Pac-12 Track & Field athletes compete to NCAA Championships

Nathan Lee Howard

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Pac-12 men’s and women’s track and field student-athletes will compete at the 2014 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Thursday-Saturday, June 11-14. The Ducks will be hosting the national meet through the 2021 campaign. Participants participating in this year’s championships qualified through competition at the preliminary-round sites. All Pac-12 athletes qualified through competition at the West Regional in Fayetteville, Ark.

In all, 52 men and 65 women will be representing Pac-12 teams at the NCAA Championships. OREGON athletes earned the most number of entries on both the men’s and women’s side with 21 and 20, respectively. It is the most number of men’s and women’s entries of any team in the country, as well.

Three athletes who claimed NCAA individual titles last year return to defend their titles, including ARIZONA’s Lawi Lalang, who was the 2013 NCAA Champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He was the only athlete at the entire championships last year to claim multiple titles. He will look to defend his 5,000 title but will go for a double in the 1,500 meters this year. Also defending titles will be UO’s Mac Fleet (1500m) and UCLA’s Julian Wruck (discus). ARIZONA STATE’s Anna Jelmini was an individual champion in the shot put last year and will try to claim the discus crown this year.

Recently, the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches of America (USTFCCCA) announced its regional awards and eight Pac-12 athletes and coaches received recognitions. USC’s Aleec Harris was selected the West Region’s Men’s Track Athlete of the Year, ARIZONA’s Nick Ross was tabbed the West Region’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, COLORADO’s Shalaya Kipp was the Mountain Region’s Women’s Track Athlete of the Year while OREGON’s Jenna Prandini earned the same honor for the West Region. UO’s Robert Johnson and Andy Powell were named the West Region’s Men’s Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively, while first-year head coach USC’s Caryl Smith Gilbert was selected the West Region’s Women’s Coach of the Year. UO’s Curtis Taylor also earned honors, garnering the West Region’s Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

ENTRIES... A complete list of men’s and women’s competitors representing Pac-12 institutions at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., can be found on page 5. For a complete list of participants from across the country, visit ncaa.com or click on the start lists links here: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/trackfield-outdoor-men/d1/2014-di-track-and-field-results.

LIVE RESULTS & SCHEDULES... The live results link, as well as, additional meet information can be found at the ncaa.com’s championships site here: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/trackfield-outdoor-men/d1/2014-di-track-and-field-results

HEPTATHLON/DECATHLON ENTRIES... The top 24 athletes in both the heptathlon and decathlon that qualified for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., did not have to qualify via the regional competitions. Below is the list of student-athletes that will be representing Pac-12 teams in both events. For the complete list of competitors, visit the NCAA’s official website or click on the direct link here: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/trackfield-outdoor-men/d1/2014-di-track-and-field-results.

Decathlon: Dakotah Keys, SO, ORE; Viktor Fajoyomi, SR, USC; Mitch Modin, FR, ORE

Heptathlon: Alexis Walker, JR, UCLA

PAC-12 NCAA HISTORY... The Pac-12 is looking for its first NCAA outdoor men’s title since Stanford’s win in 2000, while the most recent women’s team to have won the national championship was Arizona State in 2007. League teams have won 45 men’s NCAA crowns all-time, dating back to 1922, while women’s teams have won six, dating back to 1982 when the NCAA began sponsoring women’s championships. For a full list of team and individual outdoor national championships won by Pac-12 teams, visit the Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Media guide, which can be found at http://catalog.e-digitaleditions.com/i/285915.

SOCIAL MEDIA... Fans can also follow the NCAA Regional Championships via social media by following Pac-12 teams’ official twitter pages: @ArizonaTrack; @SunDevilTFXC; @Cal_Track; @cubuffstrack; @oregontf; @Beavers_Track; @StanfordXCTF; @UCLATrack_Field; @USC_Track_Field; @Utah_trackfield; @UWTrack; @WSUCougars. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association will also have full live coverage on its official twitter handle at @USTFCCCA.

BOWERMAN WATCH LIST... The final Bowerman Watch List was released on June 4 and it prominently features four men’s and three women’s athletes from Pac-12 institutions, with five different league institutions represented. There are 10 men’s and 10 women track and field athletes on each watch list. On the women’s side, OREGON is one of two schools with two athletes on the women’s list, with Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler making the cut. COLORADO’s Shalaya Kipp also joins the UO duo on the list.

On the men’s side, ARIZONA’s Lawi Lalang and UCLA’s Julian Wruck make a return to the list after being two of the three finalists for last year’s honor. OREGON’s Edward Cheserek is on the list and is the only freshman to be featured, while USC’s Aleec Harris was added to the final list after stellar performances at the NCAA West Regional and Pac-12 Championships meet, including posting the fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles at the regional competition.

The Bowerman Trophy, which was first awarded in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

TOP MARKS... The Pac-12 Track & Field Championships have featured many of the nation’s top-collegiate teams and athletes on a yearly basis. And this season is not any different. Five different athletes have posted the nation’s top times or marks, including OREGON senior Laura Roesler (2:00.54, 800m), STANFORD junior Aisling Cuffe (15:11.13), COLORADO senior Shalaya Kipp (9:39.12, steeplechase), ARIZONA senior Nick Ross (7-6.5/2.30m, high jump) and UA’s Lawi Lalang (3:36.34, 1,500m). The top three times in the country in the 800 meter belong to Pac-12 runners, with Stanford sophomore Amy Weissenbach posting the second-best time (2:02.60) and Oregon senior Samantha Murphy ranks third with a time of 2:02.61. A memorable 1,500-meter final at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships turned in the top two times in the country, as UO’s Edward Cheserek finished second in the race behind Lalang with a time of 3:36.50. USC’s Aleec Harris also posted the fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles at the NCAA West Regional, running in a time of 13.18.

PAC-12 MEET RECORDS FALL... During the course of the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Championships, four meet records were broken and one was tied. OREGON’s Jenna Prandini broke former teammate English Gardner’s 200-meter record that was set last year, clocking a time of 22.60, the second-best time in the country this season. Meanwhile the USC 4x100-meter squad won the race in a meet-record time of 43.21.

On the men’s side, Aleec Harris broke former Trojan’s record in the 110-meter hurdles, recording 13.35 in the finals to shave off .04 seconds from the old record. ARIZONA’s Lawi Lalang broke his own record in the 1,500 meters, running in a time of 3:36.34 to also post the fastest time in the nation in the event this year. Fellow Wildcat Nick Ross jumped a height of 2.28m/7-5 3/4 in the high jump to tie the meet record. He is the third high jumper to achieve the height and first since 2005.

EPIC RACE AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONS... A wire-to-wire battled in the 1,500-meter race at the Pac-12 Championships resulted in an epic race for the ages. In the final 100 meters, ARIZONA’s Lawi Lalang held off OREGON’s Edward Cheserek by .16 seconds to win the individual title. Lalang’s winning time of 3:36.34 ranks as the seventh-fastest time in history at a collegiate meet, while Cheserek’s time, 3:36.50, ranks ninth all-time, making that race one of the fastest races in collegiate history.

 
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