UO women's reign ends; Duck men win
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Dominique Scott won the 3,000 meters to wrap up Arkansas' first women's national championship in any sport at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday night.
The top-ranked Razorbacks, led by a meet-high 15 qualifiers, finished with 63 team points to hold off five-time defending champion Oregon — which finished with 46.5 points. Georgia was third with 37.
Scott, who also anchored Arkansas winning distance-medley relay team Friday, finished in 8 minutes, 55.19 seconds in the 3,000 to help overtake the Ducks and secure the title for Arkansas, whose previous best indoor finish was third in 2000.
The Oregon men, led by wins in four distance races, won their second straight title and third overall with 74 points. The Ducks clinched with all three top spots in the 3,000 — led by senior Erick Jenkins with a time of 7:58.81.
Florida was second with 50 points, and Arkansas third with 38.
While the Oregon men celebrated for a second straight year, it was the Arkansas women who reveled in their first national championship.
They won under coach Lance Harter, who had finished runner-up in cross country three times in 24 seasons but never equaled the success of the men's program — which has won a record 41 track and field national championships.
The Razorbacks won with depth and secured the meet with a late push on Saturday that featured Scott's win and a victory by Sandi Morris in the pole vault.
"Every event we entered in, we scored," Harter said. "So, it was very much a team commitment ... It just kind of came together, almost scripted."
Arkansas' women took the lead in the team standings after a runner-up finish by Taylor Ellis-Watson in the 400 — in which she finished behind Texas' Courtney Okolo, who had a time of 51.12.
Oregon regained the lead after third- and fourth-place finishes by Jasmine Todd and Jenna Prandini, respectively, in the 60-meter run.
However, Morris closed the gap to 46.5-45 entering the final two events with her win in the pole vault. Scott then put the Razorbacks up for good with her 3,000 win, doing so while racing for the first time collegiately indoors in front of her South African parents.
"That was a dream come true," Scott said. "... To do it in front of my home crowd and my home track, and also in front of my family, whose never even watched a live indoor meet before, is really, really special."
With Jenkins' win in the 3,000 run, Oregon's men also became the first school to win four distance events at the indoor meet. Jenkins also won the 5,000-meter run on Friday, and the Ducks won the distance-medley relay as well as Edward Cheserek's win in the mile on Saturday with a time of 3.57.94.
Oregon needed 11 points to clinch the meet in the 3,000, and they finished with 24 thanks to Jenkins, Cheserek and Will Geoghegan's top-three finish.
"It's great to end with a race like that," Jenkins said. "You can't ask for much more."
Arkansas sophomore Omar McLeod repeated in the 60 hurdles with an indoor collegiate record of 7.45.
Florida's Marquis Dendy added to his long jump title on Friday with the third-best triple jump in collegiate history, a 57-foot leap on Saturday.