by Rob Moseley
Oregon's bid to sweep all four NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field championships this year fell short on the women's side Saturday, but not for lack of effort from Jenna Prandini.
The Ducks' sensational sophomore finished second in the 200 meters by a fraction of a second. That finish followed her win in the long jump and a third-place showing in the 100, making Prandini responsible for 24 points in the meet, more than any other competitor this week at Hayward Field, male or female.
"I'm really excited," Prandini said. "First, second and a third place, it's really good. So I'm excited with how I did."
Prandini might have helped even more, but never got to run as the Ducks' 4x100 team muffed an exchange in the semifinals Wednesday. That miscue and a couple others left Oregon in third place by meet's end, with 59 points, trailing women's team champion Texas A&M at 75 and Texas with 66.
"We had a few bad breaks on the women's side that we just couldn't recover from," UO coach Robert Johnson said. "But the Fighting Ducks fought to the end."
To win a team title, the UO women probably had to overachieve a bit Saturday. Freshman Brittany Mann did her part with a school-record throw of 56 feet for a seventh-place finish in the shot put.
But the Ducks finished third in the 4x400, thanks to a scintillating third leg from Laura Roesler in her final collegiate appearance — though that was behind the Aggies and Longhorns. Sarah Penney finished just out of the scoring in the 1,500, taking 10th, and Lauren Crockett also was just shy of scoring, in the high jump.
Penney was bumped with 800 to go and stumbled into the infield. Johnson said he considered a protest but decided against it based on the team scores.
Prandini rebounded from a slow start in the 100 by getting out of the blocks well in the 200. She and Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M crossed the finish line together, with Brown awarded the win in 22.623 seconds, and Prandini credited with second in 22.630.
"I had no idea," Prandini said. "I was hoping I got there, but it was really close."
Mann fought through nerves to break her own school record on her first throw of the day. She was in third after her flight, and ended up seventh.
"First time out, being able to come in and be an all-American, that's great," Mann said. "It's good enough for this year — I have something to push for. A couple more places I can climb before I graduate."
Mann, who hopes to expand her repertoire to include the discus and hammer next year, said she wasn't feeling pressure to overachieve Saturday for the sake of the team race.
"I wouldn't say we had to overachieve," she said. "But it was, come in and do what you know you can do, what you're capable of doing. You don't have to do anything special, just do what you can. I felt like that's what I did, and it was good."