Oregon assistant athletic director Vin Lananna was excited to announce to assembled media on Wednesday that tickets for all sessions of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships — to be held at Hayward Field — would go on sale next Friday.
“This has been a day that we have been looking forward to since the NCAAs were awarded to Eugene. It’s an exciting day,” Lananna said. “This is where dreams really begin.”
The announcement helps kick off the indoor track and field season for the Ducks — appropriately, given the Ducks’ focus.
“We’re obviously not going to put as much emphasis on the indoor season this year than last year, simply because of the high stakes of the outdoor championships,” Lananna said.
The Oregon men enter the indoor season ranked No. 3 nationally, with the women No. 2. Though the Ducks have historically given little consideration to indoor competition, the Men of Oregon memorably won the 2009 national championship behind Galen Rupp’s 20 individual points (3,000-meters title, 5,000-meters title) and 10 points as part of the title-winning distance medley relay team. Rupp, winner of The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegiate male track and field athlete in December, has since graduated and turned professional.
“A lot of the guys wanted (the indoor national championship). Going into outdoor season, there was definitely a lot more support behind us than we thought there would be,” senior Andrew Wheating said.
“It’s hard because you are the defending champs and you want to redeem your title, but we lost some heavy hitters like Galen and Shadrack (Biwott). That’s a big loss. The guys who didn’t make it last year want to come in this year and do it.”
Titles won’t truly matter, however, until the NCAA Outdoors, held June 9 to June 12. Individual improvement will.
“I’ve only run one indoor race. I just kind of see it as a building block towards outdoors,” freshman Jordan Hasay said.
Hasay, who competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in the 1,500 meters as a high school junior, competed in the Nike Indoor Nationals two-mile race her senior year.
“Indoors will be a good chance for me to practice some racing tactics and getting used to that level of competition more — in high school, I’d just be out there by myself,” she said.
The road ahead begins, curiously enough, at the UW Indoor Preview in Seattle
tomorrow. Oregon has not listed the athletes who will perform in its first competitive meet of 2010.
The men’s track and field team added five players to its roster, including three
current football players.
Redshirt freshman LaMichael James (sprints), senior Andre Crenshaw (jumps) and junior Josh Sanford (shot put and discus) will make the transition from the gridiron to the track. The Ducks also welcome Travis Stanford, a junior transfer from Northern Colorado, in the middle distances, and Michael Maag, a redshirt senior transfer from Princeton, to compete in distance events.
James, a Texas 100 meters state champion in high school, was on the roster last year but did not compete while recovering from a shoulder injury. Junior wide receiver Jamere Holland also joined the track team last season, but he isn’t likely to join after academic ineligibility — which cost him the opportunity to play in the 2010 Rose Bowl Game — left his status with the football team in limbo.