Ducks Accept Five NCAA NCAA Indoor Track Invites
March 10, 2003
EUGENE - Looking ahead to the indoor track and field finale, the University of Oregon men's and women's teams accepted five invites Monday to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for Friday-Saturday, March 14-15 in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.
Two Duck men - seniors Adam Kriz and Samie Parker - are slated to compete in the weight throw and 60-meter dash, respectively, and three Duck women's pole vaulters - redshirt seniors Becky Holliday and Niki McEwen and junior Kirsten Riley will also travel to the two-day meet hosted by the University of Arkansas.
Parker returns to the NCAA indoor finale after claiming Oregon's first indoor All-America sprint honor last year in the 60 (fourth, 6.66), after lowering the school record to 6.63 the day before in the NCAA prelims. This year the Long Beach, Calif., native has competed only twice with clockings of 6.68 in the Bodybuilding.com Invitational in early February in Nampa, Idaho, and 6.71 in the Pac-10 Invitational two weekends ago in Seattle. On this season's national qualifying list, he stands in a two-way tie for 13th nationally and the only conference qualifier, as Texas senior Tre Gardner leads the national list at 6.58.
Kriz will make his first NCAA indoor appearance in the 35-pound weight throw after making his NCAA outdoor debut in the hammer throw last season (14th, 200-7). The Toledo, Ore., native and returning Pac-10 hammer champion enters Saturday's meet ranked 15th nationally and second among Pac-10 entries with his season best of 67-7 - almost five feet better than his preseason best of 61-7 1/2. Ohio State's Dan Taylor leads the collegiate qualifying list with a season best of 73-4.
'It's a compliment to be invited,' Kriz said, 'but to be honest I came into this year focused more on the hammer. This is still an important step in my development - anytime you can throw against the nation's best it's a good thing. I'm going to go out and try to have fun and seeing where I stack up, and I have nothing to lose.'
Two other Duck men's athletes - redshirt junior Ryan Andrus and freshman Eric Mitchum - also logged NCAA provisional marks during the season but will not compete this weekend. Andrus, a native of Orem, Utah, ranked 18th in the 3,000 (8:01.22) and 21st in the 5,000 (14:06.33), with the former effort coming last weekend in the Last Chance Qualifier in Seattle.
Mitchum ended the season in a tie for 32nd nationally in the 60 hurdles (7.86) thanks to his personal best from last Saturday's Last Chance Qualifier in Seattle. The Calumet City, Ill., native also eclipsed the NCAA provisional standard of 7.95 in the Pac-10 Invitational the previous weekend in Seattle (7.87).
NCAA Track and Field Championships
Duck NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Entries
Date Time Duck M&W Event Rank, Qual. MarkFri. Noon (CT) Adam Kriz, RSr., Toledo, Ore. WT 15th, 67-7 6 pm (CT) Samie Parker, Sr., Long Beach, Calif. 60-Prelim 13th(t), 6.68Sat. 5:30 pm (CT) Becky Holliday, RSr., Sparks, Nev. PV 2nd, 14-1 3/4 Niki McEwen, RSr., Newport, Ore. PV 3rd, 14-1 1/4 Kirsten Riley, Jr., Eugene, Ore. PV 13th(t), 13-3 1/2 7:15 pm (CT) Samie Parker, Sr., Long Beach, Calif. 60-Final 13th(t), 6.68
In the women's pole vault, Duck seniors Becky Holliday and Niki McEwen rank second and third on the national list at 14-1 3/4 and 14-1 1/4, respectively, and junior, Eugene native, and South High School product Kirsten Riley will make her NCAA debut and is tied for 13th on the national qualifying list. Riley earned her bid after a personal best of 13-3 1/2 last weekend in Seattle and was an NCAA provisional qualifier indoors and outdoors in 2002 with then-bests of 12-10 and outdoors in 2001.
'I expected to qualify, but it's still really exciting to finally find out for sure,' Riley said. 'I've been over 13 feet much more in practice this year compared to last year, so I knew it was coming, and the good thing is that there's still more there. It'll be an exciting environment, having two teammates there to support, to go along with several Pac-10 vaulters we know pretty well.'
In its sixth year as a collegiate event, the pole vault has emerged as a Duck specialty at the championship level. Oregon vaulters have collected five All-America honors in their 11 NCAA appearances, and eight, top-eight placings in the Pac-10 Championships - arguably the nation's top pole vaulting conference. Holliday claimed two of those All-America accolades in 2002, in her first season for the Ducks (third outdoors, seventh indoors), and McEwen collected similar honors indoors in 2000 (fourth) and outdoors in 1999 (fifth).
Following Oregon's lead, Arkansas also features three entries in Saturday's women's pole vault field, and UCLA follows with two participants (Jamie Kolar and Chelsea Johnson, who are tied with Riley with season bests of 13-5 1/2). The Pac-10 also features the national leader and indoor record holder Amy Linnen of Arizona who leads the national list with a season best of 14-4 3/4, and Washington's Kate Soma (11th-tie, 13-3 3/4).
A full list of entries for the NCAA Indoor Championships is available at the www.ncaachampionships.com web site, and the host University of Arkansas Athletic Department has additional information posted on its www.hogwired.com and www.ladybacks.com web sites.
The team races look to favorite recent champions as the Arkansas men are projected ahead of South Carolina, Florida, Nebraska and LSU. On the women's side, LSU holds a slim hypothetical edge over Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Stanford.
Reviewing Duck performances from the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships also in Fayetteville, the Duck men posted a best-ever ninth-place team finish thanks to top-five finishes by Trevor Woods (pole vault, third, 17-11 3/4), Samie Parker (60, fourth, 6.66) and Simon Kimata (800, fifth, 1:49.56). The Duck women took 46th based on Becky Holliday's two points from her seventh-place finish (13-7 1/4), and Niki McEwen trailed in 10th (13-3 1/2).
Looking ahead to the upcoming outdoor campaign, the Ducks open their home schedule at Hayward Field with the Oregon Preview, Sat., March 22, tentatively scheduled for an 11:30 am start. Ticket prices are $ 6 for reserved seats, $ 5 for adult general admission (GA), $ 3 for kids and senior citizen GA, and $ 2 individually for group rates. Call the Duck ticket office at 1-800-WEB-FOOT or (541) 346-4461 for more information.
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