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MailTribune.com
  • Oregon sweeps NCAA Indoor track and field titles

  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Phyllis Francis had two record-setting runs and Edward Cheserek swept the distance races to help Oregon win the team titles Saturday night in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
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  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Phyllis Francis had two record-setting runs and Edward Cheserek swept the distance races to help Oregon win the team titles Saturday night in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
    Francis sprinted down the backstretch in the 1,600-meter relay to catch Texas' Ashley Spencer at the tape, giving the Ducks 44 points — a half-point better than the Longhorns for a fifth straight championship.
    Francis and teammates Chizoba Okodogbe, Laura Roesler, Christian Brennan finished in 3 minutes, 27.40 seconds, just ahead of Texas at 3:27.42, for a college indoor mark. Earlier, Francis set the indoor record in the 400 at 50.46 seconds. She was even faster in the relay, finishing her leg in 50.44.
    Oregon became the first school to sweep the team titles since Arizona State in 2008.
    "Never in a million years did I think that," Oregon coach Robert Johnson said.
    The Ducks won the men's title with 62 points, eight more than Arkansas.
    "Overall a great team performance for the men," Johnson said. "We thought that we were a little bit under-ranked. We thought we were better than the scoring tables and all the dope sheets had us at. We just knew that if we got to the meet healthy, we had a great shot."
    The key, Johnson said, was Cheserek's performance. He won the 5,000 on Friday night in 13:46.67, and took the 3,000 on Saturday in 8:11.59.
    "Outstanding performances by Edward Cheserek to get two national championships there," Johnson said. "He's a hell of an athlete. A great kid, very humble."
    For the women, it came down to the final leg of the final race in the closest of decisions.
    "I thought. 'Oh my gosh, did we really leave it that late,'" Johnson said. "But she got them at the end."
    Francis said her teammates' performance on the opening three legs helped spur her on.
    "Seeing my teammates' effort, they were really pushing," she said. "I didn't want to let them down. I totally went for it. I saw my team cheering us on and we just pushed us to the next limit. We won, the men's team won, the woman's team. It's just mind blowing right now."
    Spencer said she knew Francis was right there and did everything she could to hold her off.
    "I definitely felt her coming and I just tried to give it my all over the last 50," Spencer said. "I really pushed it, I pushed it. I tried and I tried. And she got the best of me. Phyllis Francis is an amazing athlete. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But it was a great race."
    Baseball
    OREGON 7, USC 2 — At Eugene, Matt Krook's first collegiate victory looked for a time like it might instead be his second straight loss.
    The situation was dire at PK Park when USC put runners on second and third to open the second inning off Oregon's promising freshman left-hander. But Krook coaxed consecutive groundballs to third baseman Mitchell Tolman, the second of which resulted in an inning-ending double play.
    The Ducks (13-5, 1-1 Pac-12) kept the Trojans (10-7, 1-1) from scoring, then got the game's first run themselves in the bottom of the inning. No. 12 Oregon ultimately came away with a victory to even this first Pac-12 series of the season at a game apiece, with the rubber match today at noon.
    The inning began with an AJ Ramirez double off Krook. Jeremy Martinez followed with a single, then took second when the Ducks threw in to keep Ramirez at third.
    Up next was Jake Hernandez, but Tolman looked Ramirez back to third before throwing out Hernandez at first. When Dante Flores sent another grounder to Tolman, the UO third baseman threw home to start a pickle in which Ramirez was eventually tagged, then threw to second to get Flores trying to take an extra base.
    OREGON STATE 5, UTAH 1 — At Salt Lake City, Kavin Keyes homered and finished with two runs batted in to pace fourth-ranked Oregon State.
    The win gave the Beavers (17-3, 2-0 Pac-12) the series victory and Oregon State will be going for a sweep today.
    Keyes' home run, his first of the season, just cleared the fence in right center on a 3-1 pitch and gave the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
    OSU added to the lead with solo runs in the third and fourth innings — on a Utah error and a single by Trever Morrison — and two more in the fifth inning when Dylan Davis doubled off the left center wall and Ice singled in a run on a shot to left center.
    The Utes (8-9, 0-2) got on the board in the sixth when AJ Young doubled to right center. The double came off Oregon State starter Andrew Moore, who was making his fourth start of the year and first since Feb. 28. He allowed eight hits and one run in 61/3 innings to improve to 2-1.
    The win was the 16th of his career and seventh away from Goss Stadium.
    Keyes and Morrison each had two hits to pace the Beavers.
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