EUGENE, Ore. - Alex Kosinski's long list of accomplishments at Oregon includes school records and six All-America Awards. Saturday night, the fifth-year senior finally added her biggest accolade yet: Pac-12 champion. Meanwhile Sam Crouser added another title to his family's marvelous lineage at the conference meet.
"Our goal was to set ourselves up well for tomorrow and not focus too hard on winning today, per say," said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. "I am happy with the way that the women and the men set themselves up; tomorrow will be fun."
The raucous Historic Hayward Field crowd of 5,648 rose to its feet when Kosinski, who missed the entire 2011 outdoor season with a back injury, kicked it into high gear with four laps remaining to win going away in 34:19.67 to claim her first conference crown. It was her first-ever 10,000 meter race.
"My coach said I couldn't make a move until there was a mile left so I was just waiting," said the El Dorado Hills, Calif., native. "I like longer races because I can be calm. I wanted to separate the last mile and just enjoy this run at the Pac-12."
Teammates Allie Woodward and Bronwyn Crossman also scored in the 10,000 with Woodward raking third in 34:37.37 and Crossman sixth in 35:06.78. That equaled 19 points in the event for the Ducks.
The women also scored 14 points in the steeplechase thanks to a 2-3 finish from Kimber Mattox and Lanie Thompson. Mattox, a senior from Bend, Ore., competing in her first Pac-12 meet, ran 10:08.23, while Thompson, a sophomore, from High Bridge, N.J., timed 10:13.51.
The three-time defending champions also collected three points from Rebecca Rhodes' sixth-place finish in the long jump. The senior from Salem, Ore., leapt a personal best 20-0.5/6.11m, which was the 10th-best leap in school history.
The seventh-ranked Ducks led a tight women's team race with 46 points, followed by Stanford and USC with 40, Arizona State with 38 and Arizona with 35.
Meanwhile, Crouser won the Pac-12 Conference men's javelin with a throw of 250-10/76.47m to lead the men on the first day of the 2012 league championships on a gloriously warm and sunny day in the southern Willamette Valley.
Crouser grabbed 10 points for the five-time defending champions on his third throw, which was the fourth-best in school history. Crouser's last four throws all travelled at least 70 meters (230 feet).
"I just went out there and tried to stay aggressive on the runway, I just wanted to get going early and stay consistent throughout all my throws," said the Greshman, Ore., native. "After that last throw, I know I have a lot more to show off, hopefully I can keep this momentum and take it into West Regionals."
Crouser also added to an already impressive Pac-12 family legacy. His uncle Brian Crouser was the league's javelin champion for the Ducks in 1984-85 and his father Dean Crouser won the conference title in the discus in 1982-83. Sam Crouser is entered in the discus on Sunday.
The Ducks then capped the day with an impressive 15 points in the 10,000 meters, thanks to a 2-5-6 finish. Senior Luke Puskerda was the runner-up in 29:34.42, with senior Chris Kwiatkowski fifth in a personal-best 29:49.06 and sophomore Parker Stinson sixth in 29:49.88.
The men also added points from junior Austin Ouderkirk's fifth-place finish in the pole vault with a clearance at 16-10.25/5.14m, senior Brian Schaudt's eighth-place showing in the long jump at 24-9.75/7.56m and sophomore Tim Costin's sixth-place finish in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (8:57.91). All three were personal-best marks.
That gave the men 44 points, one behind UCLA's 45 and one ahead of Arizona's 43. Washington was fourth with 41 and Arizona State was fifth with 33.5.
The Duck men and women were nearly perfect in preliminary action on Saturday.
"We wanted to start the fire for tomorrow, we started hot and finished hot," said Lananna. "I am happy with the way the Oregon track and field team competed today."
Mike Berry looked exceptionally smooth in advancing to the finals of the men's 400 meters. The defending Pac-12 champion cruised to the preliminary win in 46.01 in his first 400 of the season.
The women's 400 meters saw a trio of Ducks advance to the finals. Sophomore Phyllis Francis ran an impressive 52.93 for a personal-best in winning her heat and the third-best time in school history. Sophomore Chizoba Okodogbe also won her heat in 53.72, with senior Devin Gosberry second in 54.42.
Football players De'Anthony Thomas and Dior Mathis led the men's 4x100 meter relay team on to Sunday's finals. Mathis led off, followed by Arthur Delaney, Joeal Hotchkins and Thomas to place second in their heat in a season-best 40.11. That was the ninth-fastest time in school history.
Oregon was a perfect eight-for-eight in finals qualifying in the 1,500 meters, with four each getting through for both the men and the women. In the men's heats, Trevor Dunbar won his race in 3:46.46. Colby Alexander was fourth in that heat in 3:47.54 to also advance.
A pair of Ducks also advanced in heat one. Freshman Chad Noelle was fourth in a personal-best 3:45.89, while senior Travis Stanford advanced on time in a personal-best 3:45.94 to finish fifth.
In the women's 1,500 meters, Anne Kesselring and Jordan Hasay led a 1-2-4 Duck finish in heat one. Kesselring won in 4:20.83, with Hasay next in 4:22.00 and Megan Patrignelli fourth in a personal-best 4:23.08. In heat two, Becca Friday was third in 4:21.76 to move on to Sunday's final.
Oregon was nearly as successful in the 800 meters. Elijah Greer controlled his heat to win in relative ease in 1:49.99. Freshman Russell Hornsby was second in that heat in 1:50.72 to advance, while Boru Guyota was the runner-up in heat two in 1:50.85.
In the women's 800 meters all three Ducks won their respective heats. Freshman Claudia Francis had the top qualifying time, winning her heat in 2:04.88. That was the 10th-best time in school history. Friday won her heat in 2:08.41 to advance as did sophomore Laura Roesler in 2:10.62.
The Ducks were also successful in qualifying three runners for the final of the men's 110 meter hurdles. Johnathan Cabral won heat one in a legal-best 13.69. That was the fastest time ever run by a Duck freshman, bettering the time of 13.73 run by Eric Mitchun at the 1989 Pac-10 Championships. It was also the fourth-fastest overall in school history.
Eric Hersey and Trevor Ferguson also advanced in the hurdles. Hersey was second in his heat in a 14.37, while Ferguson, a freshman from Oregon City, Ore., was fourth in heat three in a personal-best 14.50 to move on.
In the 100 meter hurdles, Arthur Delaney sprinted to a windy personal-best 10.33 to win his preliminary heat and advance to the final. On the women's side, three Ducks will be in Sunday's final. English Gardner had the fastest time of the day, 11.07 to win her heat. Lauryn Newson was right behind Gardner in a windy personal-best 11.48. Amber Purvis was fifth in that heat in 11.64 and advanced on time.
Delaney came back in the men's 200 meters to finish third in his heat and advance in a personal-best 20.73. That was the fourth fastest time in school history. On the women's side, Francis matched her 400 mark by running the No. 3 time in school history to win her heat in 23.05. Gardner also won her heat in 23.43 to advance, Newson had a PR of 23.65 to qualify on time and move to seventh on the UO career list.