EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon track and field team held its annual banquet on Sunday, May 25 before heading to Fayetteville for the NCAA Preliminary Rounds, looking back on a season full of accomplishments including a sweep of the NCAA Indoor championships and the sixth-straight sweep of the Pac-12 Championships. The banquet also serves as a time to honor individuals for their performance, leadership and dedication.
Laura Roesler, winner of 15 All-America awards, and the 400-meter indoor collegiate record holder Phyllis Francis were presented with the Bill Bowerman Award.
The Bowerman Award, given for world-class achievement and a historical collegiate career, went to two women who have been a part of Oregon’s dominance on the indoor scene, and each won their first individual NCAA title during the 2014 Indoor Championships.
Roesler, a senior from Fargo, N.D., is a four-time NCAA Champion, winning the 4x400 outdoors in 2012 as well as indoors in 2013 and 2014 while adding an 800-meter title to her resume in Albuquerque earlier this year. Her NCAA-leading time in the 800, 2:00.25, is ranked ninth in the world this year.
Francis’ late surge and dramatic lean at the 2014 Indoor Championships is just the most recent memory of an outstanding career. The senior from Queens, N.Y., has earned 13 All-America honors, four national championships, and is the collegiate and American-record holder in the 400 indoors, while ranking second on Oregon’s all-time list in the event outdoors. Her win at the NCAA Indoor Championships was the fastest time in the world since 2007.
The Harry Ritchie Jeweler’s Award for great contribution to the University of Oregon track and field program was awarded to both Mac Fleet and Mike Berry. Both seniors, Fleet is the 2013 NCAA Outdoor 1,500 champion and a six-time All-American while Mike Berry has nine All-America honors to his name as well as two Pac-12 400-meter titles.
Another key senior was named the winner of the Mary Officer Award. Chizoba Okodogbe has been a versatile part of Oregon’s NCAA scoring over her four years, and has 14 All-America honors to her name, helping the Ducks in the 400, 4x100, 4x400 and distance medley relay.
The Lynne Winbigler Women's Performer of the Year Award was given to Jenna Prandini who is coming off three individual event wins at the Pac-12 Championships, the first woman to accomplish the feat since 1999. Prandini won the long jump, 100 and 200 in Pullman last weekend, moving to third on Oregon’s all-time list in the long jump and setting a school record in the 200.
The George Scharpf Outstanding Athlete Award, presented in recognition of outstanding athletic achievement by a male track and field athlete, went to three-time NCAA Champion, Edward Cheserek. The highly-touted freshman has not disappointed during his first season as a Ducks, winning the cross country national championship before doubling indoors with the 3,000 and 5,000.
Freshman Brittany Mann won the Harry Ritchie's Inspirational Award, which goes to the female track & field athletes whose athletic achievement and leadership provide inspiration to their teammates. Mann has seen drastic improvement throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons and most recently set the school record in the shot put at the Pac-12 Championships.
The Dow Wilson Inspirational Award, presented to the male track & field athlete whose athletic achievements and leadership provide inspiration to their teammates, went to a Dakotah Keys, Greg Skipper and Trevor Dunbar.
The sensational athletes from Oregon’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class made it hard to pick a winner for the Perry Holloman Newcomer of the Year Award, so the honor was split between Edward Cheserek, Devon Allen, Jasmine Todd and Sasha Wallace.
The Tom Heinonen women's cross country award winner went to Megan Patrignelli, while Cheserek won the men's Bill Dellinger Cross Country Award.
Cited for the Coaches Award, given to recognize athletic achievement, dedication and determination, were Lauren Crockett and Parker Stinson.
Also on Sunday, the University of Oregon Track and Field Hall of Fame Award was presented to Hayward Field public address announcer Paul Swangard, whose voice has been ringing through the grandstands for nearly 20 years.