Wheating Continues to Emerge

Saturday's elite meet was another chapter in the emergence of middle distance star Sophomore Andrew Wheating. Wheating has yet to lose this year after defeating a national-final level mile field at the Oregon Relays. What is shocking is his confidence and strength at the end of races despite his lack of experience at track competition.

At this year's US indoor national championships in New York Andrew Wheating surprised Duck watchers with his 1:47.8 800-meter leg. Oregon was in the lead until the final leg. Last year Wheating had set his PR of 1:50.17 at the Pac-10 championships where he finished seventh and duplicated that finish at the West Region championships. Most watchers wanted to see what would happen at the indoor conference championships to see how he would do. He won the MPSF championship meet against veteran teammate Mike McGrath, 1:48.82 to 1:49.28. It was an NCAA provisional qualifying time that would have gotten him into the meet but coaches decided that he should run on the Distance Medley Relay. In the relay he had the fastest time by 1.05 seconds (faster than fifth ranked collegian Jamaal James of LSU) among the eleven teams for the 800-meter leg.

His first meet outdoors was his second consecutive win at the Pepsi Relays (3:47.11) and in his first outdoor 800 of the year he ran 1:48.83 by running wire-to-wire and beating last year's top high school and US junior champ Cory Primm of UCLA (1:48.83 to 1:49.86). In his second outdoor race of the year Wheating, who set his personal record last year in this meet at 3:45.17, took the lead with 600 to go and with indoor US mile finalist Will Leer (fourth) in chase. Wheating pulled away to win in 3:58.16 (@ 3:40.1 for 1500), which would translate to the second best 1500 in college, and he is currently ranked ninth in the 800. Joaquin Chapa ran 4:02.44 for fourth place and a regional qualifying mark and his fastest time since 2005. Galen Rupp was sixth at 4:03.13.

Unfortunately for Ryan Bailey of Seta/Cnw he had a wind-aided time of 10.29 (3.0 meters/second) in the 100 meters which would have been a PR and is only .01 off the Olympic Trials B standard. Bailey graduated last year from McKay and is still training with his high school coach until he graduates from a community college so he can go to a four-year school. He came back to win in a PR over 200 meters with a time of 20.77, just .02 off the Olympic Trials B standard. The Oregon women also enjoyed the warm weather and had several personal records (PR) in the 200. Mandy White won with a collegiate PR of 24.32 and Keshia Baker was second in 24.50 (just off her PR). In the second heat Leah Worthen broke 25 seconds for the first time with a run of 24.58, Jamesha Youngblood was second at 24.96 and Ashley Bridenbeck was third in 25.21, all PRs.

Yesterday was the return, after a two-year hiatus, of Junior Jordan Boase of Washington. At the NCAA meet indoors he finished third. In his first outdoor meet at the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona he ran 44.82 for the collegiate leader and a school record. He ran the opening leg of the 4x100 meter relay and led the team to the Pac-10s and West Regions fastest time, 39.80. The 4x400 meter relay would be another test. Oregon's Ashton Eaton and Marcus Dillon gave Oregon a slight lead ahead of Washington, Oregon Track Club Elite, and Wichita State. On the third leg Phil Alexander fell behind the other teams but the Pac-10 leader in the 200 took off and gave Chad Barlow a five-meter lead ahead of Jordan Boase of Washington. Boase passed Barlow in the first 200 meters of the leg. Barlow, known for his strong finishes got onto Boase's shoulder and gradually passed him to give Oregon the win in 3:09.24 to 3:09.41 for Washington. Final legs were run in 46.7 for Barlow and 45.5 for Boase.

There were other impressive collegiate performances on the track by Jennifer Snyder of Wichita State in the 100 hurdles (13.58 wind-aided), Paul Limpf of Eastern Washington in the 10,000 meters at 29:57.13, Faleesha Ankton of Washington in the 400 hurdles at 60.57, and the Oregon women won both relays in 46.43 for the 4x100 and 3:48.19 for 4x400 meters.

On the field Mary Vincent of ASICS (eighth at 2008 US indoor and 2007 outdoor) contested with recent Sam Houston graduate and all-American Jennie Sewell. Sewell won on fewer misses as both cleared 4.21 meters, 13-9 ¾. Norris Frederick of Washington jumped 7.53m, 24-8 ½ ahead of Vernell Warren's outdoor PR of 7.32m, 24-0 ¼ (wind-aided), just .02m off the regional qualifying mark. Simidele Adeagbo, consistent US finalist the last few years, jumped 13.66m, 44-9 ¾. Casey Malone of Nike won the Discus with a best throw of 61.31m, 201-2 and locally coached Adam Midles of Team XO threw 67.10m, 220-2 to win the men's hammer.

The high school athletes dominated action on Saturday. Barlow and Summit challenged each other all day to win the team trophy. Barlow's freshman Ryan Crouser (son of three-time Duck NCAA champion Dean) completed his Shot/Discus double with a PR win in the Shot Put at 57-9 ¾. Teammate Eric Capelle won the 100 in 10.87 and ran the state's leading time in the 110 hurdles of 14.40. Summit's Kellie Schueller ran four events. She ran state leading times in the 100 and 200 but finished second to Kelly Jacka (12.11 to 12.17 in the 100 and 24.36 to 24.50 in the 200). She ran away from the competition in the 400 with a time of 55.83. She had to run a 54.9 anchor leg in the 4x400 meter relay to defeat Southridge as both teams surpassed the state's leading time (3:57.32 to 3:57.97). Summit won the championship ahead of Barlow.

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