Oregon women win NCAA championship, complete triple crown
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Oregon put the baton in the hands of one of its most clutch performers as the Ducks chased history, and Raevyn Rogers didn't disappoint.
Rogers held off USC's Kendall Ellis down the stretch of the 4x400-meter relay Saturday at Hayward Field, helping Oregon become the first-ever NCAA women's program to win cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field titles in the same school year.
Rogers' efforts in the final event of the meet gave the Ducks a 1.8-point win against Georgia. Oregon needed to win the 4x400 to claim the triple crown.
Rogers, the 800 winner a little more than an hour earlier, had a lead of just a few steps when she took the baton for the final relay leg. Ellis got even with her on the backstretch before Rogers found another gear.
''I was hoping they didn't catch me because my legs were going all over the place,'' Rogers said. ''I was just trying to get to the finish line.''
A five-time NCAA 800 winner, Rogers said her relay gathered before the race and knew what they had to do.
''We prayed about it because we knew it was something that we needed to get,'' she said. ''I'm just glad that I was able to stay composed and be patient and execute in the most comfortable way possible.''
The team of Makenzie Dunmore, Deajah Stevens, Elexis Guster and Rogers set a new NCAA record in the process, finishing in 3 minutes, 23.13 seconds.
Georgia protested the final results, putting the celebration on hold for a few minutes. But Oregon coach Robert Johnson gathered his team to tell them the protest had been denied, and chants of ''triple crown'' followed.
The women's portion of the meet began Thursday and concluded Saturday. Florida repeated as the men's national champion on Friday.
Saturday, LSU's Mikiah Brisco got her best 100 start of the season and held off a strong for the win in a personal-best 10.96 seconds.
The fast times she wanted had escaped her this spring, but she trusted her training.
''Just executed my race and finally ran my goal,'' Brisco said. ''I felt really good out of the blocks. When I got out of my drive phase and into my running-upright phase, I didn't see anybody, so I was like `just hold on to this and you can win this.'''
Florida's Kyra Jefferson set an all-time collegiate record in the 200 with a 22.02. That broke a 28-year-old mark (22.04) set by Dawn Sowell of LSU.
Georgia's Kenturah Orji was unable to better the American triple jump record she set at Hayward in 2016, but still came away with the win at 46-10 }.
She said she fed off the energy of teammates Madeline Fagan and Tatiana Gusin going 1-2 in the high jump while she competed simultaneously.
''We're definitely cheering for each other and making jokes back and forth to each other during the meet,'' Orji said. ''It's great that we're close to each other.''
The leaders in the 1,500 final were five abreast with about 50 meters to go, and it was Michigan's Jaimie Phelan who got to the line first, in 4:13.78, edging Nikki Hiltz of Arkansas (4:13.80) and Samford's Karisa Nelson (4:13.96).