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Ducks Sweep Pac-10 Track Titles
Release Date: 05/16/2010
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BERKELEY, Calif. -- Oregon’s track and field teams unleashed unprecedented performances in defending their Pacific-10 Conference track and field titles Sunday at Edwards Stadium.

The women rolled to victories in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 5,000 meters, as well as the 4x100 meter relay, to shatter the meet record with 215 points. That was 106 points better than second-place Arizona’s 109. Arizona State was third with 89.5, followed by USC with 89, Stanford with 88, UCLA with 71.5, California with 55.5, Washington State with 52 and Washington with 47.5.

"I’d say if you score 200 points at a conference meet, that’s an impressive day," said Oregon Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna.

Oregon’s point total surpassed the previous Pac-10 record of 189.5 established by UCLA in 1997.

The men watched USC eat into their 31-point lead in the field events early in the day, but Oregon countered with wins in the 800 and 1,500 meters and the 110 hurdles, plus a depth of scorers across the board, to win their fourth straight Pac-10 title for the first time in school history. The Ducks became the first school to win four in a row since UCLA won five straight in 1992-96.

The men won with 168.5 points, which was 12.5 points better than USC’s 156. Stanford took third with 92 points, followed by Arizona State and UCLA with 85, Washington with 68, Washington State with 67, California with 59, Arizona with 26 and Oregon State with 6.5.

"It’s what good teams are made of," said Lananna. "I also give a lot of credit to USC. That’s a big score that would win the Pac-10 more often than not."

It was Oregon’s 14th overall conference men’s crown and eighth overall league women’s crown (fourth Pac-10).

Senior Nicole Blood came back after winning the women’s 10,000 meters on Saturday night to take the 5,000 meters in 16:06.69. She just clipped teammate Alexandra Kosinski, who ran 16:06.84. Senior Mattie Bridgmon took sixth in 16:26.65 as Oregon scored 21 points in the competition.

"In the beginning of the race, I was not sure how I would feel," said Blood. "But I made my move and we made it exciting.

"We have a got a really deep, strong team."

Blood became the first Duck woman to win the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the same year since Stephanie Wessell in 1991. She also became the first Duck ever to win two Pac-10 5,000 titles. The Saratoga Springs, N.Y., native also won the 5,000 in 2008.

Amber Purvis was an impressive triple winner for the women on Sunday. She opened the day by helping the 4x100 relay team win in a school record 43.27. The quartet of Mandy White, Purvis, Keshia Baker and Jamesha Youngblood obliterated the school record they set just yesterday, 43.81, in winning Oregon’s first Pac-10 title in the event since 1993. The win also officially moved Oregon into the lead in the women’s competition.

The sophomore from Hercules, Calif., then became just the second Oregon woman to win the 100 meters, matching her school record in 11.38. LaReina Woods in 1993 was the only other Duck Pac-10 100 meter champion. Also on Sunday, White was fourth in 11.79.

Purvis wrapped her triple crown day by running 23.14 to win the 200 meters. Baker was second in a personal-best 23.41. That was the No. 3 mark all-time at the university. Purvis joined Rosie Williams, the 1989 Pac-10 200 meter champion, as the school’s only winners in that event. Obviously, Purvis is the first Oregon woman to pull of the 100-200 sweep.

Her relay teammates also scored big points for the women.

Youngblood won the triple jump with a wind-aided 43-7.75 on her third attempt. Though that mark was windy, her first attempt of 43-5 was wind legal and will go into the books as the new school record. Just for good measure, she jumped 43-3.25 on her second attempt, which was also better than her previous school record.

"I felt really good, said Youngblood. "My goal was to get three good (jumps) out there.

"Everybody did a fantastic job," she said. "Just being out there on top of the podium that many times, it’s pretty fun."

Youngblood became just the second woman in Pac-10 history to win back-to-back titles in both the triple jump and the long jump. She joins Stanford’s Erica McLain of Stanford, who accomplished that feat in 2005-06.

Baker set school and meet records in winning the 400 meters for the third straight year. She clocked a blistering 50.76, snapping the mark of 50.90 by UCLA’s Monique Henderson in 2004. Junior Michele Williams was third in that race in a personal-best 53.92. That was the eighth-fastest 400 in school history.

Baker, a senior from Sacramento, Calif., became the first woman in Pac-10 history to win three straight Pac-10 400 meter titles.

"I’m thankful today that I found that speed to bring it home," said Baker. "I’m extremely happy and proud of my team. It’s a great way to end my last Pac-10 Championships."

The Oregon women also dominated in the middle distances.

Freshman Anne Kesselring won the 800 meters in 2:04.36, with senior Zoe Buckman third in 2:05.85, freshman Becca Friday fifth in 2:05.89 and freshman Chloe Steinbeck sixth in 2:07.54. That’s a total of 23 points in the 800.

Earlier in the day, Buckman was the winner in the 1,500 meters in 4:15.95, while freshman Jordan Hasay took third in 4:16.00 and Kosinski was fourth in 4:18.93. Buckman became the first women’s 1,500 meter champion for Oregon since Annette Hand in 1988.

"Extraordinary," said Buckman of her team. "The women really went out with a bang."

Oregon’s 12 event champions broke the school’s previous high water mark of eight, which came at the 1983 NorPac Championships. Oregon’s point total of 215 matched the 1983 team’s output for the school’s most at a conference meet.

"I think after today, people are going to going to notice Oregon," said Baker.

While the women were running away with the meet, the men held off a hard-charging USC squad.

Ashton Eaton capped off a superb senior performance by winning the 110 hurdles in 13.54 and finishing second in the 100 meters in 10.33. Eaton’s hurdle time was the second-fastest in school history, while his 100 time was No. 7 overall at Oregon.

"I felt awesome (in the hurdles)," said Eaton. I was really in the flow."

Freshman LaMichael James took fifth in the 100 in 10.72.

Eaton also ran on the Ducks’ fourth-place 4x100 meter relay team. The quartet of Vernell Warren, Eaton, Kenjon Barner and James ran a season-best 40.36.

That gave Eaton, a senior from Bend, the high individual point total of the meet for the second consecutive year. He accounted for 39.25 points with his wins in the decathlon, long jump and 110 hurdles, his second-place finish in the 100 meters and his contribution to the 4x100 relay.

Eaton also became the first Duck to win three different events at the same Pac-10 championships and is the first male to accomplish that feat overall since Robert Cheseret of Arizona won the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 2006.

"I think I accomplished all that I wanted to. My expectations were high," said Eaton. "I wanted (to win the team title) four years in a row."

The Ducks continued to fend off USC in the middle distances, first in the 1,500 meters and later the 800 meters.

All four Ducks scored in the 1,500 with junior Matthew Centrowitz winning in a season-best 3:41.16. A.J. Acosta was second in 3:41.83, Mac Fleet sixth in 3:43.21 and Jordan McNamara seventh in 3:45.00.

Centrowitz became Oregon’s first back-to-back 1,500 meter champion since Rudy Chapa in 1978-79.

In the 800, Andrew Wheating won his third straight Pac-10 title, running 1:47.77. Freshman Elijah Greer ran second in 1:48.66, while junior Travis Thompson was fifth in 1:49.33.

The Ducks collected 45 points in those two events.

"Today, I didn’t want to be too cute, I just wanted to get the job done," said Wheating who matched David Mack’s three consecutive 800 meter titles for Oregon from 1980-82. "The men all competed so well all over the place."

Oregon wrapped the meet up in the 5,000 meters when Acosta took third in a personal-best 13:46.87 and senior Michael Maag claimed eighth in 14:01.66. For the weekend, Acosta, a junior from Oceanside, Calif., took second in the 1,500 meters, third in the 5,000 and fourth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase for 19 important points.

"It was a total team effort," said Acosta. "As the race picked up, we just got more and more confident."

Other scorers for the men included senior Chad Barlow, who ran fourth in the 400 meters in 47.01, junior David Klech, who placed fourth in the 400 meter hurdles in 51.96 and tied for seventh in the high jump at 6-10.25, and sophomore Brian Schaudt, who was sixth in the triple jump at a personal-best 48-10.25.

The men’s 4x400 meter relay team of Thompson, Wheating, Greer and Barlow finished fourth in 3:10.13.

For the women, other scorers included Brianne Theisen, who took fourth in the 100 meter hurdles in 13.43. That gave the junior from Humboldt, Sask., the women’s meet individual point title with 23 from a win in the heptathlon and a runner-up finish in the high jump to go with the hurdles finish.

Junior Melissa Gergel took third in the pole vault at 13-8.75, while junior Jordan Roskelley was seventh at 12-6.25.

Junior Sara Cole got the day underway for the women with an eighth-place throw in the women’s hammer of 164-9.

The Ducks team of Alexandria Davidson, Friday, Steinbeck and Kesselring finished seventh in 3:47.26.

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