SEATTLE, Wash. – Elijah Greer ran the fastest men’s 800 meters in the nation this season, while the Oregon women won the 60, 400, 800 and 3,000 meters and the 4x400 meter relay to claim their third Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in the last four years Saturday at the Dempsey Indoor Facility.
“We competed really well,” said head coach Robert Johnson. “There were lots of highlights, lots of personal bests.
“I’m very pleased with how our student-athletes showed up and performed today. We’re gearing up for the NCAA Championships and we got a lot of things accomplished this weekend.”
The women won with 112 points, easily ahead of second place Arizona State’s 96, as the Ducks added the 2013 crown to go along with MPSF wins in 2010 and 2011.
While the women’s win was the team story, the race of the day may have been the men’s 800 meters where Greer and teammate Boru Guyota got out ahead of the pack early and worked together throughout the race for an easy 1-2 finish. More impressively, Greer, a junior from Lake Oswego, Calif., ran the fastest 800 meters in the nation this season, breaking the meet record in an indoor personal best 1:46.73. Guyota, a junior from Portland, Ore., was right behind in an all-conditions personal best 1:47.42.
Greer broke the 1999 MPSF meet record of 1:47.07 set by Olympian Bernard Lagat of Washington State. His time was the second fastest ever run at Oregon, trailing only another Olympian, Andrew Wheating who ran 1:46.36 in 2010. Guyota’s time moved him to No. 3 on the Ducks’ indoor list and was the third fastest in the NCAA this season.
“That was a great win by Elijah and huge PR for Boru,” said Johnson. “And they both looked good doing it.”
The second-ranked Oregon women gathered up points in bunches the final three hours of the meet with five straight event wins.
Phyllis Francis was dominant in winning the 400 in an MPSF meet and Dempsey Indoor Facility record 52.03. Leading wire to wire, Francis found an extra gear coming out of the final turn and left the remainder of the field far behind. She crossed the tape 15 meters ahead of her nearest competition.
Francis obliterated the previous meet and Dempey records by more than a second. Former Duck Keshia Baker, running for Saucony, had set the facility record of 53.15 earlier this month. More impressively, Francis took down the 20 year-old MPSF meet record of 53.28, set by Nevada-Las Vegas’s Crystal Irving in 1993.
Francis’s time was the second fastest in the NCAA this season, trailing only the 51.67 run by Regina George of Arkansas. It was also the second fastest indoor 400 ever at Oregon. The junior from Queens, N.Y., moved just behind Baker’s school record of 51.63.
In the heat prior to Francis’ big run, Chizoba Okodogbe was nearly as impressive in winning her 400 section. The junior from Antioch, Calif., easily won in a personal best 53.74. That was the third fastest time overall on Saturday, giving Oregon a combined 16 points in the event, and also moved her to No. 3 on the Ducks’ indoor list.
Then the women collected 18 points in the 60 meters when English Gardner and freshman Jenna Prandini finished 1-2. Gardner got out quick to win easily in 7.24, while Prandini hung on for second in 7.34.
It was another 14 points for the Ducks in the 800 meters.
Senior Anne Kesselring pulled away on the final lap to easily win in a season-best 2:05.29. That was the 10th fastest time in the nation this season. Senior Becca Friday finished fifth in 2:07.21.
Oregon made it four consecutive wins when Alexi Pappas won the 3,000 meters in a personal best 9:07.97. Unlike the sprinters who led wire-to-wire, Pappas came back from a deep hole early to win going away. Pappas trailed Washington’s Megan Goethals and Christine Babcock by 40 meters at one point, but the senior transfer from Dartmouth slowly closed the gap before passing the Husky duo with one lap remaining.
Pappas’ time was the third fastest in school history and No. 12 in the nation this season.
Senior Katie Conlon was fifth in that race for Oregon in 9:18.91.
The Ducks then capped their commanding day in style with another wire-to-wire victory in the 4x400 meter relay. Gardner, Laura Roesler, Okodogbe and Francis times 3:34.67 to hold off ASU, which ran 3:35.17.
The women also got points from Chancey Summers in the high jump, Megan Patrignelli and Sarah Penney in the mile and Alyssa Monteverde in the 60 meter hurdles.
Summers, a sophomore from Eagle Creek, Ore., cleared an indoor PR of 5-11.25/1.81m in the high jump. That was the third best clearance on UO indoor list.
Patrignelli and Penney both ran PRs in the mile. Patrignelli took third in 4:45.44, with Penney fourth in 4:45.60.
Monteverde placed sixth in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.63.
The men finished second with 102 points. ASU won the men’s title with 125.5 points.
In addition to Greer, the men also saw victories from Dakotah Keys in the heptathlon and Johnathan Cabral in the 60 meter hurdles.
Keys had three PRs on Saturday to win the heptathlon with 5,753 points. That was the third best score in school history and moved the sophomore from Sweet Home, Ore., to seventh nationally in 2013, all assuring that Keys will be going to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time in his career.
Keys ran 8.32 in the 60 meter hurdles, tied a PR at 16-0.75/4.90m in the pole vault and finished with a time of 2:40.63 in the 1,000 meters.
Freshman Blake Kemp placed third in the heptathlon with 5,394 points. He had PRs in the 60 hurdles (8.32) and 1,000 meters (2:43.49).
In the men’s 60 meter hurdles, Johnathan Cabral was quick out of the blocks and was the first runner to reach the barriers. He was clean through all the hurdles and then had to learn hard at the finish line to edge Ray Stewart of California by one-hundredth of a second. Cabral, a sophomore from Calabasas, Calif., won in 7.77 with Stewart following in 7.78.
Junior Mike Berry easily won the men’s 400 meters in 46.86. Sophomore Jack Galpin won his 400 meter heat in an indoor personal best 48.15 That time was sixth overall.
Berry and Galpin then combined to push the Ducks to victory in the 4x400 meter relay in 3:10.34. Galpin had the Ducks third on the first leg and Arthur Delaney moved Oregon into second at the end of the next leg. Greer then edged Oregon in front 30 meters before handing off to Berry, who cruised to the win.
Also for the men, Matt Miner and Jeramy Elkaim joined Oregon’s 4:00 mile club. Miner finished third in 3:59.01, while Elkaim took fourth in 3:59.18. They are the 10th and 11th Ducks to run 4:00 miles indoors, and the third and fourth to do it this season.
Sophomore Sam Crouser finished fifth in the shot put with a throw of 55-8.25/16.97m.
Football players Dior Mathis and B.J. Kelley tied for sixth in the 60 meters in 6.90.
“There were so many standout performances today,” said Johnson. “From the mile and the 60s to the 400s and the 800s, the 3,000 and then the relays,” said Johnson. “The guys in the multis did a great job with PRs too. It was a good weekend for the Ducks.”