When spring in Oregon starts to come around you can smell it in the air, and for anyone who has ran track in the state of Oregon, it’s a smell that instantly brings you back to the track. Yesterday at Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson, AZ the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships began and both the men’s and women’s Oregon teams are looking for the top spot.
While some have projected a 2nd place finish for the Ducks, the men’s team is aiming for its 5th straight title, and they are looking to some key players to rack up the points. A.J. Acosta has entered the 1,500, 5,000 and steeplechase again this year hoping to repeat last year’s performance, where he placed in each event. Then there’s Steve Finley, a senior transfer for the Ducks, and the expectation is that Finley will be a major contributor with his performance in the steeplechase. Finley clocked the best college-level steeplechase time earlier this year at 8 minutes 36.98 seconds. The Register Guard has predicted that this will be an extremely tight race, so the Ducks will need every point they can get. The team will be missing Travis Thompson (800, 4×400 relay), Mac Fleet (1,500), Sam Crouser (javelin) and Dakotah Keys (decathlon) due to injury.
The two-time defending champion Oregon women’s team enjoyed 1st place projections going into this weekend’s meet. Their strongest events will come in sprinting and distance events. Amber Purvis and English Gardner are two of the fastest sprinters in school history and expected to shine. They will go head-to-head this meet in the 100 and 200. Jordan Hasay is on the 5,000 entry list and currently holds the conference’s best time by a staggering 23 seconds but she may only be used in the 1,500 this meet.
Track Town USA has sent its best to Tucson and will be anxiously awaiting the outcome. The meet ends tomorrow evening so check back for updates of the two-day event.
You can also find live updates of the Pac-10 Track & Field Championship here