2015 NCAA track & field championships: Oregon's Cheserek ties Prefontaine's titles
America's top collegiate athletes, including 138 Pac-12 student-athletes, descended upon Track Town USA – otherwise known as Eugene, Oregon – on Wednesday for the first day of competition in the 2015 NCAA outdoor track & field championships. The Conference of Champions made an immediate splash, with student-athletes from Oregon and USC winning individual NCAA titles on the first day of competition.
Track Cats are no strangers to success, and that pedigree is proving itself with redshirt junior Pau Tonnesen leading the decathlon through Wednesday with 4,230 points. The finals of the decathlon begin Thursday at 10 a.m. PT. Elsewhere, sophomore Collins Kibet advanced to the men's 800m final with a fourth-place finish (1:47.11), the third-best time of his career. Sophomore Aaron Castle earned second team All-America recognition for his 16th-place finish in the shot put (18.81m).
Highlighting Wednesday for the Sun Devils was redshirt senior Bryan McBride, who earned second team All-America honors with a 16th-place, 7.51m finish in the long jump. Redshirt senior Kyle Lillie threw 61.13m in the hammer throw to finish in 22nd place. Redshirt senior Devan Spann finished in 24th place in the 400m, clocking in at 47.87, while senior Cameron Taylor also finished in 24th in the 110m hurdles at 14.44.
Two Golden Bears tangoed in Eugene on Wednesday. Freshman Walt Jones jumped to a personal record of 7.79m and a seventh-place finish in the long jump, while junior Thomas Joyce finished 21st in the men's 1,500m semifinal (3:48.30); not good enough to qualify for Friday's final. Two more Golden Bears will compete for California in the coming days: redshirt sophomore Ethan Cochran in the men's discus on Friday and freshman Bethan Knights in the women's 5,000m on Saturday.
Junior Buffalo Pierce Murphy stampeded to a fifth-place finish in the men's 10,000m final (29:15.18) on Wednesday. The finish is Murphy's first All-America honor. Junior Abrianna Torres holds 21st place in the heptathlon with 3,317 points. Sophomore Ben Saarel did not advance to the men's 1,500 semifinal after a ninth-place finish (3:47.07) in his heat, nor did junior Connor Winter in the 3,000m steeplechase. Senior Sara Sutherland and redshirt freshman Erin Clark have yet to compete for the Buffs.
Edward Cheserek and Sam Crouser are the first Ducks to be able to call themselves outdoor national champions from the loaded 2015 Oregon track & field team. Cheserek, a sophomore, led a one-two finish for the Ducks in the men's 10,000m (28:58.92), with redshirt senior Eric Jenkins (28:59.13) right behind him. It's Cheserek's seventh NCAA individual championship, which ties the number of individual championships Steve Prefontaine won for the Ducks. In the field, Crouser cruised to his second consecutive NCAA javelin title with a toss of 79.19m. Senior Jonathan Cabral and sophomore Marcus Chambers qualified for the finals in the men's 110m hurdles and 400m, respectively. Senior Tanguy Pepiot did not advance in the 3,000m steeplechase, nor did senior Arthur Delaney in the men's 200m. A trio of Ducks in Daniel Winn, Johnny Gregorek and Blake Haney did advance to the men's 1,500m final on Friday.
Two Trees stood tall in the Willamette Valley on Wednesday. Stanford sophomore Dylan Duvio finished third in the pole vault at 18-0 ½ to bring home some hardware for #NerdNation. Only one other Cardinal vaulter has finished in the top three since 1934. Freshman Harrison Williams holds down sixth place in the decathlon through five of 10 events with 4,057 points.
Bru-mor has it that four UCLA student-athletes earned All-America honors on Wednesday, which the Conference of Champions can confirm. Senior Derek Eager finished 12th in the javelin (68.24m) to earn the second All-America honor of his career. Senior Alec Faldermeyer's 62.20m throw of the hammer landed him in 22nd place for the Bruins, while junior Nicholas Scarvelis finished 15th in the shot put at 18.91m. Track-wise, junior Nick Hartle did not advance in the 800m (1:49.73), but secured an All-America nod with his 20th-place finish. Senior Tatum Souza is in 17th place in the heptathlon with 3,415 points, while frosh Steele Wasik owns 13th place in the decathlon with 3,914 points.
Senior Connor McCullough brought home the first national championship of the week for USC on Wednesday with an incredible 76.91m toss in the hammer throw. He's the third Trojan of all time to win the title in the event, and the first since Bengt Johansson did it in 1997. In the long jump, freshman Adoree Jackson earned a fifth-place finish after jumping a personal record of 7.91m, making him an All-American in both football and track & field. The jump was good enough for eighth all-time at USC. Redshirt freshman Nick Ponzio finished eighth in the shot put after a personal record of 19.53m. Junior Andre De Grasse will run in Friday's men's 100m final.
Junior Curtis Clauson threw the javelin 70.02m on Wednesday to finish ninth in Track Town, the fourth Husky to finish in the top 10 in javelin since 2010. The Dawgs can breathe a sigh of relief after the NCAA ruled that junior Izaic Yorks was impeded when he fell in the men's 1,500m semifinal. Because of the ruling, he will compete in Friday's finals. Junior Meron Simon did not advance in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Wednesday was rough going for the Cougs. In WSU's only final of the day, redshirt senior Kyle Stevens threw 64.62m in the javelin to finish in 22nd place. Redshirt senior Jesse Jorgensen did not advance in the 800m after his semifinal time of 1:45.47, and sophomore Dino Dodig dropped out of the decathlon after two events due to a leg injury. Sophomore Alissa Brooks-Johnson is in 22nd place in the heptathlon with 3,297 points after four events, with personal records in shot put (11.52m) and the 200m (24.63).
Stay with Pac-12.com for continuing coverage of the 2015 NCAA outdoor track & field championships.