Ducks Open 2008 Indoor Track Season

EUGENE – The University of Oregon will open its 2008 track & field campaign when it competes in the UW Indoor Preview Saturday, January 19, in the Dempsey Indoor facility in Seattle.

Approximately 25 men and 22 women will represent the Ducks in the season opener against schools and individuals primarily from the Northwest. Field events are tentatively scheduled to get underway at 8:30 a.m. followed by running events at 9:30 a.m. The final events of the day – the men's triple jump and the men's 4x400m relay – are slated to begin at 4 p.m.

Included among the Ducks' expected entrants are a quartet of returning NCAA outdoor competitors, three NCAA All-Americans as well as three Pacific-10 Conference meet scorers.

Highlighting Oregon's contingent will be entries in both the men's and women's one mile run. Sophomore A.J. Acosta and Portland junior Scott Wall are being counted on to help lead the school's distance corps, with Acosta earning All-America acclaim after finishing 13th in the one mile in the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. In addition, he qualified for the 1,500m in NCAA outdoor meet and was the Ducks' sixth finisher for the school's NCAA national champion cross country team.

Wall and Acosta were also NCAA indoor provisional qualifiers at 3,000 meters last season.

Portland senior Michael McGrath, who was an NCAA indoor provisional qualifier in last year's mile and 3,000 in addition to competing in the NCAA outdoor 1,500 meters, is entered in Saturday's 3,000.

Seniors Phillip Alexander and Marcus Dillon, as well as sophomore Ashton Eaton, will run in the 300 meters after running legs on last year's 4x100m and 4x400m relays that both finished 14th in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

On the women's side, sophomores Nicole Blood and Zoe Buckman are scheduled to compete in both the mile and 3,000 meters after earning NCAA cross country honors last fall. Blood also finished 15th in the 2007 national collegiate outdoor championships at 5,000 meters, while Buckman competed in the NCAA outdoor 800.

Seniors Kavina Hall and Irie Searcy, in addition to sophomore Keshia Baker, will take part in the 300 meters. Baker and Searcy both advanced to the finals of last year's Pac-10 individual 400-meter championships while Baker, Hall, and/or Searcy ran on the Ducks' 4x400m relay that set the school's indoor school record and finished third on Oregon's outdoor all-time list.

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