Ducks Off And Running In NCAAs
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon's best chances for accumulating points in the men's team race at the NCAA Outdoor championship meet all had impressive showings Wednesday at Hayward Field.
Sprinter Micah Williams led all qualifiers in the 100 meters in 10.11 seconds, and the Ducks also comfortably advanced contenders Charlie Hunter in the 800 and Cole Hocker in the 1,500. In the decathlon, which concludes Thursday, Max Vollmer is in position to improve on his fifth-place finish in 2019, entering the second day of competition in third place with 4,140 points.
Williams ran his 100 prelim just as the light drizzle falling on Hayward Field developed into heavy rain.
"I just needed to focus," he said. "I'm from Oregon so (the rain) was nothing new to me so I just needed to go out there and run my race. It'll be the same for the final ... just run my race and execute and that will take me wherever I need to go."
The UO men had to contend with some disappointment, with Jackson Mestler the fastest runner in the 3,000 steeplechase heats not to advance, and Reed Brown getting disqualified from the 1,500 final after it appeared he had advanced thanks to a frantic final kick and lean at the finish line.
But Jonathan Harvey ruined some form charts in the 400 hurdles, making the final on time after running 50.16 in his heat to open the door for some points Friday when the men's portion of the meet concludes.
"It was really nerve racking but I had faith," Harvey said. "I'd prayed about it this whole week and a lot it was believing in myself and believing in what I do but still, it was still nerve racking watching the clock. It was close and I knew that last heat was one of the faster heats."
Vollmer will wrap up his decathlon Thursday amidst the first day of competition on the women's side. He'll look to build on a first day of competition Wednesday that saw him set two personal bests and tie another.
Vollmer leapt 23 feet, 6 inches for a PR in the long jump, and he was the top thrower of the shot in the field with a mark of 51-5.5, another personal best. He then tied his PR in the high jump, at 6-2.25.
The day's highest drama might have come in the second of two heats in the 1,500, featuring UO runners Hocker, Brown and James West. Hocker comfortably won the heat in 3:38.34, and though West faded out of position to advance, Brown tracked down both Talem Franco of BYU and West in the final few meters and outleaned Franco for the fifth and final automatically advancing spot into Friday's final.
But the third lap of the heat featured a fall around the Bowerman Curve that claimed two other runners, and the finish was hard-fought as well. After a protest was filed, Brown was disqualified from the race.
Williams exploded into the lead of his 100-meter heat over the opening 15 meters and cruised to the top time of the day. In the 800, Hunter was sharing the lead in his heat with teammate Luis Peralta until the final 200 meters, when Peralta faded to sixth and did not advance.
"The times weren't really a problem today," Hunter said. "Today was just about racing. I treated today like a final. … I wanted to win and I wanted to do it as controlled as I could. I was hoping to bring Luis along with me but I think we raced our best race, and unfortunately it didn't work out but at least we got one in the final."
Oregon's 4x100 relay team also did not advance, taking sixth in their heat and 17th overall in 39.53 seconds. The Ducks' only scoring opportunity Wednesday was in the javelin, in which Dalton Rasmussen threw 206-1 and didn't score.
FULL UO RESULTS
2021 NCAA Championships
Day 1 – Men's Semifinals
Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)
1. Micah Williams – 10.11 - q
8. Charlie Hunter – 1:47.70 – q
19. Luis Peralta – 1:49.79
5. Cole Hocker – 3:38.34 – q
14. James West – 3:39.81
--. Reed Brown – DQ
8. Jonathan Harvey – 50.16 – q
8. Jackson Mestler – 8:33.52 (PR) [No. 7 UO]
17. Williams/Bouchereau/Daniel/McNamara – 39.53
21. Dalton Rasmussen – 62.81m/206-1
Decathlon | Day 1
3. Max Vollmer – 4,140 points
4. 100 Meters – 10.88 
7. Long Jump – 7.16m/23-6 (PR) 
1. Shot Put – 15.68m/51-5.5 (PR) 
17. High Jump – 1.89m/6-2.25 (=PR) 
3. 400 Meters – 48.96