Men and Women of Oregon bring home pair of national titles at indoor national championships
They don't call Eugene "Track Town USA" for nothing. The Oregon Ducks took the NCAA Indoor National Championships by storm last weekend in Albuquerque, N.M., bringing home both the men's and women's team titles. The women won their fifth consecutive national championship. The only other team to accomplish such a feat was LSU between 1993-97.
The meet came down to the final event of the competition, the women's 4x400 relay. Oregon trailed Texas and Florida by just 1.5 points. The relay team of Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler, Christian Brennan and Phyllis Francis knew exactly what was at stake. After hanging close with Texas, Francis took the final handoff from Brennan and surged into the lead. It was a photo finish as Oregon crossed the line .02 seconds ahead of Texas in a time of 3:27.40, the 10th fastest time ever by a relay team.
While it was a series of sprints that brought home the title for the women, the men took a few extra laps to wrap up the team title in the 3,000-meter race. Led by freshman phenom Edward Cheserek, the Ducks clinched the national title thanks to Cheserek's blistering kick in the bell lap to carry him to a winning time of 8:11.59. Trevor Dunbar placed fifth in the race with a time of 8:14.13. By the time the race was over, Oregon held a 11-point lead over Arkansas heading into the 4x400 relay. Even if Oregon hadn't even competed in the final event and Arkansas won, the Ducks still would have clinched the title as an event win earns 10 points.
Oregon also brought in 28 First Team All-America awards, the most in school history.
Ducks turn focus to outdoor season with next weekend's Oregon Preview
With the indoor season in the rear view mirror, the Ducks return to Hayward Field this weekend for the Oregon Preview. The title of the meet is generally pretty accurate as it usually acts as a dress rehearsal for many athletes. Those who do run in the meet will be using it as a glorified workout to get back in outdoor shape. Indoor and outdoor track are different in many aspects, and it does take time to adjust to a track twice the size. Some of Oregon's top stars, like Cheserek and Roesler, will be recovering from indoor season, so don't expect too much out of them. Runners are built to peak once a season, and so this meet is all about just taking the first step towards the outdoor national championships in June.
The Oregon preview gets underway at 12:35 pm at Hayward Field on Saturday. Check back next week for a full recap of the day's action.
Tweet of the Week
The NCAA's social media manager is all about those puns.
Video of the Week
I took a very high quality Vine of Cheserek's kick, just to give you an idea on what the definition of "dropping the hammer" is in track & field.