Oregon Twilight to feature fast races

Oregon will have its last pre-championship meet before they try to win their fourth straight men's Pac-10 championship and repeat as women's champions. Oregon is still qualifying important athletes so they can go after their first NCAA outdoor team titles since the women won in 1985 and men won in 1984.

Several athletes are trying to make the roster-limited team for the Pac-10 meet and several others are running in tune-up events. The Twilight mile will once again be a feature event.

Both freshman Mac Fleet and sophomore Matthew Centrowitz need to be in the top 48 in the NCAA regional rankings to make the NCAA regional qualifying meet. Freshman Elijah Greer, Portland's redshirt Trevor Dunbar and OTC's Russell Brown will help them in their pursuit of a good time in the mile. Fleet and Centro both run in the low 3:45s they will easily qualify and that time is well off their bests this year. Junior Alex Kosinski (ranked 45th on the collegiate list) will join four Ducks that are guaranteed to have qualified for the 1,500 meters and is just likely to need another tune-up race after her long layoff due to an achilles strain. Two runners from Wake Forest and Dianne Cummins will also chase a fast time.

A number of Ducks are in the NCAA regional 48 currently but will want to pursue better marks as they will need superior performances to qualify for the NCAA meet. They will have this meet and the Pac-10 meet before the Austin, Texas regional field is set. Senior Jasmine Kelly (ranked 32nd overall) has jumped well this year in the high jump but may need to improve to make the meet. Junior Jordan Roskelly (ranked 48th overall) will definitely have to improve and will be challenged by local vaulter and ex-Wichita State all-American and school record holder Brooke Demo. Junior Britton Nelson (ranked 36th) threw 219-8 and freshman Michael Thompson (ranked 47th) who threw 216-3 at the start of the season may need to throw over 220 feet. They will be pushed by one of the top US throwers, Ryan Weidman, and former Duck all-American Ryan Brandel. Colin Witter Tilton (ranked 28th) is in good position with a best of 17-1 ½ from his UCLA win but will need to improve to make the NCAA meet. He will compete against Ducks Brian McGinty and Austin Ouderkirk and former Oregon high school state champions now competing at local community colleges, Jared Hippler and Robby Fegles.

Freshmen Chloe Steinbeck and Becca Friday need to run in the mid-low 2:04s to have a chance when they run at the regional meet. Former NCAA Division II champion Ashley Puga and ex-Duck all-American Amber McGown will help them run a fast time. Junior Vernell Warren will try to improve enough to get an 2009 NCAA trip. He may need to equal his personal best of last year at 25 feet.

Several events will have athletes trying to sharpen themselves for the Pac-10 meet. Junior Michele Williams is running in the 200 meters, Lyndsay Pearson is entered in the 100 and 400 hurdles, AJ Acosta, Kevin McNally, Spencer Carter, and Taylor Wallace will compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the women's 4x100 and both men's relays will compete, Rita Santibanez in the shot put and Discus, freshmen LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner in the 100 meters, Chad Barlow and Travis Thompson in the 200 meters, Danny and Diego Mercado in the 1,500 meters, Eric Hersey and David Klech in the 110 hurdles, Danny Marconi, David Klech and Vernell Warren in the high jump, and Jordan Stray and Scott Penney in the hammer throw.

There are some very good Oregon Track Club athletes and local athletes in some events. Ryan Bailey just ran against Usain Bolt in the 200 meters down in Jamaica and will compete in the 400 meters against 2009 NWAACC 100 meter and 200 meter champion Chris Stubbs. Two-time NCAA champion Rachel Yurkovich is entered in the javelin throw. The women's hammer throw will be a featured competition with Loree Smith, ex-Duck all-Americans Britney Henry and Brittany Hinchcliffe.

The middle distance and distance races will be boosted by OTC elite athletes. Olympian Christian Smith will compete in the 800 meters against former Duck all-American Matt Scherer, Elias Koech, and Stephen Pifer, all of OTC Elite. In the 5,000 meters 2008 Olympian Ian Dobson will race Billy Nelson, Kevin Chelimo, Ben Bruce and former Duck all-American Shadrack Biwott and 2009 Pac-10 steeplechase champion while with the Ducks, Chris Winter. US championship competitors Ben Bruce and Billy Nelson are also entered in the steeplechase.

eDuck Top Stories