AUSTIN, Texas – Despite a six hour and 15 minute weather delay, Elijah Greer broke the stadium record in the men’s 800 meters and English Gardner, Laura Roesler and Phyllis Francis led a host of Duck women who advanced to the national track and field championships Friday at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.
“It was definitely one of the most challenging meets we’ve had,” said Oregon head coach Robert Johnson. “Our staff did an outstanding job of preparing our kids and getting them ready to compete and more importantly, our kids did a great job of not letting the weather or the delays affect their composure or psyche.
“After everything was said and done, it was another strong day for the Ducks and an awesome performance by our kids.”
Greer revved up his engine in a spirited men’s 800 quarterfinal. The senior from Lake Oswego, Ore., took the lead early and won in 1:46.20 with Arkansas’ Patrick Rono nipping on his heels in 1:46.49 as both runners advanced to Eugene.
That time broke the Mike A. Myers Stadium record of 1:46.44 set by former Oregon teammate Andrew Wheating in 2010.
Greer was all business after the race.
“The record is nice, but I did what I had to do to get to Eugene and that’s what it was all about,” he said.
Boru Guyota was eighth in that heat in 1:51.23 and did not advance.
Gardner began her night by winning her quarterfinal heat of the 100 meters in 11.42. That was the fastest time from the West region to advance to the national semifinals in Eugene. The junior from Voorhees, N.J., roared past the field in the middle of the race and won going away.
She followed that with an easy victory in her 200 meter preliminary heat, winning in 23.60 to move on to Saturday’s final.
Roesler was nearly as dominating in the women’s 800. The junior from Fargo, N.D., led virtually wire to wire in winning her quarterfinal heat in 2:04.83. That was the third fastest time overall to advance to the national semifinals in Eugene.
Also in the women’s 800, Annie Leblanc ran a season best for the second night in a row. The freshman from Repentigny, Quebec, was sixth in her heat in 2:06.20 and was the fastest runner not to advance.
Oregon’s Phyllis Francis and Courtney Okolo of Texas needed to drop the hammer around the final turn to separate themselves from a tight field in heat two of the women’s 400. Okolo won in 52.04, with Francis, a junior from Queens, N.Y., second in 52.07 as both runners automatically advanced to the national semifinals in Eugene.
Chizoba Okodogbe was fourth in that same heat, but was able to advance to Eugene on time. The junior from Antioch, Calif., timed 53.26 on Friday.
In addition to Gardner in the women’s 100, Jenna Prandini put on a late charge over the final 30 meters to take third in her heat in 11.74, as the freshman from Clovis, Calif., joined Gardner in the national semifinals.
In the men’s 400 meter quarterfinals, Mike Berry charged to the lead early on the final turn and held on to win in 45.83. The junior from Seattle, Wash., ran the second-fastest 400 on Friday night to advance to Eugene.
In that same heat, senior Kevin Anding was eighth in 47.36 and did not move on.
Sophomore Arthur Delaney finished fifth in his 100 meter quarterfinal in 10.66 and did not advance.
Lauren Crockett became the third Duck to advance in the field events as she tied for ninth in the women’s high jump with a clearance at 5-8.75/1.75m. That was the highest of three bars the sophomore from Ogden, Utah, made on Friday.
Also in the high jump, sophomore Chancey Summers cleared 5-7/1.75m to tie for 15th.
After midnight early Saturday morning, Megan Patrignelli ran her fourth PR of the season in the women’s steeplechase, finishing fifth in her heat in 10:09.83. That moved the junior from Monroe, N.Y., into fourth on the UO career top 10.
More importantly, she advanced to the NCAA Championships as the final qualifier based on time.
In qualifying action Friday, Johnathan Cabral galloped out to a huge lead in the 110 meter hurdles and won by nearly 10 meters. The sophomore from Calabasas, Calif., had the fastest qualifying time on Friday, 13.66, to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals. Sophomore Trevor Ferguson was seventh in his heat in 14.82 and did not advance.
Freshman Alyssa Monteverde was fourth in her 100 meter hurdle heat in 13.88, but advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal in time.
Laura Bobek, the first Duck in action on Friday, had gone through two rounds of the women’s discus when the athletes were called off the field for the next several hours due to the weather delay. Some seven hours later, she finished 19th overall at 162-2/49.44m.
Junior Sammie Clark cleared 12-8/3.86m in the women’s pole vault to finish tied for 18th overall.
As a result of the weather, the men’s hammer was pushed back to 10 a.m. CDT Saturday. The Ducks have Greg Skipper entered in that event.
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