Oregon Men, Women Upstage Texas A&M at Pepsi Invitational in Eugene

Photos, story by Kim Spir

On On a a breezy, sunny and unusually rainless April day in Eugene Saturday, the University of Oregon men's and women's teams won the Pepsi Invitational at Hayward Field. Before this meet, the Oregon women were ranked 2nd behind Texas A&M in the NCAA polls, with Washington 12th. The Oregon men were ranked #3 in the nation; Texas A & M was #2.  

Pepsi team results:
Women: Oregon 212, Texas A&M 179.50, Missouri 141, Washington 129.50.Men: Oregon 186, Texas A&M 151, Washington 32, Illinois 109, Missouri 103.

Amber Purvis rocked.
The Oregon sophomore won the 100 meters in 11.38 (besting 2009 NCAA 200 meter champion Porscha Lucas, who ran 11.57), and the 200 in a wind-aided 23.00. Purvis told goducks.com: "It’s an exciting day; it gives me a lot of motivation to work....it’s a great practice to run and win against Texas A&M. I want to get a little faster, but I like where I am at now."
A&M's Jessica Beard nearly trumped Purvis' wow factor double with a meet record 51.64 in the 400, the fastest time in the nation. Beard also anchored A&M's winning 4x4 relay.
Texas A&M's Gaby Mayo won the 100 hurdles in a meet record. 13.10. (A&M's Natasha Ruddock was second, also under the meet record 13.12.)
Mayo also anchored A&M's 4x1 team in a meet record 43.89. A&M  leads the nation with a time of 42.56 at the Texas Relays. The Oregon 4x1 team also broke the meet record.
Jordan Hasay's inaugural race as an Oregon Duck in the 5k brought the Hayward Field crowd to its feet with a standing ovation. Teammate Lauren Zaludek set the pace for the first third of the race, leaving Hasay on her own for the remainder. Oregon senior Nicole Blood was well behind, but began moving up with four laps remaining. Blood had already finished second to Katie Follett from Washington in the 1500 (4:17.02) to (4:19.57) earlier in the day. Blood closed but did not catch Hasay, who won in 16:16.02, placing her on the top 10 all-time Oregon list. Blood was second in 16:20.60 and Mattie Bridgmon was third in 16:41.07. Hasay told the Oregonian's Doug Binder that she has hoped to run closer to 16 minutes. "I run my fastest when I'm with other people," she said.
Oregon's Melissa Gergel, hyped pre-meet to set a meet record in the women's pole vault, did not achieve any height. The event was won by teammate Jordan Roskelley at 12-10.
Oregon's Anne Kesselring, a freshman from Germany, won the 800 in 2:06.90. "It didn't feel like I was running that fast," she told friends trackside before embarking on her victory lap. Kesselring's PR is 2:04.96.
Oregon's Sara Cole PRd to win the hammer throw (170-06 over A&M's Deidre Tarver (169-07). She told goducks.com, "I came into the meet ranked third and after the first round I was ranked second. For the final throw I was really nervous, but the motivation definitely topped it. After the throw, I definitely felt that it was a PR; sometimes you just know. It was a really intense meet.”
Special attention was paid to world indoor heptathlon record holder Ashton Eaton, who ran a scorching 46-something opening leg for the Oregon 4x4 team. (Oregon finished second in the 4x4 to Texas A&M who set a meet record 3:05.69. Oregon ran 3:08.41.) Earlier in the day, Eaton won the long jump (25-06) and the high hurdles in a wind-aided 13.64. In other field events: Oregon's Alex Wolff was third in the javelin with a throw of 236-4 behind Stan Humphreys from Texas A&M (251-8). Oregon's Jordan Stray won the men's hammer throw (213-8).
Matthew Centrowitz won the 1500 with a terrific last lap kick: 3:46.29 over Colton Tully-Doyle from Washington (3:46.78) and Princeton grad and Oregon grad student Michael Maag (3:48.12).
Centrowitz also ran the 800, won by Mac Fleet who also made his Hayward Field debut as an Oregon Duck. Fleet's winning time: 1:49.19. Andrew Wheating did not run. Centrowitz was fifth.
In the men's steeplechase and 5k, Oregon athletes did not fare well. The steeplechase was won by Illinois Kyle Engnell in a commanding 9:00.76. Oregon's Kevin McNally was second in 9:17.59, and A.J. Acosta was waaaay back, finishing fifth. Oregon's Luke Puskedra was fourth in the men's 5k, won by Kevin Burnett of Texas A&M in 14:08.06.
Burnett told goducks.com, "“I love this place. Hayward Field is an awesome stadium with a great atmosphere and full crowd. We had a great competition with all the teams attending. The whole time I tried to be one of the first three or

 five people in the race and have a good attacking position. Last 200

meters I was hurting but so was everyone else. With Puskedra who is an All-American being so close, I wanted to win this race. I knew I couldn’t let anyone get much further than me. This was my season opener at distance and I am happy to contribute to the team points."

The Men of Oregon meet UCLA next weekend, April 21st in a men's dual at Hayward Field. The women will compete at the Mt. Sac Relays. Yes, that's Vin Lananna with Olympian Muna Lee. She's been training at Texas A&M for some years now, and is reported to be helping out the program there.