AUSTIN, Texas - Sam Crouser, Luke Puskedra and Allie Woodward all punched their tickets to the NCAA Track and Field Championships, while Oregon was nearly perfect in opening round qualifying Thursday at Mike A Myers Stadium.
"We had a pretty good day," said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "Sam and Luke and Allie were terrific and I think we were also successful in getting a lot of people safely through to the next round.
"There is still a lot of this meet left, but I'm pleased with how we competed and were smart about getting through day one."
On a hot afternoon in the Lone Star State, Sam Crouser was the first Duck to advance to the NCAA Championships June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. The freshman from Gresham, Ore., threw a seasonal-best 251-8/76.70m to finish second overall in the men's javelin behind Texas A&M junior Sam Humphries, who had a top mark of 255-8/77.94m.
"It felt pretty good," said Crouser, whose best effort came on his third attempt. "It got hot out there in the sun so I felt like I really didn't have my legs under me. I would have liked to thrown farther today, but the conditions made it a little difficult so I'm not disappointed."
Crouser's throw was his longest as a Duck and ranked fourth in school history.
Also in the javelin, freshman Dakotah Keys was 31st at 195-0/59.45m and sophomore Ethan Powell placed 44th at 180-8/55.08m. Keys has already qualified for the NCAA Championships in the decathlon.
The men's 10,000 meters turned into one of the more entertaining races of the day. After a slow start with the entire 48-runner field bunched tightly for the first third of the race, Oregon's Luke Puskedra and Stanford's Chris Derrick took turns diving to the lead and pushing the pace. With eight laps remaining, the pack had been trimmed to four leaders, Puskedra, Derrick, Cam Levins of Southern Utah and Stephen Sambu of Arizona.
On the last lap, Puskedra took the lead with 300 meters to go, only to have Levins sprint by him with 50 meters remaining to win in 29:58.44. Puskerda was second in 30:01.35, as the top 12 finished advanced to the national finals in Des Moines. Senior Chris Kwiatkowski was 15th in 30:32.68.
The Ducks got a pleasant surprise from Woodward in the women's 10,000 meters. Seeded 26th in the West coming into the race, the freshman from Green Bay, Wis., hung with the lead pack for the entire race and then made her move with 150 meters to go to finish third in 33:51.70 to earn her first trip to the NCAA Championships. That was the eight-fastest time in school history.
Due to a meet management error, official times for the women's 10,000 meters were unavailable as of press time Thursday night.
The Ducks saw 18 runners advance to quarterfinal action on Thursday.
Oregon had a pair of winners in the women's 100 meters. English Gardner sat a little out of the blocks but accelerated mid-race to easily win her heat in 11.26 and advance to Friday's quarterfinals. Lauryn Newson was also a winner in her 100 heat, running 11.40.
And in a surprising development, Amber Purvis was last in her heat, but all eight runners advanced in the fastest race of the day. Purvis, a senior from Hercules, Calif., ran a season-best 11.61.
In the men's 100, freshman Arthur Delaney finished third in his heat in 10.38 to automatically move on. Joeal Hotchkins ran a season best 10.39 in a fourth-place finish in heat six and advanced on time. Hotchkins' time moved the junior from Las Vegas, Nev., into the No. 10 spot in UO history.
Jordan Hasay was strong in her qualifying round of the women's 1,500 meters. The junior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., took charge of her heat with two laps remaining and gradually pulled away for the win in 4:23.40.
Becca Friday also had a fairly easy route to Saturday's quarterfinals. In heat one, the lead group separated halfway through the race and Friday cruised home in third in 4:25.14 to automatically move on.
In the men's 1,500 meters, freshman Chad Noelle dropped off the pace halfway through the race, only to put on a strong finish over the final 600 meters to finish fifth in 3:50.39 and automatically advance to Saturday's quarterfinal.
Running in the fastest section of the night, senior Travis Stanford ran sixth in heat one in 3:47.18, and advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal based on time. In heat four, Colby Alexander was 6th in 3:55.20 and did not advance.
The Ducks were particularly effective in the women's 800 meters. Anne Kesselring controlled her heat to win easily in 2:07.12, sliding into the lead with 300 meters remaining. In the next heat, Laura Roesler and Claudia Francis put on a big closing push to finish 1-2. Roelser bounded to the lead on the final curve and pulled Francis along with her. Roesler crossed in 2:07.47, with Francis at 2:07.73.
Elijah Greer made a power move coming off the final turn in the men's 800 meters to win his heat in 1:48.05 to advance to Friday's quarterfinals. Boru Guyota was fourth in that heat in 1:49.58 and advanced on time. Russell Hornsby took seventh in his 800 heat in 1:52.29 and did not advance.
In the men's 400 meters, Mike Berry and USC's Josh Mance finish in a dead heat in 45.92. Both will advance to Friday's quarterfinal.
In the women's 400 meters, Phyllis Francis put on a late charge over the last 50 meters to finish third in her heat in 54.29 to advance. In heat one, Chizoba Okodogbe was fourth in 53.48 and Devin Gosberry fifth in 54.31, as both runners advanced on time.