Posted on May 11, 2022
After a few years of coming close, the USC women snapped the Oregon streak in 2018.
Utilizing an impressively talented and deep corps of sprinters, the Trojans emerged victorious in 2019 and 2021 (2020 was a covid-canceled season), holding the Ducks at bay.
Heading into the Pac-12 Meet this week on May 13-15, the Ducks are looking to regain the magic that propelled their nearly decade-long run as conference champs.
It won’t hurt that the meet will take place at the track palace that is Hayward Field on the UO campus.
The high-level Duck-Trojan battles that determined the title over the past decade might not be the same this year, given the departures of several Trojan stars.
To name just two of them, superlative sprinter Twanisha (TeeTee) Terry and 2021 Olympian Anna Cockrell have graduated.
Terry never lost a 100 final at Pac-12s and led several 1-2-3 USC finishes in the sprints which were a gut punch for the Ducks.
Cockrell was unbeatable in the 400 hurdles and became a force in the 100 hurdles and relays, as well.
Perhaps even more significant is the departure of Head Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert, who has taken her considerable talents to Athens, Georgia.
Quincy Watts will be the one leading a still-talented but somewhat diminished Trojan team to Eugene, where a powerhouse Oregon women’s team will be waiting.
Oregon holds four of the top seven conference times in the 100, as well as four of the top five wind-legal marks in the century race.
The Ducks also have four of the top marks in the 200, the two best triple jumpers, the top time in the 4 x 100 relay, the top 400-meter hurdler, the top long jumper, and the top steeplechaser.
In addition, the Ducks have their usual quality depth in the distance races and the throws.
If the Oregon women are on their game, it will be next to impossible for any team to surpass them, but it should be great fun to watch it unfold, even if the team race for second is more competitive than for first.
In the USTFCCCA rankings, which are based on a point system for top marks, Oregon is the only Pac-12 team in the national Top 10, coming in at No. 9 behind a host of SEC teams.
Pac-12 schools are not far back in the rankings, either, with Washington at 15, ASU 16, Stanford 18, USC 21, Cal 24, and Colorado 25.
Here’s a look at some of the standouts who will be competing.
Hammer ThrowCamryn Rogers of Cal leads the nation in the hammer throw with a massive 248-5 mark. Canadian Rogers is a two-time NCAA champion.
Her teammate Anna Purchase is third nationally at 231-9. (In second is former UCLA thrower Alyssa Wilson, who now competes for Texas State and has a best mark of 240-2.)
Abby Nichols leads a talented and veteran group of Colorado distance runners. Nichols stands Number Two nationally in the 5000 (as of 5-9-22) at 15:15.95.
Four of the top 12 nationally will likely be competing: Oregon’s Aneta Konieczek has the leading time by a hair over Oregon State’s Grace Fetherstonhaugh.
Colorado Buff Madison Boreman and OSU’s Kaylee Mitchell are right on their heels as well.
It will be interesting to see if one of the Beavers can get the win, which would be Oregon State’s first individual title since their program was resurrected in 2005.
She will be pushed by senior Shannon Meisberger of Arizona, who was third last year and has a season-best of 56.45 and a life6me best of 55.70.
—More from Steve Ritchie—
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Ritchie: Transfer Portal Big Key to Duck Football SuccessBefore the 2022 season, Oregon welcomed 19 transfers and they have made a real difference - November 25, 2022
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Ritchie: How Bo Nix Stacks Up as a Heisman ContenderNix has some strong numbers backing his case and a great narrative to go along with it - November 4, 2022