Welcome back to the 2016-17 Webfoot Awards, starring your favorite athletes from the University of Oregon. The writers at ATQ annually enable the fans an opportunity to vote for the best of Oregon athletics from the previous season.
Up next, we will nominate the elite Duck squads for the Best Moment Award to be voted on by you, the fans. This will not be an easy task. Oregon has showcased some of the best moments from top teams in their individual sports this campaign. Choosing just one could not be more difficult. Good luck!
Women of Oregon - The Final Race at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Oregon’s women’s track and field team was trailing the national championships to Georgia, 62.2-54.5, with one event remaining in the competition. Not to mention, the legendary Hayward Field was the setting for the spectacular event.
That last event just happened to be THE RACE made for the Women of Oregon. The 4x400m relay has been dominated by the Ducks in recent memory. On that Saturday afternoon, nothing was assumed. With one relay race to decide a national championship, anything could happen.
Fortunately for Oregon, the unthinkable occurred and they won. Yet, it wasn’t a convincingly dominant win as usual. It was a slugfest to the end.
Fittingly, Raevyn Rogers crossed the finish line to complete the historic feat. With the massive victory, the Duck women became the first D-1 women’s program to win the Triple Crown (Indoor, Outdoor, Cross Country) in history.
With 10 points and a first place finish, Oregon claimed a third national title (64.5-62.2) this year. Their collection of talent was endless from Rogers to Ariana Washington, Alaysha Johnson, Deajah Stevens, Brooke Feldmeier, Sasha Wallace, Katie Rainsberger and Elexis Guster to name a few.
“I’ll never get tired of hearing Magic,” said Stevens in comparing Eugene to the Olympics. “I love our fans. I love running here. I don’t compare Rio to nationals.”
After winning cross country by a landslide and cruising to the indoor title, Oregon’s marvelous season came down to one race. Can you imagine the pressure? The Women of Oregon did not mind, as they were crowned the greatest track and field team in history.
Was it enough for them to win Best Moment at Oregon during 2016-17? There was a lot going on in Eugene the last 365 days. It is going to be a photo finish.
Men’s Basketball - Ducks advance to Final Four after 14-point win vs No. 1 Kansas
It is very rare you can look back at one game from a single season that fully encompasses a teams journey. However, that is exactly what happened with Oregon’s basketball team in 2016-17. It all began in Kansas City.
For the first time in program history, Oregon had made back-to-back Elite Eight appearances. Following an embarrassing exit vs Oklahoma in 2015-16, the Ducks were looking to rewrite history the next year.
As a No. 3 seed, UO was overlooked and underrated heading into their match-up vs the No. 1 seed Jayhawks. Not only was Kansas the top seed, but they were playing in their own backyard just 41 miles from Lawrence. Not many had Oregon in the Elite Eight, let alone advancing past the Jayhawks.
Needless to say, the Ducks shocked the world with a dominant 14-point dismantling of KU. Midway through the second half, the Sprint Center began to empty. Disgruntled Jayhawk supporters literally turned their back on the 2016-17 college basketball season.
This game will also be known as the Jordan Bell breakout performance. Every household in the nation knew the name of Bell after that night. Even Twitter was trending with the #ThingsJordanBellCouldBlock hashtag.
Bell made one of the greatest impacts in NCAA Tournament history. He recorded 13 rebounds, 11 points, eight blocked shots and four assists en route of Kansas, 74-60. It was a legendary performance that put him and Oregon on the map.
Mr. March added 27 points of his own, as Tyler Dorsey continued his torrid postseason stretch. He buried 9-for-13 from the field, including an incredible 6-of-10 from deep. With the win, Oregon advanced to the Final Four for the first time in 77 years.
“We’re all dogs on this team,” said Dorsey after Oregon’s decisive 14-point win over No. 1 Kansas. “We don’t stop fighting. We’re a bunch of dogs.”
Softball - The greatest start to a season in women’s college softball history (35-0)
After appearing in four of the last six Women’s College World Series is an accomplishment of epic proportions. Yet, the lady Ducks want more, like a national championship ring. However, a great start is always welcome.
The great Duck softball season ended in third place, one game shy of the best of three national title series. Oregon was eliminated by the back-to-back champions, Oklahoma. The Ducks are excited as they look to the future of an evolving program.
This season, Oregon earned the No. 1 ranking in the nation after their incredible commencement to the campaign. In fact, the Ducks won 35 straight games to open the year.
“We want to see each other succeed,” said Megan Kleist. “Every girl in this stadium wants to be the last one standing. We’re one step closer now.”
With their 3-1 victory against Portland State on April 4, the Ducks completed the greatest start to a season in NCAA Softball history, 35-0. No team has ever won more games to begin a single season.
Unfortunately, the Ducks lost their first game against UCLA 2-0 after three days away from the field on March 7. At the end of the day, UO concluded their historic run with a record of 54-8.
Football - Oregon upsets No. 12 Utah in Salt Lake City
This was the first big win in the career of Eugene’s best freshman. Not only did Herbert secure Oregon’s upset victory on the road, but the Ducks knocked off the No. 12 Utes a year after they embarrassed the UO at Autzen Stadium, 62-20.
Herbert was incredible from Salt Lake City, completing 30-for-43 passes. He threw for a total of 324 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
Royce Freeman rushed the ball 20 times for 129 total yards and a receiving TD. He caught eight balls for 36 yards.
With two seconds remaining in the game, Herbert found Darren Carrington in the back of the end zone for the game-winning score, 30-28. Oregon missed the two-point conversion on the following play. It was DC’s fifth catch of the afternoon.
“Big-time players make big-time plays and it was definitely time to make a big-time play,” said Carrington. “I had to come through in the clutch for my boys.”
Jalen Brown led the receiving corps with five grabs for 89 yards and a score.
The Duck defense was all over the field, as three players carried the winning effort. Johnny Ragin III led the way with a team-high 10 tackles, four solo.
Justin Hollins registered seven solo tackles, nine total. Additionally, he had a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Troy Dye amassed nine tackles, five solo. The freshman recorded a sack and a tackle for loss.
For Utah, linebacker Cody Barton led the way with 20 tackles, 10 solo in a losing effort.
Webfoot Awards: Best Moment?
This poll is closed
Women of Oregon - Outdoor 4x400 final relay
Men’s Basketball - Elite Eight win vs No. 1 Kansas
Softball - Greatest start to a season in softball history (35-0)
Football - Oregon upsets No. 12 Utah in Salt Lake City