Oregon men win NCAA track and field crown
The Oregon men captured the 2014 NCAA Men’s Track & Field Championships crown, the team’s first since 1984 and the Pac-12’s first since 2000. It is also the Conference’s 46 men’s track and field title, all-time. Six Pac-12 men in all collected individual titles. On the women’s side, Oregon was the Conference’s top placer again, coming in third place, while three league athletes claimed individual titles.
With the Ducks’ win, Pac-12 teams have won 10 NCAA titles during the 2013-14 season (six men’s, four women’s), double the next closest league (Big Ten - 5). It is also the 469th NCAA win by a Conference team all-time, over 200 more than the next closest league (Big Ten - 266).
The Duck men had four individual champions lead the team to collect 88 total points, 18 points more than second-place finisher Florida. Texas A&M was third with 41.50 points. Other top-10 team finishers from the Pac-12 were USC, which tied for fourth (29), and Arizona placed seventh (23.50).
On the women’s side, Texas A&M was the team champion with 75 points and Texas scored 66 points to place ahead of UO who collected 59 points for third place.
The Eugene crowd was treated to another outstanding race in the men’s 5,000 meter. Arizona’s Lawi Lalang and Oregon’s Edward Cheserek posted two of the fastest times in collegiate history in the 1,500 meter at the Pac-12 Championships nearly a month ago. 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, once again, in Eugene but this time, 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.
Despite Lalang’s win, the Ducks dominated the 5,000-meter race, the final event on Friday night. Teammates Trevor Dunbar was third (13:26.9) and Eric Jenkins was fourth (13:27.41) to give Oregon the much-needed points for the eventual national title.
Oregon’s Mac Fleet also successfully defended his 1,500-meter crown, winning with a time of 3:39.09, edging out Arizona’s Lalang in what was considered an upset. Though Fleet was the defending champion, Lalang was considered the heavy favorite after having posted the top time in the country in the event at the Pac-12 Championships.
But Cheserek had his moment atop the podium in the final event of the first full day of competition, claiming the 10,000-meter crown with a time of 28:30.19, finishing the race over two seconds faster than the second-place finisher giving the hometown crowd a taste of what was to come the rest of the week.
A freshman, Devon Oregon’s Devon Allen claimed the men’s 110-meter hurdles title in another tight race that came down to .02 seconds of a difference. Allen crossed the finish line in a time of 13.16 seconds to stay ahead of USC’s Aleec Harris (13.18). Allen is the Conference’s the first national champion in the event since former Trojan Ryan Wilson won the crown in 2003.
Redshirt junior Sam Crouser gave Oregon another 10 points after winning the men’s javelin, with a throw of 252-7/76.98m. He becomes first athlete from the Conference to win the event title since the last Duck, John Stiegler, took home the crown in 2001.
Arizona State’s Bryan McBride claimed the men’s high jump (7-5.75/2.28m) and is the Conference’s first nation champion in the event since Jesse Williams from USC won the title in back-to-back years in 2005 and 2006. Among those he defeated in the field was Arizona’s Nick Ross, who was the top-ranked high jumper in the country coming into the weekend. Ross ended up tying for third place.
On the women’s side, Oregon claimed a couple of individual champions in Laura Roesler and Jenna Prandini. Roesler was the favorite in the 800-meter race going into the championships after posting the top time in the country in the event. She came through for the individual crown, opting a time of 2:01.22, over one second ahead of Stanford’s Claudia Saunders (2:02.92). Roesler is the third Duck to win the event since 2006 and first since 2011.
Prandini won the long jump with a distance of 21-6/6.55m. She is the first-ever Duck to win a NCAA title in the event and is the Conference’s first long jump champion since 2007.
At last year’s championships, Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan ran seventh in the 1,500-meter race. But this year, ran a 4:18.10 to claim the title. It is the Sun Devils’ first-ever NCAA title in the event and she is the Pac-12 athlete to win it since Washington’s Katie Flood in 2012. Houlihan is only the fourth ever Pac-12 athlete to claim the 1,500-meter title.
Team Results (Top-3 and Pac-12 finishers only)
1. Oregon - 88
2. Florida - 70
3. Texas A&M - 41.50
T4th. USC - 29
7. Arizona - 23.50
T13th. Arizona State - 16.0
32. Stanford - 9
T33. UCLA - 8
T44. Washington - 5
T64. Colorado - 2
1. Texas A&M - 75
2. Texas - 66
3. Oregon - 59
11. Stanford - 19
T16. USC - 15
T19. Colorado - 12
T22. Arizona State - 10
T22. Arizona - 10
T37. UCLA - 6