Twice as Nice, Ducks Sweep NCAA Indoor Championships

Phyllis Francis (L) crosses the finish line at Hayward Field in the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track&Field Championships
Phyllis Francis (L) crosses the finish line at Hayward Field in the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track&Field Championships

The hits – as they say – just keep on coming and so too do the NCAA National Championship trophies for the Oregon track & field program, with both the men’s and women’s programs claiming top prize in the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Women of Oregon edged the Texas Longhorns 44 to 43.5 to extend their stranglehold on the title for a fifth straight season. For the men, the championship is the first since 2009.

Trailing the Longhorns and the Florida Gators by 1.5 points entering the 4X400 relay – the last event of the meet – Oregon’s Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler and Christian Brennan held firm in second place through the first three legs of the race. Anchor Phyllis Francis – who had claimed the individual 400m crown earlier in the afternoon, scorched to a 3:24.10 finish, the 10th best ever and .02 seconds faster than Texas, giving Oregon the title by the slimmest of margins.

There was much less drama on the men’s side of the competition. Wonder freshman Edward Cheserek won both the 3,000m (8:11.59) and 5,000m (13.46.67) individual titles to lead the Ducks to 62 team points, eight points better than runner up Arkansas.

Jasmine Todd (7.16) and Jenna Prandini (7.32) helped the Oregon cause with third place and seventh place points in the 60m and Laura Roesler who finished second last year, won the 800m in a time of 2:03.85.

For the men, Mac Fleet finished third with a time of 4:02.96 in the mile, good for third place, Johnathan Cabral grabbed a fourth in the 60m Hurdles (7.65) and Mike Berry’s 45.65 in the 400m was also good for fourth, adding to the Oregon team total.

Oregon’s Trevor Dunbar finished fifth in the 3,000 (8:14.13) and Dakota Keys took fourth in the Heptathlon with 5942 points.

Attention now turns to the outdoor season which begins this Saturday with the Oregon Preview. The start time has yet to be announced.