Oregon Sweeps, Winning Both Men's and Women's Pac-10 Track and Field Championships

May 17, 2009

EUGENE, Ore. - For the first time in school history, the Oregon Ducks simultaneously captured both the men's and women's Pac-10 Track and Field Championships on Sunday afternoon at Historic Hayward Field.

The Oregon men, who won their third straight Pac-10 Championship for the first time in school history, scored 158 points through the two-day meet at their home track, breaking the school record of 153. USC claimed second place with 117 team points after solid performances in the sprints, relays and hurdles.

The Duck women also tallied a school-best in the Pac-10 Championships with 165.5 team points. Their previous high in the event was 144 when they placed second in 1996. Oregon edged out Stanford, who took second with 138 points. The Ducks won seven Pac-10 titles over the course of the weekend, tying a school record set in 1983.

'For both teams to win on the same day at the same time is a fantastic accomplishment,' said Oregon head coach Vin Lananna. 'They deserve it.'

Helping lead the Ducks to victory was Melissa Gergel in the pole vault. The sophomore from Glenwood, Ill., set a new personal best in the event after clearing the bar at 14-02.00.

'I was surprised, but knew I was ready to jump high,' Gergel said. 'But all I was really thinking about was getting 10 points. That was my biggest goal.'

Jamesha Youngblood set her second-straight school record for the Ducks by winning the triple jump a day after doing the same in the long jump. Youngblood soared 43-02.25 to win the triple jump as well as leaping 21-01.25 to win the long jump on day one.

'The school record (in the triple jump) was my goal for the championships,' Youngblood said. 'I knew I needed to have a good, solid jump in the beginning to do it.'

The Oregon men started out the day as strong as they ended it on Saturday. After taking 26 points in the 10k to close out the first day of competition, the Ducks placed first, second and third in the 1,500m to earn another 24 points. Freshman Matthew Centrowitz won with a time of 3:51.00.

'Sweeping the 1,500 was great, it helped so much for our team,' Centrowitz said. 'When we were preparing, we all met with our coaches individually so we weren't worried about what the other person was going to do. I went out there only thinking about what I needed to do and I did it.'

Matthew wasn't the only Centrowitz to have success on Sunday, as his older sister Lauren won the 5,000m with a time of 16:15.86 for the Stanford women. Oregon's Nicole Blood and the reigning Pac-10 Champion in the 5k placed second.

Andrew Wheating continued his excellence at Hayward Field, winning the men's 800m in 1:49.83, just two hundredths of a second quicker than second place. Wheating also placed third in the 1,500 meters behind Centrowitz and Galen Rupp. Shadrack Biwott was the Ducks best finisher in the 5,000m, with a time of 13:52.79, which was only good second because Arizona State's Brandon Bethke narrowly edged him by finishing in 13:52.73 for first.

While the Duck men earned the majority of their points the middle-distance and distance events, the USC men's team controlled the short track.

Ahmad Rashad claimed two Pac-10 titles, winning the 100m in 10.13 and the 200m in 20.82. Washington State's Justin Woods placed second in both events. The Trojans also scored another Pac-10 title in the 110 hurdles, with Oscar Spurlock winning in 13.56. Washington State swept both the men's and women's 400 hurdles events, as Lorraine King ran 57.51 to take the women's event and Jeshua Anderson defended his title in the event, finishing in 48.90.

Oregon's Ashton Eaton led all competitors by scoring 26 total points, including his win in the decathlon (8,0910) on the opening weekend. Arizona State's Sarah Stevens was the leading point-getter for the women after winning both the shot put and discus and placing second in the hammer. It was her third Pac-10 shot put title.

Another stand out for the Sun Devils was sprinter Charonda Williams, who became just the first women ever to win both the 100m (11.14) and 200m (23.05) at the Pac-10 Championships in back-to-back years.

Both the Oregon men and women had locked up the team titles before the 4x400 meter relays had even begun but that didn't cause any of the thousands of fans in attendance to leave early. They all stayed to witness USC win the men's relay in 3:06.30 and the UCLA women win in 3:33.62.

Joe Waltasti

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