Pac-12 athletes compete at NCAA Track & Field Championships

Blaine Ohigashi

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SAN FRANCISCO - Pac-12 men’s and women’s track and field student-athletes will compete at the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Wednesday-Saturday, June 10-13. The Ducks will be hosting the national meet through the 2021 campaign. Participants in this year’s championships qualified through competition at the preliminary-round sites in Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Fla., last week. All Pac-12 athletes qualified through competition at the West Regional in Austin, Texas.

In all, 65 men’s and 65 women’s athletes and relay teams will be representing Pac-12 squads at the NCAA Championships. OREGON athletes earned the most number of entries on both the men’s and women’s side with 23 and 20, respectively, the most of any teams in the country, as well.

The Ducks men’s squad looks to defend their NCAA crown from last year, the team’s first since 1984. Ranked fourth in the nation heading into the competition and with the most number of entries, Oregon looks to make a run at the title again.

Four athletes who were individual NCAA champions last year also return to defend their titles, including OREGON’s Sam Crouser (javelin) and Jenna Prandini (long jump), and ARIZONA STATE’s Bryan McBride (high jump) and Shelby Houlihan (1500m).

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. The Ducks’ Jasmine Todd was voted the West Region’s Track Athlete of the Year and teammate Prandini was tabbed the Field Athlete of the Year. Andy Powell and Curtis Taylor were voted the West Region’s Men’s and Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively, and Robert Johnson was named the Region’s Men’s Coach of the Year.

USC took home a couple of west region recognitions, as well. Caryl Smith Gilbert was voted the Region’s Women’s Coach of the Year and sprinter Andre De Grasse was selected the Men’s Track Athlete of the Year. ARIZONA STATE’s Bryan McBride was named the Region’s Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.

For the first time, the NCAA will be changing its championships format, splitting the men’s and women’s competitions. The men will open the event on Wednesday, June 10 and then finish up on Friday, June 12. The women’s championship begins on Thursday, June 11 then concludes on Saturday, June 13. All the action will be televised live or live streamed on ESPNU, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.

ENTRIES... A complete list of men’s and women’s competitors representing Pac-12 institutions at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., are listed on page 6. For the complete list of participants from across the country, visit ncaa.com. Start lists and live results links can be found by clicking this link: http://www.rtspt.com/ncaa/d1outdoor15/

LIVE RESULTS & SCHEDULES... The live results link, daily heat sheets, daily results and additional meet information can be found at the ncaa.com’s  championships site here: http://www.rtspt.com/ncaa/d1outdoor15/

HEPTATHLON/DECATHLON... 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.rtspt.com/ncaa/d1outdoor15/.
            Decathlon
            Dakotah Keys, SR, ORE
            Pau Tonnesen, JR, ARIZ
            Harrison Williams, FR, STAN
            Marcus Nilsson, SR, UCLA
            Mitch Modin, SO, ORE
            Steele Wasik, FR, UCLA
            Dino Dodig, SO, WSU
            Joe Delgado, FR, ORE

            Heptathlon
            Alissa Brooks-Johnson, SO, WSU
            Tatum Souza, SR, UCLA
            Abrianna Toress, JR, COLO
            Ashlee Moore, FR, ORE

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; @UW_Track; @WSUCougarsTF. The United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association will also have full live coverage on its official twitter handle at @USTFCCCA. Also, hashtag #NCAATF to join the conversation.

PAC-12 HISTORY… Oregon won its first NCAA men’s title since 1984 last year and the Pac-12’s 46th since 1922. On the women’s side, the most recent team to have won the national championship was Arizona State in 2007 with Conference teams winning 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/511368-2015-track-field-media-gui...

A LOOK BACK: 2014 PAC-12 NCAA CHAMPIONS… Pac-12 men’s and women’s athletes won eight NCAA individual titles, in total. OREGON had three men’s champions to help the Ducks claim the national title. UO claimed another two on the women’s side. Below is a list of the Pac-12’s individual champions in 2014.

MEN 
5000m: Lawi Lalang, ARIZ (13:18.36)
1500m: Mac Fleet, ORE (3:39.09)
110mh: Devon Allen, ORE (13.16)
JT: Sam Crouser, ORE (252-7/76.98m)
HJ: Bryan McBride, ASU (7-5.75/2.28m)

WOMEN
800m: Laura Roesler, ORE (2:01.22)
LJ: Jenna Prandini, ORE (21-6/6.55m)
1500m: Shelby Houlihan, ASU (4:18.10)

NCAA TITLE BOUT FOR THE AGES … The Eugene crowd was treated to an outstanding race in the men’s 5,000 meter last year at the NCAA Championships. Arizona’s Lawi Lalang and Oregon’s Edward Cheserek had recorded two of the fastest times in collegiate history in the 1,500 meter at the Pac-12 Championships a month prior to facing off at the NCAA Championships last year. Lalang prevailed in that race, edging the freshman phenom by just .16 seconds to claim the Conference crown. The pair were pitted against each other in Eugene but at the longer distance of 5,000 meters. Lalang won again over Cheserek, but his margin of victory was just by under half a second to claim his second-straight title in the event. Lalang posted a meet-record 13:18.36 besting Cheserek's 13:18.71, which would have also been a meet record. Both times also would land in the top-10 in Conference history.

REGIONAL HONORS… The USTFCCCA announced its all region winners and the Pac-12 was well represented in the West with coaches and athletes taking home eight of the honors. OREGON was the most honored with five recipients.

        USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year: Andre De Grasse, USC
        USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year: Jasmine Todd, ORE
        USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year: Bryan McBride, ASU
        USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year: Jenna Prandini, ORE
        USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Coach of the Year: Robert Johnson, ORE
        USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Coach of the Year: Caryl Smith Gilbert, USC
        USTFCCCA West Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year: Andy Powell, ORE
        USTFCCCA West Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year: Curtis Taylor, ORE

BOWERMAN UPDATE... In the final update of the season, OREGON’s Jenna Prandini is one of 10 women on the latest Bowerman Watch List and UO’s  Edward Cheserek and USC’s Conor McCullough are on the men’s watch list. The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

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