Oregon's Eaton Challenges NCAA Standard

SEATTLE – University of Oregon sophomore Ashton Eaton established personal bests in two of four events in the heptathlon and is on pace to eclipse the automatic standard for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships to highlight the Ducks' first day of competition in the UW Invitational Friday in the Dempsey Indoor Center.

The Bend standout bettered his previous bests in the 60 meters with a time of 6.83 seconds, and exceeded his previous pinnacle in the high jump by almost six inches with a jump of 6-feet, 8 3/4. His first-day score of 3,268 also could challenge the Oregon men's indoor heptathlon record of 5,608, set by Santiago Lorenzo in 2002.

Eaton stood in first place in the event following the first four phases, edging Cal State Northridge's Justin Johnson, who accounted for 3,193 points.

"Ashton looked great and did a terrific job all day," said Associate Head Coach Dan Steele. "I'm confident he can put together another impressive showing on Saturday."

Oregon's distance medley relays both set school records, with the women placing third in a time of 11:10.48, while the men claimed second place in 9:36.21. The men's mark was two seconds off of the NCAA's automatic qualifying standard for the national championships despite a less-than-flawless exchange between the second and third legs.

Upon grabbing the baton from sophomore Chad Barlow at the conclusion of the second leg, sophomore Andrew Wheating lost his shoe and was forced to run his entire 800 meters barefoot. Yet he still managed to clock a split of 1:50.

"With this really being our first significant meet of the season, the kids turned in a first-class effort and really enjoyed a great day," Steele added. "With the type of momentum we generated today, I think we can anticipate another great day tomorrow.

"What we were really for this weekend was to set the stage for the rest of the indoor season and based on what we did today, I think we're headed for a really great year."

Portland sophomore Kenny Klotz set a personal best in the men's 5,000, finishing ninth with a time of 14:06.34, while senior teammate Carlos Trujillo was 11th in 14:23.20.

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