The 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships got off to a good start Wednesday afternoon at Hayward Field, with most of the action dedicated to the multi-events and the men’s field competition.
The highlight for Oregon was the two individual titles won by Edward Cheserek and Sam Crouser, helping the Ducks in their quest to become repeat champions.
Cheserek and Eric Jenkins finished 1-2 in the men’s 10,000, scoring an important 18 points. The two were able to finally separate from the field with a lap and a half to go. Cheserek finished in 28:58.92, claiming his seventh individual title.
“It wasn’t too tough of a race,” Jenkins said. “Always nice to get one race under your belt, shake the nerves out.”
Oregon senior Sam Crouser took first in the men’s javelin, tossing it 259 feet, nine inches
“It feels really good, and it was just a great competition out there,” Crouser said of his win. “Feels good to get another National Championship and help the team out.”
While there were plenty of Oregon highlights, the Ducks did suffer a few missteps. They did not pick up points in the long jump or 200 meters and Tanguy Pepiot failed to qualify in the steeplechase. In addition, neither relay team advanced.
For the team score, it is Oregon (34) in front, with Florida (16) and USC (15) in second and third. No women’s events have been scored yet, due to the new format splitting the genders between days.
Oregon junior Greg Skipper finished third in the men’s hammer, setting a personal record with a final throw of 233 feet, nine inches.
“I knew there was something in the tank, and I was able to find it,” Skipper said. “I am just really happy to start the team off this way and get some points.”
Winning the event was Connor McCullough of USC, while Matthias Tayala of Kent State took second. The result broke Skipper’s two-year streak of finishing fourth at the NCAA Championships.
Oregon senior Dakotah Keys is fifth in the decathlon with 4,072 points, just 158 points behind leader Pau Tonnesen of Arizona. While Keys enjoyed a strong opening to the decathlon, he hadn’t looked at the standings when he spoke with members of the media.
“I want to come out and just relax,” Keys said. “Stop worrying about the points and where I am sitting.”
The pressure will be on Keys tomorrow when he competes in the pole vault — the event in which he no-heighted at the Pac-12 Championships. He doesn’t plan on changing his approach to the event.
Oregon freshman Ashlee Moore finished the first day of the heptathlon in 18th place with 3366 points. She is 657 points behind the leader Akela Jones of Kansas State.
Click here for a complete list of results.
The Championships will continue Thursday with the first event, the decathlon 110 hurdles, set to begin at 10 a.m.
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur