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Prandini, Crouser Power Ducks on Day One of Pac-12s

May 17, 2014

PULLMAN, Wash. – Both the Oregon men’s and women’s track and field teams will head into the final day of the Pac-12 Championships in first place after each team put 30 points between themselves and the field, Saturday. The women’s team earned 64 points while the men have 70.25 points after day one, each garnering one individual event win.

Jenna Prandini got off to an impressive start, beginning the weekend by winning the long jump, setting a personal record in the process, and moving up to a tie for third on the Oregon all-time list (20-11.25/6.38m). The redshirt sophomore’s contribution of 10 points to the team total is just the start of her weekend, as Prandini also won her qualifying heats in both the 100 and 200. Jasmine Todd joined her as a long jump scorer in fourth place, and a 100 finalist.

But Prandini, who is a contender to be the women’s top scorer of the meet, was more worried about the impact of her performance on the team.

“I went in confident and I just wanted to score the points for the team,” Prandini said about her long jump win. “I’m really happy with how it went.”

Sam Crouser won his third-consecutive Pac-12 Championship in the javelin, throwing 243-7 (74.24m), and tallying the field’s top-four throws of the day. Between Crouser’s triple and Cyrus Hostetler’s wins in 2009 and 2010, Oregon has won the men’s javelin at the Pac-12 Championships five of the past six seasons.

Similar to Prandini, and even with three titles under his belt, the junior was thinking about the bigger picture.

“It was nice getting that third (championship) today, especially to help out the team just get extra points.”

Brittany Mann set a school record in the shot put during her final attempt of the day while finishing second. The redshirt freshman set a personal best in her fifth attempt of 53-9.25 (16.39m), but unleashed a throw of 55-5 (16.89m) during her sixth and final attempt, crushing the previous school record of 53-11.25 set by Bree Fuqua in 2005. Mann’s distance ranks 12th in the NCAA this season and first among freshman.

Greg Skipper and Megan Patrignelli also finished runners-up in their respective events, Saturday. Skipper put up the first points of the day in the hammer throw, going 225-2 (68.64m) on his first throw which held for second place. Patrignelli ran in second from wire-to-wire in the women’s steeplechase, finishing in 10:14.62.

The Ducks were able to get 13 preliminary heat wins on the day, but also racked up points with their depth, a tribute to the team’s slogan “Strength In Numbers.” In total, Oregon had five events with multiple scorers, Saturday, and advanced 26 qualifiers to Sunday finals in nine events.

Oregon found three scorers in the women’s javelin, with Liz Brenner leading the charge in third place with a season-best mark of 160-10 (49.02m). Haley Crouser finished right behind her in fourth (157-3/47.92m) and Rachel Sherrell took seventh (152-11/46.60m).

Trevor Ferguson repeated his second-place finish in the long jump from a year ago, using his final attempt of 24-9.75 (7.56m). Alec Fellows finished sixth with a wind-aided leap of 24-3.75 (7.41m).

Chancey Summers took second in the high jump, clearing 5-10.5 (1.79m), while Lauren Crockett finished fourth (5-9.25/1.76m).

The day ended with Parker Stinson blazing around the track in the final lap of the 10,000, where he finished second behind Stanford’s Joe Rosa. Teammate Matthew Melancon added four more to Ducks’ tally with a fifth-place finish in 30:00.04.

Three other Ducks finished fifth during first day finals. Ryan Hunter-Simms jumped up the leaderboard on his final throw in the shot put, reaching 55-11.25 (17.05m), while Tanguy Pepiot finished the men’s steeplechase in 9:06.22 and Maggie Schmaedick set a personal best in the 10,000 of 34:55.51.

Matt Hidalgo also scored for the Ducks in the pole vault, tying for eighth place.

“There were lots of season bests and lots of PRs today,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “That’s how we set it up, for them to do their best at meets like this, and the Ducks are doing a good job so far.”

A lot of points are still on the table during tomorrow’s finals. In addition to the field events, Oregon will have 43 scoring opportunities on the track.

The men’s 4x100 is one of those, as the team of Devon Allen, Arthur Delaney, Mike Berry and Marcus Chambers qualified first with a time of 39.60 which is third in Oregon history. All four will be busy on Sunday as Allen qualified in both the 110 and 400 hurdles, Delaney advanced in both the 100 and 200, while Berry and Chambers qualified in the 400.

The men’s distance squad was represented by three 1,500 qualifiers in Edward Cheserek, Sam Prakel and Daniel Winn, as well as Boru Guyota and Mac Fleet in the 800.

As it has been all season, the women’s sprint crew was strong on Saturday. The Ducks will have three competitors in both the 100 (Prandini, Todd, Sant) and 200 (Prandini, Francis, Sant) finals. Marybeth Sant’s time of 11.46 in the 100 and improves her fifth-best mark in school history.

Freshman hurdler Sasha Wallace will compete in the 100 hurdles after winning her heat, Saturday.

Phyllis Francis won both her 200 and 400 heats, and will join Chizoba Okodogbe in the quarter-mile, tomorrow.

Laura Roesler, Annie Leblanc and Samantha Murphy secured spots in the 800 while Sarah Penney and Frida Berge did the same in the 1,500.

Day two of the Pac-12 Championships will begin at 11 a.m., as the Men and Women of Oregon look for their eighth- and sixth-consecutive championships, respectively.