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NCAA Meet Analysis
By Steve Ritchie - Special to the Statesman Journal
June 12, 2010

NCAA - University of Oregon
EUGENE - The NCAA Meet went out with a bang today. The University of Oregon mens and womens teams did not win, but were in contention until the very end of the meet and left their fans with some wonderful memories.

Jordan Hasay ran a brave race in the 1500 and gutted out a third-place finish for the Ducks. Jordan was the only freshman in the 1500 meter final and will no doubt get better and better as her years at the UO progress.

The men's sweep of the 1500 was an amazing moment. I thought it could happen but wasn't sure what Andrew Wheating would have left in his legs after three tough races and just 16 hours after winning the 800. His feat of winning both is an unbelievable accomplishment, and the fact his teammates A.J. and Matthew crossed the line right with him was big-time icing on the cake for Duck fans. It bodes well for the future of the program. I found it interesting that the three Duck runners all had their own personal strategies going into the race, but all were very committed to try to pull the 1-2-3 off. It had more than crossed their minds - it was their main thought going in. They didn't use team tactics in the race, but were committed to succeeding as a team.

The other highlight for the locals was the unexpected win of the Oregon women's 4x4. Each of the young ladies ran exceptionally well. Keisha Baker's anchor was 50.59 auto timed - good enough to hold off A&M's Jessica Beard, who ran on the US 4x4 in the prelims at the World Championships in Berlin last summer. Baker responded everytime Beard made a move to go past her. It was textbook 4x4 running.

Ashton Eaton gave it a go in the long jump today, warming up, doing run throughs and then taking one jump. His calves were evidently "rock hard" and his coaches were concerned about possible injury. They wisely pulled him from the event. Even with points from him, they still wouldn't have won, so it was obviously the right decision.

Some of the highlights of Day Four at the NCAA Meet:

BEST ANCHOR LEG – The Oregon women didn’t win the team title, but their upset victory in the 4x400 relay had to be sweet. Anchor leg Keisha Baker got the baton just ahead of A&M’s Jessica Beard, who stayed on her shoulder for the last 250 meters. Baker never let her get past and was stronger to the finish by .03 seconds. Until this meet, Baker had always run the second leg on the Ducks’ relay.

BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE – The Texas A&M women’s sprint group scored 62 of their team’s 72 points. With the Oregon women at 57 points, the Aggies didn’t even need the 10 points they scored in other events to win the team title. They were so dominant in the 100, 200 and relays, that it is easy to forget A&M was missing two key athletes due to injury. Hurdler Natasha Ruddock and sprinter-hurdler Gabby Mayo would likely have both scored significant points.

BEST FRESHMAN – Mason Finley of Kansas placed second in both the shot put and the discus throw. His heave of 67-10.25 in the shot was nearly four feet ahead of third place and a very impressive mark for such a young thrower.

BEST TRACK DOUBLE FOR A FEMALE – Lisa Koll of Iowa State won both the 10K and 5K here in impressive fashion. Koll, a senior, looks like she could be the next star in the growing pantheon of American distance running standouts. Her win from the front style reminds one of Pre, as does her feisty comment that “If I was going to win or lose it was going to be a fast race.”

BEST MOMENT FOR THE DUCKS – The 1500 in championship meets is all about tactics – pace, position, kick. The Oregon sweep in this event spoke volumes about the maturity and intelligence of Andrew Wheating, A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz. Their ability to execute so well in a crowded pack made this race one for the ages.

 

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