PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The seventh-ranked Oregon women’s track and field team won a pair of preliminary races Thursday at the Penn Relays.
The Ducks’ 4x400 meter relay team won its heat in a season best 3:35.37 to advance to Saturday’s Championship of America final. Jenna Prandini opened for Oregon and had the Ducks in second at the first exchange. Chizoba Okodogbe took the baton next and roared in to the lead around the first turn and Oregon never looked back.
Following Okodogbe’s 53.2 leg, Phyllis Francis extended the Ducks’ lead with a swift 51.8 lap, before Laura Roelser eased home in 54.6.
That was a :04 season best and also ranked as the 10th best time in school history.
Oregon had the third fastest 4x400 time overall on Thursday. Texas A&M, which won the Penn Relays 4x400 last year, had the top qualifier at 3:34.72, followed by University of Technology from Jamaica at 3:35.37, the Ducks and then Louisiana State at 3:36.81.
Oregon opened the day by winning its section of the 4x100 relays to move on to Friday’s Championship of America final. Leading almost the entire distance, the team of Francis, English Gardner, Prandini and Okodogbe easily captured its heat in 44.34. That was the second fastest time overall on Friday, trailing only Penn Relays defending champion Texas A&M, which won the first heat in 44.33.
The Ducks and Aggies will go head-to-head in the 4x100 for the third time this season, while LSU, which turned in the No. 3 time Friday, 44.36, and University Tech, which ran 44.73, should also factor.
What’s become a season long competition between Oregon, Texas A&M and LSU will culminate at the June 5-8 NCAA Championships, which will be hosted at Historic Hayward Field.
Thursday kicked off a busy weekend around the nation for the Duck track and field teams. The fourth-ranked men will join the fray at the Penn Relays Friday, while nearly two dozen Ducks will compete at the OSU High Performance Meet that same day in Corvallis, Ore. The weekend finds the Oregon teams finishing action at the Penn Relays on Saturday and sending a small contingent to the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on Sunday.
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