The Bell Lap: Cheserek earns Athlete of the Week honors for Penn Relays performance

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

They don't call this kid "King Cheserek" for nothing.

Ducks turn in strong performances at Penn Relays

Last weekend, the Ducks headed east to compete in the 120th Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

The men brought home victories in the distance medley relay and the 4xMile relay thanks to big kicks from Edward Cheserek. In the DMR on Friday, with 300 meters to go in his 1600-meter leg, Cheserek blew past Stanford’s Michael Atchoo and Kentucky’s Matt Hillenbrand to give the Ducks the win in 9:25.40, the fastest time in school history and the seventh-fastest time in NCAA history.

In the women's 4x100,  Marybeth Sant, Phyllis Francis, Jenna Prandini and Jasmine Todd clocked the fastest time in Penn Relays history for the Ducks, finishing second to Texas A&M in 43.33 seconds. The Aggies overtook Oregon in the final exchange for their sixth-straight win in the event.

On Saturday, Cheserek ran the fastest mile leg during the 4xMile relay with a time of 3:56.4 seconds. Mac Fleet sealed the win in the 4xMile, crossing the line in 4:00.4 to earn Oregon their fifth Penn Wheel. Fittingly enough, Fleet has been a part of all five wins.

On the women's side, the 4x400 team of Claudia Francis, Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler and Phyllis Francis finished second in the Championship of America with a time of 3:29.82, the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA this season. Oregon's 4x800 team of Claudia Francis, Samantha Murphy, Annie Leblanc and Roesler took second place with a time of 8:22.54, finishing behind Villanova. This was the second straight year the Ducks finished runners-up in the 4x800.

Cheserek named USATFCCA Division I Men's Athlete of the Week

Oregon's Edward Cheserek had a big weekend at the Penn Relays, and his efforts earned the freshman some recognition. On Monday, the USATFCCA named Cheserek the Division I Men’s Athlete of the Week.

On Friday, Cheserek anchored Oregon's distance medley relay team, running his 1600-meter leg in 3:57.98. Cheserek's strong leg earned the Ducks a three-second victory in the DMR. The next day, Cheserek ran the second leg of the 4xMile relay in 3:56.4 as Oregon won the race in 16:09.67. The time was the fourth-fastest in meet history and the fastest time since Michigan clocked a 16:04.54, a time that still stands as the meet record.

Cheserek was also named the Penn Relays Men’s College Relays Athlete of the Meet for his performance. Two other Ducks have won the award, with Matthew Centrowitz winning in 2010 and Anne Kesselring taking home the award in 2012.

Men of Oregon fall in latest outdoor rankings

There was a lot of action in the latest outdoor polls released by the USATFCCA this week. After claiming the top spot for the first time since 2009, the Men of Oregon fell to No. 4 in this week's rankings as the Florida Gators, who Oregon had leapfrogged last week, regained the top spot. Joining the Gators and Ducks in the top 5 was Texas A&M (No. 2, 291.70 points), Arkansas (No. 3, 211.88 points), and Georgia (No. 5, 180.98 points).

23 of 25 teams shifted spots in the latest rankings as the preseason scores were removed from the formula. Each of the top 10 teams found themselves in a new spot this week.

On the women's side, the Ducks remained at No. 4 behind Texas, Florida and Texas A&M respectively. Oregon's team score of 317.00 in this week's rankings were a 28-point improvement from the previous week.

Oregon returns to action this weekend with the OSU High Performance Meet on May 2, and the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 4.

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