Ducks repeat as men’s track champs; De Grasse sweeps sprints
Canadian Andre De Grasse of USC swept the sprints with a pair of exceedingly fast, if wind-aided, times and host Oregon won its second straight men’s team title Friday at the revamped NCAA outdoor track and field championships.
In a span of 55 minutes in the meet’s compacted schedule, De Grasse won the 100 in 9.75 seconds and the 200 in 19.58. His 200 time was the fastest ever by a collegiate runner under any conditions.
Marquis Dendy of Florida dominated the triple jump, winning with a wind-aided 58 feet, 1 1/4 inches. He also won the long jump on Wednesday, his second straight victory in the two events.
Oregon entered its final event, the 5,000, needing three points. The Ducks got 22 in a 1-2-4 finish — Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins going first and second, as they did in the 10,000 two days earlier.
Oregon scored 85 points. Florida was a distant second with 56 and Arkansas third with 53.
It was the second time, and first in 50 years, that Oregon won the men’s crown two years in a row. The Ducks, despite their storied track history, hadn’t done it since 1964-65.
Under the new meet format, the men and women are competing on alternate days. The women will finish on Saturday. Oregon led the women’s team race after Thursday’s competition.
The Oregon men and women never have won the NCAA championship in the same year. The Ducks haven’t won the women’s title since 1985.
The Oregon team total was boosted by unanticipated secondplace finishes by Marcus Chambers, behind winner Vernon Norwood of LSU, in the 400 and Johnathan Cabral, behind Omar McLeod of Arkansas, in the 110-meter hurdles.
De Grasse, who began his day anchoring the fourth-place USC 4 x 100 relay team, burst away from defending champion Trayvon Bromell of Baylor in the final 30 meters. Bromell was second at 9.88 and Larson third in 9.90.
The 200 was even more impressive for the young Canadian. He led almost from the start and held a big lead at the end. Dedric Dukes from Florida was second and Bromell third, although both were clocked in 19.86.
“It was just an unbelievable feeling,” De Grasse said. “I never thought that I could run that fast but I just have to believe in myself and, now that I’ve run that fast, it’s just changed my whole perspective on running.”
He said he played basketball until a friend and coach convinced him “I had a gift” of speed. De Grasse had a stop at Coffeyville Community College before going to USC.
There hasn’t been a top Canadian sprinter on the world scene since Bruny Surin in the 1990s.
No one at Hayward Field dominated an event more than Dendy, who had five of the day’s best six triple jumps in what he called “by far” his best series.
In his final collegiate competition, he opened with a wind-legal 57-5 and, with the title already wrapped up, finished with his big winning mark. The 57-5 was the best windlegal mark by a collegian in 30 years and third-best all-time.
Anthony Rotich of UTEP became the third person to win three NCAA steeplechase titles, holding Stanley Kebenei of Arkansas in a repeat of the 1-2 finish by the Kenyans last year.
Jacorian Duffield and Bradley Adkins gave Texas Tech a 1-2 finish in the high jump.