Oregon Tries to Get Double Again in Pac-12

This weekend the Duck men and women will try to extend two impressive conference win streaks. The men will attempt to win their sixth and the women will attempt to win their fourth consecutive titles. The men have been slowed due to injury this year but the women are led by seniors looking for conference and national titles.

The men return eight scorers and the women return 15 from last year's Pac-10 championship teams. The men have a large group of talented newcomers that will attempt to carry-on the Duck championship tradition and the women welcome a few experienced newcomers but mostly welcome the return to health of senior Brianne Theisen,

Oregon will be led by returning Pac-10 champions English Gardner (100) and Jordan Hasay (1500 and 5000) and the 4x400 meter relay and Mike Berry (400) for the men. On the both sides the Ducks should score a lot of points with the women having multiple potential scorers in the women's 200, 1500, steeplechase, 5000, 10000, high jump, and pole vault. The men will have multiple potential scorers in the 800, 1500, 5000, 10000, 110 hurdles, Triple Jump, and Javelin Throw.

All Americans Elijah Greer (800) and Luke Puskedra (10k) will join Berry in leading the Duck team. They are leading a very new and young team. The Oregon men will have to rely on 18 Pac-12 entries by newcomers. Duck freshmen last weekend led to 11 points in the Decathlon with the title won by Dakotah Keys. Sophomore Trevor Dunbar (1500 and 5000) transferred from Portland and is part of a large group of new, young runners in the middle and distance events. Freshman Johnathan Cabral (110 hurdle favorite) is the top member of the new sprint crew that includes 2010 Oregon sprint champion Arthur Delaney (100, 200 and both relays this weekend). Redshirt freshman Sam Crouser is favored to win his first Javelin title.

The men's side should be a good team battle between the favorite, ASU, and Oregon. ASU is a strong favorite but Oregon can get points here and there in multiple events and try to challenge the Sun Devils. ASU returns 11 scorers from last year's conference championship. They are led by defending NCAA outdoor Shot Put champion junior Jordan Clarke, senior NCAA triple jump leader Chris Benard, and NCAA indoor 800 meter champion Mason McHenry.

The Oregon women welcome back seniors Theisen and Alex Kosinski who are expected to make an impact both at the conference and NCAA level. The veteran Duck women have conference and NCAA scorers (eight including the healthy redshirts) back. NCAA champion Anne Kesselring (800) will lead a deep middle distance crew that includes NCAA scorer Becca Friday (1500) and Megan Patrignelli. Gardner will be joined by all-American senior Amber Purvis (100 and relays) indoor all-American Phyllis Francis (400) and all-Americans Chizoba Okodogbe and Lauryn Newson in the sprints. Newcomers expected to make a big impact at this meet include senior Kimber Mattox and junior Katie Conlon in the steeplechase and 5000 and Chancy Summers and Lauren Crockett in the high jump.

It is likely the women will try not to double back into the 5000 meters and 4x400 meter relays and save themselves for the West Regional and NCAA meets.

The conference men return fourteen NCAA scorers on the men's side and those competitors have progressed this year. Chris Derrick recently broke Galen Rupp's American collegiate Record in the 10000 meters (27:31.38) and Arizona's Nick Ross in the high jump and Arizona State's Clarke in the Shot Put and McHenry in the 800 meters won NCAA indoor titles.

The conference women return 18 NCAA scorers with many more expected to score this year after returning from injuries. Brigetta Barrett of Arizona is the defending Pac-10, NCAA and US high jump (pr 6-5) champion and Brianne Theisen just set the conference Heptathlon record. The biggest developments have been in the distance races as Deb Maier of California (15:29.24) had top-three finishes at the NCAA indoor meet and Katie Flood had a spectacular indoor season (4:28.48 mile and 8:55.31 3k). One of the biggest stars of the meet is graduate senior Jessica Tebo (nie Pixler) from Colorado who won 12 NCAA Division II titles at Seattle Pacific and has run 15:19.43 for 5000 meters. She is the favorite in both the 1500 and 5000 meters in what is expected to be national class fields.

This should be a great meet with warm weather for the sprints and moderate temperatures for the distance events.

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