Duck men win, women second at Pepsi Invite

EUGENE, Ore. - Wins by Mac Fleet, Mike Berry, Jeramy Elkaim, Johnathan Cabral and Greg Skipper propelled the fourth-ranked Men of Oregon to victory over No. 1 Texas A&M Saturday at the Pepsi Team Invitational. The No. 2 women dropped a tightly contested battle to the third-ranked Aggies on a showery spring afternoon before 5,367 fans at Historic Hayward Field.

The men finished with 194.5 points, followed by Texas A&M with 180.5, Washington State with 165.5 and Washington with 129.5. The Aggies won the women's meet with 201 points, followed by Oregon with 181, No. 15 Washington with 146 and the Cougars with 138.

"It was a great meet on the men's side," said Oregon head coach Robert Johnson. "To have our No. 4 team go out and beat the No. 1 men's team in the nation in Texas A&M was really good for us.

"On the flip side to have us get beat by Texas A&M on the women's side was not the best. We will have to have to go back to the drawing board on that one."

Running in his first race at Hayward Field since 2010, Fleet surprised the stadium with an early move in the 800 meters to win going away. The junior from San Diego, Calif., burst through the middle of the pack and cleared the field with 250 meters to go. He remained well ahead of the completion around the Bowerman Curve and won easily in a personal best 1:48.70.

Teammate Boru Guyota closed hard to take second in 1:49.81.

Elkaim led an impressive 1-2-3 Oregon finish in the 5,000 meters. The freshman from Livingston, N.J., ran out front with teammate Parker Stinson for much of the race before pulling away to win in 13:57.24, nearly a 1:00 outdoor best. Stinson, a junior from Austin, Texas, was second in 14:05.06, with freshman Matthew Melancon third in a personal best 14:13.91.

"It was a good way to start the season," said Elkaim. "Conditions were key for us. There was no wind and it stopped raining right before our race.

"It feels amazing to be a Duck, it felt great to win and do a victory lap at Hayward Field. We have the best fans in the country."

Cabral was impressive in the 110 meter hurdles once again, mowing down the competition to win in 13.81. The sophomore from Calabasas, Calif., has yet to lose at that distance in 2013. He was also third in the 400 meter hurdles in a personal best 52.42.

Berry, a junior from Seattle, Wash., held off a challenge from A&M's Ricky Babineaux to win the 400 meters in 46.20. Babineaux was second in 47.38 with the Ducks' Kevin Anding, a senior transfer from Virginia, third in 47.53.

Skipper just missed a personal best in winning the hammer with a throw of 216-4/65.94m. That was just an inch off the personal best the freshman from Oregon City, Ore., set last week at Texas. Also in the hammer, senior Miles Walk was third in a personal best 191-0/58.22m.

The men also got key runner-up performances from sophomore Trevor Ferguson in the long jump in a personal best 24-0.75/7.33m, sophomore Arthur Delaney in the 200 meters (21.17), senior Elijah Greer in the 800 meters (3:53.08), senior Austin Ouderkirk in the pole vault (16-6.75/5.05m), sophomore Sam Crouser in the javelin (238-5/72.68m) and freshman Ryan Hunter-Simms in the shot put (50-8.25/15.45m), as well both relay teams, which set seasonal bests.

The 4x100 squad of Dior Mathis, Delaney, B.J. Kelley and De'Anthony Thomas ran 40.33, while the 4x400 of Anding, Delaney, Jack Galpin and Berry timed 3:06.31, which was the sixth fastest in school history.

The Ducks added third place finishes from football's Thomas in the 100 (10.61), freshman Matt Hidalgo in the pole vault (16-0.75/4.90m), sophomore Ron Perkins in the shot put (48-2.5/14.69m) and freshman Bradley Laubacher in the high jump (6-6/1.98m).

It was the men's fourth straight Pepsi Team Invitational win.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M's women won the Pepsi meet for the first time in three tries, but not without some exciting performances from the homestanding Ducks.

Redshirt freshman Jenna Prandini continued her breakout season with a win in the long jump and a runner-up finish in the 100 meters. The freshman from Clovis, Calif., won the long jump on her first attempt as a Duck, going 19-7/5.97m. That was after she finished as the runner-up in the 100 meters in 11.47. Prandini and Texas A&M's Jennifer Madu were stride for stride the entire race with Madu just clipping Prandini at the tape in 11.43. Still, Prandini ran the third fastest 100 meters in school history.

Jillian Weir, another newcomer was impressive in the field. The sophomore transfer from Long Beach State won the hammer with a best throw of 192-8/58.74m. The 19-foot personal best came on her third attempt as she jumped all the way to No. 3 on UO career list. Weir was also fourth in both the shot put (46-4/14.12m) and discus (145-0/44.21m) on a busy Saturday.

"I felt good today at the hammer throw, throwing over 190 twice," said Weir. "I was a little worried after I fouled on my first throw, but then I did well.

"Today was pretty difficult going from the shot put to the hammer throw then the discus in this weather. It was the hardest rain we have had in the past week, but we made it work. I was going out there to get as many points as I could for my team."

Junior Phyllis Francis was also a winner at 400 meters as she opened up at that distance for the first time in 2013 in an impressive 52.55.

Junior Laura Roesler was just as awesome in winning the 800 meters in 2:03.94, her fastest season-opening time of the two lap race. Senior Anne Kesselring followed in second in 2:05.69.

The Ducks also went 1-2 in the 1,500 meters with senior Jordan Hasay winning in 4:20.19 and senior Becca Friday second in 4:22.05.

"It was a great opportunity because I only have a few more chances to run in front of this crowd in this uniform," said Hasay. "I get a little nervous before races, but I know when I step on that start line, the crowd will be cheering and supporting me."

Sophomore Lauren Crockett won the high jump with a clearance at 5-7.75/1.72m in a driving rain.

English Gardner was the runner-up in the 200 meters in 23.32, while freshman Alyssa Monteverde was the runner-up in the 100 meters hurdle in a personal best 13.85. Laura Bobek took second in the discus with a throw of 150-2/45.78m, while Lauren Sens was second in the hammer in a personal best 159-4/48.58m.

Megan Patrignelli's debut in the 3,000 meter steeplechase moved her into the Oregon career top 10. The junior from Monroe, N.Y., was fourth in 10:25.10, No. 5 on the UO list.

Meet records in both steeplechases fell on Saturday. Texas A&M's Henri Lelei won in 8:32.94 to break the men's record of 8:40.91 set by Oregon's Daniel Das Neves in 1996. Mel Lawrence of Washington got the women's record by winning in 10:07.78 to break the 2008 mark of 10:11.33 by Minnesota's Jamie Cheever.