By Rob Moseley
What to watch at Thursday's session of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Live stream: ESPN3, 3:55 p.m. PT
THE SCHEDULE (Oregon entrants)
11 a.m.: Decathlon, 110 hurdles (Dakotah Keys, Mitch Modin)
Noon: Decathlon, discus (Keys, Modin)
1 p.m.: Heptathlon, 100 hurdles
1:30 p.m.: Men's hammer, trials/final (Greg Skipper)
2 p.m.: Decathlon, pole vault (Keys, Modin)
2 p.m.: Heptathlon, high jump
2 p.m.: Women's discus, trials/final (Laura Bobek)
4 p.m.: Men’s 200, semifinals (Arthur Delaney)
4:15 p.m.: Women's 200, semifinals (Jenna Prandini)
4:30 p.m.: Men's 1,500, semifinals (Mac Fleet, Sam Prakel)
4:30 p.m.: Men’s long jump, trials/final (Trevor Ferguson)
4:30 p.m.: Decathlon, javelin (Keys, Modin)
4:30 p.m.: Heptathlon, shot put
4:45 p.m.: Women's 1,500, semifinals (Sarah Penney, Alli Cash)
5:05 p.m.: Men's 110 hurdles, semifinals (Devon Allen, Johnathan Cabral)
5:20 p.m.: Women's 100 hurdles, semifinals (Sasha Wallace)
5:35 p.m.: Men’s 3,000 steeplechase, semifinals (Tanguy Pepiot)
6:05 p.m.: Heptathlon, 200 meters
6:20 p.m.: Men's 4x400 relay, semifinals (Oregon)
6:40 p.m.: Women's 4x400 relay, semifinals (Oregon)
7 p.m.: Decathlon, 1,500 meters (Keys, Modin)
7:15 p.m.: Women’s 10,000, final
The Big Stories for the Ducks: Over the winter, an outstanding heptathlon for Dakotah Keys was the spark that ignited Oregon's run to twin team titles at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He can do the same this week in the decathlon. As a bonus, Mitch Modin was ahead of his PR pace after the first day of competition Wednesday, and could add a point or two that wasn't anticipated on some form charts. Keys isn't necessarily favored to win but is firmly in the mix; it's the same story for Greg Skipper in the hammer throw. Every point they can get will be valuable, and individual titles aren't out of the question.
Not to be Overlooked: Some UO athletes, like Keys and Skipper, will contribute to the race for team titles by contending to win their events, while some will contribute simply by reaching their respective finals, guaranteeing the Ducks a valuable point or two that could make all the difference. That's the case in several events during this session. Laura Bobek in the women's discus, Arthur Delaney in the men's 200 and Sasha Wallace in the 100 hurdles aren't projected to score on some form charts. If Bobek can finish in the top eight today, and if Delaney and Wallace can advance to their respective finals, those will be incredibly important results in the big picture. A pleasant surprise from somebody like Bobek, Wallace or Sarah Penney in the 1,500 would be quite welcome for a UO women's team that needs to catch some breaks today after not getting any Wednesday. In the men's 4x400, Track & Field News went so far as to say that Oregon's team title hopes could hinge on making the final, so that's another semifinal to watch closely.
What to Watch Elsewhere: Sophomore Shelbi Vaughan of Texas A&M is a favorite in the women's discus, looking to put up 10 big points for the Aggies. Oregon and Texas aren't expected to score major points in the event, but they'll be watching closely all the same to see exactly how big a boost Vaughan can provide for A&M. The women's 10,000 figures to be a highly competitive event, with no clear favorite; Olivia Mickle will try to add a point or two for Texas, if not more.