Duck Youth Overwhelm Competition

The Oregon men and women had their best Pac-10 championship performances in several years. The men won with their second-most points, 144.5, since 1979 (152 in 2005 was the most). They defeated NCAA indoor team champion Arizona State who finished with 134. The women scored their most points, 100 points, and had their highest finish, third, since 1996.

ASU won with 187 points, second only all-time in Pac-10 championship history to UCLA's score of 189.5 from 1997.

The Oregon men led after the first day with 61.5 points to 48.5 for UCLA, 35 for Arizona State, and pre-meet co-favorite USC in ninth with 11.5 points. The Arizona State women led with 84 points to 59 for Stanford, 41 for Oregon, and USC was in fifth with 27 points.

The men's hammer was another morning final like the women's hammer the day before. In Oregon's dual meet win over UCLA the meet-changing event was Oregon finishing first and second over UCLA's Pac-10 leading thrower Boldizsar Kocsor. Senior Colin Veldman threw a personal record (PR) 219-6 and Jordan Stray threw 215-8. Since then Veldman's shoulder had bothered him and Stray was having trouble getting within ten feet of that mark.

On Saturday Kocsor immediately took the lead with a throw of 221-9. Veldman and Stray fouled but moved into fourth and sixth on their second throws. On his third throw Veldman moved into second place with a throw of 218-8. It would require a PR from the competition for him to be passed. With his third throw Oregon's Steven Johnson moved into seventh place with a throw of 196-1. In the sixth round Jason Lewis of Arizona State (ASU) threw 196-6 to move into seventh. Johnson threw a pr 200-11 to move back into seventh. Phil McArthur of Washington State (WSU) threw 202-10 to move into fifth. Stray responded by throwing 203-8 to go back into fifth. Ducks finished second, fifth and seventh.

The afternoon started with finals in the men's Discus Throw and High Jump and the women's triple jump. Colin Veldman threw in the weaker first flight of the discus throw. In the first round of the first flight he threw 158-6 and was in third. In the second round he threw a season best 181-0. After the second flight he was in third after being the twelfth seed. The second ranked collegian Greg Garza of UCLA was leading at 195-0 after the third round. In the sixth round the Pac-10 Shot Put champ Zack Lloyd moved into third with a throw of 183-1 and Veldman would finish fourth. Martin Maric threw 195-10 to move into first but Garza threw 198-10 to get his third consecutive win to match John Godina of UCLA (1993-5) and David Weill of Stanford (1961-3). A Bruin thrower has now won seven of the last eight Pac-10 championships. Third seeded Ryan Whiting of Arizona State finished sixth. Cal's Ed Wright won his second consecutive high jump title at 7-3 ¼. Second seeded Matt Turner of Arizona State finished eighth.

Jamesha Youngblood of Oregon has had difficulty since she jumped an outdoor PR of 41-11 ¼ at the Oregon Preview, the first meet of the outdoor season. In fact, she was off her PR in the long jump by 1 ½ feet outdoors. Youngblood was in first after the first round of the second flight with a jump of 41-4 ½. In the second round Renee Williams of UCLA jumped 42-2 ¼ to move into first. In the third round Stanford's Erica McLain jumped 44-6 ¾ to take the lead. No one improved and McLain won her fourth consecutive triple jump title and won her seventh overall, tying Dawn Dumble for the most Pac-10 titles.

USC won the women's 4x100-meter relay in 44.00 for their ninth win in the last ten years and Oregon did not finish. Washington won their first ever Pac-10 4x100 meter men's relay in 39.52 as conference leader Arizona was disqualified and Oregon was in seventh at 40.62 (defending champion USC was fourth). Katie Follett of Washington won the 1,500 meters in 4:22.41 to go with her MPSF indoor mile championship. This was Washington's first Pac-10 championship in this event. Sophomore Nicole Blood finished fourth and Alex Kosinski finished twelfth. In the men's 1,500 meters Garrett Heath of Stanford won in 3:42.02 ahead of Sophomore AJ Acosta of Oregon in 3:42.34. Senior Joaquin Chapa ran 3:44.90 to finish eighth and Sophomore Jordan McNamara was twelfth in 3:50.49.

The women's pole vault was another opportunity for freshman all-American Melissa Gergel of Oregon to regain the form she had indoors. This would be her third meet and she would face five all-Americans. Gergel opened at 12-1 ½ and attempted and cleared every height until 13-9 ¾. Only two made that height. Gergel finished sixth based on misses and her best clearance was 13-5 ¾ (her second-best clearance ever). Ingrid Kantola of UCLA won with a clearance of 14-1 ¾ and April Kubishta of ASU was second with a clearance of 13-9 ¾.

On the track Kimyon Broom of Cal won the 100 hurdles in 13.26 for Cal's first Pac-10 championship in this event (she set the school record in the heats at 13.19). Kevin Craddock of UCLA won his second consecutive 110-meter hurdle final with a time of 13.58. Sophomore Keshia Baker of Oregon set a PR and won the Pac-10 400 meters. She ran 53.27 (slowest Pac-10 winner) and moved to fourth all-time for Oregon. She is the first Duck to win since school record holder Camara Jones won three titles from 1992-1995.

The men's 400 meters was a match of the collegiate leader, Jordan Boase of Washington, and just behind him this year and the third place US finisher last year and last year's NCAA runner-up, Lionel Larry of USC. Repeat champion Larry won in a collegiate leading time of 44.77 ahead of Boase who ran 44.97. Sophomore Chad Barlow of Oregon was just off his PR from the heats with a run of 46.77 for eighth. Sun Devils Joel Phillip (third) and Justin Kremer (fifth) scored PRs and big points for the Sun Devils.

Junior Charonda Williams of Arizona State barely edged out Freshman Cherrelle Garrett of California in the 100 meters with a time of 11.45 and became the Sun Devil's first 100 meter champion. Trojans Carol Rodriguez and Jessica Onyepunuka finished one-two in the 100 and 200 last year. This year Onyepunuka was third in the 100 and Rodriguez was sixth. Wopamo Osaisai of Stanford (first Cardinal 100 championship) won the men's 100 meters in 10.47 and Marcus Dillon of Oregon was fifth in 10.70. Sun Devils Marcus Duncan and Calvin Abram finished second and third and defending champion Ahmed Rashad of USC did not start and the Trojans chances of winning on the men's side were running out.

Alysia Johnson had a tremendous 2007 season. She won the NCAA indoor championship and followed that outdoors with Pac-10, West Regional, NCAA and finally a US championship. Indoors she had a slow start to the year and finished third at the NCAA championships. Her objective this year is to prepare herself for the Olympic Trials and Olympics so understandably she had adjusted her season. In the heats of the 800 on Friday she had barely edged Oregon's Zoe Buckman 2:05.73 to 2:05.77. Buckman has been rounding into shape with collegiate bests that are starting to reach her best marks from last winter when she finished third at the Australian championships in a time of 2:03.92. On Saturday Johnson won in a meet record and collegiate leading 2:00.57 ahead of Buckman's collegiate best 2:04.52, fifth fastest among collegians and tied for fifth all-time among Ducks. (15th PR by a Duck among 20 events).

The men's 800 featured the match-up between undefeated Andrew Wheating and last year's third-place US finisher and 2006 Pac-10 champion Duane Solomon of USC. He would also face a returning to form all-American Austin Abbott of Washington, last year's US Junior champion Cory Primm of UCLA, and sub 1:48 performer Russell Brown of Stanford. Andrew Wheating responded with a one-second PR and won in 1:46.83, the top collegiate time, to go along with his top collegiate 1,500 meter times (16th PR by a Duck among 21 events). In second was Duane Solomon in 1:47.65. Primm finished third in a near-one second PR at 1:47.75. In fourth Austin Abbott dropped .4 seconds off his PR with a time of 1:48.14.

In the 400 meter hurdles the defending Pac-10 and NCAA champion Nicole Leach of UCLA did not make it to this meet so the favorites mantle was held by last year's third place finisher, Shalina Clarke of USC and rising star Lorraine King of WSU. Clarke won her first title with a season best 58.05 (the second slowest winning time since 1991) ahead of King at 58.72 and Senior Kasey Harwood ran a PR 58.98 for fifth all-time among Ducks. Junior Leah Worthen of Oregon ran 60.48 for a PR performance to finish seventh. (18 Duck PRs among 22 events). Freshman sensation Jeshua Anderson of Washington State won the men's 400 hurdles in 49.55 and Marquis Profit of Arizona State was fifth. The Oregon men now led Arizona State 106.5 to 85.

Charonda Williams of Arizona State got the 100/200 double by taking the 200 in 23.09 and was followed by Freshman teammate Dominique' Maloy in 23.28. Last year Williams was the California Community College champ in both races in meet record times while she was at Laney. USC's Onyepunuka finished fourth after running second last year and the defending champion Rodriguez was seventh. Oregon's Phil Alexander was the top seed in the 200 meters and a win would seriously damage the Sun Devils' chance of catching the Ducks. Darryl Elston (20.91) and Calvin Abram (21.00) of Arizona State went one-two in the 200 meters ahead of Alexander of Oregon (21.00). Ashton Eaton of Oregon finished sixth in 21.43. Oregon was now in the lead with 115.5 points to Arizona State's 103 points. The Sun Devils now had a chance to catch Oregon if they did well in the 200 and kept Oregon from scoring too many points in the 5,000 meters.

The field events finished during these last few races. The women's discus was another big finish for the Sun Devils as Jessica Pressley won her second event with a throw of 183-6 just ahead of teammates Sarah Stevens (defending champion) at 182-8 and last year's NCAA runner-up Tai Battle was third at 180-2. These three Sun Devel throwers were responsible for 67 points in three throwing events, good enough for eighth place at this meet if they had competed as a team. Lucy Cridland of Oregon improved on her finish from last year with a seventh place finish with a best throw of 156-5.

Sophomore Elizabeth Peterson of Arizona with a best clearance of 6-2 won the women's high jump. Senior Jacquelyn Johnson of Arizona State was seventh at 5-7. Along with her win in the Heptathlon, second place finish in the 100 hurdles and Long Jump, and third place finish in the Javelin Throw she was the top scorer with 34 points. The men's Triple Jump was won by double-winner Matt Turner of Arizona State with a best jump of 51-3 ½. Teammate Jeremy Egboro was eighth to make the team score 115.5 points for Oregon to 114 points for Arizona State with just the 5,000 meters and 4x400 meter relay left.

In a race better suited to Nicole Blood's style of racing, the 5,000 meters, the sophomore won after finishing fourth in the 1,500 meters. She won in 16:33.70 ahead of last year's Pac-10 10,000 meter champion Teresa McWalters of Stanford. Zoe Nelson of Oregon finished eighth at 17:06.07. Claire Michel (17:31.97) and Emily Mathis (17:55.79) of Oregon ran PRs after running the 3,000-meter Steeplechase the day before. (20 Oregon PRs in 26 events).

The 5,000 meters for men was a key event for Oregon and Arizona State to determine the men's winners. Last year the Oregon men distance runners were disappointed they had not scored enough points to put away the team race before the 4x400 meter relay. This year would be different. Arizona State's Kyle Alcorn came back after winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a win in 14:12.76. That was not enough for the Sun Devils to catch Oregon as the Ducks scored 21 points. Diego Mercado came back from a fifth place finish in the 10,000 meters (10k) to run a near-PR in the 5,000 meters for second in 14:17.82. The 10k winner Carlos Trujillo was fourth in 14:21.78, Acosta was fifth in 14:25.35, 10k runner-up Kenny Klotz was sixth in 14:26.15, and Duck Senior Scott Wall was eighth in 14:30.62. Oregon now led 136.5 to 124 for Arizona State and the meet was won.

The women's 4x400 meter relay was won by repeat champion Arizona State in 3:34.45 and Oregon was third in 3:37.43 for the sixth fastest team in school history. The Arizona State men won the men's relay in 3:04.75 to move to fourth on the collegiate list and Oregon was second in 3:04.85 for sixth on the collegiate list and tying for the third fastest Duck relay team ever with the 2006 team.

The Oregon men beat the NCAA indoor team champion Arizona State squad in Tempe with a gutsy effort. The women showed that although young, they have toughened over the year and have the talent to win this meet next year.

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