NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS | Day 1
TrackTown, USA: If you would follow
the US track and field circuit, it would be fairly easy to determine our
location much of the time. Once again, the University of Oregon will host the
NCAA Track & Field Championships. Yes, this means the best-of-the-best
Division One schools are in Eugene with their best runners, throwers and
Why always Eugene? Because teeny Eugene, Oregon is the Mecca of the One
True Sport. Every athlete wants to compete here. Every racer wants to hear their
footsteps pounding on the famed track - jumping over a hurdle, passing a baton,
plopping into the water hazard. Every thrower wants to see their javelin,
discus, shot put or hammer soar above the hallowed lawn. Every pole vaulter
wants to hear the cheer of the crowds from the same ancient grandstands that
have cheered for countless Olympians. Every sprinter/hurdler wants to feel the
thunderous roar as thousands rise as one to cheer racers down the straight-away.
High jumpers jump higher. Long jumpers jump longer. Don't even get me started on
the long distance races - the creamiest of the creamiest top at Historic Hayward
We are in our motorhome, in a trailer park, just off the interstate. It's how we
We arrived last evening, in time to enjoy
Track Town Tuesday and a reception for the NCAA coaches. It was fun. Like a
reunion. Always wonderful to visit with college coaches. These people are
dedicated saints - working way-more than 40 hours per week - dedicating their
lives to helping young student athletes and traveling around the country as the
students compete. More than helping and coaching, of course... coaching is more
like mentoring and molding. Imparting wisdom for four years and then stepping
away as the seniors leave, and a new group arrive as Freshmen. I suspect college
coaches cry a lot.
We arrived early to the track this morning. Flags from each
competing school are on display around the south side of the oval.
The prizes: Men's and Women's NCAA Championship trophies were on
display in a small tent area in the concourse.
We arrived early so we could get a good seat at the men's hammer
throw competition. Guess we weren't the only fans with this great idea.
Greg Skipper and Holland's Denzel Comenentia (University of Georgia
Oregon Native, senior Greg Skipper, was competing today for
the last time as a Duck. Half of his home town showed up to cheer for
Greg Skipper finished third today, earning six points for
his team. Skipper finished big - throwing his personal best ever in the
hammer throw today - over 234 feet.
The Ducks are sporting new tie-dyed-looking uniforms for the Championships,
featuring silhouettes of legendary Oregon coach, Bill Bowerman and legendary
Oregon runner, Steve Prefontaine.
After the hammer throw competition was over, we moved up to the grandstands to
watch the running and other field events. For the past several years, the NCAA
have been racing men and women on different days. I don't like this format, but,
as usual, no one asked my opinion. Men will compete Wednesday and Friday; women
on Thursday and Saturday.
The Ducks performed well today. Javelin thrower Cody Danielson, a junior,
finished (an unexpected, but happily earned) seventh and Cole Walsh was in a
three-way tie for 7th place in the pole vault. Sadly, even after racing through
the second-fastest 4x100 relay time (39.41) in school history, the Ducks failed
to advance to the final on Friday.
The final event was the men's 10000m final. Six miles; 24 laps around the
track. No one was surprised when Oregon junior, Edward "King" Cheserek
claimed the prize in 29 minutes and nine seconds. Cheserek has won the NCAA
10000m every year he has raced for the Ducks. First place equals ten huge
Ten points from King Edward, 3 from Greg Skipper in the hammer
throw, 2 from Danielson in the javelin and one point from Walsh in the pole
vault - the Ducks lead with 19 points after the first day of competition.
Arkansas follows closely with 16 points; Purdue with 11.
After the meet, we went to dinner at
Rye and shared their
famed Duck Confit Poutine. Oh. Yes. We. Did.
Tomorrow - the women compete!
Until my next update, I remain, your track & field correspondent.
You may also like:
broadcast information for this track meet
The story behind the Oregon NCAA uniforms
Photo gallery of Oregon NCAA uniforms and shoes
Complete meet results - men
RV PARK: Premier
RV Park. I-5, exit 199. Large paved pull-throughs. Back-in sites line a
small lake. Laundry, fitness center, club house, bath house, recycling, small
store. 50 amp, free wifi. This park is very popular with campers in the area for
repairs and maintenance at the many nearby RV facilities.
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