Oregon women win their seventh NCAA indoor title in eight years with record-setting performance
Even before the NCAA Indoor Championships started, the question was not about whether the Oregon women would win, but by how much.
The answer: 33 points. Their total of 84 points shattered the former Division I record of 71 for women’s team points which was previously held by Texas.
While Oregon was nowhere to be seen on the leaderboards as they entered the second day of competition on Saturday evening at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in College Station, Texas, that changed quickly as the Ducks tallied 78 points.
They also produced three individual champions in Hannah Cunliffe (60-meter), Ariana Washington (200m) and Sasha Wallace (60m hurdles).
Even before the final race, the 4×400-meter relay, Oregon had long had the championship in the bag, along with the team score record.
“We came, we saw, we conquered,” Washington, who also claimed a bronze in the 60 meters, said in a trackside interview with ESPN.
It is no secret that Oregon has assembled the best stable of sprinters in the nation this year. They were the only school with three athletes in any sprint event. The sprinters went 1-3-5 in the 60 meters, 1-2 in the 200 meters and 1-8 in the 60 meter-hurdles, picking up 49 points.
If the Oregon sprinters were a team of their own at the NCAAs, they would have finished two points shy of runner-up Georgia. This doesn’t even include Deajah Stevens scoring in the 200-meter final, who was disqualified during the prelim for a lane violation. She had broken the collegiate record before she was removed from the final.
Junior Raevyn Rogers extended her dominance in the 800 meters as she collected her fourth NCAA title over the distance, both indoors and outdoors. Though she entered the meet as the second-ranked athlete, she said that it gave her the underdog feeling to work even more and that she wanted to “win with a really good time.”
Her devastating kick at the bell lap led her to win in a meet record of 2 minutes, 1.09 seconds.
Rogers anchored the 4×400-meter relay. Along with Elexis Guster, Deajah Stevens and Makenzie Dunmore, they beat the previous collegiate record, which was set by another group of Ducks in 2014, with their time of 3:27.07.
However, USC beat them to the line by 0.04 seconds, denying the Ducks the honor of holding another collegiate record.
After anchoring the distance medley team to a bronze yesterday, Katie Rainsberger won her first individual indoor medal with her third place finish in the 3,000 meters. Samantha Nadel was a second behind in fourth and Alli Cash crossed the line in ninth.
With the departure of a huge chunk of talent from last year, most notably hurdler Devon Allen turning pro, the Oregon men had a hard task as they fought to defend their title. Though they were leading by a point entering the final event of the championship, the Ducks were unable to respond as Texas A&M won the 4×400-meter relay, in which Oregon was absent in, and blew past them to win the championship with 46 points. Oregon scored 38 points to place third.
Scoring 28 of those points for the Ducks was senior Edward Cheserek, who continued to build his reputation as the winningest athlete in NCAA history as he brought his total of NCAA titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track accomplishments to 17. Though his attempt at an individual triple (mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters) was derailed in the mile, where he placed second, he came back two hours later and unleashed a kick to propel him to his sixth and final individual indoor title in the 3,000 meters.
Transfer senior Kyree King was the only other male to score on the second day of the championships, finishing sixth in the 60 meters.
This concludes the Ducks’ indoor season. They will kick off their outdoor season on March 30 at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Florida.
View the full results here.
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