Oregon’s men place 2nd in NCAA Track and Field Championships; pick up 3 individual titles

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It was a good day for the Oregon men’s track team on Friday, though not quite as good as they hoped. The Ducks fell short of their ultimate goal of winning the NCAA Track and Field Championship, coming in second place behind LSU, but they did pick up three individual titles, continuing the excellence of track in Eugene.

Ironically, it was the second time in less than a week that the Ducks were bested by LSU, with the first coming on Monday night on the baseball diamond at the Eugene regional.

Middle-distance runner Cole Hocker started things off for Oregon, taking home the title in the 1,500 and continuing his reign over that distance. Hocker won the mile at the indoor championship and ran a personal record 3:35.35 to take home the trophy on Friday.

Inside of the track, Emmanuel Ihemeje was dominating the field and proving that he is among the best triple-jumpers that the Ducks have ever had. Ihemeje jumped 56 feet, 2 3/4 inches on his very first attempt, a distance that would stand at the very top until the end of the competition.

Ihemeje won Oregon’s first indoor triple-jump championship earlier this year, and now he holds the Ducks’ first outdoor title in that competition as well. Competing at the new and improved Hayward Field might have played a small part in the victory.

“Man, it’s such an amazing vibe and emotion in this new Hayward Field,” Ihemeje said, via The Register-Guard‘s Chris Hansen. “This is my biggest experience and doing a competition like an NCAA finals at home is such a pleasure for me and honor. I had to do my best to entertain the fans. … I hope they enjoyed the show.”

Another runner who was carried around the Bowerman Curve and spurred onto victory by the roars of Hayward Field was long-distance runner Cooper Teare. The Oregon senior used an incredible kick in the final 200 meters that saw him win the fastest 5,000-meter race in NCAA history, finishing in 13 minutes 12.27 seconds.

In all, the Ducks scored 53 team points in the competition, second only to LSU’s dominant 84 points.

The weekend of festivities is not yet over, with the women’s track team hoping to snag a spot on the podium as competition wraps up. Field events and the heptathlon will be streamed on ESPN3. Action on the track can be seen on ESPNU beginning at 3 p.m.

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