FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Oregon women got eight points from Jordan Hasay and Alexi Pappas in the 5,000 meters and were perfect in qualifying rounds Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The women also got a point from the eighth-place distance medley relay team, but were hoping for a bit more in the event.
Meanwhile, the men saw a record-setting run from Mike Berry in the 400 meters and also advanced runners in the 800 meters and the 60 meter hurdles.
“I’m not sure how happy we are because you always want to maximize your opportunities to score points,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “At the same time, we got some people through that we didn’t expect and we always say there is no good day two without a good day one.
“We’ll come out ready tomorrow to fight for as many points as we can.”
The women stood 11th with nine points Friday. Kansas led with 20. Arkansas scored 30 day one points and was threatening to run away with the men’s race.
In the women’s scoring events on Friday, Hasay set a school record in finishing fourth in the 5,000 meters in 15:40.30. The senior from Arroyo Grande, Calif., lowered Alex Kosinski’s previous mark of 15:44.60 by more than :04 in scoring five points toward the team race. Senior Alexi Pappas was sixth in that race in 15:47.13 – the third best time in school history – for another three points.
“More than anything, I just wanted to contribute to the team score,” said Pappas. “I had fun out there.”
The Ducks distance medley relay of Annie Leblanc, Chizoba Okodogbe, Becca Friday and Anne Kesselring also ran a season best 11:02.15.
“In my four years if there’s one thing I’ve learned, the form chart doesn’t mean anything,” said Hasay. “We’ve just got to get ready and bring it tomorrow.”
In preliminary action, English Gardner made it look easy with a win in her semifinal heat of the 60 meters. The sophomore from Voorhees, N.J., was first out of the blocks and won with room to spare in a season best 7.15. That was just .03 off the school record she set at the NCAA meet a year ago.
Just as impressive, freshman Jenna Prandini ran a 7.29 in her 60 meter heat to finish fourth and advanced based on time to Saturday’s final. The Clovis, Calif., native came into the meet seeded 12th, but ran the third fastest time in school history to make the final.
The women were also successful in the mile with both Kesselring and Friday advancing. Kesselring placed second in 4:37.67, with Friday closing hard for third in 4:37.80.
Phyllis Francis escaped a sticky situation on the final lap of the 400 meters by deftly avoiding a collision between two runners in front of her. Francis was about to make her move when Courtney Okolo of Texas and Ibukun Mayungbe of Texas A&M clipped heels and stumbled. Francis had to pause and let the runners clear her path before accelerating through them.
The junior from Queens, N.Y., then the presence of mind to chase down Erika Rucker of South Carolina and win her heat. Otherwise she would not have advanced to the final.
For the men, Berry broke his own school record in the 400 meters – set at this meet a year ago – by finishing second in his heat in 45.54. The junior from Seattle, Wash., trailed only Deon Lendore of Texas A&M – the national leader in the event, who won heat one in 45.36, as both runners advanced to Saturday’s final.
After a relatively slow first three laps, Elijah Greer dropped the hammer on the final lap of the 800 meters to surge to the front and win his heat in 1:48.13.
Boru Guyota also captured his 800 heat to advance. Guyota was tucked into second for much of the race before making a move along the backstretch. He leaned at the line to win in 1:48.84, edging Patrick Rono of Arkansas who was second in 1:48.91.
Johnathan Cabral ran a hard race in the 60 meters hurdles and advanced to Saturday’s final by the thinnest of margins - .002. The sophomore from Calabasas, Calif., was fifth in his heat in a personal best 7.73 seconds after a strong lean at the tape paid off. That time was tied with Jordan Mullen of Iowa for the last spot for the final, but Cabral advanced on the tie-breaker to the thousandth of a second.
The time was also the second fastest 60 hurdles in school history.
Dakotah Keys had a heptathlon personal best clearance at 6-7.5/2.02m in the high jump which led him to a first day PR score of 3,187 points. The junior from Sweet Home, Ore., stood eighth following the first day of competition.
“I feel pretty good,” said Keys, who needed three attempts to get over the bar at 6-4 before moving on. “I think I’m on a little bit of a roll heading into the second day. It feels good coming off that high jump.”
He just missed a PR in the 60 meters, running 7.14. He was also just shy of a PR in the long jump as he went 23-7.5/7.20m on his second attempt.
Keys neared another PR in the shot put with a best throw of 42-9.5/13.04m.
His PRs in those three events are 7.13, 23-11.75 and 42-11.5, respectively.
In Oregon’s lone men’s final on Friday, sophomore Jeramy Elkaim placed 13th in the 5,000 meters in 14:08.42.
None of the three Ducks were able to advance in the men’s mile. In heat two, Mac Fleet was fifth in 4:02.18 and missed advancing automatically by just .05. Brett Johnson took sixth in 4:04.11 and Matt Miner was eighth in 4:06.77.
The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships continue Saturday at 9 a.m. Pacific.