Oregon wins distance medley without Cheserek at Penn Relays
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Sam Prakel filled in for standout distance runner Edward Cheserek on the anchor 1,600-meter leg and outkicked a tightly packed Penn Relays field to lead Oregon to victory in the college men's distance medley relay Friday.
The Ducks finished in 9 minutes, 32.61 seconds for their third victory in four years in the event.
Oregon coach Robert Johnson recently told Oregonlive.com that the Ducks plan to pick their spots this spring with Cheserek, a senior who recently set a collegiate indoor mile record. He is expected to compete in the 5,000 at next weekend's Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford.
''The one thing we kind of pride ourselves on is that we're a complete team,'' Johnson said. ''Edward Cheserek is only part of a bigger group here.''
In his absence, Blake Haney led off by running a 2:58.25 in the 1,200, leaving the Ducks in contention. Marcus Chambers followed by running 45.58 seconds in the 400 to give Oregon a share of the lead, but Georgetown's Joseph White ran a strong 800 to put the Hoyas in front, with Middle Tennessee State and Villanova close behind.
Prakel, part of an eight-man pack on the final lap, sprinted to the lead on the back stretch and held on. He ran his leg in 3:59.57.
''Once I went, I just tried to hold my form and not look back,'' he said.
The Ducks finished less than a second ahead of Indiana (9:33.10), Middle Tennessee State (9:33.25) and Penn (9:33.25).
The DMR was part of a big day for the Ducks. The women's 400-meter relay team of Alaysha Johnson, Deajah Stevens, Makenzie Dunmore and Ariana Washington ran a meet-record time of 42.35, and the sprint medley relay team of Dunmore, Stevens, Hannah Waller and Raevyn Rogers set another mark (3:39.05).
The latter was also a short-lived NCAA record. Texas A&M snapped it four minutes later during a meet at LSU, by 1/100th of a second.
Earlier in the day, the Villanova women followed up their victory in Thursday's distance medley relay by repeating as 6,000 relay champions, the 11th time they have taken that race at this meet.
Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner, who ran a strong third leg to key Thursday's win, pulled away from Stanford's Elise Cranny in the final 200 meters to propel the Wildcats, whose time of 17:25.85 was nearly two seconds faster than the Cardinal (17:27:47).
''I just have full confidence in myself and remember what I'm doing it for and who I'm doing it for,'' said Cleirigh-Buttner, a native of Dublin, Ireland.
She was preceded by Bella Burda, Angel Piccirillo and Nicole Hutchinson. Piccirillo earned her eighth career victory, a women's meet record.
''We're trying to win as many as we can for Gina (Procaccio, the Villanova coach) and the rest of the girls here,'' she said, ''so if it means breaking a record, that's what happens.''
Another record fell in the women's discus, as Florida State's Kellion Knibb shattered her year-old mark with a toss of 203 feet, 7 inches.
G.C. Foster earned a victory in the men's sprint medley relay, with the team of Chadni Hinds, Mercel Miller, Denish Glave and Daniel Glave running a time of 3:16.15.
East Stroudsburg won the men's shuttle hurdles (58.63), while San Diego State took the women's shuttle hurdles (54.34).
Juander Santos of Inter American was victorious in the men's 400 hurdles in 49.22 seconds, while Penn State's Danielle Gibson took the women's triple jump (43-6).
Two competitors from South Carolina, Josh Awotunde and Yann Randrianasolo, earned victories in the men's shot put (65-6) and long jump (25-5 +), respectively.