Ducks Lead Pac-10 After Saturday

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon used wins by Galen Rupp in the men's 10,000 meters, Rachel Yurkovich in the women's javelin, Cyrus Hostetler in the men's javelin, Chris Winter in the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase and Jamesha Youngblood in the women's long jump to take the first day lead in both the men's and women's Pacific-10 Track and Field Championships Saturday at Historic Hayward Field.

The Oregon men are in first place with a score of 88 points and second place UCLA trails with 45. Stanford (39), Arizona (39) and Washington (33) round out the top-five teams.

The Oregon women lead by just nine points with 67 and Stanford is in second with 58. Arizona (32), Washington (27) and USC (26) are also in the thick of it.

"It was a good day for us," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "We are just about where we thought we would be. Long jump was really good today. We had four runners advance in 1,500 meters. And the javelin, of course, was great. Cyrus (Hostetler) was fantastic. The 10,000 meters wasn't quite the way we thought it was going to be, but it turned out well."

The Oregon men used a combined 26 points from the 10,000 meters, the final event of the day, after placing first, second, fourth, seventh and eighth in the event. Rupp won his second Pac-10 title in the event, to go along with one from 2007, in a time of 29:01.93.

"It was a great first day," said the senior from Portland, Ore. "The 10K I am real happy with. I have been working on my speed for a long time and its starting to come around.

The Ducks' scorers in the event also included senior Shadrack Biwott, who was second in 29:03.47, freshman Luke Puskedra, who was fourth in 29:18.11, sophomore Diego Mercado who took seventh in 29:47.63 and twin brother Danny Mercado, who was eighth in 30:00.32. Oregon also counted 17 points in the men's javelin, with Hostetler's win leading a 1-3-8 finish.

Hostetler claimed victory on his last throw, going 250-5 to edge USC's Corey White, whose best mark was 248-5. Alex Wolff took third with a career-best throw of 235-5, while Britton Nelson picked up a point with his eighth-place 204-2 toss.

"The shoot out was crazy," said Hostetler. "I thought it was not going to be my day, but I pulled through in the clutch."

Winter led from the early moments of the race and won in 8:51.48 to become Oregon's first Pac-10 steeplechase champion since Micah Davis in 1999.

"Today my dream came true," said the senior from North Vancouver, B.C. "This title was something I've been dreaming since before I came to school here. I was happy to see a Stanford runner take the lead. The pace was good and I felt great."

The women's javelin saw one of the all-time greatest performers rise to the occasion once again. Yurkovich broke her own school and Pac-10 records, as well as Inga Stasiulionyte's Pac-10 championship meet record of 186-10, with a winning throw of 191-2. It was the fourth straight Pac-10 title for the senior from Newberg, Ore., as she became just the fifth woman in Pac-10 history to win four consecutive track and field titles.

"It meant a lot for me to go out with a bang," Yurkovich said. "It's great that all of the work, sweat and determination have paid off at the right time."

Oregon's Ashley McCrea added a third-place finish with a throw of 164-0.

The women also had another champion in Youngblood, who broke Julie Goodrich's 1988 school record of 21-0.5 with her only legal leap of the afternoon, 21-1.25, which tied her personal best. Youngblood's only legal mark came on her third attempt, but that was good enough to make her the first long jump champion from Oregon since Kelly Blair in 1994.

"I didn't get any good jumps until the record one today.," said the sophomore from San Pablo, Calif. "I didn't even know I scored the record. I thought it was just a good jump. I think I could have done even better. I really wanted to score the record for a while and I am happy I did. The crowd was making me excited. It has never felt like that before."

The Ducks also got three points from Brianne Theisen's sixth-place finish. The 2009 Pac-10 heptathlon champion went 20-2.25 on her second attempt. The sophomore from Humboldt, Sask., also notched two points in the high jump with her seventh-place clearance at 5-7. She was joined in that event by junior Jasmine Kelly, who took fourth by clearing the bar at 5-8.75. That tied a collegiate best for the junior from Vancouver, Wash.

The Oregon women added points in virtually every final on Saturday.

In the women's 10,000 meters, junior Mattie Bridgmon took fourth in 35:30.96, while sophomore Bria Wetsch took seventh in a career-best 35:39.86.

The women's steeplechase saw Marie Lawrence win in a meet-record 9:54.13, but Oregon countered with Claire Michel's sixth-place 10:27.29. The Ducks' Brooke Giuffre finished ninth in a personal-best 10:36.26.

Junior Rita Santibanez grabbed three points with a sixth-place throw in the shot put of 45-5.25. For the men, sophomore Jordan Stray took sixth with a throw of 200-11.

In preliminary races, the men advanced four runners in the 1,500 meters (Rupp, Andrew Wheating, Matthew Centrowitz and Jordan McNamara), two in the 400 (Chad Barlow and Ashton Eaton) and one in the 800 meters (Wheating), 400 hurdles (Marshall Ackley) and 110 hurdles (Eric Hersey).

In the 400, Barlow ran a personal-best 46.69, while Eaton hit a seasonal-best of 47.31. Ackley had a personal- best in the 400 hurdles (52.82), while Rupp (3:46.05) and McNamara (3:43.36) ran season-best times at 1,500 meters.

In the women's preliminary heats, the Ducks advanced three runners in the 1,500 meters (Alex Kosinski, Nicole Blood and Dana Buchanan), two in the 800 meters (Zoe Buckman and Kosinski) and the 400 meters hurdles (Lyndsay Pearson and Leah Worthen) and one in the 400 meters (defending champion Keshia Baker), 100 meters (Amber Purvis) and 200 meters (Baker).

Pearson's time in the 400 hurdles, 1:00.36, was a personal best and also an NCAA Regional qualifying mark, meaning that the Duck women now have at least one NCAA Regional mark in every event. Pearson's time was also the ninth-fastest in school history. In the 100 hurdles, Pearson ran a personal-best 14.00 but did not advance Baker ran a personal-best 23.53 in the 200.

Both of Oregon's 4x100 meter relay teams also advanced.

Competition will resume on Sunday at 11:50 a.m. with the men's discus. The women's 4x100 meter relay final will be the first track event, beginning at 1 p.m.

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