Stanford, ASU’s Ewen shine on Day 1 of Pac-12 Track & Field Championships
STANFORD, Calif. – ARIZONA STATE redshirt senior and Bowerman candidate Maggie Ewen set two meet records and the homestanding STANFORD men’s and women’s programs each grabbed the team leads to highlight the opening day of the 2018 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field.
Ewen led off the competition with back-to-back victories and Championships records in the hammer throw and shot put to improve to six career Conference event titles. She can match the all-time record shared by UCLA’s Gail Devers and Dawn Dumble and Stanford’s Erica McLain with a repeat victory in the discus on Sunday. With her two meet records, Ewen is now the only female and 1-of-2 athletes (Henry Rono, WSU) in league history to own a pair of Championships marks.
The No. 7 nationally ranked Stanford women scored 71 points on Saturday to sit atop the standings after 9-of-21 events. There is a logjam after the Cardinal as No. 3 USC (44 points), No. 20 UCLA (39), No. 13 Arizona State (38) and Colorado (37) are separated by just seven points, while No. 2 ranked and nine-time defending Pac-12 women’s champion OREGON is tied for seventh with 22 points.
The Cardinal women posted six podium finishes on Saturday, led by a meet record from senior Vanessa Fraser in winning the 10,000-meter run and a third consecutive javelin title for junior Mackenzie Little.
On the men’s side, No. 23 Stanford added 37 points to last weekend’s decathlon haul to surge to the opening-day lead with 48 points, five points clear of 10-time defending champion No. 11 Oregon. Junior Steven Fahy and fifth-year senior Jack Keelan won the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 10,000-meter run, respectively, to stake the Cardinal to the early advantage.
The Championships conclude on Sunday with the crowning of 27 more event champions as well as the Pac-12 team titles and it will all be broadcast live on Pac-12 Network, all regional channels, the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com beginning at 3 p.m. PT.
MEN’S TEAM LEADERBOARD (6/21 events)
1. Stanford – 48
2. Oregon – 43
3. Colorado – 33
4. California – 29
5. UCLA – 22
6. Arizona – 17
7. USC – 16
Washington – 16
9. Washington State – 7
10. Arizona State – 3
WOMEN’S TEAM LEADERBOARD (9/21 events)
1. Stanford – 71
2. USC – 44
3. UCLA – 39
4. Arizona State – 38
5. Colorado – 37
6. Washington – 23
California – 23
8. Oregon – 22
Arizona – 22
10. Oregon State – 16
11. Utah – 8
Washington State - 8
Below are brief recaps of Saturday’s event champions (Student-athlete quotes sourced by Loic Boehler-Bosch):
WOMEN’S HAMMER THROW – Maggie Ewen, Arizona State (74.38m/244’) – Championships record
Ewen became the first female in Pac-12 meet history to win the hammer throw three times, setting a Championships record of 74.38 meters (244’) on her fourth attempt to edge a pair of freshmen in UCLA’s Alyssa Wilson and California’s Camryn Rogers.
Ewen: “It felt really good. I have been in a bit of a learning curve and a little bit of a slump. But throwing that 74 today feels really, really good. We are changing a lot in my throw right now. There's not a lot of things I'm not used to, not comfortable with. They are starting to get a little more natural which is why I threw so far today.”
WOMEN’S SHOT PUT – Maggie Ewen, Arizona State (19.22m/63’-0.75”) – Championships record
Ewen posted her second event win and second meet record of the Championships with a third attempt that hit 19.22 meters (63-0.75). It marked Ewen’s sixth career Pac-12 Championships title, tied for the fourth-most in league history and within one of the record of seven, which she could match with a win in the discus on Sunday. Ewen is now the only female and 1-of-2 athletes in league history to hold two Pac-12 Championships records, joining Washington State’s Henry Rono in the 5,000 and 10,000 in 1978.
Ewen: “I was really excited. That 19-meter mark was something that I was trying to hit at least once a meet and I was really happy to achieve that goal and it was just a bonus that it was a meet record.”
WOMEN’S HIGH JUMP – Lyndsey Lopes, USC (1.79m/5’-10.5”)
Lopes gave USC its first-ever Pac-12 Championships victory in the high jump, clearing 1.79 meters on her final attempt to edge past runner-up Kendall Gustafson of UCLA, who was also runner-up in last weekend’s heptathlon, and third place Karla Teran of Arizona.
WOMEN’S JAVELIN – Mackenzie Little, Stanford (54.88m/180’-1”)
Little won her third consecutive Pac-12 javelin title, and the seventh in a row for a Cardinal thrower, with a mark of 54.88 meters (180-1) on her first attempt. Stanford’s Jenna Gray placed second (51.49m), while Oregon State’s Destiny Dawson reached the podium on her sixth and final attempt (49.47m).
Little: “It’s definitely special. It’s at Stanford. It’s so amazing to be able to defend it here, and compete with Virginia and Jenna. It’s so obvious that the Stanford presence here is better that it’s ever been.”
WOMEN’S LONG JUMP – Courtney Corrin, USC (6.50m/21’-4”)
USC went 1-2 in the long jump, with Corrin edging teammate Madisen Richards (6.47m/21-2.75) by just over an inch. Heptathlon third-place finisher Alyssa Thompson of Arizona placed third (6.33m/20-9.25).
WOMEN’S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE – Sage Hurta, Colorado (9:57.28)
Hurta improved on her runner-up finish a season ago by passing eventual runner-up Grayson Murphy of UTAH on the backstretch and running away for the victory. Hurta’s time of 9:57.28 was a personal-best by more than seven seconds and only the fifth sub-10 minute mark to win the Pac-12 steeplechase. It marked the seventh straight steeplechase win for the Buffaloes, every year since CU joined the Conference in 2012. The Buffs picked up 16 team points in the event with Val Constien’s third-place showing.
Hurta: “Last year our teammate Madison Boreman, extremely talented in this steeplechase, beat me on this day, and kinda like running for her as well. She couldn't be out here this year so to keep the No. 1 position on the podium and hopefully we’ll be out here again next year.”
MEN’S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE – Steven Fahy, Stanford (8:50.07)
The 20-athlete men’s steeplechase was separated into two flights, with Stanford’s Fahy (8:50.07) outlasting Washington’s Andrew Gardner (8:50.71) from the final hurdle to win the event from the second heat. Fahy’s victory was just the third ever in the event for a Cardinal athlete along with Ian Dobson in 2003 and Jesse Thomas in 2001. California’s Takeshi Okada (8:53.80) finished third overall after winning the opening heat.
MEN’S SHOT PUT – Jordan Geist, Arizona (20.06m/65’-9.75”)
After faulting on his first two attempts, Geist improved on each of his final four throws, launching a winning toss of 20.06 meters (65-9.75) on his final attempt to become the first freshman to win the Conference’s shot put title. Geist is the only Pac-12 athlete to break 20 meters this season.
Geist: “I started off the day with two straight fouls, which a shot putter never wants to do, but I clutched up on the third round to get a mark good enough to make the finals and then in the finals I did well enough to thankfully get the win.”
MEN’S JAVELIN – Simon Litzell, UCLA (74.46m/244’-3”)
Litzell extended UCLA’s streak to 54 consecutive years with at least one men’s event title at the Pac-12 Championships with a massive personal-best to win the javelin. Litzell’s fourth attempt sailed to 74.46 meters, his first mark over 70 meters, to give the Bruins their first javelin winner since Josh Johnson in 1997.
MEN’S LONG JUMP – Damarcus Simpson, Oregon (8.33m/27’-4”)
Simpson repeated as wind-aided Pac-12 long jump champion, leaping to 8.33 meters (27-4) behind a +3.0 m/s breeze on his third attempt. Simpson is the first Oregon athlete to win consecutive Conference long jumps since Latin Berry claimed three straight from 1988-90. Ducks’ teammate Tristan James finished runner-up and USC’s Dominic Smallwood placed third.
Simpson: “After jumping the jump, I was just thinking to myself, ‘what's next? how many jumps do I have left? It didn't even feel like a good jump.’ After all my jumps, I kept looking back and my feet were late and I wasn’t doing stuff right. So that’s the good thing, I still got a lot left in the tank.”
WOMEN’S POLE VAULT – Lauren Martinez, California (4.27m/14’)
Martinez became the first Cal athlete to win the Conference women’s pole vault crown, clearing the winning mark of 4.27 meters on her first attempt. She beat out the Stanford duo of runner-up Kaitlyn Merritt, who topped 4.22 meters on her first attempt, and third place Erika Malaspina, who cleared 4.22 on her third try.
WOMEN’S 10,000-METER RUN – Vanessa Fraser, Stanford (33:10.84) – Championships record
Fraser set the Pac-12 Championships record in an extremely fast women’s 10,000-meter run. Runner-up Kaitlyn Benner (33:11.50) and Erin Clark (33:14.58), both from Colorado, also posted times which would have broken the previous meet record.
MEN’S 10,000-METER RUN – Jack Keelan, Stanford (29:38.44)
Keelan saved his best split for last, running a blistering 59.02 over the final 400 to give Stanford a home sweep of the 10,000-meter run. He is the ninth Cardinal winner of the event in Conference history.
Along with the 13 event champions, several of Saturday’s preliminary heats set up some intriguing storylines heading into Sunday finals:
- USC sophomore and Bowerman candidate Michael Norman cruised into the finals of the men’s 400-meter dash, running 46.27 to win his heat. The NCAA leader and defending Pac-12 champion entering the meet, Norman will be looking to become the fourth Trojan to win multiple 400 titles.
- Norman also was the top qualifier in the men’s 200-meter dash with a time of 20.71 seconds in the second heat. He will try to join Bryshon Nellum (2013) and Jerome Davis (1999) as Trojans to pull off the 200-400 double at the Pac-12 Championships.
- The women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes will be all OREGON and USC affairs. USC freshman Twanisha Terry, twice a Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week in her debut season, posted the top wind-aided qualifying time of 11.14 seconds in the 100, while UO sophomore Mackenzie Dunmore (22.53) edged Bowerman candidate Kendall Ellis of USC (22.71) in the prelims.
- USC’s Rai Benjamin was the top 400-meter hurdles qualifier as the only athlete to break 50 seconds (49.80) on Saturday. He is the defending champ in the event as a UCLA Bruin last year.
- Seven of the nine finalists for the both the women’s 400-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles belong to USC and Oregon.
- Stanford junior Grant Fisher will have a chance to defend his 1,500-meter run Pac-12 title and possibly go for the rare 5,000-meter double in front of his home crowd on Sunday. Fisher tied for third in the 1,500 prelims in 3:47.22. Only three other men have pulled off the 1,500-5,000 double in league history (Martin Keino, ARIZ 1995; Robert Cheseret, ARIZ 2004 & 2006; Lawi Lalang, ARIZ 2014).
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