Posted on June 9, 2022
A quick look back at the championship archives reveals that you have to go all the way back to 2003 to find a year when no Pac-12 team was in the top five at the outdoor women’s championships.
Over the past 20 years, Oregon had a nine-year streak of Top 5 finishes (2009-2017), which included two titles.
As the Ducks fell back a bit, USC began its own run of four consecutive Top 5 finishes with two national championships, including in 2021.
This year is a different story.
Jack Pfeifer of Track & Field News projects Arizona State as the highest-scoring Pac-12 team in 10th place with 20 points. The T&FN formchart also lists Colorado in 12th and Cal in 13th.
The final power rankings of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) put Oregon in 9th, Colorado in 10th, and USC way back in 17th as the Top Three Pac-12 teams.
While it would take a minor miracle for one of the Pac-12 teams to be in the conversation for a title, Pac-12 athletes will still make plenty of noise in Eugene, with a chance to win as many as eight individual championships.
Let’s take a look at those events.
100 metersOregon senior Kemba Nelson and USC senior Celera Barnes have the third- and fourth-seed times, 10.85 and 10.89, respectively.
They trail Texas soph Julien Alfred and Texas Tech’s Rosemary Chukwuma by a few hundredths, but the margins are very small.
Nelson will be running at home for the final time as a collegian and shouldn’t be counted out.
4 x 100 RelayOregon blazed to a 42.74 in the preliminary round at Arkansas, the top overall time of the two regional meets.
The Ducks don’t seem to be clear favorites, however, as some pundits are picking Kentucky (42.95), Ohio State (42.87), LSU (42.98), or Texas (43.00).
With many teams in the hunt separated by just a few hundredths, this should be 42 seconds of utter excitement.
One sloppy handoff or poor leg will knock a team out. USC, Cal, and UCLA also qualified for the semifinals.
1500 MetersSeven of the 12 qualifiers out of the West Regional are Pac-12 athletes, led by senior Julia Heymach of Stanford, junior Anna Gibson of Washington, and Pac-12 champion Micaela Degenero of Colorado, also a senior.
There are plenty of contenders here, but Heymach has the experience and the killer kick to win a very competitive metric mile final.
Hammer ThrowCollegiate and Canadian national record holder Camryn Rogers of Cal is the overwhelming favorite here.
Rogers broke her own records with her first throw in the preliminary round—a massive 250’-10” (76.46) heave.
She is a two-time NCAA champion and comes to Eugene with an 11′ lead over her nearest rival, Alyssa Wilson, formerly of UCLA and now competing for Texas State.
Rogers’ teammate, Anna Purchase, is ranked third, giving Cal a potential of 16 points in this event.
Other Pac-12 throwers who will be in the competition are Shelby Moran and Beatrice Llano of ASU and Joy McArthur of USC.
Shot Put & DiscusJorinde Van Klinken, ASU’s superlative thrower from the Netherlands, will be the favorite in the discus.
Her throw of 208’-06” is more than 16’ ahead of her nearest competitor. She is not the favorite in the shot, but Van Klinken’s season-best is just a foot behind Ohio State’s Adelaide Aquilla.
No one else in the field has a realistic chance, and Van Klinken might just add the shot crown along with discus.
5000 metersColorado’s distance runners have had an awesome finish to their season.
They dominated the distance events at the Pac-12 meet and, at the regional, qualified two in the 1500, three in the 5000, two in the 10000, and two in the steeplechase.
Senior Abby Nichols has been the top-ranked 5000-runner most of the season and has a great shot to win it at NCAAs.
3000-Meter SteeplechaseBYU’s Courtney Wayment is a strong favorite to win the steeple, but five Pac-12 qualifiers may have something to say about who gets on the podium.
Colorado has Pac-12 champ Madison Boreman and Gabrielle Orie, Oregon State has Grace Fetherstonhaugh and Kaylee Mitchell, and Oregon has Malia Pivec.
Boreman, Fetherstonhaugh and Mitchell are dark horse candidates, but all three are capable of scrambling the formcharts for the event.
Triple JumpOregon juniors Dominique Ruotolo and Lexi Ellis have been peaking late season and are threats in this event.
Ruotolo finished ninth last year at NCAAs, and has the number five seed this year, with a best of 44-9.75 (13.66). Ellis won the Pac-12s for the first time this season and has a best jump of 44-6.25 (13.57).
HeptathlonWashington’s Ida Eikeng did not compete at the Pac-12 multis but her mark of 5916 from earlier in the season gave her the fourth-best seed at NCAAs.
The junior from Norway is talented enough to wind up on the podium, but first place is probably out of reach, as Florida’s sensational Anna Hall is in the midst of a record-breaking year.
Women’s Entrants by School
—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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