Stanford Invitational Preview

This weekend's Stanford Invitational is the first big track meet of the collegiate season. The men and women of Oregon had an outstanding first outdoor meet after an NCAA indoor championship finish by the women and runner-up performance by the men. At the Oregon Preview there were ten meet-record performances by Ducks, Oregon Track Club athletes, and ex-Ducks.

The Ducks also set 32 personal records.

A solid group of about 50 Ducks will go to the Stanford Invitational and try to get some marks against high quality competition. This year the qualification process for the NCAA meet has changed. Athletes will qualify for two NCAA regional meets based on their best performance of the outdoor track season. At this time it is thought the top 48, regardless of region, will be split into the west and east regions based on their team affiliations.

Distance runners thrive with great competition and the Stanford Invitational has historically provided many NCAA qualifying marks in distance races. Duck distance runners make up the largest part of the contingent and they will attempt to get NCAA west regional qualifying marks.

2009 NCAA 10,000 meter competitors Mattie Bridgmon, Luke Puskedra and Diego Mercado will attempt to get regional qualifying marks while running in the fast section. NCAA competitors Nicole Blood, Matthew Centrowitz, Michael Maag, Jordan McNamara and Danny Mercado will compete in the fast section of the 5,000 meters. Blood will face all-Americans Brie Felnagle and Bridget Franek and the guys will face former NCAA champion Robert Cheseret and NCAA indoor champion David McNeill. Claire Michel will also face 2009 NCAA steeplechase scorer Erin Bedell of Baylor.

Four Duck women are entered in the fast section of the 1,500 meters; Zoe Buckman, Jordan Hasay, Anne Kesselring, and Nicole Blood (she will probably just run the 5,000 meters). AJ Acosta and Mac Fleet are also entered in the top section of the 1,500 meters.

There are several other entries by Ducks in slower sections of the distance races and many other athletes in sprints, jumps, hurdles and throws with many not in their primary events.

There are some other feature athletes involved in the competition this weekend. Alex Wolff will make his debut in the javelin throw, Melissa Gergel will attempt to continue her excellent vaulting, and Jamesha Youngblood will continue her reconnection to one of her best events in high school, the 400 hurdles.

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