The women of Oregon provided a light at the end of a disappointing tunnel for the Ducks during the first day of NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.
In the last event of the day, Oregon’s distance medley relay team of Jessica Hull, Venessa D’Arpino, Susan Ejore and Lilli Buron made history earning the DMR title.
Their winning time of 10 minutes and 51.99 seconds is the fourth-fastest time in collegiate history and the second-fastest time in Oregon’s program.
The title is Oregon’s first ever women’s DMR national title. The women’s program has now won at least one individual NCAA indoor title in five straight seasons.
“I believed in myself the whole way and we have all been working well together in practice, so I knew we could do it,” Burdon said. “I’m really happy with how we all ran today and I’m just so proud of us.”
Along with the 10 points scored for the women’s victory, the men of Oregon also scored points in their DMR.
In a team of Blake Haney, Cameron Stone, Mick Stanovsek and James West, the men came in third with a time of 9:31.45, scoring six points for the Ducks.
“I think it’s a really easy argument to make that we’re one of the best middle-distance programs in the country with all the sub-4 (minute mile) guys we have,” Stanovsek said. “Obviously we wanted to win, so coming away with third is a little bittersweet, but we all ran our hardest and I’m proud of how we performed.”
Outside the DMR, only three of eight Oregon individuals qualified to advance to the finals.
Redshirt senior Sam Prakel won the first event of the day with his time of 4:02.65 in his semifinal heat of the mile. Freshman Reed Brown followed him in the second semifinal heat. Brown had an impressive final 100-meter kick to come from the back of the pack to finish third in 4:02.25 and also advance to the finals.
The only other Duck to earn a spot in tomorrow’s finals was redshirt senior Sabrina Southerland, who finished third in the 800m semifinal heat in a time of 2:03.57.
In the men’s mile, Stanovsek — who broke the four-minute mile barrier twice this season — tripped and fell midway through the mile’s semifinal heat. He finished the race in last place in 4:19.86, unable to advance to the finals.
Oregon will compete in six finals tomorrow, starting with the men’s mile at 2:10 p.m. and ending with the women’s 4x400m relay at 4:55 p.m.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni