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The Associated Press | March 14, 2015

Oregon leads after Day 1 at the NCAA Indoor championships

  Oregon's Eric Jenkins won the 5,000 meters during Day 1 at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Eric Jenkins won the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 48.36 seconds to help defending national champion Oregon take the lead Friday after the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The Ducks had 32 points, nine more than second-place Arkansas.

Top-ranked Florida was third with 16 points, with senior Marquis Dendy winning his second indoor championship in the long jump with a leap of 27 feet, 2 inches.

Dendy, the Southeastern Conference champion in both the long and triple jumps, won the event two years ago before a shoulder injury limited him to 16th in the long jump last year.

Georgia topped the women’s standings with 14 points. Defending champion Oregon had 13 1/2.

While the top-ranked Arkansas women, who were tied for third with 13 points, are expected to make a strong push for their first national championship during Saturday’s distance events, it was Dendy who helped the Gators surge ahead early Friday.

Florida won three straight titles from 2010-12 before the Arkansas men won in 2013 and Oregon a year ago.

Dendy spent the early part of last season recovering from a torn left labrum and finished 16th at the indoor meet. The frustration from that performance motivated the senior, who hopes to also win the triple jump on Saturday.

“It feels good to come through for my senior year,” Dendy said. “... I told the guys, ‘I want to make up for all the times I didn’t score; I felt like I let you down.’ It feels good, but I’ve got to come back tomorrow with the triple jump.”

His jump came in his second attempt and was the best by an American this year, the second best in the world, and it narrowly topped the final jump of 27-1 3/4 by Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson.

Dendy’s parents promised him a new car if he jumped 27 feet at the national indoor meet two years ago. They lived up to that promise after his leap of 27-2 — a mark he equaled on Friday while hoping to help the Gators to their first national title since his freshman season.

“They don’t want to make any more deals with me this time,” Dendy said. “No more deals; they know I can do things.”

Also in the men’s competition, Akron’s Shawn Barber won the pole vault with an NCAA indoor record of 19-4 3/4.

Wisconsin senior Michael Lihrman won the weight throw with an NCAA indoor record toss of 80-10 1/4.

Oregon capped its strong showing on Friday with a win in the distance-medley relay.

In the heptathlon, Minnesota’s Luca Wieland leads the field with 3.472 points with three events remaining on Saturday. Buffalo’s Mike Morgan is second with 3,372 points.

Georgia’s Leontia Kallenou repeated as champion in the women’s high jump with a personal-best indoor mark of 6-4. She missed on her first two attempts at the height before clearing on her third to hold off Akron senior Claudia Jou Garcia, who finished second after clearing 6-2 3/4.

“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now, two years in a row,” Kallenou said. “... I wanted to come here and improve my personal best, and it makes me happy I didn’t just win on misses but with a (personal best).”

Kearsten Peoples of Missouri won the women’s weight throw with a toss of 74-6 1/4.

Oregon, the five-time defending women’s champion, received 10 points thanks to a win from Jenna Prandini in the long jump. The junior jumped 21-10.

Providence senior Emily Sisson won the 5,000 in 15:32.15, while Arkansas’ distance-medley relay team — anchored by SEC champion Dominque Scott — won with a time of 10:51.89.

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