EUGENE, Ore. – There were few surprises on the first day of competition at the 2017 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships before a crowd of 5,002 at Hayward Field on Saturday.
On the women’s side, while Oregon and USC are currently tied for fifth place in the team standings with 24 points apiece, both squads are in prime position to make a serious run at the league title on Sunday.
It promises to be an epic showdown between two of the best women’s teams in the nation.
The Ducks, who are aiming for a ninth consecutive conference crown – which would surpass UCLA’s stretch of dominance with eight straight titles from 1997-2004 – didn’t miss a beat in the qualifying rounds.
Led by their superb sprint trio of Ariana Washington, Deajah Stevens and Hannah Cunliffe, Oregon posted the top three qualifying times in the 100 meters and advanced five runners into the 200m final. Oregon also closed out Day One with the top two qualifying marks in the 800m, four finalists in the 400m, three finalists in the 1,500m, the top qualifier in the 100m hurdles, and they are favored to win both relays.
But USC and its talent-laden roster was equally efficient in advancing their top athletes into Sunday’s finals on a cold and soggy day.
The biggest boost for the UO women came in the long jump where freshman Rhesa Foster won the event with a leap of 20 feet, 6 ½ inches to upset Trojan freshman Margaux Jones. Oregon’s other point-scorers: Frida Berge (4th, 3,000m steeplechase); Chaquinn Cook (4th, long jump); Maggie Schmaedick (7th, 10,000m), Annie Whitfield (7th, javelin).
Saturday’s other individual women’s champions were as follows:
- 10,000m – Erin Clark, Colorado, 33:23.92
- 3,000m steeplechase – Madison Boreman, Colorado, 10:06.83
- Javelin – Mackenzie Little, Stanford, 173-11
- Shot Put – Maggie Ewen, ASU, 56-4 ½
On the men’s side, Oregon has a 69-56 lead over UCLA after the first day of competition, with USC (4th, 34.5 points) poised to strike after advancing most of its stars into Sunday’s finals.
The Ducks, who have won 10 straight Pac-12 crowns, are shooting for an 18th overall title, which would surpass UCLA’s total of 17 conference championships.
On Saturday, Oregon was led by senior Ed Cheserek, who separated from the field with five laps remaining, and was never challenged as he captured his second straight Pac-12 title in the 10,000m with a time of 29 minutes, 11.76 seconds. UO freshman Tanner Anderson was third at 29:21.43.
Oregon began the day with 18 points in the bank after last week’s 1-2 finish from decathletes Mitch Modin and Joe Delgado. The Ducks added to their total with a victory in the long jump from Demarcus Simpson at 26-1, and runner-up performances from Cole Walsh in the pole vault (16-7 ½) and Cody Danielson in the javelin (238-11). Other UO point-scorers: Ryan Hunter-Simms (6th, shot put); Jackson Mestler (7th, 3000m steeplechase); John Nizich (7th, javelin); Modin (8th, long jump); Max Lydum (8th, hammer).
Saturday’s other men’s individual champions were as follows:
- Hammer – Brock Eager, WSU, 221-1
- Javelin – Carson Fuller, UW, 244-0
- Pole Vault – Matthew Eckles, ASU, 16-7 ½
- Shot Put – Peter Simon, Cal, 64-9 ¼
- High Jump – Isaiah Holmes, UCLA, 6-11 ½
- 3,000m steeplechase – Bailey Roth, Arizona, 8:39.83
Women (6 events) – Colorado 44, UCLA 37, Stanford 25, Washington State 25, USC 24, Oregon 24, Oregon State 16, Arizona State 15, Utah 10, Washington 7, California 6, Arizona 1.
Men (9 events) – Oregon 69, UCLA 56, California 36, USC 34.5, Washington 33, Arizona State 32, Washington State 31.5, Stanford 26, Arizona 20, Colorado 13.