Women’s track and field team wins NCAA outdoor championships to complete triple crown
The Oregon women’s team made history on Saturday, the final day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. With a final score of 64 points, Oregon edged out Georgia by 1.8 points. It came down to the last event because of a mishap in the 200-meter final.
Oregon became the first women’s team to win the triple crown — an NCAA title in cross country, indoor and outdoor.
After finishing as the runner-up in the 100-meter, Deajah Stevens seemed like she was going to win the 200. She had been locked in a battle with Florida’s Kyra Jefferson, but just when Stevens looked as if she was about to edge her out, she tumbled to the ground. She received a DNF.
She lied in a crumpled heap as the rest of the competitors, including teammate Ariana Washington, ran past her. Washington finished in second before returning to the track to help up her fallen teammate.
“It’s always hard when you see somebody go down like that,” Washington said. “My heart hurts so bad for her. When I saw her fall during the race, my first instinct was to turn around and go get her.”
Because she was helped up, Stevens was disqualified from the race, a technicality which would end up helping the Ducks later in the meet.
“It was frustrating, and it was upsetting,” Stevens said. “But, I was able to get over it quickly and know that I had to go out there and do what I needed to do.”
Stevens was able to redeem herself in the 4×400 relay. Oregon needed to win the event to win the whole competition. If the relay team had finished second, Oregon would have lost by .02 points.
After Makenzie Dunmore started the relay off for the Ducks, Deajah Stevens ran the second leg, bringing the Ducks into a battle with USC. Elexis Guster ended up finishing the third leg in first place, but USC wasn’t far behind.
It came down to Raevyn Rogers, who had just become the first woman to win her fifth NCAA title in the 800-meter. She and USC’s Kendall Ellis fought for first for the entirety of the race, but it was Rogers who ended up as the victor. Oregon finished in a collegiate record-breaking time of 3 minutes 23.13 seconds, just 0.2 seconds before USC.
But Oregon’s celebration would have to wait since Georgia decided to make two protests. It argued that Stevens should not have been in the relay in the first place because it was originally announced that Stevens had been given a DNF as opposed to a disqualification. Because Washington had helped her, Stevens was given a disqualification instead, allowing her to compete in the relay.
Georgia then argued that Oregon had impeded USC during the 4×400 relay, but this was found to be false.
When the protests were refuted, the Ducks began to celebrate once again, refusing to allow the pouring rain and hail dampen their spirits.
“When they prepared us for this meet, our sports psychologist told us about American Pharaoh,” Rogers said referring the Triple Crown-winning racehorse. “She saw a commercial about American Pharaoh and how he had the biggest heart out of the other horses, so we wanted to go into NCAAs with a big heart.”
Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03
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