Mother Nature steals show on Day 1 of Pac-12 Track & Field Championships
TUCSON, Ariz. – Lightning delayed the opening day of the 2019 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships at Arizona’s Drachman Stadium on Saturday by more than three-and-a-half hours, trimming the number of champions crowned to nine and altering the schedule for Sunday’s conclusion.
Champions were determined in the men’s hammer, shot put and javelin earlier on Saturday, but weather moved into Tucson late in the afternoon and localized lightning strikes halted the meet at approximately 7:11 p.m. PT. Action resumed at 10:45 p.m. PT with the conclusion of 100-meter trials and finals in six additional events, including the finish of the 10,000-meter run near 1 a.m.
Sunday’s field events will start on schedule at 11 a.m. PT with the women’s hammer and addition of the women’s long jump, followed at 1 p.m. by the men’s long jump and pole vault, and at 2:30 p.m. by the women’s shot put. Running events will resume with the 4x100 relays at 5:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled, with the 200- and 800-meters and 400-meter hurdles being moved to timed section finals after the events were postponed on Saturday.
Five athletes defended their 2018 event titles, while a quartet of stadium records fell and Championships records were set by Stanford’s Mackenzie Little in the javelin and the USC women in the trials of the 4x100-meter relay to highlight Saturday’s action.
Through seven men’s events, including last weekend’s decathlon, No. 22 nationally ranked UCLA owns the team lead with 58 points, followed closely by No. 7 ranked and 12-time defending champion Oregon.
MEN’S TEAM LEADERBOARD (7/21 events)
1. UCLA – 58
2. Oregon – 51
3. Arizona – 36
4. Washington – 35
5. Colorado – 23
6. California – 23
7. Washington State – 19
8. Stanford – 14
9. Arizona State – 11
10. USC – 3
With four women’s events scored, including last weekend’s heptathlon, No. 18 Colorado (40) holds a slight advantage over No. 23 Washington (36). Defending Pac-12 and NCAA champion USC has yet to score a point, though the bulk of the Trojans’ scoring depth will compete on Sunday.
WOMEN’S TEAM LEADERBOARD (4/21 events)
1. Colorado – 40
2. Washington – 36
3. Stanford – 23
4. Oregon – 16
5. Arizona State – 9
6. Arizona – 8
7. California – 7
8. UCLA – 6
Utah – 6
10. Oregon State – 4
11. Washington State – 1
12. USC - 0
The Championships conclude on Sunday with the crowning of 31 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 5:30 p.m. PT.
Below are brief recaps of Saturday’s event champions:
MEN’S HAMMER THROW – Brock Eager, Washington State (69.71m/228’-8”)
Eager added a second career Pac-12 hammer throw title to his resume along with his win in 2017. The WSU senior took the lead on his third attempt, then cemented the victory on his fifth toss by extending out to 69.71 meters, the longest winning mark at the Conference meet since 2016.
Eager is the first Cougar to win multiple Conference hammer titles since 1988 (Stefan Jonsson – 1987-88) and just the third in school history to accomplish the feat (Tore Gustafsson – 1982-83, 86).
MEN’S JAVELIN – Simon Litzell, UCLA (74.23/243’-6”)
Litzell led through the opening four throws until Washington’s Denham Patricelli overtook him in the fifth round. Down to the final throw of the competition, Litzell unleashed a season-best toss of 74.23 meters to edge past Patricelli (73.62) and defend his event title from 2018. He is the first Bruin since Dick Selby in 1966-67 to repeat as Conference javelin champion.
MEN’S SHOT PUT – Jordan Geist, Arizona (21.08/69’-2”)
After becoming the first freshman to win the Conference shot put last year, Geist defended his title with a fifth throw of 21.08 meters to edge UCLA’s Dotun Ogundeji (20.22) and Nate Esparza (19.82). He is the first Arizona men’s athlete to win multiple Conference shot put titles, and his mark is the longest in the Championships since 2010.
MEN’S LONG JUMP – Tristan James, Oregon (7.59/24’-11”)
Oregon took a whopping 21 points from the long jump, powered by Tristan James’ winning third attempt of 7.59 meters, edging teammate Spenser Schmidt (7.55m) while fellow Duck DJ Henderson placed sixth (7.40m). James is the third straight Oregon winner in the event joining back-to-back wins from Damarcus Simpson.
MEN’S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE – Steven Fahy, Stanford (8:43.85)
Fahy won his second straight Pac-12 steeplechase, the first Stanford men’s athlete to pull off the feat, with a facility record time of 8:43.85. He’s also the first repeat winner in the event since Arizona State’s Aaron Aguayo won his fourth consecutive steeplechase in 2007.
WOMEN’S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE – Val Constien, Colorado (10:01.19)
Constien continued Colorado’s reign in the women’s steeplechase as she became the eighth consecutive Buffaloes’ athlete to win the event – every year since CU joined the Conference in 2012. Her time of 10:01.19 set a new Drachman Stadium record.
MEN’S 10,000-METER RUN – Robert Brandt, UCLA (29:08.11)
Brandt became the first Bruin to win the Conference 10,000-meter run since 1982, breaking away from Colorado’s John Dressel and Ryan Forsyth with 600 meters remaining. UCLA picked up 13 points in the event along with Colin Burke’s sixth-place showing (29:31.92).
The Buffaloes managed 16 points behind runner-up Dressel (29:13.35), third-place Forsyth (29:15.58) and seventh-place Ethan Gonzales (29:34.67).
WOMEN’S JAVELIN – Mackenzie Little, Stanford (59.13m/194’)
Little - the Bowerman candidate, reigning NCAA champion and current national leader in the event - set a new Championships record of 59.13 meters on her first throw to make Conference history with her fourth consecutive meet victory in the women’s javelin. Teammate Jenna Gray (52.68m) took third to give the Cardinal 16 points toward the team standings.
She becomes the fourth to four-peat in the event, joining Stanford’s Briana Bain (2012-15), Oregon’s Rachel Yurkovich (2006-09) and USC’s Inga Stasiulionyte (2001-04), and is also only the ninth female in Championships history to win an event four times.
WOMEN’S 10,000-METER RUN – Izzi Batt-Doyle, Washington (33:31.30)
The Conference leader entering the event, Batt-Doyle set a Drachman Stadium record by capturing the 10,000-meter run in 33:31.30.
Colorado collected 17 points via podium finishes from Kaitlyn Benner (33:36.38), Makena Morley (33:37.47) and sixth place from Tabor Scholl (34:03.73).
Along with the nine event champions, several of Saturday’s preliminary heats set up some intriguing storylines heading into Sunday finals.
- USC’s women’s 4x100 relay established a Championships and Drachman Stadium record with a 42.44 mark in the opening heat. The time was also the second-fastest in Conference history and bettered the Trojans current NCAA lead from the 42.77 mark at the UCLA dual two weeks prior.
- In the first event after the lightning delay, Oregon’s Cravon Gillespie set a wind-legal career-best time of 10.10 (+1.2) to lead qualifying.