As the day came to a close at Historic Hayward Field, the Oregon Duck men celebrated as they were crowned the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Champions.
After they took their photos and held their trophy high, the victors decided to reenact a tradition started in 1984, the last time the men won a championship. Thanks to the tenacity of his players, Oregon head coach Robert Johnson got to take a surprise bath in the steeple jump water pit.
“Once they had me by the waist and I left my feet, what do you do,” Johnson said as he toweled himself off.
Joining in the celebration were the Oregon women, who concluded the weekend with a third place finish (59.0 points).
The crowd at Hayward stood for the entire trophy presentation ceremony, reveling in the National Championship.
“These fans deserve it,” Oregon senior Mac Fleet said, wearing his championship shirt. “They show up to all our meets, best fans in the US.”
On the final day of competition it was three individual wins by the Oregon men that clinched the victory for meet total of 88.0 points.
Fleet got things going in the men’s 1500 by defeating Arizona star Lawi Lalang. Fleet was able to double in the event by outkicking Lalang at the line, crossing just ahead of him with a final time of 3:39.09. Lalang finished in 3:39.13.
“A storybook ending,” Fleet said. “I would have been pretty heartbroken if I had lost.”
Moments later Oregon junior thrower Sam Crouser took home first place with a monster final throw (252-7).
“You just have to go after it, attack, and use that home crowd to your advantage,” Crouser said. “Just a dream come true to be honest.”
The third victory was somewhat of a surprise, as two-sport freshman Devon Allen won the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.16.
“Devon Allen, he is freaking super competitive,” Johnson said. “For our gridiron guy to come out there and get it done like that is something special.”
Allen ran a near perfect race, gliding over the hurdles and sprinting to the end. As he crossed the line, he pumped his arm in celebration.
“A National Championship is the biggest thing you can go for,” Allen said. “All of my teammates worked hard this season, so being able to get a championship is huge.”
Watching the men celebrate on the infield with the crowd, you could feel the Hayward magic in the air. For Johnson the moment will always be special.
“One of the highlights of my career, to be able to do that here,” Johnson said.
Rounding out the men’s competition was Florida (70.0) and Texas A&M (41.50). Texas A&M won for the women (75.0) while Texas finished second (66.0).