Ducks Headed to West Regionals

This weekend the Ducks send a large contingent to Cal State Northridge for the West Regionals. The top five competitors from each of the four regions (with the exception of the 10,000 meters and multi-events) automatically qualify for the NCAA championships.

A previously determined number of competitors in each event are invited (typically 28) to the NCAA meet. The NCAA committee determines competitors after the first 20 automatic qualifiers at the four regional meets. The basis is their top outdoor mark of the year. If there are 28 competitors to be invited to the NCAA championships in a particular event and the top eight timed collegiate athletes don't automatically qualify, but do make the final, then they would qualify for the NCAA meet as the eight qualifiers by mark in addition to the 20 automatic qualifiers from the four regions.

Last year AJ Acosta and Mike McGrath were the last qualifiers in the 1,500 meters for the NCAA meet based on marks made during the season. Already qualified are sophomore Ashton Eaton and freshman Brianne Thiesen in the multi-events after they made automatic qualifying marks. Junior Kalindra McFadden is ranked 24th in the Heptathlon and is likely to be invited (26 competed last year). Redshirt freshmen Daniel and Diego Mercado are ranked 27th and 29th respectively in the men's 10,000 meters and are likely to be invited if others drop out. Redshirt Junior Sarah Pearson is ranked 30th and has a good chance to qualify in the 10,000 meters.

The men had 38 marks that qualified for this meet and four marks in two events, the Decathlon and 10,000 meters that are not contested at the West Regional meet. The women had 27 qualifying marks and another four in the Decathlon and 10,000 meters. This weekend in Northridge, California the Ducks will send 27 men and 21 women to try to qualify for the NCAA meet.

Sophomore Andrew Wheating has the top collegiate time in the 800 and 1,500 meters but will only attempt to qualify in the 800. Junior Rachel Yurkovich is the top seed in the Javelin Throw and ranked second nationally. Sophomore Nicole Blood is ranked third in the 5,000 meters and fifth in the 1,500 meters and will try to qualify in just the 5,000 meters. Sophomore AJ Acosta has the fourth fastest 1,500 time and is the second fastest in the 5,000 meters in the West Region but will only run the 1,500 meters (top regional entrant). Senior Phil Alexander has qualified for the West Region meet in the 100, 200, 400, 4x100, and 4x400 meter relays and he will run the 200 meters and the 4x400 meter relay (two from each region and 18 total) with his teammates.

Right now the Oregon men are in a good position to take 13 athletes to the NCAA championship meet, including three previously qualified. Alexander is the second seed in the West Region in the 200 meters (m), Wheating and Acosta are top-ranked, Senior Carlos Trujillo (fourth seed) and Sophomore Kenny Klotz (fifth seed) in the 5,000m, Chris Winter (third seed) in the 3,000m Steeplechase, Senior Colin Veldman (third seed) and Freshman Jordan Stray (sixth seed and 16th nationally) in the Hammer Throw, Mike Simmons (fifth seed and 14th nationally) in the Javelin Throw, and the 4x400m (second seed and ninth nationally). Redshirt Freshman Isaac Stoutenburgh (seventh seed, 27th nationally) in the 3000m Steeplechase and Sophomore Alex Wolff in the Javelin Throw (eighth seed, 31st nationally) have a good chance to make the NCAA championship meet.

The women of Oregon have a good chance of sending eight competitors to the NCAA championships, including two previously qualified. Sophomore Keshia Baker (third seed) in the 400m, Sophomore Zoe Buckman (second seed) in the 800m, Freshman Alex Kosinski (third seed) in the 1,500m, Blood (top seed) in the 5,000m, Freshman Melissa Gergel (seventh seed, 19th nationally) in the Pole Vault, Yurkovich in the Javelin Throw. Sixth seeded senior Kasey Harwood has a good shot of qualifying in the 400 hurdles, as does sixth seeded Freshman Jamesha Youngblood in the Triple Jump, and eleventh seeded Junior Ashley McCrea of Javelin Throw who has been short of her best this year.

At every Regional meet there are surprises, some good and some bad. Oregon should send a large contingent to the NCAA meet to take place June 11th to June 14th at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

eDuck Top Stories