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Track & Field

Track & Field (373)

INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field will return to the Los Angeles area in 2020, with Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut, California, hosting the 10-day event, USATF announced Wednesday.

by Dave Hunter

June 22, 2017, Sacramento

 

With all due respect to every other event on the track and in the field, isn't there just something special - almost magical - about the 100 meters?

 

The heritage of the 100 meters - the "Century" as it is often referred to by the old-schoolers - is deeply rooted. Our fascination with speed, running speed, goes way back. It is engrained in our culture. From schoolyard squabbles to see who can run the fastest to the quadrennial Olympic finals in the dash, the 100 meters is the battlefield where the argument is finally settled: Who really is the fastest?

 

There is a certain notoriety that accompanies the "Fastest" title. With apologies to the mile, the 100 meters is probably the best known and most embraced track & field event for the expanded population that extends beyond track & field's hardcore fan base. Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt - all household names borne from, among other things, 100 meter success.

by Dave Hunter

June 25, 2017, Sacramento

 

It is difficult enough for track & field athletes to religiously hone their craft in the never-ending drive to be among their country's best. But it is only in very rare circumstances when an even more remarkable performer can rise not simply to be among the country's best, but to be the country's dominating performer in that event. Today, steeplechase specialist Evan Jager showed once again that he is such an athlete.

 

After Jager left the University of Wisconsin to turn professional, it took a while for the Illinois native to find his best event. After dabbling with the longer, flat distance events, the young professional decided in 2012 to give the steeplechase a whirl.

Perhaps we should have known what was in store when Jager ran 8:06.81 to set the American record in only his 5 attempt at the 3000 meter barriered event. Since then, he has further lowered his American best several times to 8:00.45, been a two-time world championship steeplechase finalist, and made the Olympic steeple finals both in London and in Rio where he captured the silver medal. And today - under Sacramento's blazing sun and in oven-like conditions - the 28-year-old Nike athlete won his fifth national steeplechase title.

 

Thirteen other steeplechasers joined Jager in today's final. It is doubtful any honestly thought they could defeat the Olympic silver medalist. Their focus had to be upon securing one of the two remaining world championship berths. As the race got underway, Saucony's Brian Shrader and Michael ["Not Air"] Jordan rushed to the front to set the early pace. It was a modest tempo as the field respected the oppressive weather conditions. Jager - who two years ago set a 1500 meter personal best of 3:32.97 - was not likely rattled by the lighter cadence and the bunched competitors that surrounded him in the opening lap. In the second circuit, the Bowerman Track Club athlete moved up to fifth and then eventually slid into third within a pack that included Schrader, Haron Lagat, Olympian and American leader Hillary Bor, former Indiana star Andrew Bayer, and Nike's Stanley Kibenei. With just under a mile remaining, Lagat surged to the front, with both Bor and Jager covering Lagat's move. 

 

Just inside 3 laps remaining, Jager decided it was time for him to take the steering wheel as he easily moved to the front. Instead of unleashing a long kick, the American record holder throttled down the cadence as a pack of fully 10 crowded athletes hit the start/finish line together with 2 laps remaining. Jager took command for good with a powerful drive over the penultimate water jump - somewhat separating himself from his pursuers. By the bell, Kibenei, Bor, and Bayer had joined Jager in the breakaway. It had become a game of musical chairs: 4 athletes vying for 3 tickets to London. With half a lap remaining, the final positions remained undecided until Jager unleashed an aggressive, and speedy clearance of the final water barrier - a dramatic tactic reminiscent of the East Africans that drew "ooohs" in the press box. Jager's water jump move sparked his finish for the win in 8:16.88, while the remaining spots were still up for grabs. Teammates Kebenei and Bor hugged the rail over the final barrier, denying a driving Bayer of any hope of an inside pass. A desperate dive by Bayer [8:18.90] at the line proved unsuccessful as Kibenei [8:18.54] and Bor [8:18.83] snared the last two world championship tickets.

 

In the media tent, Bayer recounted those final meters. "The thing that I haven't quite done well yet is learn to kick on the homestretch in the steeple. It's a hard thing to do. I was coming back on Hillary," said Bayer, knowing he was running out of time. "So I went wide and I almost made it by..."

 

Second-placer Kebenei gave credit to his heavier and consistent training regimen. "This is the result of training, training, training. I've gone from running 60 miles a week to running 105 a week. I ran pretty easy today, so I'm thankful. I want to go to London and see if I can come away with a medal."

 

Not at his best in the Sacramento heat, Bor had to really battle to make the London squad. "That was tough. I did not feel good. I did not feel good on Friday. I did not feel good today. That was the toughest race I have ever done in a long time. I think the heat I guess. I think it was because of the heat. I am glad I made the team."

 

The now 5-time national champion offered insight into his race plan in the mixed zone. "The steeple is really coming around, and it just makes it harder to win," declared Jager afterwards. "I knew it was going to be hard. It was a little windy; I didn't want to be in the lead for four and a half laps like last year. So I wanted to wait, kind of trust my speed and my hurdling form and technique against the rest of the guys. I just wanted to stay relaxed as long as possible and when I went making it a hard move and just use the benefits of being in the lead while running fast over the barriers to my advantage." The winner commented on his last two water jump clearances. "Jerry [coach Schumacher] made sure I would stay focused [over the final 800 meters] going over that water jump and be very powerful and very strong when I land and use that as a way to just beat the guys instead of sprinting away from them. It felt really good." Dave Hunter

Eight reigning Olympic champions will top the bill at the 56th edition of the Golden Spike in Ostrava on Wednesday (28), an event capped by Usain Bolt's second 100m outing of his final season.

Races are, well, decided when the athletes cross the finish line. They can not be planned by TV, or managers, they, well happen. Today's 1,500 meters both reminded us of that. Jenny Simpson won the 1,500m for women, holding of Kate Grace, and Sara Vaughn ran like a bat out of proverbial hell and won the third position.

SACRAMENTO, California -- The greatest women’s 400m hurdles race in track & field history and the greatest men’s shot put competition in USATF Outdoor Championships history took centerstage Sunday at Hornet Stadium, as competition concluded in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, California -- The third day of the USATF Outdoor Championships did not disappoint, as two world-leading performances by Olympian Sam Kendricks and World Indoor bronze medalist Quanera Hayes, and a stunning upset from Olympian Robby Andrewshighlighted the action at Hornet Stadium Saturday.

Monday, 26 June 2017 17:55

Field events steal show on Day 2 of USATF Outdoors

Written by

SACRAMENTO, California -- An American junior record, world leads, a meet record and seven national titles highlighted the second day of action at the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State University.

SACRAMENTO, California -- The 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships kicked off at Sacramento State University with upset heats and riveting finals, as top USATF athletes began battling for spots on Team USATF at the IAAF World Championships

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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