DES MOINES, Iowa — University of Oregon's Lanie Thompson set the school record in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase and Luke Puskedra was fourth in the 10,000 meters to highlight a nearly perfect first day of the NCAA Track & Field Championships in front of 4,052 fans Wednesday at Drake Stadium.
Oregon's women also advanced English Gardner in the 100 meters, Phyllis Francis in the 400, Anne Kesselring and Laura Roesler in the 800, Kimber Mattox in the steeplechase and the 4x100 meter relay team on to finals. For the men, Mike Berry moved on in the 400 meters, while Elijah Greer advanced in the 800.
Thompson was in sixth place a few paces behind the lead pack in the first heat when she made her move with two laps remaining. She caught the leaders with a lap to go and then pushed the pace before finishing second to Colorado's Shalaya Kipp. Kipp won in 9:59.18, with Thompson next in 9:59.90.
The sophomore from High Bridge, N.J., broke Claire Michel's year-old school record of 10:02.55.
Senior Kimber Mattox was seventh in Heat 1 in 10:08.39 and advanced to Friday's final based on time. Junior Taylor Wallace was 10th in 10:35.76.
In the men's 10,000 meters, Puskedra was part of a swift lead pack of four runners that broke away from the field midway through the race. The four of Stephen Sambu of Arizona, Chris Derrick of Stanford, Cameron Levins of Southern Utah continued to distance themselves from the field by churning through impressive 67 and 68 second laps. The three pulled away from Puskedra with two laps remaining. Levins won in 28:07.14.
Puskedra, a asenior from Ogden, Utah, was fourth in 28:24.24, marking his best NCAA showing in his final race as a Duck.
Earlier in the day, Gardner ran the fastest qualifying time in the women's 100 meters to advance to Friday's final. She got out of the blocks quickly and held on to win her heat in 11.10.
Gardner was also part of Oregon's impressive 4x100 relay team that ran the second-fastest time in school history, 43.32, finishing second to Texas A&M in its semifinal heat to automatically advance to Saturday's final.
Oregon was also strong in the 800 meters, where two women and one man advanced.
Laura Roesler set a big personal-best to finish second in the final heat in 2:02.09, the fifth fastest time in school history. She let Chanelle Price of Tennessee take the race out on a swift pace, before closing with a big kick over the last 150 meters to easily advance to Friday's final. Price won in 2:01.66.
In the second heat of the 800, Kesselring got boxed in midway through the race, but fought her way out to finish second in 2:02.66 and move on to the final. Freshman Claudia Francis was eighth in her heat in 2:12.74.
On the men's side, junior Elijah Greer ended up third in a tight battle in heat three, but advanced to Friday's final on time. Erik Sowinski of Iowa won in 1:46.09, Edward Kemboi of Iowa State was second in 1:46.20 and Greer was next in 1:46.22. Sophomore Boru Guyota was seventh in his heat in 1:48.01.
OREGON STATE PLAYERS DRAFTED — Oregon State senior catcher Ryan Gorton was selected in the 31st round (949th overall) by the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday in the MLB First-Year Player Draft
Gorton played four seasons for the Beavers and amassed 61 games in the field, batting .281 with five doubles and 21 RBI. He also saw significant time on the mound, appearing in 46 games, with six starts, where he went 6-3 with a 4.41 earned run average in 872/3 innings.
He is the third Beaver to be taken, joining Matt Boyd, who was selected in the 13th round on Tuesday by Cincinnati, and Ryan Dunn, a 17th-round selection by Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Additionally, three Oregon State signees have been selected thus far. Taken in the third round by Philadelphia (125th overall) was infielder Zach Green from Jesuit High School in the Sacramento area. Left-handed pitcher Mason Felt (Hebron Christian Academy in Georgia) was taken in the fifth round (172nd overall) by Cincinnati.
Infielder Dylan LaVelle was an 18th-round selection (574th overall) by Detroit on Wednesday.
OREGON PLAYERS DRAFTED — Aaron Jones, Joey Housey and Alex Keudell were each selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.
Jones was the first Duck chosen, selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 18th round as the No. 558 overall pick. Named to the Eugene All-Regional team last weekend, and a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention selection, Jones is batting .303 this season with 39 RBIs.
Jones is the third Duck to be drafted by the Colorado organization since 2009 following Erik Stavert (2009, seventh round) and Tyler Anderson (2011, first round). Jones was previously drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 38th round of the 2010 draft following his senior year of high school.
Housey, a redshirt junior, was drafted in the 27th round (No. 832 overall) by the Cincinnati Reds. The right-hander has made 21 appearances out of the Oregon bullpen this season. He maintains a 1.85 ERA, and has a 2-0 record with one save and 27 strikeouts in 34 innings of work. The native of Hollywood, Fla., is one of three UO players on the 2012 roster from Oregon's original 2009 squad when the program was reinstated.
During his career with the Ducks, Housey posts a 7-2 record with a 2.11 ERA and two saves. In 57 career appearances, Housey has tossed 81 innings and struck out 71 batters.
Keudell, the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, was also selected in the 27th round (No. 842 overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays. A native of Portland, and one of three players remaining from the 2009 squad, Keudell was recently named a Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American as well as a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist.
Keudell enters an expected Saturday-start vs. Kent State in the Eugene Super Regional with a record of 11-4 and staff-leading 2.38 ERA. In 2012, he has tossed three complete games, including one shutout, and in 117 and 1/3 innings has totaled 70 strikeouts while holding batters to a .226 clip.
Keudell was previously drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He is the first UO player to be drafted by the Tampa Bay organization.