2018 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships continue this weekend at Stanford
SAN FRANCISCO - The 2018 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships continue this Saturday and Sunday, May 12-14, at Cobb Track and Angell Field on the campus of Stanford University.
Schedule of events, live results, recaps, photos and other relevant information from the Championships can be found on the Championships homepage on pac-12.com/tfchamps. All session and single-session tickets are available at pac-12.com/tickets.
It marks the first time STANFORD has hosted the Pac-12 title meet since 2007, and the fourth time on The Farm since the addition of the women’s meet in 1987. OREGON, whose men's title streak began on The Farm in 2007, will be seeking its 10th consecutive sweep of both the men's and women's Conference crowns.
For the first time in history, both days of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships will be broadcast live. Coverage of the event will air on Saturday, May 12 starting at 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. MT and Sunday, May 13 starting at 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT across Pac-12 Network, all regional channels, Pac-12 Now & Pac-12.com. Paul Sunderland (1984 Olympian), Tom Feuer (Emmy Award-winning Olympics producer), Jordan Kent (four-time track All-American at Oregon) and Jill Savage will cover the action.
The last time the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships were held at Stanford it marked the start of the reign of the Oregon Ducks men’s program.
Oregon has reeled off 11 consecutive men’s Conference championships dating back to that 2007 meet, an event that was by far the closest margin of the Ducks’ streak with only three points separating Oregon (114) from runner-up ASU (111) and four points between UO and third place USC (110).
USC was the last team to unseat Oregon back in 2006, and the Trojans are the likely candidates to challenge the Ducks’ title run in 2018. USC enters as the nation’s No. 9 ranked program, best in the Pac-12 and two spots ahead of No. 11 Oregon.
No. 22 ARIZONA and No. 23 STANFORD are also expected to contend. The Cardinal picked up 11 points from last weekend’s decathlon, while COLORADO pieced together an event-best 20 points from four athletes for an early team standings lead.
MEN’S TEAM STANDINGS (THRU DECATHLON)
1. Colorado – 20
2. Stanford – 11
3. USC – 5
4. Oregon – 3
5. Arizona – 0
Arizona State – 0
California – 0
UCLA – 0
Washington – 0
Washington State – 0
USC posted a convincing victory at the MPSF indoor championships in February, defeating runner-up BYU by 21.5 points and third place Oregon by 42. The Trojans (37) then went on to finish second at NCAA indoors behind champion Florida (40).
Of the 20 events set to take place this weekend, Oregon and USC enter as league leaders in five events apiece, followed by three from Arizona, two each from Stanford and WASHINGTON STATE, and one apiece for CALIFORNIA, UCLA and WASHINGTON.
Anchored by Bowerman candidates Michael Norman and Rai Benjamin, USC holds league leads in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, the 800-meter run, 400-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay. Norman is the lone athlete to enter the Pac-12 all-time performance leaderboard during this outdoor season, doing so with a headwind time of 20.06 seconds in the 200 at ASU’s Sun Angel Classic in April. That time is the third-best nationally entering the Conference championships, while Norman’s 44.53 400 at the Mt. SAC Relays paces the country to date. Norman is the defending Pac-12 400 champion.
Benjamin is expected to push Norman in the 400 as well as repeat as the league’s 400-meter hurdles champion won while at UCLA in 2017.
Oregon will look to counter in the sprints (100, 110h), middle distance (1,500m), long jump and javelin. Paced by Sam Prakel and James West, the Ducks own the nation’s top 1,500-meter squad.
In total, 11 event champions from 2017 are back to defend their titles.
With three top-10 and five top-20 nationally ranked programs, the 2018 Pac-12 Track & Field Women’s Championships are expected to be tightly contested.
No. 7 nationally ranked STANFORD will have home facility advantage for the first time since 2007 and aims to challenge Pac-12 incumbents OREGON and USC. Nine-time defending Conference champions and reigning NCAA Outdoor titlists OREGON enter the weekend as the nation’s No. 2 ranked program, while No. 3 USC, which has finished runner-up to UO each of the last four years, is close behind.
The last time the Pac-12 Championships were held at Stanford in 2007, ARIZONA STATE won the second of its three consecutive titles from 2006-08. The No. 13 ranked Sun Devils could apply some pressure at the top behind the presence of reigning Bowerman finalist and current candidate Maggie Ewen.
WOMEN’S TEAM STANDINGS (THRU HEPTATHLON)
1. Washington State – 10
2. UCLA – 9
3. Arizona – 6
4. USC – 5
5. Colorado - 4
6. Oregon – 3
7. Oregon State – 2
8. Arizona State – 0
California – 0
Stanford – 0
Utah – 0
Washington – 0
This season’s back-and-forth battle between the Ducks and Trojans began over the winter as USC (122 points) captured the MPSF indoor championship in February, ahead of second place Stanford (98) and third place Oregon (84). The Ducks followed up a fifth-place showing at NCAA indoors with 31 points, just edging the seventh-place Trojans (28) and eighth-place Cardinal (24).
The quartet of Oregon (six), USC (five), Stanford (four) and Arizona State (three) lead the way in 18 of the Championships’ 20 events, with UTAH steeplechaser Grayson Murphy and UCLA high jumper Kendall Gustafson the only outliers. The Ducks and Trojans also litter the league’s season leaderboard in many of the sprints.
Behind Bowerman candidate Kendall Ellis and reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Anna Cockrell, USC owns the nation’s best 400-meter dash and 100-meter hurdle squads.
ASU’s Ewen is the defending champion of and currently leads the nation in three throwing events, the discus, hammer and shot put, the latter two of which she owns the all-time collegiate records. She will attempt to repeat as Championships Athlete of the Meet and duplicate her throwing three-peat with anticipated challenges from Stanford’s Valarie Allman and Lena Giger.
Stanford is the nation’s top team in the 1,500, while Cardinal javelin thrower Mackenzie Little is the only Pac-12 athlete not named Ewen to lead the nation in an event this season.
16 individuals and four different relay teams have moved into or up the Pac-12 all-time performance leaderboard so far this outdoor season, highlighted by Oregon’s Lauren Rain Williams, Jessica Hull and Chaquinn Cook, USC’s Twanisha Terry, Stanford’s Vanessa Fraser and Ewen, Allman, Giger and Little.