Weekend indoor performances

This weekend was a big weekend for Oregon track teams. The Oregon men and women, ranked between second and fourth since the season started, were busy in Seattle and Arkansas and faced and defeated impressive competition. The Oregon State men made a splash in Seattle with record performances and the Oregon Track Club set a world best time in the distance medley relay.

On Friday night the Oregon Track Club put a team on the track at the Husky Classic with an excellent chance of running faster than the world best set by Texas in 2008 (9:25.97 with two NCAA champions on team). World championship 800 meter finalist Nick Symmonds opened with an incredible 2:51 approximate time (@) 1,200 meter leg with the assistance of some runners from a team from Oregon. The second leg was run by nine-time Duck all-American Matthew Scherer. He ran his 400 meter leg in @47. Next leg was run run by former Iowa State NCAA indoor 800 meter champion, Tyler Mulder in @1:47. The anchor was run by Will Leer in @3:55. Just a great performance solo for the last three runners. They ran the fastest time ever for a 4,000 meter distance medley relay with a final time of 9:21.77. Unfortunately the 300+ meter configuration makes time not a record performance because it is not on a 200 meter banked oval.

The Oregon men and women have had high collegiate rankings this season based on what the team ran last year. Now the Ducks have marks to back up those ranking after this third track competition of the year. On Friday night after the distance medley relays in Seattle, senior Nicole Blood ran her first indoor 5,000 meters and broke the indoor record set by Lindsey Scherf last year of 15:55.67. She ran 15:51.59 and pulled senior teammate Mattie Bridgmon to a personal record of 16:02.48 (nearly seven seconds) in a very fast race that the competitors in that race are now second (Blood) through tenth on the current collegiate list Bridgmon is eighth). Blood and Bridgmon are now first and third on the all-time Oregon list and have automatic qualifying times to make the NCAA championships.

The Oregon men's and women's 4x400 meter relay teams went to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas with the intent of getting NCAA qualifying times and facing quality competition in some of their open events. Oregon made a splash in this meet with some top marks. The women and men concentrated their energies on the 4x400 meters (the last events of the meet on Saturday) and the performance was impressive. The Ducks were in the top heat based on their indoor school record from the Texas A&M Challenge (3:36.16) and ranked fifth on the collegiate list. They were matched with collegiate leader Arkansas, 2009 NCAA outdoor runner-up LSU, and 2009 NCAA fourth-place outdoor (third indoors) finisher Penn State.

After the first leg of 55.04 by junior Jamesha Youngblood, Oregon was in third and Arkansas' Edina Brooks 54.47 was in second behind Cassandra Tate of LSU at 54.33. Sophomore Amber Purvis moved the Ducks into second with a time of 52.48 behind Shelise Williams' 52.10 (fastest leg of the meet). Senior two-time 400 meter all-American Keshia Baker ran 53.34 to close slightly on the 53.41 of Arkansas' Whitney Jones but Oregon was still .87 behind. Junior transfer Michelle Williams anchored the Ducks in a team-best time of 52.47 and Arkansas' Regina George ran 52.90 but the Ducks lost to Arkansas 3:32.87 to 3:33.31. The Oregon time was an indoor school record and just two tenths off the outdoor school record from 1995 (3:33.11 featuring world championships 4x400 meter competitor Camara Jones). Oregon is now second only to Arkansas on the current collegiate indoor list and their time would have finished second at the NCAA indoor meet last year.

The most surprising performance was the school record in the mile by freshman Mac Fleet. In a highly competitive race he was tenth with 100 meters to go and caught everyone except the winner, Adrian Blincoe of New Zealand , and finished second 3:57.05 to 3:57.70. He is now second on the collegiate list.

On Saturday Senior Andrew Wheating won the second heat in the fastest American time on any length of indoor track since 2004 (David Krumenacker ran 1:46.00) with his 1:46.36 to the personal record of Penn State's Owen Dawson (1:47.77). In the third heat Penn State junior Ryan Foster ran an indoor best of 1:47.32 to beat Duck Freshman Elijah Greer at 1:47.33. In this year's collegiate rankings Wheating is now ranked first, Foster second, Greer third and Dawson fourth. Wheating broke his own indoor school record and Greer is now second all-time among the Ducks.

Sophomore Amber Purvis broke her indoor school records in the 60 meters (7.32) and 200 (23.47) and was the fastest collegian in the 60 and fourth in the 200 meters. Her 60 meter time moves her to a tie for fifth on the 60 meter list and a tie for eighth on the 200 meter list among collegians this year.

Junior Jamesha Youngblood competed in the invitational long jump on Friday night and finished second to 2009 world champion Brittney Reese 6.63m, 21-9 to 6.56m, 21-6 ¼ to break her indoor school record and one inch superior to her outdoor school record. She is now ranked third in the collegiate ranks.

Freshmen had a strong weekend for the Ducks. Jordan Hasay won her heat in the 3,000 meters by running 9:12.25 and is ranked sixth among collegians. Her time is fifth all-time among Ducks and she is undefeated in three track races for the Ducks this year. Anne Kesselring finished fifth behind collegiate leader Charlotte Browning of Florida, 4:31.24 to 4:37.94. She is now ranked fifth among collegians and second all-time among Ducks.

Other significant marks for the Ducks this weekend included the debut of freshman football sensation LaMichael James in the 60 meters. He ran 6.79 in the preliminaries and then 6.77 in the final to move to tied for third all-time among Ducks. Keshia Baker had more than a half-second indoor pr in the 200 meters by running 23.92 at the Tyson Invitational to move to second all-time among Ducks. Junior Mandy White set prs in the 60 meters (7.47 for second all-time among Ducks) and a nearly half-second pr in the 200 meters (24.13 for third all-time among Ducks). In Seattle two freshman 800 meter runners had big prs. Oregon state 6A champion Chloe Steinbeck ran a five second pr with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 2:07.21. Three-time Washington 3A state champion Becca Friday ran a one-plus second pr of 2:07.91 to also qualify. Junior Claire Michel ran a five-second pr and NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 3,000 meters by running 9:29.20. Junior Bria Wetsch ran an NCAA provisional qualifying time and pr of 16:36.98 in the 5,000 meters. Junior Jordan Roskelley vaulted a personal best 4.06m, 13-3 ¾ to get an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Indoor senior AJ Acosta was ninth in the heat behind Blincoe and ran 3:59.48 for the mile. Graduate student (only has outdoor eligibility) Michael Maag ran a pr of 7:52.99 for 3,000 meters and would be ranked sixth among collegians if he had indoor eligibility. Sophomore Luke Puskedra finished eighth in the 5,000 meters and ran 13:50.87 to now rank sixth among collegians this year. The men's 4x400 meter relay ran 3:08.66 at the Tyson Invitational and are now ranked tenth among collegiate teams.

The Oregon State men made an appearance at a track meet for the first time in 21 years. Six members of the football team participated at the Husky Classic. The most spectacular mark was made by redshirt freshman Jordan Bishop. He won the early section with a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 2.14m, 7-0 ¼ to become the eighth Beaver to clear 7-0. True freshman Obum Gwacham cleared 6-10 ¾. None of the Beaver 60 meter sprinters advanced to the finals.

As a result of the tremendous weekend, the Duck women are now ranked number one among collegiate programs and the men are ranked second in spite of Matthew Centrowitz redshirting the indoor season.

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