SportsTrack & Field

Oregon throwers give Ducks strong start on first day of Pac-12 Championships

Throwers and jumpers stole the show on Saturday as the Oregon track and field team kicked off the Pac-12 Championships at Hayward Field.

The Oregon men’s team finished the first day of competition in first place with 69 points, while the women’s team sat tied for fifth with 24 points.

Oregon senior Cody Danielson started the meet off for the Ducks in the javelin. He finished as the runner-up after hitting a season-best of 238 feet, 11 inches. Despite his finish, the 2016 Pac-12 Champion was not satisfied with the result.

“I wish I would have gotten first,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed, but I tried my best.”

He was the most successful Oregon thrower of the day. In the hammer, freshman Max Lydum placed eighth to score for the Ducks after throwing 189 feet, 8 inches. Ryan Hunter-Simms also scored for Oregon in the shot put. He placed sixth with a distance of 59-08 1/2, a season-best.

“[I’m] Happy with the distance,” Hunter-Simms said. “The next goal is to try to make nationals.”

As for the women throwers, only one managed to earn points for the Ducks. Annie Whitfield placed seventh in the javelin after throwing 147 feet.

Oregon thrower Cody Danielson releases the javelin during the third round of throws. The University of Oregon hosts the PAC 12 Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Some Oregon jumpers were also in action. In the women’s long jump, both Rhesa Foster and Chaquinn Cook scored points for the Ducks. Foster won the event after jumping a personal best of 20 feet, 6 1/2 inches on her second attempt. Cook placed fourth, jumping 19 feet, 3 1/4 inches.

After racing in the qualifying round for the men’s 4×100-meter relay and the 100-meter dash, and qualifying for Sunday’s final in both, Damarcus Simpson participated in the long jump. He won the event, giving the Ducks their first win of the day, after jumping 26 feet, 1 inch. In an effort to give Oregon more points, decathlete Mitch Modin, coming off a Pac-12 win in the event last weekend, also entered in the event and finished eighth.

In the pole vault, Cole Walsh finished as the runner-up. Even though he and the eventual winner, Matthew Eckles of Arizona State, cleared the same height of 16-7 1/2 inches, Eckles had only taken one attempt while Walsh took two. Walsh had the opportunity to win the event after Eckles decided to pass on the next height, but he missed it on all three attempts.

“I was trying to work through some issues with my calves. I couldn’t quite get them loose enough to have a powerful run,” Walsh said.

Two running events held their finals on Saturday, though the majority will be on Sunday. The men’s and women’s steeplechase went first. Freshman Jackson Mestler finished in seventh, crossing the line in 9 minutes, 4.47 seconds, while Frida Berge finished fourth in 10 minutes, 18.46 seconds.

The 10,000-meter came next. The men’s event featured Edward Cheserek who won the race in a time of  29 minutes, 11.76 seconds. Tanner Anderson placed third, crossing the line in 29:21.43.

In the women’s event, Maggie Schmaedick placed seventh in 33 minutes, 56.31 seconds.

The action will continue on Sunday at Hayward Field, beginning 12:45 p.m. with the men’s discus.

Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03

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Hannah Bonnie

Hannah Bonnie