AUSTIN, Texas – Redshirt junior Carmela Cardama Baez brought the crowd at Mike A. Myers Stadium to its feet with a strong close over the final lap of the 10,000 meters that resulted in a national runner-up performance. Coupled with a seventh-place finish by junior Rhesa Foster in the long jump, the Women of Oregon picked up 10 points Thursday evening at the NCAA Championships.
The Ducks also advanced four to finals including defending national champion Jessica Hull in the 1,500 meters. The Oregon women now have eight scoring chances remaining with four field opportunities in the triple jump, discus and javelin.
The Men of Oregon got on the board with the conclusion of the two-day, 10-event decathlon. Freshman Max Vollmer scored 7,703 points to finish fifth overall in his NCAA debut and secured four points toward the men’s total.
Moving on to finals…
Hannah Waller – 400 Meters
Susan Ejore – 800 Meters
Jessica Hull – 1,500 meters
Kerissa D’Arpino/Venessa D’Arpino/Briyahna DesRosiers/Brianna Duncan – 4x100m
Just before the final lap, Cardama Baez moved into second place and began closing the 40-meter gap between her and eventual champion Weini Kelati of New Mexico. Cheered on by the late-night crowd, Cardama Baez (33:11.56) pulled just about even down the home stretch and came away with the highest 10K finish by an Oregon woman since Kathy Hayes won the event in 1984.
“The thing I’m good at is getting on the rail and staying anonymous,” Cardama Baez said. “I can pretend I’m not there. Usually people fall for it and today it worked. I just tried to go one by one and forget what is happening behind me…I saw Helen (Lehman-Winters) with 100 meters to go and she said ‘go, go, go’ and I was like ‘OK.’”
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Foster put together a strong series that saw her eclipse 21 feet for the first time in her career. She tallied three marks beyond the mark including a new personal best of 6.43m/21-1.25 which moves her to No. 4 in program history.
Vollmer began the day in ninth place in the overall decathlon standings. He opened with a personal best of 14.93 in the 110-meter hurdles but remained in ninth place with two events to go. Behind another PR of 62.35m/204-6 in the javelin, Vollmer jumped into scoring position in fifth place where he remained as the highest-placing freshman in the field.
Oregon picked up its first qualifier of the day in the 4×100-meter relay. The Ducks’ quartet registered a season-best 43.35 to grab one of the two on-time qualifying spots. The relay final will be the first event on the track during Saturday’s television coverage with a 3:32 p.m. start on ESPN2.
Hull was the top qualifier in the 1,500-meter semifinals. She stopped the clock in 4:12.02 to claim the top spot in the second heat, securing her opportunity to defend her NCAA title in the event. That final is scheduled for a 3:41 p.m. start.
All three Ducks in the field for the 400 meters posted top-10 finishes but it was Waller that earned one of the eight bids into Saturday’s final (4:32 p.m.). She crossed the line in 51.99 while DesRosiers in 52.00 and Venessa D’Arpino in 52.50 finished just outside the qualifying spots.
As the Ducks’ final individual qualifier of the night, Ejore was the fourth-fastest qualifier in the semifinal heats of the 800 meters. She finished in 2:03.43 to advance. Already a two-time NCAA champion in the distance-medley relay, Ejore will line up for a shot at her first individual national title Saturday at 4:44 p.m.
Due to a weather delay, the women’s javelin featuring Keira McCarrell was pushed to Friday from its original spot in Thursday’s lineup. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. (PT).
The Men of Oregon will look to add to their total Friday during event finals. The team will have five chances to score with Cravon Gillespie in the 100 and 200 meters, Cooper Teare at 5,000 meters, Eric Edwards Jr. in the 110-meter hurdles and the Ducks’ 4×100-meter relay team.