Ducks Place In Distance Medley

BOSTON – The University of Oregon's men's distance medley relay inched closer towards gaining a spot in next month's NCAA indoor championships by posting a second-place time of 9-minutes 34.06 seconds in the 4,000-meter relay Sunday afternoon in the AT&T USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

The mark bettered the Oregon school record in the event by more than two seconds from earlier this month in Seattle and came up only 6 one-hundredths of a second shy of the automatic qualifying standard for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark.

The quartet of Mike McGrath (1200 meters), Chad Barlow (400), Andrew Wheating (800) and A.J. Acosta (1600) led for almost the entire race before Acosta was passed in the final 400 meters by Wisconsin's Brandon Bethke. The Badgers won the event in 9:33.29, with the Oregon Elite TC finishing third behind the Ducks in 9:39.43.

"It is really tough to lead that event from start to finish but each person ran a very competitive race," said Oregon assistant coach Andy Powell. "Overall it was great for our guys to be able to compete in this meet and it was a good experience."

McGrath provided the Ducks with the early lead with an estimated clocking of 2:56 in the opening 1,200 meters, while Wheating finished his third leg in approximately 1:47.8 over 800 meters.

The Ducks will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships Friday and Saturday in Seattle.


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