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Oregon Ducks Track and Field: Pepsi Invitational Recap

Oregon's Men repeat and the women fall just short as Texas A&M overtakes them late.

The middle distance runners were strong for the Oregon men as they defended their Pepsi Team Invitational titles, successfully on Saturday. The women on the other hand could not withstand a late push from the Texas A&M women and eventually gave way to the Aggies, placing second in the meet. The winners for both the men and the women had been decided before the final event started, rendering Oregon's x place men's and x place women's finish moot.

Oregon got wins from Mac Fleet, Jeramy Elkaim, Greg Skipper, Mike Berry and Johnathan Cabral as the 4th ranked men defeated the Top ranked Aggies, as well as the Washington schools in the meet. In the 800, Mac Fleet broke away from the pack early and turned the race into a laugher as he and teammate Boru Guyota swept the event for major points. Fleet, the junior also reset his personal best, completing the event in 1:48.7.

In the 5000, Oregon didn't only sweep the event. They managed to go 1-2-3 (only the top two scores counting) with Elkaim leading the way, beating his team mate by more than 7 seconds at 13:57.24. Mike Berry won the 400 with a late charging Ricky Babineux. Oregon also got third in the race, giving the Ducks some big points on the track. The 4X100 relay featured 3 members of the football team as B.J. Kelley came in late to aid Oregon to a second place finish in the meet and the 6th fastest finish in school history at 40.33. De'Anthony Thomas also placed 3rd in the 100m dash with a 10.61 finish. Greg Skipper ran away with the hammer throw, with a 216'-4'' toss, only an inch from setting his own personal best. Oregon also got third in the hammer as Miles Walk PR'ed with a 191' throw.

Despite not winning the event, the women got some solid performances from freshman Jenna Prandini and Jillian Weir. Oregon also got wins in the 400, the 800 and a sweep in the 1500. Prandini took the long jump with a 19-7 jump and placed second in the 100m dash. Her 11.47 was third fastest in program history.

Probably the most impressive performance on the day was from Texas A&M's Henri Lelei. He blew away the field and the meet record with a 8:32.94 in the steeplechase. He beat the record by more than 8 seconds and the record had stood for 13 years.

Overall, the season looks bright for Oregon. I'm not convinced that the Ducks were firing on all cylinders and despite that, the men came away victorious and the women were very competitive with the Aggies.