mac Fleet was second in 4:01.63, while senior A.J. Acosta was fourth in 4:02.27.

Fleet, a freshman from San Diego, Calif., lurked in the back of the field for the first six laps until making his move with 600 meters remaining. He threw out a big kick to jump all the way from ninth to second.

“The race plan was to stay as calm as possible though one K and then try to make a move along the outside,” said Fleet.

Also for the men, senior Andrew Wheating finished second in the 800 meters in 1:48.40 and the 4x400 meter relay team of Matt Butcher, Eaton, Travis Thompson and Chad Barlow grabbed sixth in 3:08.42.

“I think we had a phenomenal, phenomenal performance,” said assistant coach Andy Powell of the men’s performance. “Talking with Vin Lananna before the meet, 40 points was a goal and we scored 44 and tied for second, which was a very good result for us.”


Courtesy: GoDucks.com

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Ashton Eaton set the world record in the heptathlon in winning the event Saturday at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randall Tyson Center.

The senior from Bend, Ore., scored 6,499 points to break Dan O'Brien's 1993 world and American mark of 6,476 points.

He opened the day by running 7.77 in the 60 meter hurdles, jumped 16-8.75 in the pole vault, and then -- needing to run 2:34.58 for the record -- ran 2:32.67 in the 1,000 meters.

Be sure to check goducks.com later tonight for more photos, quotes and a more detailed recap.


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