STANFORD, Calif. — Only one Duck got to stand at the top of the podium on Saturday, and for Damarcus Simpson, it was a familiar view.
The Oregon senior won his second title in the men’s long jump during the opening day of the Pac-12 Track & Field Championship meet at Stanford’s Cobb Track and Angell Field.
Standing alongside him was teammate Tristan James, a junior transfer from Lane Community College who took second.
Add Spenser Schmidt’s fourth-place finish and the Ducks scored 23 points in the event to move them into second place in the team standings with 43 points, five behind Stanford but within striking distance of a 12th consecutive Pac-12 team title.
Oregon’s other winning streak could be in jeopardy.
The women, winners of nine straight team titles, are tied with Arizona for seventh place with 22 points. The leader is Stanford with 71, but maybe more important to the Ducks' cause is second-place USC and its 44 points.
“I think we’re right about where we thought we would be, and probably a little better on the men’s side,” Oregon coach Robert Johnson said. “But the women were probably four points back from where we expected.”
The men were certainly sparked by the performance of their long jumpers.
All four of Simpson’s jumps were longer than anyone else in the competition, but it was his third attempt that provided the final mark when he went 27 feet, 4 inches.
Had it been a wind-legal jump, Simpson would be the school record-holder.
“I had confidence that I’d be able to do it,” Simpson said of getting a second Pac-12 title. “My body felt perfect, so I knew I could repeat … that third jump was huge.”
James jumped a wind-aided 25-7 1/4 on his third attempt to take second place. He then passed on his final three attempts to preserve his legs for Sunday’s triple jump.
“It was a good competition,” James said. “The tone was set before we even stepped onto the track today. We knew what we had to do, we knew what we wanted to do and we knew what we were capable of.”
The Oregon men also got eight points Saturday from sophomore Tanner Anderson, who finished second in the 10,000 in 29:39.64. Jackson Mestler scored four in the 3,000 steeplechase with a fifth-place finish in 9:02.67. John Nizich and Jackson VanVuren finished 6-7, respectively, in the javelin for five combined points.
The Oregon women scored nine points in the 10,000 thanks to Carmela Cardama Baez and Alli Cash finishing in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Defending Pac-12 long jump champion Rhesa Foster finished fourth with a mark of 20-9 1/4. Chaquinn Cook was seventh at 19-11 3/4 as the Ducks totaled seven points from that event.
Maddie Rabing scored three in the hammer with her sixth-place finish in 200-8 — a PR and her first throw over 200 feet.
The Oregon women also set themselves up to go toe-to-toe with USC on Sunday in the sprints.
In the 400, sophomore Makenzie Dunmore led four Oregon qualifiers into the finals with a PR run of 50.99 to win her heat and put her third all-time at UO. Briyahna DesRosiers (51.50), Hannah Waller (52.49) and Shae Anderson (52.61) also qualified.
It was a similar story in the 200, as Dunmore led all qualifiers with a PR 22.53. Other Oregon qualifiers were Lauren Rain Williams, Ariana Washington, Jasmin Reed and Venessa D’Arpino.
D’Arpino, Washington, Williams and Reed also qualified for the 100 final.
“It’s been projected that we’re not suppose to win but you know that’s just giving us more motivation to go out there and get the title,” Dunmore said.
The Ducks got a couple pleasant surprises in the 1,500 when Katie Rainsberger and Amanda Gehrich advanced to join Jessica Hull and Lilli Burdon in the final. Hull and Burdon are expected to contend for an individual title, but Rainsberger, was a crapshoot to qualify for the finals after a being out with an ankle and Achilles tendon injury almost all of 2018.
The sophomore, who was the Pac-12 runnerup last season, ran her first race in spikes two weeks ago at the Oregon Twilight and finished in 4:23.03. She ran 4:25.15 on Saturday, which was not far off Hull’s prelim-leading time of 4:24.19.
“It means a lot to have Katie back out there,” said Hull, who also praised the Ducks ability to advance everyone out of the prelims. “That was huge. The plan was to find a way to get all four of us in the finals and now get to see what happens tomorrow,”
Of course, the Trojans did pretty good themselves, advancing five in both the 100 and 100 hurdles, four in the 200 and three in the 400.
The women’s finals in the 100 and 200 will consist only of sprinters from Oregon and USC.
“We have to get after it and set the tone early tomorrow in the first event ” Johnson said. “We have to get off on a good foot and hope that ball continues and synergy continues the rest of the meet.”