Duck M&W Track Teams Take Third and Seventh in Pac-10 Champs

May 18, 2003

LOS ANGELES - The University of Oregon men's and women's track and field teams wrapped up action in the Pacific-10 Conference Track and Field Championships with third and seventh-place finishes, while the Duck men and women each added individual crowns in final day action at Katherine A. Loker Stadium.

The Duck men took third place overall with 127 points, one only point behind Stanford (second, 128), while USC relied on a late surge Saturday to win its fourth team crown in seven years with 139 points. The rest of the men's team results included UCLA (fourth, 123), Arizona State (fifth, 82), Washington State (sixth, 77), California (seventh, 54), Arizona (eighth, 46) and Washington (ninth, 37). The 16-point margin from first through fourth places was the tightest 1-4 finish since 1969 when the top four teams were only 14 points apart.

The Oregon women ended with 60 points for seventh place, and were only four points short of repeating last year's sixth-place effort. UCLA won their seventh straight team title with 155 points, ahead of Stanford (second, 140), Arizona State (third, 109), USC (fourth, 101), Washington State (fifth, 87), Washington (sixth, 64), Oregon (seventh, 60), Arizona (eighth, 58) and California (ninth, 40).

As expected, the men's sprint crew helped fuel the Ducks' team chances with points in every sprint, hurdle and relay event.

Improving one place on his pre-meet ranking, senior Samie Parker clocked his second-fastest time ever in the 100 (third, 10.21w, w:+3.7). Freshman Jordan Kent added sixth (10.57w, w:+3.7) after entering the meet ranked ninth in the conference, and also added points in the 200 (fifth, 21.47, w:-0.3). Freshman Matt Scherer scored a collegiate best in the 400 (seventh, 46.87) and tied his personal best from his junior season. In the relays, the Duck men took fourth (40.64) with a .32-second season best. The Duck 4x400 won their heat and finished sixth (3:09.42) overall, while Stanford's fifth-place finish from the faster heat (3:09.17) was a quarter-second faster and sealed a one-point edge for second place in the final team standings.

In the 110 hurdles, freshman Eric Mitchum claimed second in his second-fastest time, albeit windy (13.73w, w:+3.8), and senior Terry Ellis matched his highest Pac-10 career finish in front of his hometown friends and family (fifth, 14.13w). In the 400 hurdles, senior Santiago Lorenzo claimed his third scoring honor of his career in the event (sixth, 51.62) with a .08-second personal best.

In the distances, freshman Ryan Flaherty took third in his second-fastest time ever in the 800 (third, 1:50.36) after entering the meet seeded fourth. In the 5,000, redshirt sophomore Eric Logsdon claimed his second, top-six finish for the Ducks in the league finale (sixth, 14:15.05). Redshirt junior Jason Hartmann also added league points in the event for the second straight year (eighth, 14:17.04) and was followed by redshirt junior Ryan Andrus (10th, 14:29.74) and redshirt sophomore Brett Holts (12th, 14:44.42) who made their Pac-10 5K debuts.

In the hammer cage, redshirt senior Adam Kriz became the third Duck in school history to repeat as Pac-10 champion in the event, and won with a one foot, six-inch personal best (221-3) by a two-inch margin over Stanford's Nick Welihozkiy (second, 221-1).

'This win is nicer because the mark wasn't as embarrassing as last year's (210-7),' Kriz said. 'I'm glad it's over because I was pretty nervous out there at times. This meet is all for the team and the points, and they really needed me to win. On my second throw I just tried to get one down the middle, and on the third it didn't feel great, but Lance started yelling so I decided to start yelling, too. None of my throws really felt that good today - but sometimes far throws just happen.'

In other field event action, senior triple jumper Foluso Akinradewo claimed his fourth scoring honor and second straight top-three finish (51-2 3/4) with the second longest outdoor leap of his career, and sophomore Derek Strubel notched his first points in the same event (seventh, 49-8 1/2w, w:+2.9). In the high jump, freshman Chad Clason equaled his pre-meet seeding and matched his second-highest mark ever (seventh, 6-10 1/4), and fellow frosh Teddy Davis added 10th (6-8 1/4) with his second-highest mark outdoors this season.

For the Ducks who were one point shy of repeating Pac-10 runner-up honors, the team race proved as exciting as expected.

'I was proud of how hard the team competed,' Oregon men's head coach Martin Smith said. 'We did our best and would have loved to finish higher, but everybody did their best and we had 127 points to show for it. We ended up with three individual champions and that's something our athletes should be proud of. We also need to recognize the tremendous help from our two-sport athletes, and thank our football and basketball programs for making those athletes available.'

On the women's side, the field eventers again propelled the Duck scoring hopes, especially in the pole vault with a record-breaking performance.

Three-time All-American and redshirt senior Becky Holliday continued to climb the all-time collegiate and U.S. lists with a personal record (14-6) on her second try at the height, then missed three tries at 14-9 / 4.50m (and initially had another attempt at an incorrectly-set bar height of 14-9 1/2 (4.51m)). Holliday's mark improved on her former school record (14-5) by one inch, and the former Pac-10 meet record by 4 1/4 inches (14-1 3/4 by Arizona's Amy Linnen in 2002). Last year's runner-up and this year's victor Holliday now ranks second this season in the world, eighth all-time in the U.S., third all-time among all collegians (and second among U.S. collegians).

'I had no idea that this was going to happen,' Holliday said, 'you never really know how you feel until you actually get on the runway. Once I was there it kind of just came together. I'm mostly glad to help the team and also get a PR in the process - and doing it against a great field also means a lot. As I got up to my last few heights, I moved up to a new pole I had never used, and it worked out pretty well. Ultimately I want to go 15 feet, so I'll again need to add another pole or two, but I'm getting closer.'

Also part of the Ducks' 19-point explosion in the pole vault, redshirt senior Niki McEwen claimed her third Pac-10 scoring honor and matched her best Pac-10 finish courtesy of her best league championship mark (second-tie, 13-3 1/2), and junior Kirsten Riley scored for the second straight season (seventh, 12-11 1/2). Redshirt senior Georgette Moyle and sophomore Hannah Moore no-heighted with misses at the opening height of 12-3 1/2.

Senior thrower Mary Etter capped her Pac-10 career with her sixth scoring honor thanks to her fourth-place finish in the discus Sunday (177-1) - her fourth top-four discus finish to go along with two, top-seven efforts in the shot put (2001, 2002). Etter's mark Sunday was also a season best by one foot, one inch, and only four inches shy of her personal best (177-5).

In the triple jump, the Ducks staked points courtesy of senior Amanda Brown for the second straight season (sixth, 40-6 on her second jump), and sophomore Clarice Hayward-Lee who scored in her league debut (eighth, 39-9 3/4) with her only legal jump coming on the first attempt of the competition.

In the sprints, the Ducks' lone competitor and senior Janette Davis claimed sixth in the 400 (55.02) for the second straight season. She returned to anchor the 4x400 relay (fifth, 3:42.86) to an almost three-second season best and their highest league finish in the event during her career.

In the distances, senior Eri Macdonald claimed her highest Pac-10 finish of her career in the 800 (seventh, 2:10.87) and her third scoring effort in the event. Redshirt senior Carrie Zografos (11th, 4:31.53) and redshirt sophomore Laura Harmon (12th, 4:35.96) also made appearances in the 1,500 final for the first and second times in their careers, respectively.

'We were close to sixth and not far from eighth,' Oregon women's coach Tom Heinonen said. 'Thank goodness for our pole vaulters. They've done a great job all season just like today, and Mark Vanderville has really got them ready. The kids competed with a lot of heart. Becky was out of sight, and had another big day at an important meet. Mary (Etter) had a monster throw in the discus that would have won, but she just fell out of the ring at the very end. We now get ready for regionals where the focus is on the individual performances, then nationals where we can hopefully get some more All-America awards.'

Looking ahead, the Duck men and women look forward to the NCAA Western Regional, Fri.-Sat., May 30-31 at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field. The top five finishers from each event advance to the NCAA Track & Field Championships (Wed.-Sat., June 11-14 at Sacramento State), with another 6-8 athletes also chosen nationally in each event by an at-large method by the NCAA committee based on their season bests.

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