'Liquid sunshine' doesn't dampen Oregon Preview

EUGENE, Ore. - De'Anthony Thomas' three victories - including a meet record in the 4x100 meter relay - highlighted the Oregon Preview as the Ducks opened the outdoor season Saturday at Historic Hayward Field. The Preview meet also saw an American record in the women's 2,000 meter steeplechase and a total of 15 victories by the homestanding Ducks.

"There were a lot of good things going on," said head coach Robert Johnson. "As you saw, some of our freshman got a chance to get out. It was a really good time at the Oregon Preview."

Thomas, the Ducks' electrifying football all-purpose back, opened the day by anchoring the 4x100 meter relay to a meet record 40.35. He teamed with Dior Mathis, Arthur Delaney and B.J. Kelley on some sharp early season exchanges to break the 21 year-old meet record of 40.46 set by Oregon in 1992.

Thomas followed that with his riveting performance in the men's 100 meters in an all-conditions personal best 10.31. He was clear of the field after 20 meters, and cruised home. The sophomore from Los Angeles, Calif., was aided by a plus 2.1 miles per hour tailwind, just .01 above a legal time.

Mathis' football teammate Dior Mathis was second in 10.51.
Thomas put a wrap on the day with another command run in the 200 meters. He eased down the homestretch in 21.17 with teammate Kelley second in 21.31.

"I'm just happy to be here contributing to the team," said Thomas. "If I want to be on the team in May, I just need to participate, listen to my coaches. It's starting to feel more exciting running track. Being a part of college is really great.

"The crowd is really good. It feels like being at Autzen. Hayward is great for the track team and fans."

The day began with OTC Elite's Bridget Franek setting an American record in the 2,000 meter steeplechase. Running by herself, she had a :19 personal best in running 6:19.09. That broke the previous American record of 6:20.66 run by Carrie Messner in 2007.

"It was good to get back out there," said Franek. "It was an opportunity to remind the body how it feels to race. Nice to see how the drills converted into racing."

Then it was time for the full time members of the Ducks' track and field team to kick off the outdoor season in style.

Sophomore Johnathan Cabral set a meet record in winning the 110 meter hurdles in 13.68.

"I was happy," said Cabral. "My goal for predicted sunny weather was a 13.65, I think I ran in the high 60s. The wind, change in direction, and rain wasn't great. But I was happy with my performance, I felt a little all over the place though. It wasn't perfectly clean."

Laura Bobel opened her outdoor season with a personal best in the discus. The junior from Astoria, Ore., had a toss of 172-6/52.58m to move up to No. 5 on the UO all-time list.

Greg Skipper had an impressive opening in the men's hammer. The freshman from Oregon City, Ore., had a six-foot PR to win at 210-10/64.26m.

Junior English Gardner won the women's 400 meters in 54.31, with freshman Jenna Prandini second in 55.58.

Delaney won the men's 400 meters in 47.84. Senior Chris Stubbs was next in 48.19.
Senior Matt Miner took the men's 800 meters in 1:51.85.

Senior Austin Ouderkirk captured the men's pole vault with a clearance at 16-4.75/5.00m.
Sophomore Trevor Ferguson won the men's long jump in 22-9.75/6.95m, while sophomore Chancey Summers won the women's high jump at 5-7.75/1.72m.

Junior Cole Watson won the men's 2,000 steeplechase in 5:57.35.

Freshman Alyssa Monteverde won the women's 100 meter hurdles in 14.05 and came back to take the 400 meter hurdles in 1:04.83.

The Ducks wrapped up the day with a win in the men's 4x400 meter relay, The team of Jordan Latt, Chris Stubbs, Jack Galpin and Kevin Anding won in 3:13.54.

In other action, former Duck Britney Henry of ASTF won the women's hammer with a throw of 206-7/62.97m. Oregon's Jillian Weir was second with a 13-foot PR of 173-2/52.78m.
In the men's 1,500 meters, OTC Elite's Ben Blankenship was the winner in 3:48.57, while UO freshman Chris Brewer was second in 3:48.60.

Liz Brenner made her track and field debut in the javelin and took third with a best throw of 141-5/43.10m. It was the fourth varsity sport as a Duck for the freshman from Portland, Ore.