EUGENE, Ore. – Three former Ducks returned to Hayward Field and earned victories on Friday in the Oregon Twilight meet.
Olympian Matthew Cenrowitz won the 800 meters in 1:47.95.
“Anytime you get a win, it's a good race,” said Centrowitz, now competing for the Nike Oregon Project. “I definitely competed well, but I'd like to come away with a stronger race.
“Coming back where I used to run makes it that much more special. I think I took it for granted when I was going to school here.”
Britney Henry, now competing for ASTF, won the women’s hammer with a throw of 223-1/68.00m. Oregon’s Jillian Weir took second in that event with a personal best throw of 197-3/60.13m that was the third best in school history.
“As the years have progressed, it’s awesome to come back to Eugene,” said Henry, an All-American for the Ducks in 2006-07. “The crowd still knows me and it’s nice to escape San Diego for a little bit.”
Galen Rupp, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 10,000 meters, took the men’s 3,000 meters in 7:46.34, with fellow UO alum Luke Puskedra fourth in 7:59.33.
Two of Oregon’s pole vaulters set personal bests and all four Duck vaulters cleared set seasonal bests on a day of highlights before a sun-drenched 5,244 fans Friday at the Oregon Twilight.
“This is one of my favorite events with the kids' half lap, the middle school mile, and the last races for the seniors,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “I have to admit I got a little emotional when they were listing off all of the girls’ accomplishments.”
On a night were Oregon honored its 19 seniors before an appreciative Historic Hayward Field, the Ducks were particularly impressive in both pole vaults.
Sammie Clark set a personal best in winning the women’s pole vault with a clearance at 13-6.25/4.12m. Not only was that a one inch improvement for the junior from North Bend, Ore., but she also moved up to a tie for fifth on Oregon’s all-time list.
“The conditions were perfect, definitely the best all year,” said Clark. “I didn’t want the scene to go away. The fans were great, too.
“I definitely had a rough start (to the season) because I no-heighted my first three meets but that only inspired me. I’m excited about the future.”
The Duck men went 1-2 in their competition. Matt Hidalgo won after a third attempt clearance at 17-0.25/5.20m. The freshman from Banks, Ore., set a personal best by five inches.
“It felt amazing,” said Hidalgo, who became the first Duck to clear 17-0 since 2010 (Colin Witter-Tilton). “It’s always fun to jump well.
Teammate Austin Ouderkirk was second in the pole vault at 16-8.75/5.10m, as the senior from Newport, Ore., set a seasonal best in his final appearance at Historic Hayward Field. Even senior decathlete Kevin Godfrey got in on the act with a seasonal best clearance at 15-5/4.70m that was good for fifth.
“The conditions were perfect; 70 degrees, tail-wind, sunny,” said Ouderkirk. “It was a dream. It is always amazing to jump here at Hayward. There is definitely some Hayward magic. The fans were great, they know a lot.”
Liz Brenner continued to improve in the women’s javelin. The freshman from Portland, Ore., finally bettered her high school best of 155-11 in winning with a mark of 157-10/48.11m. That was the eighth best throw in school history.
“I’m getting into a better flow,” said Brenner. “I’ve been able to go to more practices and meets, which is good. I’m still using a short approach and probably will keep using it until next year. I’m just getting as many reps as possible.
“I’m glad I beat my high school PR. The more I do this event the better I’ll be. I am focused and excited I might get to score some points for the Ducks.”
Sam Crouser was just as impressive in the men’s javelin, winning with a seasonal-best throw of 249-10/76.15m. That was the third-best throw in the NCAA this season.
"I’m pretty pleased with them, especially with this wind,” said the sophomore from Gresham, Ore. “Practice carried over to the meet, so I was really happy with that.
“I was working on the flight today and keeping it low in the wind. I was a lot more consistent today than I have been, so I was pretty happy with today.”
Also in the javelin, former Duck Cyrus Hostetler, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, took second in his 2013 debut with a throw of 245-10/74.93m. Current UO thrower Ethan Powell, a junior from Tenmile, Ore., took fourth in the event with a seasonal-best throw of 216-7/66.01m.
Oregon earned a victory in the men’s hammer with Greg Skipper winning at 213-11/65.20m.
The Ducks swept the two 4x100 meter relays. The men’s team of Dior Mathis, Arthur Delaney, B.J. Kelley and Mike Berry just missed a seasonal best with a win in 40.26. The team of Phyllis Francis, English Gardner, Jenna Prandini and Chizoba Okodogbe won the women’s race in 44.34.
Defending Pac-12 champion Johnathan Cabral was a winner in the men’s 110 meter hurdles in 13.63 in his final race before the conference meet.
Senior Maggie Pietka walked off a winner in her final meet at Historic Hayward Field. The senior from Vancouver, Wash., won the triple jump with a leap of 38-2.25/11.64m.
Duck football player Dior Mathis captured the men’s 100 meters in 10.70, with fellow football player B.J. Kelley second 10.85.
Caleb Kruse was the winner of the men’s triple jump in 46-4/14.12m.
In the men’s high jump, freshman Bradley Laubacher set a personal best in a runner up finish, clearing 6-11/2.11m.
The Ducks will compete in the Pac-12 Championships next weekend in Los Angeles.