5k Sweep Gives Ducks Five Wins To Open Oregon Relays Friday
EUGENE, Ore. — Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare put on a heck of a show Friday night, even if it wasn't quite the performance they were hoping for, nor was there an adoring crowd on hand to appreciate it.
Hocker kicked past Teare in the homestretch Friday to win the 5,000-meter invitational section of the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field. The meet continues Saturday and will feature the USATF Grand Prix in the afternoon.
Hocker ran a meet-record 13 minutes, 19.98 seconds, the leading time by a collegian this year. Teare was second in 13:20.24, both of them just shy of their goal for the night, the Olympic 'A' standard of 13:13.50.
With that goal out of reach, it became a battle of teammates down the stretch simply for the right to claim the win Friday night.
"I just know when he's there, I've been doing the same training and there's no reason I shouldn't be there too," said Hocker, the NCAA Indoor champion in the mile and the 3,000 meters. "It's nice to have him there, and then in the final stretch we're both just giving it our all."
Hocker was one of five UO track and field competitors to post a victory Friday, along with Kiana Phelps in the discus, Will Mundy in the 400 hurdles, Jaida Ross in the shot put and Carmela Cardama Baez in the women's invitational 5k. Like Hocker and Teare, Phelps and Ross went 1-2 in both the discus and shot put, each winning one event.
Both 5,000-meter races were slower at the outset than the Oregon runners had hoped, particularly on the men's side where Hocker and Teare were anticipating a duel with the Iowa State duo of Edwin Kurgat and Wesley Kiptoo. With 2k to go, Teare said, Kiptoo waved him to the front, and he did the work of leading the quartet through the final few laps before Hocker kicked to the lead at the end.
"At this point, every race I'm in with Cole, I always figure it'll be down to me and him," Teare said. "Obviously there's a bunch of really talented guys, but I can always count on Cole pushing me that last lap, and it was no different today. …
"Doing a lot of that work and still being able to close pretty well and beat those Iowa State guys, I'm happy with it. And with a couple more weeks of specific stuff and definitely getting stronger, it's going to be a big outdoor season."
Like the men, Cardama Baez contended with a slower than expected field, and some light wind as evening fell over Hayward Field. She had hoped to run 15:25, but settled for first in 15:36.41.
"This is kind of the game," she said. "You can't control all the conditions and you have to play with what you have. And I'm really proud of what I accomplished today with the conditions we had."
Phelps opened the day with an event win for the Ducks, throwing the disc a season-best 178 feet, 11 inches. Ross was second in a personal-best 159-8. Ross posted another personal best to win the shot, of 52-2, and Phelps was second at 48-4.
Mundy also posted a personal best to win the 400 hurdles, leaning at the line to finish in 52.30.
Hitting the Olympic 'A' standard might have been as early season statement akin to the eye-popping marks put up by the Men of Oregon to open the indoor season. But coming up short Friday night left Teare no less confident in the long term.
"You don't necessarily want to do too much too early," Teare said. "It's not necessarily about going out and killing it now, it's about winning a national title in a month's time. We're right where we want to be."
The only hope is that, come time for the NCAA Championships, there are more fans in the stands than the friends and family scattered around Hayward Field on Friday.
"I know the stadium would be going crazy, especially with what Oregon track is doing right now," Teare said. "It would be really special."