It’s been nearly two weeks since the Oregon men’s distance medley relay team set the NCAA record during the Razorback Invitational in Arkansas.
It was a performance that still had coach Robert Johnson raving on Tuesday.
Johnson called the 9-minute, 24.52-second run a “historic effort” by James West, Jacob Miller, Charlie Hunter and Cooper Teare.
“For those guys to go out there and set the collegiate record in that event says a lot about what (associate head coach Ben) Thomas is doing with our men’s distance program and those guys’ belief and buy-in in him and being able to get it done.”
While the DMR team has certainly secured a spot in the NCAA Track & Field Indoor Championship meet set for March 13-14 in Albuquerque, N.M., the four members of the team still haven’t qualified in their respective individual events.
That’s on the agenda this week as the Ducks split their squad between the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque on Thursday and Friday, and the Husky Classic at Dempsey Indoor in Seattle on Friday and Saturday.
Those two meets are the last of the regular season for Oregon’s No. 9 women’s team and No. 11 men’s team. The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships (Feb. 28-29) is the only other meet between this weekend and the national championships.
Led by the men’s DMR, the Ducks have 13 athletes or relay teams ranked in the top 20 in the NCAA, including nine in the top-10 — No. 3 Lexi Ellis (triple jump), No. 5 Carmela Cardama Baez (5,000 meters), No. 5 Susan Ejore (800) No. 6 Mathilde Rey (pentathlon), No. 7 Gaston Bouchereau (men’s 60), No. 8 Breanna Duncan (women’s 60), No. 8 Rhesa Foster (long jump) and the No. 9 women’s DMR.
The NCAA Indoor meet takes the top 16 in each individual event and top 12 in each relay.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Johnson said. “I think we have a long ways to go, but definitely a step in the right direction.”
Teare, West and Hunter are all veteran NCAA Indoor performers and all-Americans who will be going for their championship meet qualifiers in Seattle.
Teare, a junior who was fourth at the NCAA Indoor meet last season in the 3,000, is entered in that event Friday. It’s his first 3,000 of the season.
West was also an NCAA Indoor qualifier in the 3,000 the last two seasons, and placed sixth in 2018. He’s entered Friday as well. He’s also entered with Hunter in Saturday’s mile. Hunter was eighth in the mile at the NCAA meet last season.
Other NCAA Indoor veterans still looking for a 2020 qualifier are senior Hannah Waller in the 400 and newcomer Danyel White in the 200.
Waller, who made both the 2018 and 2019 championship meet, is ranked 34th this season with a time of 54.06. Her indoor PR is 52.04.
White, a senior transfer from Texas A&M who qualified in the 200 in 2018, is ranked 44th at 23.82. Her indoor PR is 23.0.
Those two, as well as the majority of Oregon’s sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers will be in New Mexico this week.
Follow Chris Hansen on Twitter @chansen_RG or email at email@example.com. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.