Indoor track and field: Oregon wins second consecutive national title
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Behind a 1-2-3 finish in the 3,000 meters, the Oregon men's track and field team brought home its second straight NCAA Indoor team title Saturday with 74 points at the Randal Tyson Track Center.
Eric Jenkins followed his win in the 5,000 meters Friday by capturing the 3,000 on Saturday in 7:58.81. Jenkins won with a kick in the homestretch that pushed him past teammate Edward Cheserek, who won the mile earlier in the day. Will Geoghegan was third, giving Oregon 24 team points in the event, after the Ducks entered the event needing 11 to clinch the title over Florida.
"You can't say enough about those guys," UO coach Robert Johnson said. "To be able to finish it off the way they did in the 3k is absolutely outstanding."
The Oregon women saw their streak of team titles end at five, despite exceeding last year's winning total with 46.5 points to trail only host Arkansas. Jenna Prandini followed her long jump title Friday by finishing second in the 200 meters and fourth in the 60 on Saturday; her 23 points made her the high-point scorer in the meet, while Cheserek led male competitors with 20.5, just ahead of Jenkins' 20.
"I think we showed we're scrappy and we can fight," Prandini said. "We're not going to roll over and die when we face competition. I think we did really well at this meet, and we're going to get better as time goes on."
The Men of Oregon led the team race entering Saturday, on the strength of Jenkins' victory in the 5,000 and another in the distance medley relay during Friday's opening session. The Ducks had entrants in only two events Saturday, but it was an historic group — five in the 3,000 meters, matching the meet record, and three more in the mile.
After anchoring the winning DMR a day earlier, Cheserek ran another scalding mile Saturday, winning in 3:57.94. Johnny Gregorek was fourth in 4:04.30, andDaniel Winn was sixth in 4:04.44.
About two hours later, Cheserek was leading the 3,000 until the homestretch, when he appeared to ease up a bit and Jenkins passed him for the win. "This guy's had a hell of a day, let alone weekend," Jenkins said while standing next to Cheserek after the meet. "That mile was something special, something pretty crazy. I knew I had to help the team out."
The trio of Jenkins, Cheserek and Geoghegan became the fourth set of male teammates in the history of the NCAA Indoor meet to sweep the top three spots. Senior Parker Stinson, in his final race for Oregon, finished just off the podium in ninth.