Ducks Enjoy Strong First Day in NCAA Track Champs

June 11, 2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The University of Oregon men's and women's track and field teams wrapped up first day action in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium at Sacramento, Calif., with four men's advancers and another women's qualifier among Wednesday's preliminary-only action.

On the men's side, senior Samie Parker led the Duck charge in the sprints with a spot in Friday's 100 final, while the men's field event corps garnered three more top-10 finishes in their respective prelims that featured fields between 25 and 27 entries.

In the hammer ring, redshirt senior Adam Kriz earned a trip to Friday's final after ranking seventh (213-11) among Wednesday's 26 entries. That distance tied for his fourth-best ever this season and all-time as Kriz entered the contest seeded seventh with a season best of 221-3 from his Pac-10 Championships win in mid-May. The Toledo, Ore., native opened Wednesday with a 206-0 throw, followed with his daily best on his second try (213-11), then ended with a throw of 212-2. Fifth-seeded Lucais MacKay of Georgia led qualifying marks (226-11), and was one of only three throwers that topped the 220-foot line.

In the javelin, redshirt senior John Stiegeler opened the afternoon by advancing his Friday event final with a four-inch season best (228-6) that ranked him ninth overall. The Coos Bay, Ore., native threw his season best on his daily opener, then scratched his next two fouls intentionally since the marks weren't as far. Pennsylvania's Brian Chaput led the 26-man javelin prelims (248-6), ahead of Boise State's Rob Minnitti (239-6).

'I came in really relaxed and focused on just getting a nice easy throw that would advance me,' Stiegeler said. 'I felt good today and have gotten in some light workouts recently so I'll be ready to give it my best shot Friday. I felt confident and relaxed and am looking forward to see what's in me for the finals.'

The NCAA champion two seasons ago and Duck school record holder (252-10), Stiegeler missed last year's collegiate finale after suffering an ACL knee injury, and entered Wednesday seeded 18th with a season best of 228-2 from the West Regional.

Junior pole vaulter Trevor Woods will also look forward to Friday's event final as the only qualifier Wednesday that registered a pair of first-attempt clearances at the two heights contested -16-4 3/4 and 16-10 3/4. The Coos Bay, Ore., native entered the meet seeded in a tie for ninth with his season best of 17-8 1/2 from the Texas Relays in April, and is making his third NCAA outdoor appearance and fourth overall, including his indoor All-America third-place finish in 2002.

'It wasn't pretty on the first one,' Woods said, 'but I got over it and that's all that matters. Friday's the day that counts, so I wanted to start low and get an easy mark under my belt. My attempt at 16-10 3/4 was a lot better when I moved up to a different pole. The sidewinds were a little tricky and it effected others to a degree, but I was fine.'

On the track, two-time indoor 60 All-American and senior Samie Parker advanced to his first outdoor final in the 100. Parker took third in the second semifinal (10.44) Wednesday evening in one of the rare calm-air sections (0.0) of the cool, normally breezy conditions. Mississippi State's Marquis Davis won the same heat (10.41), just ahead of TCU's Michael Frater (10.42) and Parker (10.44), while Middle Tennessee State's Mardy Scales won the opening semi-final (10.27) by .006 hundredths seconds over Mississippi State's Pierre Brown (10.268) as they sprinted into a slight -0.2 head meters per second headwind.

'I got a decent start, and stayed pretty relaxed the whole way,' Parker said. 'I'm looking forward to the final Friday because I think I'm ready to go and feeling more and more confident. It was a long break between the races today (approximately 10 hours), but I was able to stay pretty relaxed and take a nap to catch up on some sleep.'

In the prelims much earlier in the day - at 10:45 am to be exact - the Long Beach, Calif., native finished second in the third of four preliminary heats (10.53 into a -0.4 meter per second headwind), with the morning's fastest finisher, Sean Lambert (10.44) winning the same height and .02 seconds better than Middle Tennessee State's Mardy Scales (10.46).

'I felt a little sluggish in the morning,' Parker said, 'I'm not used to racing that early in the morning, and I think it effected my start a little. But I had a good middle and finish so I was fairly pleased with it.'

Freshman Eric Mitchum claimed the 16th of 18 spots in Thursday's semifinal of the 110 hurdles after finishing fourth in the fourth of four prelim heats (13.94). His heat was won by Tennessee's Jabari Greer (13.86), while the day's fastest clocking came from the first heat courtesy of Texas A&MM's Chris Pinnock (13.60). The Calumet City, Ill., native Mitchum entered the meet as the second-highest-ranked freshman, but was the only newcomer to advance after South Carolina's Ken Ferguson, .who ranked eighth overall with a season best of 13.53, finished seventh in Mitchum's heat and 24th of the day's 26 entries (14.57).

Second-ranked all-time for the Ducks, Mitchum's time Wednesday into a -1.2 meter per second headwind was his eighth sub-14.00 race in 13 contests this season, while his wind-legal season best of 13.75 came in the Pac-10 Championships prelims.

In the 400 hurdles, junior Brandon Holliday also made his NCAA debut and missed advancing to the semifinals. The Beaverton, Ore., native took sixth in his heat (52.38) in a race won by Pac-10 rival Eric Dudley (50.02) who ranked third overall of the 27 entries. Auburn's Dean Griffiths and Fred Sharped led qualifiers with clockings of 49.62 and 49.95 to win the first and third heats, respectively.

Holliday wrapped up another season of progressive improvement that featured a fifth-place West Regional finish (50.79) that was only .06 seconds off his personal best from his 2002 Pac-10 Championships win.

In the distances, redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon took fifth in the first of two tactical heats of the 5,000 (14:02.66) to nab the final automatic qualifying spot for Saturday's final. Eastern Michigan's Boaz Cheboiywo won their heat (13:58.95) in a final lap surge just ahead of Stanford's Seth Hejny (13:59.18), and Notre Dame's Luke Watson won the other heat (14:00.85). Logsdon's time also ranked ninth overall among the 26 entries, as the Canby, Ore., native entered the meet seeded seventh with a personal best of 13:52.62.

In the steeplechase, redshirt sophomore Brett Holts clocked his fourth race of 2003 under his preseason personal best (8:57.33) but did not advance to Friday's final of the steeplechase. The Bend, Ore., native finished 10th in the second of two heats (8:54.07) and 22nd overall, with the final time-based qualifier from his heat running a time of 8:43.67. Section winners included Bashar Ibrahim of UTEP (first heat, 8:39.37) and two-time NCAA champ Daniel Lincoln of Arkansas (second heat, 8:36.08).

Holts wrapped up the season with a personal best of 8:48.81 from May's Cardinal Invite that ranked him 21st nationally among the NCAA finale's 27 entries, and also took Pac-10 runner-up honors in mid-May (8:55.00).

The only major disappointment for the men Wednesday befell redshirt senior decathlete Santiago Lorenzo who reaggravated a slight muscle strain in his right groin and had to withdraw after his opening attempt of the long jump - the second of Wednesday's five events.

He opened the day with a mark of 11.27 into a -1.2 meter per second headwind in the 100 for 801 points (and 15th-best of the 26 entries), while his lone, altered long jump attempt of 17-5 1/2 netted him 445 points. Overall in the event, Tennessee Stephen Harris leads with 4,229 points, ahead of Connecticut's Will Thomas (second, 4,100).

The 2001 NCAA champion and two-time All-American has strained the muscle slightly in the Pac-10 finale in mid-May after hurdling and long-jumping in the event at USC, while trainers had noted gradual improvement since then. However, Lorenzo reinjured the muscle in his upper interior right quad after he had pushed off the long jump board with his left leg. Lorenzo had returned for a fifth season of eligibility in 2003 after redshirting the 2002 outdoor campaign when a quad muscle from late February limited his training through the outdoor campaign.

'This surely wasn't how I was expecting to end my career,' Lorenzo said. 'It popped really hard and I was in a lot of pain afterwards. I had hoped could nurse it along by ice and rest but I guess it wasn't meant to be.'

Regardless of Wednesday's disappointment, the 6-3 native of Buenos Aires, Argentina wraps up his career fourth-ranked all-time for the Ducks and claimed their first-ever NCAA title in the event in 2001. In the dramatic victory, he entered the final discipline (the 1,500) in third place and 60 points behind the leader, but wrestled the win away with an eight-second personal best and 12-point victory margin. Lorenzo also claimed a pair of Pac-10 titles in 2001 and 2003, and two other runner-up finishes in the event as a freshman in 1999 and sophomore in 2000. He also graduates with a degree with Exercise and Movement Science and will remain in Eugene another year to train for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

The Duck women saw limited action Wednesday, with sophomore Roslyn Lundeen earning an invite for Friday's 12-woman final, while sophomore Elisa Crumley missed a similar invite by only 1 feet, 10 inches. Lundeen notched her best throw on her final attempt to rank fifth-best of the 27 entries. The Victoria, B.C. native entered the meet seeded 17th overall with a season best of 159-8, and opened the cool and breezy third and final flight Wednesday evening, with a 153-11 effort and then followed with a second try of 138-0. Crumley competed in the first flight and opened with daily best of 153-5, then followed with second and third attempts of 133-0 and 136-11, respecitvely, with all off shortened, five-step approaches.

Also in the throws, senior Mary Etter finished her collegiate career with a disappointing fourth trip to the NCAA finale. The Everett, Wash., native opened with two fouls, then came up with a third throw of 154-11 to miss qualifying for the final by five positions by six feet and nine inches.

Etter had qualified for Wednesday's prelims with an auto bid after winning the West Regional two weeks before with a personal best of 179-7 that ranked her 11th overall. Also failing to advance to Friday's 12-woman final was last year's NCAA champion, Chaniqua Ross of UCLA who ranked 14th (160-7). Nebraska's Becky Breisch, last year's NCAA runner-up, led Wednesday's marks by more than three feet with a daily best of 184-10.

Etter had earned All-America honors twice before with eighth-place finishes in 2000 and 2002, and finished 19th as a sophomore in 2001 with two fouls in that event prelim, also. The school's second-ranked discus thrower - and fourth-ranked in the shot put and hammer - will compete in one more outdoor event, the USA Championships at Stanford (6/19-22). Looking ahead to the fall, she will again switch jerseys in her second campaign as a Duck goalkeeper in the fall, and also has an indoor season of eligibility available after she sat out the 2003 indoor campaign.

Besides Eric Mitchum in the 110 hurdle semi's, others looking ahead to Thursday's second-day action, include a pair of women's pole vaulters (seniors Becky Holliday, Niki McEwen), a triple jumper (senior Amanda Brown) and a hammer thrower (senior Jordan Sauvage), and on the men's side, two sprinters (freshmen Jordan Kent (200) and Matt Scherer (400)) - and a 4x400 relay, and a pair of 10K runners (Jason Hartmann and Ryan Andrus).

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