Men win NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship

The UO men’s and women’s track and field teams excelled at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship at Hayward Field

(Photo: Eric Evans)

By UO alumna Chelsea Fullmer ‘14

Having already being awarded hosting rights for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship through 2021, Hayward Field, the unofficial home of collegiate track and field in America, erupted when the UO men’s team took home the national title for the first time since 1984. After winning the NCAA indoor championship this year, the men capped the season with a meet-record-setting 88 points to win the title over Florida (70) and Texas A&M (41.5).

The UO women also finished strong, in third place behind Texas A&M and Texas. Finishing with 59 total points, 24 of those points came from standout sprinter and long jumper, sophomore Jenna Prandini. Her total was the most from any single athlete during the meet, after she won the long jump, finished second in the 200 meters by one-one thousandth of a second behind Texas A&M’s Kamaria Brown, and placed third in the 100-meter dash.

Other top finishes for the ladies of Oregon included a win by senior Laura Roesler in the 800 meter run, a second-place finish by senior Phyllis Francis in the 400-meter dash, a third-place finish for the 4x400 meter relay team, and another third place for senior Laura Bobek in the discus throw.

The final day of the four-day meet ended with a bang from the men’s team, compiling three more individual wins. Distance runner Mac Fleet ended his final race as a student-athlete in style, winning the 1,500-meters, becoming a two-time outdoor champion at the distance.

“I felt like this was exactly how the story was supposed to end,” Fleet said after his win. “I really wanted to end my UO career with a win like that.”

Junior Sam Crouser also helped the Ducks with a win after finishing on top of the podium in the men’s javelin. His throw of 76.98 meters beat the runner-up by inches, getting a rowdy reaction from the fans in the stands.

“There was so much energy, you could just feel the crowd getting into it and you can feel all the hard work is just paying off,” Crouser said after the win.

Devon Allen (Photo: Eric Evans)

To top it off, freshmen sprinter and football player Devon Allen won the men’s 110-meter hurdles with blazing speed. His 13.16-second finish was a personal and UO record best and he was also the first freshman to win the event since 1976.

“I’m really excited and really proud to be a Duck,” Allen said.

Saturday’s wins joined an earlier win from freshman Edward Cheserek in the 10,000 meters. Cheserek also placed second in the 5,000 meters alongside senior Trevor Dunbar, who finished third, and junior Eric Jenkins in at fourth.

With 39 Duck competitors throughout the meet, the fans at Hayward Field were not disappointed in the performance and finishes put up by both the men and women’s team. And with seven more years hosting this meet, it’s good that others recognize Track Town USA’s ability to host exciting competitions. “Never been to a bad meet in Eugene,” said Florida coach Mike Holloway.