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Micah Williams opened the 2022 indoor season the same way he ended 2021.
The Oregon sprinter dashed to a 60-meter win Saturday afternoon during the Cougar Classic Invitational track and field meet at The Podium in Spokane, making him one of 10 winners for the Ducks in their first competition of the season.
Williams crossed in 6.48 seconds, breaking his own school record of 6.49 set last March when he won the NCAA Indoor Track & Field title.
Oregon had two other reigning national champions in action on Saturday, and like Williams, both came away with victories.
Women’s sprinter Kemba Nelson won her 60 in a photo finish with Destiny Smith-Barnett as they came across the finish line in 7.181 and 7.186, respectively.
Two-time NCAA triple jump champion Emmanuel Ihemeje, entered in the long jump for the first time in his career, went 23 feet, 10 3/4 inches for the win. Lane Community College transfer Jonah Tactay was third in his Oregon debut at 22-11 3/4. Tactay was bumped from second place when Eastern Washington’s Bobby Say went 23-3/4 on the final jump of the competition.
Freshman Shana Grebo won the women’s 60 hurdles in 8.51 to become Oregon’s No. 10 all-time performer.
DJ Henderson won the triple jump with a mark of 50-3 1/2.
Sprinters Iman Brown, Jadyn Mays and Jasmine Montgomery all had two top-five finishes, as Brown won the 200 (23.65) and was fifth in the 60 (7.39); Mays was second in the 200 (23.82) and third in the 60 (7.27); and Montgomery was fourth in both as she ran 7.35 in the 60 and 23.94 in the 200.
Rieker Daniel won the men's 200 in 21.22 and was also fourth in the 60 in 6.81.
Oregon's other two winners were Jaida Ross in the women's shot put, who moved into No. 6 all-time at Oregon with a mark of 51-10, and Tori Sloan in the women's high jump with a clearance of 5-8.
Mason Strunk kicked off his season in impressive fashion Friday night, as the second-year freshman won the men’s weight throw with a PR of 65-9 3/4.
That mark only strengthened Strunk’s hold as the Ducks’ No. 4 all-time performer. His throw was the best at Oregon since 2016, the season Greg Skipper set the school record at 73-11 3/4. Strunk also became just the fourth Oregon thrower to surpass the 20-meter mark (20.06).
Strunk also finished third in the shot put Saturday with a mark of 54-04.
Hunter begins with victory in the mile
Charlie Hunter opened his professional career by winning the men’s mile in a meet record 4:00.86 during the Ted Nelson Invitational in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.
The former Duck and 2021 NCAA indoor 800 champion announced he was leaving Oregon in December and signed with Union Athletics Club in Portland, a group coached by Pete Julian that includes several members of the former Oregon Nike Project.
Hunter also finished third in the 800 Saturday in 1:48.29.
Former Duck Jessica Hull, also a member of UTC, was second in the 3,000 in 8:39.79.
Blankenship gets win in Seattle
Ben Blankenship of Eugene’s Oregon Track Club Elite’s won the men’s 3,000 during the UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor in Seattle on Saturday.
Blankenship finished in 7:45.92. Former Ducks Sam Prakel (7:46.06) and John Gregorek (7:46.18) were second and third, respectively.
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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Scorching opener for Oregon sprinter Micah Williams, who sets another school record