Photos: Oregon hosts the Pepsi Invitational meet

Oregon long jumper Chaquinn Cook lands in the sand. The Pepsi Invitational is held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

In last season’s outdoor track and field championships, at the rain soaked Hayward Field, Sinclaire Johnson of Oklahoma State watched the 1,500-meter final from the stands. The sophomore had failed to qualify in the preliminary round.

Fast forward a year, and the script is flipped. With temperatures in the high 90s and not a cloud in sight at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, Johnson outkicked Oregon’s Jessica Hull in the final straightaway to win the 1,500-meter title in 4 minutes, 05.98 seconds. It was the second-fastest time ever by a collegiate, and Hull was right behind her in 4:06.27, the fourth fastest time by a collegiate and a personal best by two seconds.  

Despite the severe heat, the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships produced some incredible moments, with several collegiate records going down for the men and women. Hull’s race, with the exception of Carmela Cardama Baez’s runner-up performance in the 10,000 meters, was the best result from the Ducks. The Oregon women finished fifth with 34 points.

The team title came down to the final race, the 4x400-meter relay. USC and Arkansas were tied with 56 points going into the race, and USC’s Anna Cockrel tripped and dropped the baton coming into the home stretch on the second exchange. The team was not disqualified, but Arkansas cruised to a second place finish behind Texas A&M and took home the team title with 64 points.

Throughout the final day, the women’s sprint events had several standout moments. Sha’Carri Richardson of LSU set a world junior and collegiate record in the 100 meters, winning easily in 10.75 seconds. USC’s Anglerne Annelus defended her 200-meter title in 20.16, the fastest collegiate time this year.

The Ducks entered the final day of competition with 10 points, tied in sixth place with New Mexico, Florida and Cal. They had seven scoring opportunities, and though they set multiple personal bests, they did not have enough depth to keep up with the heavy hitters.

Hannah Waller finished last in the 400 meters in 52.47, two seconds behind the winner. Susan Ejore ran a lifetime best 2:02.26 in the 800 meters, good for fifth place.

Though Rhesa Foster broke her previous best twice in the long jump on Friday, she placed seventh in a deep field. The junior finished at 21-1 ¼ but Yanis David of Florida bested the field with a jump of 22-5 ¼. Chaquinn Cook set a season best of 45-¼, which earned her in fourth place and five points for Oregon.

Oregon’s 4x100-meter relay team, comprised of Venessa and Kerrissa D’Arpino, Briyahna DesRosiers and Briana Duncan finished fourth with a season best 42.99. USC won the 4x100-meter relay in 42.21 seconds.

The final meet of the season was a rather sub-par performance from the Ducks in general. Between the men and women, the Ducks had 30 entries, but did not win a single individual title.

Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august

August is a senior at UO majoring in journalism, with a minor in multimedia. He covers a range of sports, from track & field to basketball and football. Contact him at [email protected]