Oregon edged out
EUGENE — As Arkansas senior Dominique Scott prepared for the 5,000 meters at the NCAA track and field championships, she learned that Oregon had pulled in front of the Razorbacks for the team lead.
"I just knew that I had to do whatever I could to score as many points as I could," she said. "So that really motivated me throughout the race. I was not out there running for myself."
Scott went on to win the event, propelling Arkansas to its first women's outdoor team title Saturday.
Scott separated from the pack by sprinting the final 500 meters to finish in 15 minutes, 57.07 seconds. She also won the 10,000 on Thursday.
"To be able to contribute 20 points to a team title, first ever in Arkansas ladies' history, is just a dream come true," she said.
Arkansas finished with 72 points. Oregon, which had three individual champions on the final day, was second with 64, and Georgia third with 41.
Oregon, the defending champion, was hurt when sprinter Hannah Cunliffe was injured in her semifinal heat of the 100 on Thursday. The Ducks nonetheless challenged the Razorbacks before Scott's 5K victory, and the relay team's second-place finish in the 4x400 wrapped it up at Hayward Field in front of a crowd of 12,974.
"Oregon always rises at home," Arkansas coach Lance Harter said. "If they had everybody healthy? I think they could've scored 90 points. They have the team that maybe nobody can match. It's just on a given day, or on a given two days, can you hold up? And we were able to be a little healthier than they were."
New Mexico's Courtney Frerichs set a collegiate record in the steeplechase, while Georgia's Keturah Orji hit a record mark in the triple jump under sunny skies.
With Cunliffe out for the 100, Oregon redshirt freshman teammate Ariana Washington won in 10.95. Then sophomore teammate Raevyn Rogers defended her title in the 800, becoming the first woman to win it both her freshman and sophomore years and the first with back-to-back winner since North Carolina's Alice Schmidt in 2002 and 2003. Her time was 2:00.75.
Rogers' mother watched from the stands, cheering wildly as her daughter gritted out the final stretch.
"It means a lot, because I like to make my family proud, it means a lot to me," said Raevyn Rogers. "Just knowing that my family back home is watching and my grandmother is sitting in her chair on her iPad watching me, it means a lot that I could make them proud from far away."
Washington then won the 200 in 22.21 to become the first freshman in meet history to win both sprints.
"Oh man, what a ride," she said after the double.
Texas sprinter Courtney Okolo won her fourth NCAA title in the 400, finishing in 50.36. Earlier this year, Okolo became the first college sprinter to go under 50 seconds in the race with a 49.71, the second-fastest time in the world this year.
Frerichs won the steeplechase in a college record 9:24.41. She triumphed by 16 seconds.
"The strategy was to go out with a hard kick. I wanted to put a little scare in everyone and tell them that I was serious about running fast today," Frerichs said.
Orji's mark of 47 feet, 8 inches in the triple jump also was a collegiate record.
LSU won the 400 relay in 42:65. Oregon, without Cunliffe, finished third. Mississippi State's Marta Freitas won the 1,500 in 4:09.53, barely edging Stanford's Elise Cranny. Freitas began celebrating early, which allowed Cranny to narrow the gap.
"But I was the one who crossed it first, and I'm just really happy," Freitas said.
The meet was divided with most of the men's events on Wednesday and Friday and the women's events on Thursday and Saturday. Florida won the men's team title, its third in the past five years.