We head towards what will probably be the greatest TrackFest in Eugene history, featuring the Pac 12 Championships, Prefontaine Classic, NCAA Championships USATF National Championships and World’s Championships.
The Pac 12 meet will be held May 13-15 in the new Hayward Field which is currently undergoing some modifications for the World’s Championships. Extra bleachers are being added on the open end of the arena, an amazing huge scoreboard has been added and various sections are being modified for the large contingent of press expected in July.
We will see Ducks and former Ducks in all four competitions and both the men and women project to win the Pac 12 conference meet. The men of Oregon have an astonishing 14 Pac-12 meet winning streak, while the women have won 9 of the last 12, though USC has won the past 3 meets.
Expect the men to be challenged by USC, but at this point the men project to win by over 10 points; nonetheless, a small bobble here, or a false start there means the title projects to go down to the wire. The women are heavy 65 point favorites over USC. The projections are based on best performances of the year. For all teams, there will be some adjustments based on the schedule of events and preparing top athletes for the NCAA championships.
While the men expect to garner a good portion of their points in the sprints, this is a very well-balanced squad, with only a few events in which no Ducks are expected to score. Top men to watch are sprinter Micah Williams, who has the best 100 meter time in the collegiate ranks and second best 200 meter time in the conference and Emmanuel Ihemeje who holds the best Triple Jump mark in the country.
Other male Ducks to watch are Reed Brown in the 1500, Will Mundy in the short and long hurdles, Max Vollmer in the decathlon, Ty Hampton in the javelin and the Duck 4×100 relay team should have a wire to wire battle with USC. Conference meets are often won by those who add a few points here and there by finishing in the top 8 in their events, thus an additional 14 men are expected to lead the Ducks to victory. This is a squad that’s currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, a mere 8 points out of first.
The women are a bit of an enigma. While projected to easily win the conference, they are not expected to finish in the top 10 at the NCAA championships in a month. A lot of things can happen in four weeks as athletes peak for the big dance, but at this point only 3 individual athletes and the 4×100 relay team are projected to score at nationals. From a conference standpoint, the women of Oregon are a well-balanced team.
Watch for Kemba Nelson, Jadyn Mays and superfrosh Jasmine Montgomery in the sprints, Aussie Izzy Thornton-Bott in the middle distances, Frenchwoman Shana Grebo in the long hurdles, Pole Anita Konieczek in the steeplechase, Alaysha Hickey and Lexi Ellis in the vertical jumps and Jaida Ross in the shot and discus. An additional dozen women are expected to add to the winning tally as will both relay teams.
Get out to Hayward and support our Track Teams!
Top Photo by Oregon Track Twitter
Bruce is a reformed USC grad, class of 1972. Bruce competed as a middle distance and cross country runner in college and also coached track and field briefly. He is now competing in Masters races, and is undefeated in his age category in the 5K over the last two seasons.
Bruce is rather obsessed with track and field and travels both countrywide and worldwide to attend meets. Bruce is a proud resident of Tracktown USA, a status that makes his track fan friends around the world green with envy.
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