Eugene, Oregon — Oregon took home the 2017 women's outdoor track and field national title on Saturday at Hayward Field, officially cementing the first ever Triple Crown, as the Ducks won the cross country and indoor track and field titles as well this season.
Oregon last won the outdoor title in 2015, and fell just short to Arkansas last year. This year, they scored 64 points to clinch the title, followed by Georgia (62.2), USC (43), Kentucky (40) and Florida (39).
The team race came down to the wire in the 4x400 relay. The Ducks had to finish first in the race to earn the crown, if not Georgia would have taken home the title.
"We’re getting good at winning by just one point," Oregon's head coach Robert Johnson said. "It should have never ever come down to that... but what a champion’s heart to see her soldier back in a very short period of time to run a hell of a leg in the 4x400… Just a lion’s effort by those girls today."
In a tight race with USC, the Ducks came through, with anchor Raevyn Rogers pushing hard past the finish line and finishing in 3:23.13.
“Before the 4x400, Coach Johnson just sat us down and told us we just needed to do really, really well," Rogers said. "We knew we needed to get those points on the 4x400, but he said he was happy for us either way. This is what we trained for, just to be able to pull it all together was remarkable.”
Oregon’s 4x400 relay win also broke the previous collegiate record set Texas in 2004 when the Longhorns raced in 3:23.75.
In the 3000m steeplechase, Boise State’s Allie Ostrander ran in 9:41.31, which marked the fastest collegiate time this year.
“I was shocked, excited, happy. No matter what the emotion is, if it’s strong I just start crying, so that’s what I did," Ostrander said. "I went over to my parents and saw them and just cried harder. It was just amazing; I was so happy and overjoyed, it made the whole last year so worth it.”
She would later run in the 5k, finishing in fourth place. The freshman scored 15 points total, which is tied for the most from a single Bronco in an outdoor championship since Emma Bates in 2014.
“Even after the steeplechase, I had my moment. I just had to calm it down and say back to business; you have to go get some points for your team," the freshman said. "You have to help this fellow freshman to really race hard in both of our first national 5K race. I just tried to focus forward, and now I’m going to celebrate."
The crazy 200
The 200 meter dash had all of Hayward Field letting out a gasp when Oregon’s Deajah Stevens fell with about 15 meters left in the race.
Florida’s Kyrah Jefferson set a new collegiate record, winning the title in 22.02. Her time was good enough to pass the record LSU’s Dawn Sowell set in 1989.
Rogers big day
Along with coming up huge for her team in the 4x400 relay, the junior won her third straight 800 meter title. She has now won five individual titles, including her indoor wins.
Georgia’s field magic
On Saturday, Georgia’s became the first ever women’s team to win long, triple and high jumps at the same time.
“It’s great, coming here and winning again. It feels great to give the 10 points to my team. The high jumpers did really well too while I was jumping. Overall, I’m really happy with my performance." said junior Keturah Orji, who took first in the triple jump.
Georgia also scored points thanks to senior Kendell Williams’ heptathlon title, which marked her third and seventh overall.
The Bulldogs also broke a field events-only scoring record, previously held by Arizona State. Their 62 points were the highest Georgia has ever totaled at the outdoor champs.
“It means a lot (to score the field points)," Williams said. "On our first day, we were definitely ahead in our point projections, with Beatrice (Llano) going so high. Everyone fought hard. Our high jumpers went 1-2, scoring 10 points for the team. We did the best we could; we are definitely a field event school. It would definitely help if we had runners on the track because it is hard to win a championship with just field events. I think we are very happy with second.”