Pac-12 Championships next stop for Beavers
Corvallis, Ore. – The Oregon State women's track & field team may perform better than in 2021 but score fewer points at this weekend's Pacific-12 Conference Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.
"On paper, our team one through 27 is the best roster we've ever sent to a Pac-12 meet," head coach Louie Quintana said. "On paper we might be projected to score about 20 points, and we might score that, or we could score 40.
"I still think we've had such great growth and it's going to get better and better. It's important for fans who are excited about our program to know we are really getting a lot better.
"It just might not be fully reflected in a point total we want to see."
The meet starts on Friday and continues through Sunday. It will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
The Beavers placed 10th at the 2021 championships at USC with 21 points, nosing out Washington State and Utah. Returning scorers from that meet are redshirt junior Grace Fetherstonhaugh, who was fifth in the 3000-meter steeplechase, and redshirt senior Taylor Crockem, who took seventh in the shot put.
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OSU's best chance for multiple scorers is in Saturday night's 3000-meter steeplechase. Redshirt junior Grace Fetherstonhaugh is seeded second (9:44.76) and redshirt junior Kaylee Mitchell is seeded fourth (9:53.67), less than a second behind the top seed. Sophomore Amber Jackson is seeded 15th (10:42.63).
"We'll score there," Quintana said. "There's a chance for Grace or Kaylee to win. There are four really good steeplechasers in our conference so there is definitely a chance to win."
Fetherstonhaugh and Mitchell will run in the 5000 on Sunday, for the first time this spring, joined by grad student Alyssa Foote, senior Audrey Lookner and freshman Christina Geisler.
"They are absolutely capable of scoring or maybe even winning that race," Quintana said of Fetherstonhaugh and Mitchell. "They doubled back well at the Pac-12 indoor.
"They did the distance medley relay and came back the next day, Kaylee won the 3K and Grace was third, against the same cast of characters who will be racing in the 5K."
The Beavers could also break through in the 1500, where redshirt junior Mari Friedman has the 15th fastest time this spring (4:18.21). Friedman will skip the 800, where she took 16th in 2021.
Twelve women – five from each heat and the two next-fastest times – advance from Friday's prelims to Sunday's finals.
"She has an opportunity to get through to the final but she's still got to really dig down and race pretty hard" to score, Quintana said.
Sophomore Adael Scatena (1:01.39) and junior Taylor Weidinger (1:03.02) will run the 400 hurdles on Friday. Scatena is also entered in the 100 hurdles (14.25) on Saturday. Only the top eight from the prelims advance to Sunday's finals in both races.
Freshman Jada Hurley will run in the 200 (25.06) on Friday and the 100 (11.91) on Saturday. The top eight prelim finishers will advance to the finals in both races.
The 400 (47.51) and 1600 (4:47.82) relays are seeded 12th and 11th, respectively. The Beavers have entered foursomes at very few meets, however, so significant improvement is possible with teams loaded with the freshest-possible participants.
The 400 relay will consist of sophomore Abby Buckley, sophomore Chelsea Howard, Hurley and junior Anneke Moersdorf, with Weidinger as an alternate. The 1600 foursome is Scatena, redshirt sophomore Paige Sefried, Hurley and Friedman.
The 400 relay begins Sunday's track events at 1 p.m.; the 1600 relay concludes the championships at 3:45 p.m.
OSU is loaded in the javelin, with freshman Isabelle Esler seeded fourth (165-11). Sophomore Ella Knott is seeded 11th (152-0), redshirt junior Jordynn Slater 13th (150-11) and sophomore Jazlyn Romero 17th (145-0).
Junior Anneke Moersdorf was 12th in the heptathlon in 2021 but will compete in individual events in 2022. She's seeded seventh in the triple jump (40-8.25), an OSU record, and is 10th in the long jump (19-9.50). Freshman Jaaden Steele is 17th in the triple jump (36-5.50).
"We have a chance to score well in the javelin, and with Anneke in the jumps," Quintana said.
Senior Emma Nelson (5-8.75) is seeded eighth, freshman Lara Denbow (5-8) 14th in the high jump. Redshirt sophomore Savannah Reilly is also entered.
In the shot put, redshirt senior Keely McLaughlin is seeded 13th (49-11.75); redshirt senior Taylor Crockem is 16th (48-11) and grad student Jordan Spradlin is 24th (42-11). Crockem placed seventh in 2021.
Redshirt freshman Jade Whitfield is seeded 16th in the discus (168-5). Redshirt freshman Markayla Billings is 16th in the hammer (179-9); McLaughlin is 20th at 178-4.
The javelin and hammer prelims and finals are Friday. The long jump and shot put prelims and finals are Saturday; the triple jump, high jump and discus prelims and finals are Sunday.
OSU's other scorers/top performers at the 2021 championships either graduated or are injured and won't compete this season.
Sophomore Delaney Bahn was seventh in the long jump, but she was injured while winning that event at the Willamette Invitational on March 26 and is redshirting. Redshirt sophomore Sara Sanders was 10th in the javelin, but she is also injured and redshirting.
Graduated scorers are Batya Beard, sixth in the 10,000, and Lindsay McShane, fifth in the hammer.
"Oregon State has never had a Pac-10 or Pac-12 individual women's champion," Quintana said. "So that's in the back of our mind, that's a measure of our program's success."
Last time out
Redshirt freshman Markayla Billings won the hammer throw at the Oregon Twilight Meet at Hayward Field on May 6. She posted a winning mark of 171 feet, four inches, outdistancing the runner-up by nearly 15 feet. It was her second victory of the spring; she also took first at the Willamette Invitational on March 26.
Redshirt senior Keely McLaughlin was second in the shot put at 49-11.25. Redshirt senior Taylor Crockem was fourth at 47-7.75. Redshirt freshman Jade Whitfield (155-1) and redshirt sophomore Caitlyn Marx (150-6) went 4-5 in the discus.
Junior Gabby Peterson led the 1500 contingent by taking 18th in 4:38.46.
Billings was nominated for Pac-12 Field Athlete of the Week honors for her performance at the Oregon Twilight Meet, but was not selected. No one was nominated for Pac-12 Track Athlete of the Week honors.
The NCAA West Prelim meet, one of two qualifiers for the NCAA Championships, is set for May 25-28 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Eugene, Ore. | Hayward Field
Friday's OSU entrants
Field events (prelims & finals)
Hammer (4:30 p.m.): Markayla Billings, Keely McLaughlin.
Javelin (5:15 p.m.): Isabelle Esler, Ella Knott, Jordynn Slater, Jazlyn Romero.
1500 prelims (6 p.m.): Mari Friedman.
200 prelims (6:25 p.m.): Jada Hurley.
400 hurdles prelims (7:05 p.m.): Adael Scatena, Taylor Weidinger.
Saturday's OSU entrants
Field events (prelims & finals)
Long jump (3:30 p.m.): Anneke Moersdorf, Chelsea Howard.
Shot put (3:45 p.m.): Keely McLaughlin, Taylor Crockem.
100 hurdles prelims (4 p.m.): Adael Scatena.
100 prelims (5:25 p.m.): Jada Hurley.
3000 steeplechase (6 p.m.): Grace Fetherstonhaugh, Kaylee Mitchell, Amber Jackson.
Sunday's OSU entrants
Field events (prelims & finals)
Discus (11:30 a.m.): Jade Whitfield, Keely McLaughlin, Caitlyn Marx, Jordan Spradlin.
High jump (1:05 p.m.): Emma Nelson, Lara Denbow, Savannah Reilly.
Triple jump (1:15 p.m.): Anneke Moersdorf.
400 relay (1 p.m.): Oregon State (Abby Buckley, Anneke Moersdorf, Chelsea Howard, Jada Hurley, Taylor Weidinger).
1500 finals (1:20 p.m.): TBA.
100 hurdles finals (1:40 p.m.): TBA.
100 finals (2:05 p.m.): TBA.
400 hurdles finals (2:30 p.m.): TBA.
200 finals (2:45 p.m.): TBA.
5000 (3 p.m.): Grace Fetherstonhaugh, Kaylee Mitchell, Alyssa Foote, Audrey Lookner, Christina Geisler.
1600 relay (3:50 p.m.): Oregon State (Paige Sefried, Adael Scatena, Jada Hurley, Mari Friedman).