Oregon wins distance medley relay at Penn Relays

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Edward Cheserek led Oregon to its second straight distance medley relay championship at the Penn Relays, holding off Villanova's Jordan Williamsz by five-tenths of a second Friday at Franklin Field.

Cheserek, who also anchored the Ducks' DMR win last year, ran the closing mile leg in 3 minutes, 59.44 seconds. He teamed with Johnny Gregorek, Marcus Chambers and Niki Franzmair to give Oregon its third overall DMR victory at the Penn Relays.

The Ducks finished in 9:33.86. They are first team to win in consecutive years since Texas won three straight from 2006-08.

''I was prepared,'' said Cheserek, a two-time NCAA cross country champion. ''I was just waiting for (Williamsz) to come and take the lead. And then I was trying to save my energy for the last 200 meters.''

Cheserek took the baton in second place after Gregorek ran the opening 1,200-meter leg in 2:56.8, Chambers followed with a 47.9 in the 400 and Franzmair ran the 800 in 1:49.75.

Oregon trailed Columbia for most of the final leg, before Cheserek and Williamsz broke free from the pack with about 200 meters left and Williamsz surged to a short-lived lead.

Stanford finished third place in 9:37.11, Indiana was fourth in 9:37.71, Columbia fifth in 9:38.23.

''It was a great team effort,'' Oregon coach Andy Powell said. ''I think the overall plan for the first three legs was to try to get Ed the baton in second. And they basically executed perfectly.''

In the other big distance race of the second day of the three-day meet, Stanford won the women's 6,000-meter relay in 17.27.54 for its first Penn Relays championship since 2006.

Freshman Elise Cranny helped the Cardinal pull away with a strong third leg of 4:17.2, and Claudia Saunders held the lead over hard-charging North Carolina with an anchor leg of 4:25.1. Rebecca Mehra and Jessica Tonn ran the first two legs.

The Tar Heels finished second in 17:30.22, and Georgetown was third in 17:36.83. Villanova, which won the event last year and nipped Stanford in the women's distance medley relay Thursday, did not race.

''Yesterday, we walked away wanting a little more,'' Tonn said. ''Like our coach always says, once the race is done, you close the book and move on. We had a lot of motivation coming into this race. It was about enjoying the moment and the atmosphere that the Penn Relays has to offer.''

Texas A&M won its seventh straight women's 400 relay title. The Aggies' foursome of Jennifer Madu, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Aaliyah Brown finished in 43.76. Texas was second in 44.36.

''We came out here and dominated,'' Brown said. ''It was a great feeling.''

In the shuttle hurdles championships, South Carolina won the men's title in 55.53 seconds and LSU took the women's race in 54.22. In the sprint medley championships, Penn State won the men's title in 3:21.29 and Oregon took the women's race in 3:44.59.

In the field events, Penn State's Darrell Hill successfully defended his shot put title with a mark of 68 feet, 2 1/2 inches - two inches shy of the Penn Relays record. Brown's Josie Natrasevschi won the women's discus at 183-8, the fifth best mark in meet history.

Villanova's Elbert Maxwell won the men's long jump at 25-0, Florida's Ciarra Brewer took the women's triple jump at 44-0 and South Carolina's Jeannelle Scheper won the women's high jump at 6-1 1/4.

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