Courtesy: UO Athletics
The women's distance medley relay squad won the NCAA title with the fourth-fastest time in collegiate history while the men placed third in the DMR to headline the first day of the NCAA Indoor Championships for the Oregon track and field teams on Friday at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
The quartet of Jessica Hull, Venessa D'Arpino, Susan Ejore and Lilli Burdon finished the DMR in 10:51.99, just .03 seconds ahead of second-place Stanford, to claim the first women's DMR national title in program history and put up 10 team points for the Women of Oregon.
How it Happened: Hull gave the Ducks the lead right off the bat with a 3:19.97 split on the 1,200 meter leg, and D'Arpino kept pace over 400 meters to put Oregon in second as she handed to Ejore. Ejore ran a 2:04.19 split on the 800 meter portion and passed to Burdon with the Ducks neck-and-neck with Stanford entering the final leg. Burdon blazed through the final mile in 4:33.67 and staved off Stanford down the final stretch to secure the national title for the Ducks in the final event of the day.
Oregon's winning time of 10:51.99 is No. 4 all-time in collegiate history and second-best all-time at UO.
"I believed in myself the whole way and we have all been working well together in practice, so I knew we could do it," said Burdon. "I'm really happy with how we all ran today and I'm just so proud of us."
The Men of Oregon took third in the distance medley relay as the squad of Blake Haney, Cameron Stone, Mick Stanovsek and James West crossed in 9:31.45 to score six team points. Haney and Stone kept pace through the first two legs to put the Ducks in third, and Stanovsek pulled UO into second after his 800 meters. West ran 3:57.98 over the last mile to help Oregon finish third, behind Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
"I think it's a really easy argument to make that we're one of the best middle-distance programs in the country with all the sub-4 (minute mile) guys we have," Stanovsek said. "Obviously we wanted to win so coming away with third is a little bittersweet, but we all ran our hardest and I'm proud of how we performed."
Redshirt senior Sabrina Southerland continued Oregon's dominance in the women's 800 meters with her first national title on Saturday as the UO track and field teams wrapped up the NCAA Indoor Championships at Gilliam Indoor Stadium.
The Women of Oregon finished fifth in the team race with 31 points, one point shy of earning a trophy, while the Men of Oregon tied for 13th with 16 points.
"I like the way we battled," said head coach Robert Johnson. "I like that when it was dark, dim and gloomy, we stuck to our guns and battled. We had an outstanding final day; the girls did really well and I'm very proud of them for that, and the guys did as well. I'm most proud of the way that they competed, even though we were a little short of our goal."
How it Happened: Southerland, who ranked 16th in the nation in the 800 meters entering the meet, used a tremendous kick over the final lap to win the national title in a huge lifetime-best of 2:01.55.
"Sabrina has been a really big bright spot for us this year as a transfer," said Johnson. "To see her grow every day, it's like seeing one of your children grow up. Really proud of her to go from barely getting in to becoming the national champion."
Southerland continued the Ducks' recent championship history in the event with the third straight indoor 800 meter title for the UO women and the fourth in the last five years, carrying on the winning tradition set by Bowerman winners Raevyn Rogers (2016, 2017) and Laura Roesler (2014). Including outdoors, the Women of Oregon have won the past six national titles in the 800 meters.
"I have no words," said Southerland. "I just saw a spot and was like, 'I can go," and then I just made a definitive move and went for it and at the straightaway was like, 'I'm not letting go.'
"It's just been a long time. I've come to this meet my freshman, sophomore and junior years and never even made the final. I had some pretty big shoes to fill after Raevyn, and I was just trying to do my best to follow in her footsteps and do the best I could. I'm so happy."