As the final day of the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships concluded Sunday, Oregon can once again say it is the top school in the conference.
The Ducks swept the meet, with both the men and women winning comfortably. The men finished with 163.25 points while the women finished with 176. USC (99) and Arizona (83) rounded out the top three for the men while USC (145) and Arizona State (75) finished second and third, respectively, for the women.
“They went out there and took care of business,” head coach Robert Johnson said. “It was a good opportunity for us to go out and get some things done.”
The top performer for Oregon was sprinter Jenna Prandini, who was able to dominate in all of the events she competed in.
Prandini started things off yesterday with a win in the long jump with a final mark of 20-11.25, which was a personal record. Then on the final day she competed in three events; the 100, 200 and 4×100.
In the women’s 100, she set a track record and was able to defend her Pac-12 Championship with a time of 11.21.
Prandini had her third and final championship in the 200, winning the event with a convincing performance that featured her holding off teammate Phyllis Francis. She won with a time of 22.60, which is the school record, a lifetime best and a meet record. Even more impressively is that the time was set as she ran into a headwind.
“When I saw her time for the 200, I was so proud of her,” Francis said of her teammate.
Her final event was the 4×100 relay. Prandini ran the third leg, alongside Marybeth Sant, Francis and Ashante Horsley. All four ran well with solid exchanges. The Ducks finished second (43.77) to USC (43.21).
“I am excited with how I executed the races,” Prandini said. “It just helps build as we head into regionals and nationals.”
The finish to the men’s 4×100 ended the same way as the women’s race, with USC finishing first (39.43) and Oregon coming in second (39.76).
Oregon’s Jillian Weir shattered records in the women’s hammer. Heading into her final throw the junior was in fourth place as California’s Shelby Ashe lead the event. Weir launched her final throw as the crowd in attendance roared in appreciation. Weir’s throw went for 221-2, a personal best as well as a track record. Ashe finished second with a throw of 206-1.
“I was pumped,” Weir said. “My coach was going crazy and everyone was really cheering, so I knew it was good.”
The men’s 1500 turned into a two man race as Arizona defending champion Lawi Lalang and star Oregon freshman Edward Cheserek ran away from the pack. Lalang led for the entire race and Cheserek couldn’t out kick him on the final stretch. Lalang crossed with a time of 3:36.34 while Cheserek was right behind him with a time of 3:36.50. The finish by Lalang set a meet record, track record and was the fastest time in college this season by more than two seconds. With the victory, Lalang is now the three time defending champion in the event.
The women’s 100 meter hurdles was another blistering race with fast times across the board. USC senior Lauren Blackburn won the event (13.08) while Oregon freshman Sasha Wallace finished second (13.24). Blackburn’s time set a new track record while Wallace’s finish set a new record for Oregon.
The next event was the men’s 110 meter hurdles, which, like the women’s race, witnessed records shattered. USC’s Aleec Harris won with a time of 13.35 while Devon Allen came in second with a time of 13.47. Harris set the track record, while Allen’s time moved him into third all-time on the Oregon list, ahead of world record decathlete Ashton Eaton.
Allen continued to impress in the men’s 400 meter hurdles, finishing second with a lifetime best (51.19). Host Washington State’s CJ Allen won the event with a time of 51.14.
Oregon had a one-two sweep in the women’s 400. Senior Francis won with a time of 51.87 and Chizoba Okodogbe finished second with a time of 52.20. Francis set the track record while Okodogbe had a personal record.
On the men’s side, Oregon senior Mike Berry won the event with a time of 45.05. Just like almost all of the events on the day, Berry joined the group of athletes who broke the Mooberry track record during the meet with his time.
Oregon senior Laura Roesler was able to win the women’s 800 with relative ease as she became the three-time defending champion in the event. Teammate Annie Leblanc finished third (2:07.27).
“Its pretty special,” Roesler said. “Coming to conference and winning three times in a row isn’t an easy thing to do. It gets harder every year.”
Roesler won the event on the heels of being named the Pac-12 women’s track and field Scholar Athlete of the Year.
“That was a huge surprise,” Roesler said. “That is pretty special, not only for me but for my parents because school has always been the most important thing for me.”
The Ducks had a two top three finishers in the men’s 5000, as senior Trevor Dunbar finished second (13:45.26) and junior Eric Jenkins finished third (13:45.26).
The final event of the day was the men’s 4×400, which saw the Ducks finish in second place with a time of 3:07.21, just behind Arizona State (3:07.10).
Now the Ducks will turn their attention ahead as they prepare to compete in Nationals back in the friendly confines of Historic Hayward Field.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur