History of the Oregon-UCLA Duel Meet

Last weekend the Duck – Bruin dual resurrected itself after a 23-year hiatus. UCLA and Oregon had a series of 14 dual meets between 1966 and 1985 and the Bruins won 10 meets.

In 1994, as part of the Pepsi Team Invitational, UCLA beat Oregon 85-78 by winning the 4x400 meter relay. br>
Over 16 of those years (rankings started in 1970) that there were dual meet rankings (by Track and Field News) the Bruins were the top dual meet team in the country with six titles and only one finish below third, in 1978 (Oregon's first victory), when UCLA finished fourth and Oregon was fifth. At the NCAA championships the Bruins only finished below seventh once from 1966 to 1982 and was only below fifth overall twice. During that 17year period UCLA won five team championships

Just like Oregon had legendary coaches at that time, Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger, UCLA had head coach Jim Bush (sprints and hurdles), Hal Harkness (distances), and Tom Tellez (jumps and throws). Toney Veney (1972-1975), current UCLA sprint, hurdles and relays coach had great memories of the rivalry and of Hayward Field. By 1973 Bill Bowerman had lost four consecutive dual meets to UCLA ('66, '67, '70, and '71). This time all eight places would count, WSU and Nebraska would join the meet, and they would use international scoring. At the time Veney joined UCLA, as an 800 meter runner and 4x400 relay runner, they had not lost a dual meet in 1971 and didn't lose until three years after he left. There was no limit on scholarships and California was and has always been a hot-bed of talent. Most of the athletes at Oregon were in-state competitors.

In Veney's first race at Hayward field, the Oregon dual in 1973, he set a pr (1:49.0) with a win over Oregon's Steve Spence. At the end of the race a surprised Veney was told by coach Hartness to take a victory lap. Reticent at first, he was greeted by the cheers of the East grandstand. Coach Veney still appreciates how knowledgeable the crowd is and still counts Spence as one of his friends. He recollects the intensity and level of the performances that made this "an event" similar to an Olympic Games. That year Prefontaine won a double (mile in 3:57 and 3 mile in @ 13:00), Todd Lathers won the Steeplechase for Oregon in 8:40 and there were "two hurdlers that ran 13.7 and 13.8 and were fourth and fifth." Later that year he won at the Pac-8 championships in Eugene and set a school record of 1:47.8. He does hope that "with another year on the contract, maybe they can put a dome over the stadium."

In 1978 Oregon stopped UCLA's In front of 6,803 fans in Eugene, Oregon pulled that shocking victory due to the addition of junior college transfers Don Coleman and Jim Bell. Oregon was behind going into the 100, 43-34. Jon Ogard had a huge day for Oregon and started in the long jump with a pr of 23-11 to finish second ahead of future Triple jump world record holder Willie Banks of UCLA (pr 25-11 ½) who jumped 23-9. Dave Laut (1984 Olympic Silver medallist) was still emerging as a putter and surprised with a victory in the shot put (61-10) over Jeff Stover ('78 Pac 8 SP champ and fifth at NCAA) and Dave Vorhees (third in SP and Discus at '78 NCAA meet) of Oregon. In the pole vault the world indoor record holder Mike Tully won at 18-2 ½. Coleman, who couldn't train during the week due to injuries, surprisingly won the 100 (10.0h wind-aided) in front of future Olympic High Hurdle silver medallist and three time World champion Greg Foster from UCLA (high hurdle winner), Andrew Banks of Oregon was third in10.2 ahead of 1976 Olympic silver medallist in the 200, Millard Hampton (10.4w). The key to the meet was the sweep by Oregon in the 800 meters (Rudy Chapa in 1:52.78 after a win in the 1500 in 3:42.77) due to the injury of UCLA's standout and favorite Conrad Suhr (pr 1:47.8). Another JC transfer Jim Bell (from Mt Hood CC) was a surprise winner in the 400 hurdles (52.74). On the field Anthony Berry jumped a school record 51-2 ½ for second behind Banks at 52-11. Jon Ogard, without practicing the week before, jumped 7-0 to win the high jump and Vorhees led a 1-2 in the Discus with a throw of 195-1. Coleman and Banks finished second and third behind Foster in the 200 and a 1-2-3 sweep in the 5,000 meters led by Bill McChesney had the mile relay inconsequential and the Ducks won 81-73.

In 1979 Oregon dominated UCLA (85 ½ - 68 ½ - no hammer) in front of an inspiring crowd of 12,123 (a Hayward dual meet record). In addition to the expected domination of the distance races (sweeps in 1500 to 5,000 and 1-2 in 800), the Ducks won all four jumping events. Rudy Chapa won an 800/1500 double (1:49.79/3:46.76), Don Clary ran 8:30.97 to lead Ken Martin (8:38.28) in the steeplechase, and Alberto Salazar was second in the 1500 (3:46.88) and 5,000 (13:57.62) behind Art Boileau (13:57.41) and ahead of Bill McChesney (13:57.79) (Tom Hintnaus in the pole vault and Jan From in the high jump) with Jan Ogard getting a lifetime best (24-1 ½, 24-3 ¾ wind aided) in the long jump and Gary Lacey jumping a lifetime best in the triple jump (50-4 ¾). UCLA was expected to sweep those two events. Blaine Newnham of the Eugene Register-Guard commented in the paper after the meet that "Track is not simply a meet at Oregon, it legitimately qualifies as a happening. Saturday it was a wet Woodstock…" A week later Oregon won for the first time in four years against WSU (95-68) and ended up number one in the dual meet rankings for the first time.

Oregon and UCLA renewed their rivalry in 1983. In 1982, Oregon's Crouser brothers had won three of the four throwing events (Dean in the SP and Discus and Brian in the Javelin). Oregon also had a top sprinter in George Walcott and had recently signed international middle distance sensation Joaquim Cruz to go along with national level Oregonian Dub Myers. UCLA was the defending Pac-10 champ while Oregon finished fourth. UCLA lost a number of athletes to graduation but returned NCAA runner-up and school record holder Del Davis in the high jump (pr 7-7 ¼) and future world record holder John Brenner in the Shot Put was returning for his junior year. As always UCLA had brought in tremendous recruits Steve Kerho in the hurdles and Lee Balkin in the High Jump and had maturing stellar recruits from previous years. An elbow injury kept Brian Crouser out of the meet and prematurely ended his season. Oregon had to win the 4x400 meter relay to get the win at 85-78.

In 1984 Dean Crouser and Pac-10 200 champion George Walcott had graduated. In 1983 Cruz had won an NCAA 800 title and Myers was 5th in the 1500. Oregon did get local transfer Kory Tarpening in the Pole Vault and returned distance and cross country all-American Jim Hill. Oregon's cross country team had their best finish (third) in four years and Brad Simpson and Mike Blackmore joined Jim Hill as all-Americans. Sophomores Matt McGuirk, Harold Kuphaldt and Dan Nelson had also made a significant contribution to the team. Once again a jumper turned Oregon's fortunes in the dual meet against UCLA. Chris Harper took off two weeks after basketball season and surprised the star UCLA high jumpers by winning at 7-0 ½. Ken Flax set a meet record at 221-10 and won the hammer, Matt McGuirk won the 3,000 steeplechase, Kory Tarpening won the Pole Vault, Don Ward set a meet record at 50.56 and won the 400 hurdles, Joaquim Cruz won the 800 in a meet record 1:47.21 and the 1500 ahead of Dub Myers in third. John Brenner of UCLA set the meet record in the Shot Put at 67-7 and won the Discus. That year, while winning the NCAA championships, he set UCLA school records at 71-11 ¼ in the Shot Put and 208-2 in the Discus. The key event was the 5,000 meters. If Oregon scored at least six points Oregon would win. Steve McCormack of UCLA had finished seventh at last year's NCAA meet and Jon Butler had been sixth at the P-10 cross country meet behind two-time champion Jim Hill of Oregon. Hill won ahead of Butler and McCormack and Mike Blackmore and John Zishka finished fourth and fifth. Oregon had to win the 1600 meter relay. Dub Myers ran the third leg for Oregon and was behind UCLA. Steve Kerho of UCLA (pr 46.1) took the baton ahead of Joaquim Cruz of Oregon. Kerho ran a sub 46 relay leg but Cruz passed him in the home-stretch to give Oregon the win in the relay and won the meet 86-77.

A home meet for the Ducks, Oregon had 16 athletes entered at the NCAA meet and 12 scored. Brian Crouser recovered from his injury and won the Pac-10 javelin, finished fourth at the NCAA meet and took most of the year to get to full strength. In 1984 Ken Flax became America's top collegiate hammer thrower with a Pac-10 championship and seventh place finish at the NCAA meet. Joaquim Cruz won the 800 and 1500 at the NCAA meet and won the Olympic Gold in the 800. Tarpening finished second in the pole vault with his first 18 foot clearance (18-0 ½). Dub Myers and Jim Hill finished third in the 1500 and 5,000. Matt McGuirk and Harold Kuphaldt finished fifth and sixth in the Steeplechase, and John Zishka was seventh in the 5,000 and Mike Blackmore was ninth. Oregon won the meet with 113 points for their first (and last) title since 1970.

In 1985 Oregon didn't make the NCAA championships in cross country, Joaquim Cruz left school to pursue professional track, Jim Hill graduated, and the team seemed flat. UCLA squashed Oregon in the dual meet 100-63. Oregon tied for the most dual meet losses in team history (3). UCLA head coach Jim Bush allowed the series to lapse but made a joking offer that he would renew the series if Oregon was willing to pay $500,000. In the next few years UCLA continued their strong run of teams. After 1984, Oregon's best finish at the NCAA meet was a third at Hayward Field in 1991.

John Smith ran for UCLA from 1969 to 1972 and was the sprint and hurdle coach for 17 years (1984- 2001). At the time, Smith was a member of four consecutive NCAA mile relay championships and a fifth was won in 1973. 18 members of the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Teams were ex-Bruins. When Smith took over at UCLA the strength of the program was the sprints that Smith coached and the throwers under Vanegas' tutelage. The team won nine Pac-10 titles and his group set the NCAA meet record in the 4x400 meter relay (run at Hayward field in 1988) and members (Olympic champions Steve Lewis and Danny Everett in the 400 and Kevin Young in the 400 hurdles) were the stalwarts that led UCLA to consecutive NCAA championships in 1987 and 1988 (the Bruins last two outdoor team championships) and had won dual meet championships each of those years.

After the dual meet series ended between the two the dual meet has faded until in 2000 Oregon's only dual meet of the year was against Washington. After that the Pepsi Team Invite became the only source for collegiate team competition at Hayward field until this weekend.

eDuck Top Stories