Oregon track and field will be traveling to Pullman, Wash. to compete in the Pac-12 Championships over the weekend. The meet is hosted this year by Washington State and will be held at Mooberry track.
“The Pac-12 meet is one of the best conference meets in the country,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “It will be stiff competition and we are looking forward to going and doing battle.”
Both the Oregon men and women head into the Pac-12 Championships ranked No. 3 in the national rankings, respectively. On paper, both teams should be favored to sweep the meet, though the team is focused on not being overconfident.
“You can’t overlook anybody, team wise or individually,” runner Megan Patrignelli said. “Anything can happen on race day.”
Patrignelli will be competing in the steeplechase at the meet.
Heading into the meet the Ducks already have a leg up on the competition thanks to the efforts of the decathletes and heptathletes during the multi-event section of the Pac-12 Championships that took place last weekend.
“Dakotah, Alec and Mitch Modine got the men off to a great start and then Daphne Chambers scored some points there for the women,” Johnson said. “So we are doing well and are trending in the right direction.”
The men, who were led by junior Dakotah Keys, scored 21 team points while Chambers scored three for the women. Keys was able to win the decathlon, marking the third time in a row that he has been named the Pac-12 champion.
Patrignelli has goals she wants to meet heading into the weekend.
“The ten minute barrier is kind of staring at me, and I would love to break that,” Patrignelli said. “But ultimately at this meet it’s about competing and getting as many points as possible.”
Some good news for the Oregon men came via Coach Johnson.
“You can expect to see Mike Berry out there competing.”
The appearance by sprinter Berry at the Championships will be his first since he was arrested in early March on a misdemeanor charge.
However injury concerns do linger for the Ducks. It is unclear whether hurdler Johnathan Cabral or hammer thrower Greg Skipper will be joining teammate Berry in his return. Cabral has not competed since the Oregon Preview while Skipper dropped out of the Oregon Twilight at the last second. Johnson has a policy that he will not discuss injuries, so news as to whether or not they will compete won’t be shared.
The Pac-12 Championships will begin on Saturday, May 17 and conclude Sunday.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur