Track Teams Add Three All-America Honors in NCAA Indoor Finale
March 15, 2003
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Oregon men's and women's track and field teams wrapped up a successful weekend in the NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center with three All-America honors and 15th- and 41st-team placings in the women's and men's team races.
Redshirt senior Becky Holliday led a trio of top-10 finishers for the Duck women in the pole vault and just missed winning the event with a Duck school record of 14-3 1/4 and second-place finish.
Holliday, the second seed entering the competition, did not miss an attempt until her final height of 14-7 1/4 and was in prime position to win with her previous first-attempt clearance of 14-3 1/4, until Florida State sophomore Lacy Janson cleared her third and final attempt at 14-7 1/4. The Seminole sophomore had trailed Holliday previously after needing two attempts to clear 14-3 1/4, and afterwards wasn't close at clearing any of her attempts at the next height of 14-10 3/4.
'I tried not to get too excited as the event was going on,' Holliday said, 'because she proved tonight it's never over until it's over. I can't be too disappointed. I jumped well, and had good attempts at every height. I guess it will make me hungrier for outdoors.'
Holliday opened the three-hour event with first-attempt clearances at 13-3 1/2, 13-7 1/4, 13-11 1/4, and 14-3 1/4. Even more impressive, cleared the last three heights on a borrowed pole from a University of Arkansas vaulter, after the correct pole was inadvertently left in Eugene. 'It's funny how it worked out,' Holliday said, 'because their pole was actually better than the one we forgot. It was the same pole but actually a little stiffer and felt great at 14-3 1/4.'
In contrast, Holliday's final height Saturday was nearly two feet higher than her season opener in mid-January when she cleared a final height of 12-5 1/2 in the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada. Afterwards in Feburary, she picked up momentum quickly with marks of 13-2 1/4 and a school record 14-1 3/4 in a pair of meets in Nampa, Idaho. Saturday's improvement marked her third All-America honor for the Ducks after taking second outdoors in 2002 (13-5 1/4) and seventh indoors at the same Arkansas track (13-7 1/4).
'Things have really come together quickly,' Holliday said. 'Mark (Vanderville, pole vault coach) and I have really started over with a lot of things so I had to take a few steps backward before I moved forward. I am happy that I'm a lot stronger and faster than I was at this time last year, so I think it will carry over to a better outdoor season. It's also wonderful to have someone like Niki and Kirsten that are so talented, pushing you each day - it makes you that much better.'
The Sparks, Nev., native also just missed rewriting her all-time best of 14-4 dating back to the 2001 outdoor season when she competed for Clackamas Community College. She initially upped the Duck school indoor record last year to 13-9 3/4, then added the outdoor mark with her 2002 best of 14-1 1/4.
Redshirt senior Niki McEwen also wrapped up her indoor collegiate career by matching her highest ever NCAA place with her second-highest clearance (fourth, 13-11 1/4). The Newport, Ore., native also began the competition with a clean slate converting her opening attempts at 13-3 1/2, 13-7 1/4 and 13-11 1/4, before narrowly missing several of her chances at 14-3 1/4.
The third seed entering the meet, McEwen's finish marked her third All-America honor for the Ducks in her sixth NCAA appearance indoors and outdoors, including fifth place outdoors in 1999 (12-9 1/2) and fourth place indoors in 2000 (13-5 1/4).
Indoors in 2003, she has stood out as Oregon's most consistent pole vaulter with four clearances of 13-9 1/4 or better including a then-school record in her season opener (14-1 1/4) in the Pole Vault Summit. However, her toughness Saturday stood out since she had missed two weeks of training in mid-February because of a case of shingles.
'I was hoping to go 14-3 today, but I can't be too upset,' Reed said, 'considering where I was a few weeks ago. I'm happy that I put together a solid season and I'm starting to take advantage of my maturity and experience. My confidence is improving and I'm having better practices more often which is a sign of bigger heights to come.'
Rounding out Oregon's third, top-10 finisher in the event, junior Kirsten Riley enjoyed an auspicious NCAA debut, matching her personal best (10th, 13-3 1/2) and just missed her attempts at a 4 1/4-inch improvement (13-7 3/4).
The Eugene native and South High School graduate entered the meet seeded in a tie for 13th, and opened the evening with first-attempt clearances at 12-5 1/2 and 12-11 1/2. She then needed a third attempt clearance at 13-3 1/2 on the same borrowed pole that Holliday used for her runner-up finish.
'My goal this season was to get here, so I didn't feel too much pressure today,' Riley said. 'On my third attempt at 13-3 1/2 I knew I could clear it because I was over it on my second try, but the standards were too close and I brushed the bar off. I just to do the exact same thing the next time with the standards back and it worked. I just missed All-America honors, but I have to give credit to my teammates who were cheering me along all the way and putting me in position to be so close - they're great.'
The indoor record holder and top seed coming in, Arizona's Amy Linnen, followed in sixth place, while other top-six placers Saturday included Arkansas senior April Steiner (third, 14-3 1/4) and Georgia sophomore Fanni Juhasz (fifth, 13-7 1/4). Saturday's field also featured a host of familiar faces as the Pac-10 featured six entries - all of whom finished top-12.
'All three girls showed how hard they've worked,' Oregon pole vault and assistant coach Mark Vanderville said. 'They all jumped at personal bests or got them and that's somewhat rare. Usually when you have this many people in an event, chances are that somebody will be a little off. But they pushed each other like they have all season and really kept themselves in it. This is a good transition point for outdoors, although we'll go back into a hard workout phase to start the season so they might not have the big marks early - but it will be to their benefit at season's end.'
In the team races, Holliday's and McEwen's 13 points placed Oregon 15th in the standings - the Ducks' highest finish since the 1996 NCAA indoor finale when Melody Fairchild and Milena Glusac's 1-2 finish in the 3,000 netted Oregon 18 points.
Overall, LSU won the team title with 62 points, edging South Carolina (second, 44), Florida (second, 44) and North Carolina (fourth, 38).
'The pole vaulters did an absolutely great job today and a lot of the credit goes to Mark Vanderville, their coach,' Oregon women's head coach Tom Heinonen said. 'They looked confident and ready to go and to have all three of them clearing or jumping at personal bests says a lot. Becky couldn't have gotten any closer to winning, Niki showed an amazing amount of toughness coming back from the shingles so quickly, and Kirsten has raised her performance up a notch this season and consistently.'
On the men's side, senior Samie Parker duplicated his finish from last year in the 60-meter dash (fourth, 6.64) for his second All-America honor, and improved on his time from last year's finale by .02 seconds.
'I got out of the blocks slow - I had a much better start last night - and that really cost me,' Parker said. 'I had a decent middle phase but it was too late by then. I came in really wanting to be in the mix for the win, but all I can do now is look ahead. It was an alright race and something I can build off.'
Parker who entered the meet seeded 13th of 17 entries, ranked as the highest returning finisher in Saturday's final from last year and was one of three returnees from last year's final that also include Pierre Brown and Mardy Scales of Middle Tenneessee State who seventh and eight last year.
'For Samie to get repeat All-America honors is great - nobody finished as high as he did in 2002 and 2003,' assistant coach Steve Silvey said. 'He really closed strong tonight and was smart not to lean too early at the end. To run the times he has already put him in a great position for the outdoor season.'
The Long Beach, Calif., native Parker earned his spot in Saturday's final after lowering his school record by .01 seconds Friday night to 6.62 and ranked fourth fastest among the 17-person preliminary field.
The 2003 season was an abbreviated one for Parker who raced twice prior to the collegiate finale. He opened the year with his qualifying time of 6.68 in the final of the the Bodybuilding.com Invite in Nampa, Idaho in early February, then clocked 6.71 in the Pac-10 Invite in the opening weekend of March. Looking ahead to outdoors, his competition schedule is still being hammered out as he will focus primarily on spring football in April as the team's top returning wide receiver (49 catches, 8 TDs, 14.8 per catch avg. in 2002).
'I haven't even started thinking about outdoors yet,' Parker said. 'I take it one day at a time, and we'll see how football stands first and go from there. (Comparing the two) I do like having track in my schedule because it's sometimes a little more relaxed.'
Overall in Saturday's 60 final, East Carolina's Julien Dunkley (first, 6.54) lowered his collegiate season best for the second straight day, this time by a .01-second margin, and edged Mississippi State senior and Canadian Pierre Browne (6.60) and Texas senior Tre Gardner (third, 6.62).
Overall in the NCAA men's team race, Parker's five points earned the Duck men 41st place overall, while host Arkansas (first, 52) edged Auburn (second, 28), Nebraska (third, 26) and LSU (fourth, 24).
Looking ahead to the outdoor campaign, the Duck men's and women's track and field teams open their outdoor home schedule at Hayward Field, next Sat., March 22 with the Oregon Preview. The first field event is tentatively slated for an 11:30 a.m. start and ticket information is available by calling 1-800-WEB-FOOT or 541/346-4461.
NCAA Indoor Championships
Randal Tyson Track Center
Saturday, March 15, 2003
Men's Team Scores - 1, Arkansas, 52. 2, Auburn, 28. 3, Nebraska, 26. 4, LSU, 24. 5, Villanova, 23. 5, Tennessee, 23. 5, South Carolina, 23. 8, Minnesota, 21. 9, Indiana, 19. 10, Stanford, 18. 11, Texas, 16. 11, Michigan, 16. 11, Mississippi State, 16. 14, TCU, 15. 14, USC, 15. 14, Ohio State, 15. 17, Eastern Michigan, 12. 18, Seton Hall, 11. 19, Purdue, 10 1/2. 20, CS Northridge, 10. 20, Kansas, 10. 20, Florida, 10. 20, Southern 10. 20, Manhattan, 10. 20 East Carolina, 10. 20, Washington, 10. 27, BYU, 9. 27, Missouri, 9. 29, Colorado State, 8. 29, Kentucky, 8. 29, UCLA, 8. 29, North Carolina, 8. 33, Texas A&M, 7. 34, Mississippi, 6. 34, Pennsylvania, 6. 34, Notre Dame, 6. 34, Alabama, 6. 34, Clemson, 6. 34 SMU, 6. 40, N.C. State, 5 1/2. 41, Georgia, 5. 41, CS Fullerton, 5. 41, Iona, 5. 41, Oregon, 5. 45, Texas Tech, 4. 45, Wisconsin, 4. 45, Arizona State, 4. 45, Washington State, 4. 51, Florida State, 3. 51, Arizona, 3. 51, Weber State, 3. 54, Idaho, 2. 54, Baylor, 2. 54, Northeastern, 2. 54, Middle Tennessee State, 2. 54, Akron, 2. 54, Montana State, 2. 54, Oklahoma State, 2. 54, SW Texas, 2. 62, American, 1. 62, UTEP, 1.
Women's Team Scores - 1, LSU, 62. 2, South Carolina, 44. 2, Florida, 44. 4, North Carolina, 38. 5, Texas, 35. 6, Stanford, 32. 7, Auburn, 29. 8, UCLA, 24. 8, Indiana, 24. 10, Arkansas, 22. 11, Nebraska, 18. 12, Colorado, 16. 13, BYU, 15. 14, Miami, 14. 15, Oregon, 13. 16,Yale, 12. 17, SMU, 10. 17, Northern Arizona, 10. 17, West Virginia, 10. 17, Florida State, 10. 21, Penn State, 9. 21, Cal Poly, 9. 23, Kent State, 8. 23, Tennessee, 8. 23, Mississippi State, 8. 26, Washington State, 7. 27, Illinois, 6. 27, Jacksonville, 6. 27, Iowa State, 6. 27, Georgetown, 6. 27, Kansas State, 6. 32, Michigan, 5. 32, Providence, 5. 332, Notre Dame, 5. 32, Oral Roberts, 5. 36, SW Texas, 4. 36, Georgia, 4.
Men's 60 - 1, Julien Dunkley, East Carolina, 6.54. 2, Pierre Browne, Mississippi Stae, 6.60. 3, Tre Gardner, Texas, 6.62. 4, Samie Parker, Oregon, 6.64. 5, Michael Frater, TCU, 6.64. 6, Ahmad Jasmine, Florida, 6.66. 7, Mrady Scales, Middle Tennessee State, 6.70. 8, Larry Griffin, Clemson, 6.73.
Women's Pole Vault - 1, Lacy Janson, Florida State, 14-7 1/4. 2, Becky Holliday, Oregon, 14-3 1/4. 3, April Steiner, Arkansas, 14-3 1/4. 4, Niki McEwen, Oregon, 13-11 1/4. 5, Fanni Juhasz, Georgia, 13-7 1/4. 6, Amy Linnen, Arizona, 13-7 1/4. 6, Jennifer Bennett, Missouri, 13-7 1/4. 8, Jennifer Culp, Arkansas, 13-3 1/2. 8, Stacie Manuel, Arkansas, 13-3 1/2. 10, Kirsten Riley, Oregon, 13-3 1/2. 11,Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 13-3 1/2. 12, Brigid Isworth, New Mexico, 12-11 1/2. 12, Kate Soma, Washington, 12-11 1/2. 14, Christi Lehman, Nebraska, 12-11 1/2. 15, Kira Sims, Akron, 12-11 1/2. 16, Jessica Graff, Georgia Tech, 12-5 1/2. 17, Jamie Kolar, UCLA, 12-5 1/2.
Attendance - Friday - 4,804, Saturday - 5,583.