Ducks' Dozen: Claim Bid at Regional

EUGENE, Ore. -- Counting wins in the men's 800 and 1,500 and the women's 400 and javelin, Oregon advanced 12 competitors to the NCAA Track and Field Championships by virtue of their top-five finishes Saturday at the NCAA West Regional at Historic Hayward Field. In all the Ducks will have at least 23 representatives for the June 10-13 national meet in Fayetteville, Ark., 12 men and 11 women.

"We accomplished what we needed to today," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Everyone advanced that was supposed to. Our approach was to look at this as the first round of the NCAA Championships.

"The guys are in good shape. I like our chances to be in position to do something. Now, we've got to get to Arkansas and have a good first, second, and third day, and that's the difficult part of the NCAA Championships."

For the second day at the West Regional, Oregon was nearly perfect.

Andrew Wheating led nearly the entire race in winning his second straight NCAA West Regional 800 meter title. The junior from Norwich, Vt., clocked 1:49.88 on a warm Saturday afternoon before a meet record 7,096 fans.

"I was trying to send a message that I can win a race any way I have to," said the two-time Pac-10 champion. "Coach said if it went out slow to just take the lead.

"I feel great right now. This is just the beginning of the season for me."

Rachel Yurkovich became the only four-time West Regional winner in the women's javelin with a throw of 188-8 that broke Sarah Malone's 2005 meet record of 186-9.

"I have learned over the years that nationals is your award, but this is a great ending note," said the senior from Newberg, Ore. Oregon's Ashley McCrea finished eighth in the event with a throw of 151-4. The senior from Coos Bay, Ore., who ranks 12th in the nation, is eligible for at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, which will be announced Tuesday.

The Men of Oregon nearly duplicated their sweep of the 1,500 meters from the Pac-10 championships with a 1-2-5 finish. Pac-10 champion Matthew Centrowitz won the race in a meet record 3:38.30 with Galen Rupp right on his heels in a personal-best 3:39.14, a mark which moved the senior from Portland, Ore., to No. 10 all-time at Oregon. Junior Jordan McNamara was fifth in a season-best 3:43.10 to earn his first trip to the NCAA Championships.

"I am excited for all of us," said Centrowitz, a freshman from Arnold, Md. "It's going to be a lot of fun. I was so happy to see Jordan made it in top five. It was a great feeling."

"I'm feeling so many emotions right now, if you would of asked me six months ago if I would have been here, I would of said nice goal, but not a reality," said McNamara. "When you're running in this jersey in front of this croud it takes you to another level, I can't ask for anything more."

Rupp, who also won the 5,000 meters Friday night, has now qualified for the 2009 Championships in the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

"I was a little tired from running yesterday, but I absolutely don't mind my teammate winning this race," Rupp said of his final race as a collegian at Historic Hayward Field. "It was a good race and I am so happy we all have made it to top five."

Keshia Baker rounded out the Oregon winners with her first Regional victory in the 400 meters. The junior from Sacramento, Calif., won in 52.49. "I felt great," said Baker. "I believed in my training for that last 100, and the crowd always helps."

Other top performances for the Ducks included another personal record by Brianne Theisen in the women's 100 meter hurdles. The sophomore heptathlete from Humboldt, Sask., finished fourth in 13.47, which would have set the school record for the second straight day, save for a plus 3.7 tailwind.

Still, the finish was enough add the 100 hurdles to her NCAA list; she's currently ranked No. 1 nationally in the heptathlon.

"The coaches will have a tough decision to make," said Theisen. "I don't know yet what I will be competing in. Today was a big surprise, but I am very happy and looking forward to the nationals." Zoe Buckman cruised to a second-place finish in the women's 800 meters, finishing in 2:06.44 and trailing only Lacey Cramer of Brigham Young, who ran 2:05.63. It will be Buckman's second trip to the NCAA Championships.

Jamesha Youngblood joined Theisen as the second Oregon woman to qualify for the national championships in two events with her third-place 42-8 leap in the triple jump. The sophomore from San Pablo, Calif., also qualified for the NCAA Championships Friday in the long jump.

San Diego State's Karoline Koehler won the triple jump in a meet record 44-9.

The Ducks advanced two runners in the steeplechase.

On the men's side, Pac-10 champion Chris Winter placed third in 8:53.93 to earn his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships. For the women, Claire Michel just missed her own school record, but finished fifth in 10:23.21 to earn her first trip to the NCAA Championships. Senior Dana Buchanan was seventh in that race in 10:30.15.

The Ducks saw another first-time NCAA qualifier in the men's 400.

Chad Barlow used a frantic final 200 meters to slip into fifth and earn a ticket to Fayetteville. He finished in 47.11, just ahead of teammate Ashton Eaton's 47.19.

"The last two days I feel like I have run faster," said Barlow. "I'm still working on the first half of my race.

"I could feel myself gaining. It feels really good, really good. I'm glad I get to go, I would have been really bummed."

Also for Oregon, sophomore Jordan Stray posted a season-best throw of 201-8 to finish ninth in the hammer, while junior Colin Witter-Tilton tied for 13th in the pole vault with a season-best clearance of 16-7.25.

In other highlights, Ahmad Rashad of USC broke the meet record in winning the men's 100 meters. He ran 10.13 to snap Garry Jones' 2006 mark of 10.23.

Arizona State sprinter Charonda Williams pulled off an impressive double victory by winning the women's 100 meters in 11.16 and the women's 200 meters in 23.03.

Amber Kaufman of Hawaii tied the meet record in winning the women's high jump at 6-1.5.

California's Martin Maric just missed a meet record in winning the men's discus with a throw of 200-11.


Chad Barlow, 400 meters
Shadrack Biwott, 5,000 meters; 10,000 meters
Matthew Centrowitz, 1,500 meters
Ashton Eaton, decathlon
Cyrus Hostetler, javelin
Jordan McNamara, 1,500 meters
Luke Puskedra, 10,000 meters
Galen Rupp, 1,500 meters; 5,000 meters; 10,000
Vernell Warren, long jump
Andrew Wheating, 800 meters
Chris Winter, 3,000 meter steeplechase
Alex Wolff, javelin

Keshia Baker, 400 meters
Nicole Blood, 5,000 meters
Zoe Buckman, 800 meters
Lucy Cridland, discus
Melissa Gergel, pole vault
Alexandra Kosinski, 1,500 meters
Kalindra McFadden, heptathlon
Claire Michel, 3,000 meter steeplechase
Brianne Theisen, 100 hurdles; heptathlon
Jamesha Youngblood, long jump; triple jump
Rachel Yurkovich, javelin

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