EUGENE, Ore. – No. 2 Arkansas won the 4x400 meters to edge No. 4 Oregon 86-77 in an exciting collegiate dual meet before 7,344 fans on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Historic Hayward Field.
“Kudos to Arkansas to come in here and compete like they did,” said Oregon head coach Robert Johnson. “It was a disappointing way to end the meet on the loss in the 4x400, but it was a very exciting track meet."
Arkansas led 81-77 after 18 events, with the decisive five points up for grabs in the 4x400. On the anchor league, Oregon’s Mike Berry and Arkansas’ Akheem Gauntlett were even coming off the final curve before Gauntlett edged a step ahead on the homestretch and led the Razorbacks to the win in 3:07.14. The Ducks crossed in 3:07.39.
"We appreciate Oregon coaches for providing this,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Bucknam. “I wanted to bring the athletes out to experience this historic field. Everything was great. The weather was perfect. This was a perfect track meet."
Before decisive relay, the Ducks and Razorbacks traded salvos in an exceptionally compelling dual meet.
Elijah Greer pulled away for an impressive win in the 800 meters. The senior from Lake Oswego, Ore., timed 1:46.20, which was the top time in the NCAA this season.
Mac Fleet was just as impressive, running the fastest 1,500 meters in the nation in 2013. The junior from San Diego, Calif., took the race in a personal best 3:40.21, with freshman Jeramy Elkaim third for the Ducks in 3:42.83.
“I got a win and a personal record. I can’t really complain with those results,” said Fleet. “I didn’t really have a race plan. I just felt good moving up in my gaps.”
Sam Crouser collected a pair of wins in the throws. He first won the discus with a personal best throw of 174-2/53.10m on his sixth and final attempt. He followed that with a win in the javelin with a mark of 240-7/73.33m.
"I was happy about my consistency today. It was a good day in both the discus and javelin for me," said Crouser. “I was feeling so much better on the runway this afternoon. My finish was a little off, but I was able to have fun out there today.”
Before his run in the 4x400, Berry won the 400 meters in 45.92. That was the seventh fastest time in the NCAA this season.
Arthur Delaney captured the 100 meters in 10.59 and placed second in the 200 meters in a seasonal best 20.80.
Sophomore Johnathan Cabral won the 110 meter hurdles in 13.56. He came back to finish second in the 400 meters in 53.86.
Trevor Ferguson had a big personal best in the long jump. The sophomore from Oregon City, Ore., went 24-10.5/7.58m to finish second. Ferguson also grabbed third in the 110 meter hurdles in a personal best 14.34.
Freshman Ryan Hunter-Simms matched his personal best in the shot put with a throw of 53-5.75/16.30m to finish second.
Junior Ethan Powell took second in the javelin with a throw of 204-2/62.22m
The Ducks also picked up four points in the pole vault with senior Austin Ouderkirk and freshman Matt Hidalgo both clearing 16-2.75/4.95m to tie for second.
Despite Saturday’ setback, Greer was already looking forward to seeing the Razorbacks again.
“I feel like the team can bounce back from this loss and put up a great showing at the NCAA Championship,” he said. “"It's unfortunate we weren't able to come through at the end, but we kept it close through the final meters. I know we certainly showed that Oregon is a contender.”