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Big Day for the Ducks at Pac-12 Meet Leads to Another Conference Title Sweep
By Steve Ritchie / Special to the Statesman Journal
May 13, 2012

University of Oregon's Jordan Hasay

EUGENE - Winning two more conference titles wasn't supposed to be easy, but the University of Oregon track and field teams sure made it look that way at Hayward Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Duck men and women extended their unprecedented streak of conference title victories to six and four, respectively, at Hayward Field on Sunday at the inaugural Pac-12 Conference Championship.

The Oregon women won with 200.5 points, easily out-distancing Stanford, 123.5, and Arizona, 94.5, while the men kept the crowd of 7,144 in suspense a bit longer before pulling away to win by 23.5 points over favored Arizona State.

Favorites coming in to the meet, the Duck women were expected to get a stiff challenge from Stanford, but it never materialized.

"The (Oregon) women just dominated from start to finish and to score over 200 points is pretty impressive," Associate AD and Head Coach Vin Lananna said. "Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn't have anticipated they would score that many points."

The Ducks started out on fire, winning the 4 x 100 relay in a season best time of 43.72. The next event, the 1500 meters featured three of the Ducks' top distance runners - Jordan Hasay, Anne Kesselring, and Becca Friday - against a top-flight field led by 1500 meter collegiate leader Katie Flood of Washington.

Hasay, who was coming off a series of disappointing performances, stole the show this time. After running the first three laps behind Flood and Colorado's Jessica Tebo, Hasay charged to the lead with 300 to go and held off all challenges to win in 4:13.28. Her closing speed has been questioned at times, but her coach gave her a boost of confidence before the race.

University of Oregon's Anne Kesselring

"I just couldn't believe it," Hasay said after the meet. "I was planning to wait to make my move until the last hundred, and Coach (Lananna) before the race said, 'There is no way you don't have a good kick - I've seen you in practice.' I just wanted to make sure I didn't go too early and coach said to save something for the last 50 meters. It was so exciting for the crowd and just a great feeling."

University of Oregon's Becca Friday

Kesselring and Friday backed up Hasay's win, picking up points with 4th and 5th place finishes to boost Oregon into a lead that would never be threatened.

English Gardner then won the 100 meters in a slightly wind-aided time of 11.00, followed by teammate Lauryn Newson who captured second in 11.38. Newson, a sprinter-jumper who is quietly putting together a solid senior season, hustled over to the triple jump and provided an even-greater shock by winning the triple jump in 43-04.25 - the second-best mark ever at Oregon - in just her second-ever triple jump competition.

Newson, who was women's athlete of the meet with 26.5 points, was ecstatic about her performance.

University of Oregon's Laura Roesler

"I feel really good. This is a moment I will remember forever."

The big day for the Ducks was also punctuated by two, crowd-pleasing 1-2-3 sweeps in the 800 with Laura Roesler, Friday and Claudia Francis finishing within .29 seconds of each other, and in the 200, with Gardner, Phyllis Francis and Newson all recording personal records. Gardner's time of 22.82 is the second best all-time at Oregon, and Francis and Newson now rank third and fourth all-time in that event.

The Oregon men started the day one point behind UCLA and one point ahead of Arizona, with meet favorite Arizona State close behind in fifth place. Just like the women, the Oregon men got a jump start in the first event on the track, the 4 x 100 relay.

Associate Head Coach Robert Johnson put together a relay team that included two athletes on loan from football, cornerback Dior Mathis and running back De'Anthony Thomas, and two track sprinters, Arthur Delaney and Joeal Hotchkins. The quartet was smooth on all three handoffs, and anchor Thomas flew down the homestretch, bringing the crowd to its feet and the Ducks across the line in second in a season-best time of 40.09, which tied for UO's seventh-best all time.

University of Oregon's English Gardner

Oregon continued to pile up the points in the 1500 meters, as four runners, led by Trevor Dunbar, placed in the top eight, giving the Ducks 14 more points.

Delaney, an Oregon freshman from Barlow High School, then picked up a third-place in the 100 with a PR time of 10.24 and Hotchkins took seventh.

Johnathan Cabral, another UO freshman, picked up a relatively easy win in the 110 high hurdles, and Mike Berry took second in the 400 behind USC's Bryshon Nellums. With all the points they were getting on the track, it almost didn't matter that the Oregon men only scored five points in the day's three field events.

The men's 800 looked like ASU's last chance to slow down the Ducks, and get back into the hunt. ASU's NCAA indoor champ Mason McHenry was in the race, along with John Kline, while Oregon countered with Elijah Greer, Boru Goyota, and Russell Hornsby. Greer came on late to win in 1:48.48, holding off Washington's Joe Abbott in the stretch for the win. Guyota and Hornsby picked up points in fifth and sixth, while McHenry held on for third and Kline for seventh. Oregon's 17 points in the event were nine more than ASU's and virtually guaranteed the Duck streak of conference titles would grow to six.

Lananna saluted his team's effort after the meet.

"We just wanted to have a chance at the end of the first day. The guys came through with flying colors. Those are some great teams - ASU, USC - and every point was tough to come by."

Tough or not, in the end Lananna and both his teams had more than enough.

Notes: Oregon State's women's team scored three points on the strength of Laura Carlyle's sixth-place finish in the 1500 meters. The OSU men's four points came from high jumper Obum Gawcham's sixth-place and the eighth-place finish by the 4 x 100 team . . . Kimber Mattox, a UO senior who transferred there from Willamette, placed ninth in Sunday's 5000 meters to go with her second-place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase on Saturday . . . Brigetta Barrett of Arizona won the high jump at 6-4.25 and just missed setting a collegiate record of 6-6.25.

 
 

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