NCAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

by Frank Baldwin June 08, 2015

NCAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

A big week ahead for both the Men's and Women's teams………several late reports below. I just saw team rankings: UO Men #2 behind Florida; 

Women #1- we'll see. Besides ESPN3's streaming broadcasts, here are the television coverages (PDT): Wednesday - ESPNU at 4PM; Thursday - ESPNU at 4PM and ESPN at 5:30: Friday - ESPN - at 4:30PM; Saturday - ESPN2 at 2PM.

 

We will be attending the meet, so no further UO sports emails from me until next week. GO DUCKS!

 

-- FB

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With the NCAA Championships about to begin, the UO Ducks do well in the regional awards; meet preview 

In a sign of their strength heading into this week's NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Oregon Ducks are well represented in the USTFCCCA's outdoor regional track awards. Members of the UO program honored include Jasmine Todd as the West Region women's track athlete of the year, Jenna Prandini as West Region women's field athlete of the year, Robert Johnson as West Region men's coach of the year, distance coach Andy Powell as West Region men's assistant of the year and sprint coach Curtis Taylor as West Region women's assistant of the year. It's an impressive haul for the Ducks, who will attempt to sweep the men's and women's titles in the NCAA meet, which begins Wednesday at Hayward Field.

The UO men will be defending the team championship they won last year. The Oregon women haven't won outdoors since 1985, but they have been either second or third in every outdoor season since 2009. Is this the year? We'll see. Track & Field News is forecasting close battles in both the men's competition and the women's competition in form charts compiled by analysts John Auka and Jack Pfeifer.  Here is a schedule for the TrackTown Live webcasts, which begin today.

Oregon javelin thower Sam Crouser is relaxed and ready for the NCAA Championships. Writing in Running Times, John A. Kissane says one of things to watch at the NCAA Championships will be whether Oregon's Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins can go 1-2 in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. The experts at LetsRun.com expect Cheserek and Jenkins to go 1-2 in both events; they only wonder who will cross first. And here is LetsRun.com's preview of the men's mid-distances at the NCAA Championship.

Ashton Eaton makes this list of the most dominant event winners in NCAA Championships history.

Track & Field News' complete history of the NCAA Championships.

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With the NCAA Championships about to begin, the UO Ducks do well in the regional awards: Oregon track & field rundown

 

With the NCAA Championships about to begin, the UO Ducks do well in the regional awards

 

Jenna Prandini

The Oregon Ducks have been knocking unsuccessfully on the door of a NCAA outdoor women's track & field championship since 2009. The Ducks haven't won a women's outdoor national title since 1985. They were second four consecutive times between 2009 and 2012, and third in 2013 and 2014. If they break through in this year's meet -- June 10-13 at Hayward Field in Eugene -- sprinter/jumper Jenna Prandini will have a lot to do with it. Prandini is the defending NCAA long jump champion, has the leading time this year in the 100 and ranks No. 2 in the 200. She remains one of 10 women on the latest watch list for The Bowerman, released yesterday. The Bowerman is given annually to the top male and female top college track & field athletes.

The NCAA's new format, in which the men compete on Wednesday and Friday, and the women on Thursday and Saturday, translates into a heavy load for Prandini. This is especially true on Thursday, when there will be qualifying heats in the 100 and 200, the long jump preliminaries and finals, and heats of the 4x100 relay, of which Prandini runs a leg for Oregon. "You have to take it like any other meet," Prandini said in a Wednesday conference call. "You can't back down. You have a day in between to recover. "I have to stay focused and not worry about the next event. I just have to go event by event, stay focused and run smart. My goal on Thursday is just qualifying, and getting through."

Prandini said she likes Oregon's chances for a team title. "I think we're looking really strong," she said. "Obviously there are a lot of other great teams out there. We have to go out and battle. We got everyone through in regionals. Practice has been looking great. I'm not sure what the final result will be, but I promise we'll go out and fight, and give it everything we have."

The UO women have a couple of advantages. For starters, they have 22 entries, five more than any other school in the women's competition. And the Ducks will be at home, before their enthusiastic fans. "Being able to step on the track in an Oregon uniform and hear the crowd sparks another motivation for us," Prandini said. "I'm excited to compete at nationals, and being able to do it here is another huge benefit for us."

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Marcus Chambers 

Marcus Chambers kept a low profile for most of his first two seasons with the Oregon Duck The UO sprinter quietly went about his business, not calling much attention to himself on or off the track. "He's not a very dramatic person," teammate Russell Hornsby said. Well, not usually.

Without a warning, Chambers went off like a volcano at last month's Pac-12 Track & Field Championships. He not only won the 400 meters, but also destroyed a personal record that dated to high school by nearly a second, and re-wrote the school's top 10 list with a sizzling time of 45.21 seconds. "Oh my gosh, I was so excited," Chambers said. "I was shocked. I knew I was going to run 45, but I didn't know where it would be – high, low middle."

The time vaulted Chambers from out of sight to No. 4 all-time at Oregon, behind school record-holder Mike Berry, Olympic gold medalist Otis Davis and nine-time All-American Matt Scherer. As he crossed the finish line, Mr. Low Key celebrated with a shout of triumph. "He got dramatic then," Hornsby said. "That's the most excited I've ever seen him, and it was cool to see. It's pretty uncommon to PR by a full second in the 400."

Suddenly Chambers looks like a factor in the NCAA Track & Field Championships, which begin Wednesday at Hayward Field. The Track & Field News pre-meet form chart pencils him in for fifth place, which would be worth four critical team points. Oregon is locked into what appears to be a four-way battle for the men's team title with Florida, LSU and Texas A&M. Distance runners Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins, and javelin thrower Sam Crouser figure to do much of Oregon's heavy lifting. The 400, though, could be just as crucial.

Florida, LSU and Texas A&M all have individual contenders in the 400. If Chambers does better than expected, he not only will score additional points for the Ducks, he could take away points from Oregon's three rivals. Factor in that Chambers anchors both relays, and he could wind up being one of the most important guys in an Oregon uniform. "The 400 is pretty stacked," Chambers said. "I'll have to be ready, and be ready for a fast time. Honestly, I want to win. But my goal is to just go out there and compete, score points for our team and set a PR."

He will be keeping some fast company, including Texas A&M's Deon Lendore, who won The Bowerman for 2014 as college track & field's best male athlete, and 2015 NCAA indoor champion Vernon Norwood of LSU. It may take a personal record for Chambers to keep up. "When you think about times too much, like, 'Oooh, I should hit this time,' I think it throws you off," Chambers said. "I know my training has been good. I just want to go out there and see what comes. "But I definitely think a 44 is on the way."

Berry's school record is 44.75. Chambers has noticed, partly because he followed in Berry 's footsteps out of the Seattle-Tacoma area. Both ran for a club team coached by former NFL player Eric Metcalf. They bonded last year when Berry was a senior and Chambers a freshman. Chambers turned to Berry, now a Seattle-based, post-collegian, as he struggled with the adjustment to college. "I didn't have the year I wanted," Chambers. "I don't know why I didn't run fast. Mike definitely helped me out, talked me through it and tried to make me stay positive. He was a big mentor for me, and still is." After the season Chambers sat down with UO coach Robert Johnson to discuss what went wrong in 2014, and how to fix it. "We talked about his sophomore year, and said this could be a breakout year," Johnson said. "He's done awesome so far. He's been 100 percent better." It hadn't shown on the stopwatch before the Pac-12 final at UCLA. Johnson knew Chambers was on the verge. "I saw the PR coming," he said. "But that size of a PR? Not in a million years."

This week, the stage gets larger and the stakes get bigger. It's no time for a low profile. And just in case he needed a reminder, Chambers received a text from Berry. "He just told me it's not over," Chambers said. "He told me, 'Don't be satisfied. You still have to go to nationals and do something there.' "




Frank Baldwin
Frank Baldwin

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