Ducks hope for another successful indoor track and field season
Coming off a season during which both the men’s and women’s track and field teams took home the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championship title, Oregon will begin the 2017 indoor season with high hopes and expectations.
The women’s team holds a preseason ranking of first nationally, while the men rank second, according to rankings from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men trail Florida, despite the Gator’s seventh place finish at last year’s championships. Florida also began the 2016 season ranked first.
The Ducks’ 2017 schedule is very similar to last year’s; however instead of competing at the Razorback Invitational, where the Ducks racked up nine event wins and three school records last season, Oregon will travel to Seattle for the Washington Invitational and to New York for the Columbia East-West Challenge.
Oregon’s season begins on Jan. 14 with a trip to Seattle where the team will face off against two other Pac-12 schools; Washington State and Washington. The Huskies’ men’s teams ranks 25th while women’s team ranks 19th nationally.
Then, part of the Oregon squad will travel back to Seattle for the Washington Invitational on Jan. 27, while the others will compete at the Columbia East-West Challenge, where the Ducks will meet fellow Pac-12 competitor USC. Even though Cornell’s men’s team holds a preseason ranking of 15th nationally, USC will be the Ducks’ main competition. The Trojan men’s team is ranked sixth, while the women’s team finds itself bearing down on Oregon at fourth.
That will not be the final time the Ducks will make an appearance in Seattle. On Feb. 10 and 11, the team will split again as part of the team will compete at the Husky Classic while others will travel down to Albuquerque where they will compete at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational hosted by the University of New Mexico, concluding Oregon’s pre-championship meets.
On Feb. 24 and 25, the team will once again travel to Seattle for the final time to compete in the MPSF Indoor Championships, a meet which the women’s team won last season. The MPSF, or the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, was established to give competition to schools in the Big West, Pac-12, and West Coast Conferences. The championship will be comprised of all the Pac-12 schools and seven other schools in smaller northwestern conferences.
The MPSF Indoor Championships is an important last tune-up for the Ducks before the NCAA Championships, which will take place on March 11th and 12th at Texas A&M. The men’s team hopes to defend their 3-year title streak, while the women hope to establish a streak of their own.
Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03