After the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Fayetteville, Ark., Oregon track and field can come away pleased with their performance.
The Ducks qualified 19 of their athletes by the end of the night, bringing their total number of performers headed back to Eugene for the NCAA Championships to 39.
“It was mission accomplished,” head coach Robert Johnson said to GoDucks.com. “We got a lot of key people qualified and really did what we had to do to move on.”
The women will have 20 entries competing back at the friendly confines of Historic Hayward Field while the men will have 19.
For Oregon the performances by several athletes stood above the rest by the end of Saturday.
Freshman hurdler Devon Allen broke a 10-year-old school record after an impressive showing in the men’s 110 hurdles. Allen won his heat in 13.27, setting a personal record. His time now puts him as the third-fastest hurdler in the NCAA.
Fellow hurdler and freshman Sasha Wallace broke a school record of her own in the very next race, finishing the women’s 100 hurdles with a time of 13.23.
Both the men and women’s 4×400 relay teams advanced to Eugene with strong times. The women’s team of Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler, Christian Brennan and Phyllis Francis crossed the line first (3:27.34), with the third fastest time in school history. Then the men’s team of Marcus Chambers, Arthur Delaney, Allen and Mike Berry ran the fifth fastest time in school history, crossing the line in 3:04.10.
Wallace returned to the track to compete as a member of the women’s 4×100 relay, alongside teammates Francis, Jenna Prandini and Marybeth Sant. The team’s time of 43.47 qualified them for the championships while also giving them the fourth best time in Oregon history.
Prandini then qualified for Eugene in the 200, adding to her already impressive list of events. Prandini qualified for four events in Eugene, the 4×100, 200, long jump and 100.
Four Oregon distance runners qualified in the men’s 5000. Eric Jenkins and Parker Stinson finished first and second in their heat while star freshman Edward Cheserek and Trevor Dunbar advanced as well after finishing third and fifth.
The field events were just as successful for Oregon.
In the women’s high jump Oregon’s Lauren Crockett cleared 5-9.75, good for her third straight NCAA Championships meet.
Teammate Jillian Weir also advanced in the women’s hammer. She finished sixth with her longest throw coming in at a final distance of 197-2.
Oregon will now prepare to host the best track and field athletes in the nation as they go head-to-head in the NCAA Championships, which will run from June 11-14 at Historic Hayward Field.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur