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U.S. TRACK & FIELD

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NCAA DAY FOUR
Wins By Fleet, Crouser and Allen Carry Ducks to NCAA Championship
NCAA DAY THREE
NCAA DAY TWO
NCAA DAY ONE
Oregon Seeking First Outdoor Title in Nearly Three Decades at NCAA Track & Field Championships
High Profile Upsets Rule the Day at the Pre Classic
OSU Track & Field Shows Signs of Growth at High Performance Meet
Ducks Roll on Throwback Saturday at Hayward Field
Oregon Preview - Ducks Open Outdoor Track Season Still On a High from Indoor Championships


Ducks off to a flying start at Oregon Preview
By Steve Ritchie
March 20, 2010

Jordan McNamara
EUGENE - It wasn't the PAC-10 championships or the NCAA meet, just the Oregon Preview, an icebreaker for UO and many other local college teams, but a little bit of a big meet feel crept into the meet at Hayward Field today.

Like when Jordan McNamara kicked on the homestretch passing an OTC Elite runner to win the 3,000 meters in an eye-opening time of 7:53. McNamara is a guy Duck fans have been pining for, hoping to see him take his place with Wheating, Centrowitz, Acosta, etc. the past three years, and it looks like he finally might show what he is capable of in 2010. If healthy, he has the kind of talent that could make him a threat to score in the 1500 or the 5000 at the NCAA meet in June. The smile on his face at the end of the race was bright as the Oregon sun on this SoCal kind of day.

Zoe Buckman had her moment in the sun today, too. Buckman is a student-athlete from Australia and has had some good days as a Duck, but has also turned in a few head-scratchingly poor performances. In the 1500 meters she benefitted from a perfect pace set by OTC Elite runner Sally Kipyego, one of the greatest collegian distance runners ever. Buckman couldn't match Kipyego's finishing kick, but she hung close for most of the race and recorded a surprising time of 4:12 and change - good for 4th all-time on the UO list. Like McNamara, Buckman could make some noise at the NCAAs and might just be be the difference in a close team race.

OTC Elite runners, Sally Kipyego, Geena Gall and Jemma Simpson

What else? It was cool to see Amber Purvis run the 400 for just the second time outdoors as a Duck. She blew the other runners away in a seemingly effortless performance. Her 53.96 broke the meet record and will also move her up the UO list, but it really looked like sub-53 or even sub-52 is not far off for this impressive sprinter, should she and her coaches choose to move her up in distance more often.

Perhaps the most encouraging of all for Oregon fans was the demonstration by Matt Centrowitz that he is back to 100% just in time for the outdoor season. Centro cooled his heels in the pack during a slow-to-middlin' 1500 pace, then shot to the lead and held it for the win with a 54-second last lap. Running against several accomplished OTC Elite runners, notably Christian Smith and Pete Phifer, Centrowitz looked as good as he did before suffering a stress fracture last spring at the worst possible time
- in the prelims at the NCAA meet.

If today was any indication, it should be a great season at Hayward for local track fans. The expectations for a national championship - or two - are there, and Buckman, Centrowitz, McNamara and Purvis showed these hopes are realistic. What a ride it should be, capped by the NCAA Championships at Hayward in early June. I was there for the last title the UO won at home in 1984 and it was amazing. It could happen again in 2010!

Check back soon for more thoughts, analysis and athlete quotes.

 

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