Lady Ducks Defend MPSF Crown

photo courtesy - Paul W. Harvey IV
photo courtesy – Paul W. Harvey IV

courtesy –
The Oregon women’s track and field team was crowned Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Champions, Saturday, as both the men’s and women’s teams concluded their final tune up before the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“Overall it was a success,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “Like most championship meets, you have the good and the bad. We had some specific agendas going into the meet, in terms of what we wanted to get done, and we were able to achieve most of those this weekend.”

After adding some NCAA qualifying marks on Friday night, the Ducks accomplished a few more of those agenda items on Saturday, first with Brittany Mann notching an NCAA qualifying mark in the women’s shot put. The junior came out ready to go and threw a season-best of 56-0.50 (17.08m) on her first attempt to win the event and extend her indoor season.

Mitch Modin put together a clutch performance in his last gasp to qualify for the NCAA heptathlon. Modin came into the day ahead of his personal record pace and started day two with a career best in the 60 hurdles (8.26). From there, the junior cleared 14-9 (4.50m) in the pole vault and collapsed at the finish line after a 2:45.72 in the 1,000. The Bend, Ore., native finished with a big personal best of 5,713 points, moving to fourth on the UO record list and putting him in NCAA qualifying position.

“It was great for Mitch to gut it out in the 1,000,” Johnson said. “Not enough can be said about his teammates there – Joe Delgado and Blake Kemp who helped him along. I’m proud of all three of our heptathlon guys and very excited for Mitch.”

The accomplishment will be a little extra sweet for Modin who makes his first NCAA Indoor Championships after he missed last year’s meet by three points.

Devon Allen set a personal record in his win of the 60 hurdles, breaking  nearly every record that stood before him. Allen’s time of 7.60 broke Johnathan Cabral’s school record, the MPSF meet record, Ashton Eaton’s Dempsey Indoor record and also made him the NCAA co-leader heading into the national meet in two weeks.

“It’s something where we continue to monitor him and bring him along slowly, but his performance today was absolutely phenomenal,” said Johnson.

The wins started to pile up for the Oregon women. In the women’s 60 hurdles, the Ducks received a 1-2 finish from Sasha Wallace and Alaysha Johnson. Wallace crossed the finish line in 8.07, marking her third-consecutive win in the event and the fourth time she has dropped below 8.10 this season. Johnson finished on her heels in 8.17, just off her personal best of 8.12 set earlier this season.

The Ducks recorded another 1-2 finish in the women’s mile thanks to Ashley Maton (4:38.32) and Lilli Burdon (4:39.42), while Alli Cash finished out the women’s distance events with a personal record of 9:10.55 in the 3,000 to take fifth.

Four Ducks scored in the women’s 60, led by sophomore Hannah Cunliffe who won in a time of 7.21, just missing her personal record by one hundredth of a second. Jasmine Todd took third in 7.37 followed by Ariana Washington in fifth (7.43) and Deajah Stevens in seventh (7.48).

In the men’s 3,000, Matthew Maton used a six-second personal best to finish fourth in 7:53.16 and was followed by Chris Brewer who broke the 8-minute mark for the first time in his career with a personal best of 7:58.56. Maton’s time moves the freshman up to No. 9 on the Oregon all-time list.

The men received points from Marcus Chambers who finished third in the men’s 400 (46.92) as well as Ryan Gil who set a personal best while finishing sixth in the mile in 4:01.12 and Kirk Merritt with a seventh-place finish in the 60 (6.84).

The women finished with a total of 108 points, ahead of second-place Stanford (73.75) and third-place USC (59). The men finished fourth with 72 points.

An official announcement for the NCAA Championships field is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. PT.

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