Men's Track Finishes Ninth in NCAA Indoor Champs

March 9, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Oregon men's track and field team capped its highest finish ever in the NCAA Indoor Championships with three, top-five All-America finishes Saturday, helping the team to a ninth-place tie Mississippi State with 15 points. The Duck women, who featured only two competitors Friday, tied for 46th place with two points.

Sophomore Trevor Woods paced the Duck men with a third-place finish in the pole vault and final clearance and personal best of 17-11 3/4 - the same height as the top five finishers. Top seed Jeff Hansen of BYU earned the win over Michigan State's Paul Terek with fewer misses at a height three bars before (17-3 3/4).

'I was the ninth seed coming in, but I vaulted like I was one of the favorites and attacked all my attempts,' Woods said. 'I'm stoked to be an All-American and third overall even though I'm only a sophomore. I got a little lucky on my last clearance - I brushed the bar, but you have to have a little luck in these types of meets and be ready to capitalize when the pressure is on.'

Woods opened in dramatic fashion clearing the opening height of 17-0 (5.18m) on his third attempt, followed by a first-attempt clearance of 17-3 3/4 (5.28m), another third-attempt effort at 17-7 3/4 (5.38m), and a first attempt clearance at 17-11 3/4 (5.48m), before three solid but misses at 18-3 3/4 (5.58m).

'I was a little shaky at the start,' Woods said. 'But once I got that third attempt at 17-0, I started to get in a groove at 17-3 3/4. Going into that third attempt at 17-7 3/4, Coach Lawson told me to cowboy up, and that's what I did. When we got to 17-11 3/4, we weren't sure whether to switch poles or not, but since I had cleared the previous height fairly easily we stayed with the smaller one, and it worked out well.'

The Coos Bay native's mark was a personal best by two inches over his previous best of 17-9 3/4 from his win in the Mountain Pacific Championship two weeks prior - a mark that ranked him seventh entering Saturday's competition. Saturday's personal best also moved him up one position to fifth all-time for the Ducks, passing Tim Canfiield's best of 17-10 1/2 from 1986. Olympian Kory Tarpenning leads the list with his 18-6 1/2 vault from 1985.

Woods's second NCAA trip earned redemption after a no-height outdoors last year in the Eugene outdoor finale. More importantly, his third-place finish tied Oregon's highest ever NCAA indoor finish in any event, coincidentally set by another pole vaulter, Piotr Buciarski, with his 18-0 1/2 mark from 1998. Outdoors, the Ducks have captured two NCAA titles in the event vault courtesy of George Rasmussen in 1947 and 1948 (and marks of 14-0 both seasons), and runner-up finishes by Tom Hintnaus (1978, 17-4, 1980, 17-11 3/4) and Kory Tarpenning (1984, 18-0).

In the 60-meter dash, junior Samie Parker added five points to the team's cause with a fourth-place finish (6.67) and the team's first ever All-America award in the indoor event. Tennessee's Justin Gatlin won the overall crown by .02 seconds (6.59) over teammate Leonard Scott (second, 6.61) and Washington State's Anson Henry (third, 6.66).

'The All-America award is nice,' Parker said, 'but I was hoping to be in there fighting for the win, so there's still more to work on. My start was OK, but I need more in my middle phase to put me in better position for the finish.'

Parker's time was his fourth fastest of the year with his personal best coming in Friday's prelims (6.63). The two-sport star also ranked second among three football players in Saturday's final, sandwiched between Scott and Kansas State's Terence Newman (fifth, 6.67).

Looking ahead to outdoors, he'll again split time between the two sports, with his April focus on spring gridiron practice, and many of the season's biggest meets following in May.

'I'm not worried about splitting my concentration between the two,' Parker said, 'whichever sport I'm doing at that time I'm concentrating full on, and they've worked well together so far.'

The Ducks' last sprint All-American was Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Pat Johnson who took eighth in the 100 (10.32) and ninth in the 200 (20.76) outdoors in 1995 as a freshman. Johnson is tied for the school record in 20.39 with Don Coleman, with Coleman also owning the 100 record (10.11). Parker will enter the outdoor slate focusing on a mark of 10.53 or faster to join the school's top-10 list in the 100. His current best is 10.61 from his freshman season, although he ran several faster times last year that were either wind-aided or hand-timed.

'Samie has done a great job so far, and we owe a lot of thanks to Coach Bellotti and the football team,' Oregon sprints coach Steve Silvey said. 'He returns as the fastest football player in the nation next year based on this indoor 60-meter race, so that's something for Oregon to be proud of.'

The Ducks' third All-American of the day, redshirt junior Simon Kimata, also made his NCAA indoor debut and claimed fifth in the 800 (1:49.56). Overall in the race, last year's NCAA outdoor champion, South Carolina's Otukile Lekote, claimed his first indoor national title (1:46.88) ahead of Tennessee's Marc Sylvester (second, 1:47.41) and Arkansas' Said Ahmed (third, 1:47.80).

The wiry, 6-3 Duck from Nyeri, Kenya faced trouble early in the race, getting boxed in on the second of the race's four laps,. He surged hard on the backstretch to move back to the outside, en route to a 400-meter halfway split of 52.0 seconds. On the third lap, he moved up to third place just behind the leaders, but faded in the final 100 meters, visibly gassed by his early move, and was passed by two runners in the final lap.

'I came in hoping to go top three,' Kimata said, 'but indoors is a new thing for me, especially on such a small track when I'm fairly big compared to the rest of the guys. Looking back, I should have probably went out a little harder to have better position, but it's hard to know your pace and your times indoors - you're reacting more to everybody else and running blindly. I ran out of gas at the end so I know I gave it my all. More importantly, I'm healthy and am excited about outdoors, so I have a lot to look forward to.'

Kimata's time ranked as his third fastest of the year with his indoor best and NCAA automatic time of 1:48.07 the third-fastest of the regular season, and just shy of his Duck outdoor best of 1:47.92 last year that ranks him seventh all-time in Oregon history. Kimata also led the team indoors in 2002 in the 400 with a best of 47.39 that was only a quarter second off the NCAA provisional mark, and his indoor mile best of 4:06.74 stood second on the team and was 1 1/2 seconds short of similar NCAA provisional honors.

Altogether, the two-day NCAA indoor finale marked Oregon's finest ever combined men's and women's NCAA indoor showing. All six Duck qualifiers entered the meet seeded among their events' top 12, and none finished lower than 10th place in the final results. Friday's finalists included redshirt junior pole vaulters Becky Holliday (seventh, 13-7 1/4) and Niki Reed (10th, 13-3 1/2) and redshirt junior high jumper Jason Boness (10th, 6-11 3/4).

Team-wise, the men's tally more than doubled their previous high tally of six points from 1998, and garnered the team back-to-back top-10 finishes after taking ninth outdoors last season.

Overall, Tennessee won the men's title with 62 1/2 points over Alabama (second, 47) and LSU (third, 44), and LSU captured the women's crown with 57 points, ahead of last year's champ UCLA (second, 43) and Florida (third, 35).

Looking ahead to the outdoor season, the Duck track teams open their home slates this upcoming Saturday, March 16, in a triangular with Weber State and Montana, at Hayward Field in Eugene. Action tentatively starts at noon, and tickets are available by calling 541/346-4461 or 1-800-WEB-FOOT.



FINAL RESULTS

NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
Randal Tyson Track Center
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Ark.
Saturday, March 9, 2002

Men's Team Scores - 1, Tennessee 62 1/2. 2, Alabama 47. 3, LSU 44. 4, Arkansas 39. 5, Villanova 20. 6, South Carolina 17 1/2. 7, Clemson, 17. 8, Kansas 16. 9, Oregon 15. 9, Mississippi State 15. 11, Colorado 14. 12, North Carolina 13. 12, Northern Iowa 13. 14, Nebraska 11 1/2. 15, BYU 10. 15, Illinois State 10. 15, UTEP 10. 15, Baylor 10. 15, Missouri 10. 15, Princeton 10.

Women's Team Scores - 1, LSU 57. 2, UCLA 43. 3, Florida 35. 4, South Carolina 31. 5, Rice 25. 5, North Carolina 25. 5, Stanford 25. 8, Indiana 23. 9, Arizona 19. 10, Arkansas 18 1/2. 11, Texas 18. 11, Auburn 18. 13, Iowa State 16. 13, Illinois 16. 15, Liberty 14 1/2. 16, BYU 14. 16, Colorado 14. 16, Arizona State 14. 19, Washington State 13. 19, Kansas State 13.

Men's 60 - 1, Justin Gatlin, Tennessee, 6.59. 2, Leonard Scott, Tennessee, 6.61. 3, Anson Henry, Washington State, 6.66. 4, Samie Parker, Oregon, 6.67. 5, Terence Newman, Kansas State, 6.67. 6, Dwight Thomas, Clemson, 6.70. 7, Pierre Browne, Mississippi State, 6.72. 8, Mardy Scales, Middle Tennessee State, 6.80.

Men's 800 - 1, Otukile Lekote, South Carolina, 1:46.88. 2, Marc Sylvester, Tennessee, 1:47.41. 3, Said Ahmed, Arkansas, 1:47.80. 4, Fred Sharpe, Auburn, 1:48.81. 5, Simon Kimata, Oregon, 1:49.56. 6, Jonathan Johnson, Texas Tech, 1:50.40. 7, Sam Burley, Pennsylvania, 1:50.61. 8, Moise Joseph, Florida, 1:52.56.

Men's Pole Vault - 1, Jeff Hansen, BYU, 17-11 3/4. 2, Paul Terek, Michigan State, 17-11 3/4. 3, Trevor Woods, Oregon, 17-11 3/4. 4, Mike Westlund, Oklahoma, 17-11 3/4. 5, Vadim Gvozdestskiy, Kansas 17-11 3/4. 6, David Lemen, Georgia, 17-7 3/4. 6, Rocky Danners, Tennessee, 17-7 3/4. 8, Chris Steddum, South Carolina, 17-7 3/4. 8, Adam Keul, S.F. Austin, 17-7 3/4. 10, Brian DaCunha, Florida, 17-7 3/4. 11, Dino Efthimiou, Indiana, 17-3 3/4. 12, Bobby Most, SW Texas, 17-3 3/4. 13, Jim Autenreith, Baylor, 17-3 3/4. 14, Eric Eshbach, Nebraska, 17-3 3/4. 15, Mike McNamara, Oklahoma, 17-0. 16, Buster McLain, SW Texas, 17-0.

- www.goducks.com -

* Full results are available at http://www.ladybacks.com/championship/2002ncaaindoor.html

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