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Friday, 23 June 2017 22:26

2017 NCAA Division 1 — Oregon Women Claim Team Title Featured

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Women’s Team Day 1

By Morgan Sudduth


Even with the inability to participate in the women 4x100 meter relay due to a disqualification in the NCAA qualifying meet and a difficult first day at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships on Thursday, the Women of Oregon say they are still in the game to make history.


Having won the NCAA titles in cross country and the indoor track and field championships, the Ducks need one more title at this week’s NCAA outdoor championships to be the first women’s team in NCAA history to win all three in the same season. 


After the first day of competition Thursday, Oregon has zero team points. Georgia is in first place with 24.2 points, and Kentucky is in second with 14. Oregon’s projected toughest competition, USC, is in 14th place with 6 points.


Although the Ducks do not have any points so far, they were able to get 10 women to individually qualify for Saturday’s finals. Four of these events have two in the final: the 200- and 100 meter dashes, and the 100-meter hurdles. 


These women now have a chance to get Oregon on the board. 


“Every time we get on the line, it’s not just for [us] but it’s for everyone else with an O on their chest,” said sprinter Ariana Washington. “We’re sisters right now, and I think we know that we have something to prove to everyone, we have something to prove for ourselves … we’re almost to the finish line.”


All of the Oregon women said they felt the pressure, but hurdler Sasha Wallace does not think it will affect their performances Saturday. 


“I would be lying to say that I didn’t have pressure,” said Wallace. “But I think the way that we handle it kinda puts us in a different position as far as performing.”


Teammate Brooke Feldmeier agreed with Wallace. Winning the Triple Crown is all that’s on her mind. 


“It’s been my big motivator,” said Feldmeier. “It’s nice to be here and everything, but I wanna be giving points to make that happen.”


Feldmeier was able to advance to the 800-meter final with the top qualifying time of 2 minutes and 4.82 seconds. Raevyn Rogers, the favorite, also advanced, winning her heat in 2:05.63.


“We’re just trying to be Oregon,” said Rogers. “We’re trying to not change anything, not panic. We’re in a good spot.”


Another of the 10 qualifying women is freshman Katie Rainsberger. Rainsberger advanced in the 1,500 with a qualifying time of 4 minutes, 19.08 seconds. Although she was calm, she knew this was a different race.


The women want to make their goal a reality, but throughout the meet obstacles kept coming their way.


In the 100-meter dash, Oregon had two Olympians as their entries, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington. The two qualified just fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 100-meter dash, Washington with a time of 11.26 and Stevens with 11.29.


Stevens was the top qualifier in the 200 with a time of 22.31, and Washington qualified third in 22.60.


“I knew that I didn’t get out good,” said Stevens. “Which I usually don’t, but it felt extra bad today.” 


Makenzie Dunmore and Ashante Horsley did not qualify for the women 400-meter dash final. Horsley came in last in her prelim heat with a time of 53.98 seconds. Dunmore finished with a time of 52.07 seconds. Elexis Guster, a first-time qualifier, was the only one to advance with a 51.93 second time. 


The Ducks finished the night with a qualifying time of 3 minutes, 31.76 in the 4x400 relay.


With the mantra “tougher together,” the women are still confident that they can make history happen.  


“I feel like overall as a team, I think we’re looking good,” Washington said. “A lot of us have made some mistakes … we just go back and fix it and just come back on Saturday ready to perfect everything.”


University of Oregon student Morgan Sudduth is studying journalism. Next fall term she is taking her studies abroad in London with a PR internship at a fashion magazine.


Oregon Women On Day 2

By Emma Childs 


It was tough for the No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks after having zero points heading into the final day of competition at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, but the Oregon women proved that they are “tougher together” after they made NCAA history Saturday. 


The Ducks became the first women’s team to caputure the triple crown with team titles in cross country, indoor track and field and now outdoor track and field. They won with 64 points, just 1.8 ahead of Georgia. 


“All around the country you hear about Bowerman and ‘the men of Oregon,’” said Raevyn Rogers, who won the 800 meters and anchored the winning 4x400 relay. “But now it's like. ... I wouldn’t say it’s ‘Johnson and the women of Oregon,’ now it’s like the women of Oregon themselves. … It’s all building up to what it is now.”


The win did not come about easily for the Ducks. Sprinter Deajah Stevens fell 15 meters from the finish line while leading the 200-meter dash, costing her the NCAA title and the Ducks basically eight team points because Stevens and Ariana Washington were predicted to finish 1-2. Hayward Field was silent. 


Stevens brushed off her scrapes and frustration to race in the team’s 4x400 meter relay later on. Rogers outkicked USC’s fourth runner to win the Ducks a collegiate record, 3:23.13, and the national title.  


“We all depend on each other in the 4x4,” Stevens said. “We all have to do our part, and having Raevyn on the anchor leg we were very confident. We knew she was going to fight.” 


Oregon had to fight for that triple crown. Georgia, which scored all of its points in field events, took the team lead right before the last event, so the Ducks needed to win the 4x400 relay in order to win the entire meet. 


Stevens was disqualified after her fall, making her eligible to race again. Georgia claimed Stevens shouldn’t have been eligible to race in the relay and protested the win.


The Oregon women stood nervously on the infield waiting for the official results, and when their win was confirmed, they embraced and Hayward Field erupted. 


Rogers said the team’s grit won all three titles for them throughout the year. “This meet was not given to us, this whole season was not given to us,” she said. “The season wasn’t given to cross country, it wasn’t given to the indoor women’s team, it wasn’t given to the outdoor women’s team.”


Ten women qualified for Saturday’s competition. Eight of them scored points. 


Freshman Katie Rainsberger battled her way through a physical race to score the first points of the day for Oregon, finishing fourth in the 1,500 in a time of 4:14.20. “It’s been a great freshman year,” she said, “and I know there's more to come.” 


Next, Oregon’s school record holder in the 100 hurdles, Alaysha Johnson, came in fourth with a time of 12.72 seconds. Sasha Wallace finished in sixth place in a time of 12.81 seconds. These two moved Oregon into sixth place in the team race.


Then in the 100, Stevens finished second in a time of 11.04 and Ariana Washington finished fourth in 11.09, moving the Ducks from sixth place to second place. 


Immediately after, senior Elexis Guster finished right where she was predicted to in the 400 meters, placing sixth in a time of 52.25 seconds. The Ducks then had a score of 29 points, still in second behind Kentucky at 32 points. 


Rogers then won the 800 for the third year in a row with a time of 2:00.02, becoming the first three-time NCAA outdoor 800 champion. And senior Brooke Feldmeier outkicked a tight pack coming off of the Bowerman curve and finished third with a personal record of 2:01.54. 


She said she really wanted the triple crown for her team and she just finished as hard as she could.  


Feldmeier credited Rogers with motivating her. “She told me before, ‘You go out there and you kick everyone down,’ so that was really great,” Feldmeier said. 


This 1–3 finish was monumental for Oregon, adding 16 points and edging the Ducks past Kentucky into first place. 


The 200 race came next, and Stevens fell on the back straightaway. 


Washington said it was hard to see her teammate and training partner go down. Washington came in second in 22.39 behind Kyra Jefferson of Florida, who had a collegiate record of 22.02. She brought in eight points for the Ducks, moving them to 53 points, 8.8 points ahead of Kentucky. 


Senior 5,000-meter runner Samantha Nadel earned a point for Oregon, finishing in eighth place in a time of 15:48.93 in the last individual event.


Rogers said she was hesitant to race the last leg of the 4x400 meter relay, but head coach Robert Johnson said he was nothing less than confident in her abilities to bring it “home” for Oregon. She did just that. 


Emma Childs, an honors journalism student at the University of Oregon, is a producer for Duck TV Sports, the vice president of the Oregon AWSM chapter and a group fitness instructor at the Student Recreation center.

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