Ducks hunt for NCAA qualifying marks at MPSF Championships
With one last meet remaining for the Ducks to solidify their qualifying times before the NCAA Indoor Championships, Oregon heads back up to Seattle for the MPSF Championships on Friday and Saturday.
In hopes of sending the largest team possible to the championships, hosted at Texas A&M on March 10-11, Oregon’s goal this weekend is for athletes currently on the cusp of qualifying for the championships to boost their marks.
Only the top 16 athletes in the nation will be accepted into each individual event. Even though many Ducks have strong qualifying marks, anything can happen during conference championships. In addition, the top 12 relay teams will be accepted.
The women’s 60-meter will be highly-anticipated as usual with Hannah Cunliffe, Deajah Stevens and Makenzie Dunmore coming off a sweep in the event at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational. However, all eyes will be on Ariana Washington, who finds herself one spot away from a qualifying mark.
On the men’s side, Kyree King will attempt to build on his No. 7 ranking, while Damarcus Simpson, currently ranked 24th, will try to sneak his way into the championships. King will also compete in the 200-meter.
“I’m trying to sneak in for the 60 and get us more points on the big stage,” said Simpson, who has already secured his spot in the long jump with the third-best ranking. “We’re all trying to get a big team at nationals, so that’s the big goal.”
Three Ducks will compete in the women’s 400, including Ashante Horsley, Hannah Waller, and Elexis Guster. Guster is looking to improve her No. 13 ranking.
Marcus Chambers is another athlete on the cusp of a top qualifying mark, ranked No. 21st in the men’s 400-meter.
After taking a weekend hiatus during the meet two weeks ago, Raevyn Rogers is back running the 800-meter with Brooke Feldmeier. Currently ranked 23rd, Feldmeier must hope for a quick time to improve her season best of 2 minutes, 5.49 seconds.
The majority of the women’s cross country team will be racing in the mile. After taking over the NCAA-leading mark in the 3,000-meter two weeks ago, freshman Katie Rainsberger will lead a pack of seven Ducks, including Lilli Burdon, who finds herself on the border of qualifying with a No. 21-ranking.
The men will also be well-represented in the mile with Tim Gorman leading three other Ducks. After breaking 4 minutes in the event at the Husky Classic, Gorman moved himself to the final qualifying spot.
Matthew Maton also ran a sub-four minute mile in the Husky Classic. But for MPSF, he will be running in the 3,000-meter alongside Gorman and redshirt freshman Tanner Anderson.
Alli Cash and Maggie Schmaedick will represent Oregon in the women’s 3,000. Schmaedick will also double in the 5,000.
“Personally, I think MPSF is a good opportunity to put yourself in the championship mindset,” Cash said. “I have a good mark so far in the 3k, but I’m really looking to go out there and just get a good competitive opportunity.”
In the jumps, Chaquinn Cook will look to improve her No. 27- ranking in the triple jump. Ranked at No. 26, Ben Milligan is in a similar situation in the high jump, while Cole Walsh, ranked 15th, barely clings on to his qualifying spot.
Three Oregon throwers, Sebastian Barajas, Ryan Hunter-Simms and T.J. Brassil will participate in the shot put, while Cullen Prena competes in the weight throw. On the women’s side, Ronna Stone will double in the shot put and weight throw, joining Madeline Middlebrooks for the latter.
Both Mitch Modin and Joe Delgado will participate in the heptathlon.
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