May 27, 2016
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After inclement weather suspended almost the entirety of Thursday’s competition at the NCAA Track and Field West Preliminary Rounds, storms again caused delays on Friday, but not before Oregon could qualify 12 athletes to the NCAA Championships.
Competitors also had to handle a change in format, with all track events being contested as quarterfinals, meaning competitors would have one chance to move on to Eugene. For the sprint events at 800 meters and below, each heat winner was granted a qualification spot as well as the next six fastest times.
The Ducks advanced all three runners in the women’s 800, with defending NCAA Champion Raevyn Rogers and Annie Leblanc winning their heats and Brooke Feldmeier qualifying on time. Rogers and Leblanc used late charges in the final 100 meters to post nearly identical times of 2:05.36 and 2:05.38, respectively. Feldmeier finished second in her heat with a season best of 2:06.22.
In the women’s 100, Hannah Cunliffe and Ariana Washington each won their heats to secure their spot at the championships meet. Cunliffe ran to a wind-aided time of 11.13, the fastest time in the field. Washington was fourth overall, crossing the finish line in 11.33.
Edward Cheserek became the first of seven Oregon men to officially qualify, running away with the men’s 10,000 to win in 29:45.41, five seconds ahead of the next finisher. The 13-time NCAA Champion will now toe the line in Eugene, looking to win the event for the third-consecutive year.
Cheserek was followed shortly after by Greg Skipper, whose advancement in the men’s hammer throw became official despite not taking an attempt on Friday. His distance of 226-1 (68.93m) on Thursday was good enough to finish third.
After a 1-2 finish at the Pac-12 Championships, javelin throwers Cody Danielson and John Nizich finished eighth and 11th to move on. Nizich, a redshirt freshman out of Portland, threw his best on the third attempt for a distance of 225-10 (68.85m) while Danielson, similar to the conference meet, used some late-throw heroics to lock in his qualifying position. The junior-transfer entered his final throw on the cut line in 12th before increasing his mark to 224-3 (68.36m) to stay in front of two competitors who would have otherwise passed him.
Continuing the success in the field events, Cole Walsh cleared 17-3.75 (5.28m) to take seventh in the pole vault and make his NCAA Championships debut.
Juniors Marcus Chambers and Ben Thiel qualified through the regional meet in individual competition for the second straight year. Thiel posted a season-best time in the 400 hurdles of 51.25 and advanced on time. Chambers was the ninth overall qualifier in the open 400, coming off his second straight Pac-12 Championship in the event. The Tacoma, Wash., native finished in 46.48.
The final day of competition will begin on Saturday with the men’s discus at 9 a.m. CT.