Ducks Chase NCAA Standards

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Byline: UO TRACK & FIELD By Curtis Anderson The Register-Guard

The top-ranked Oregon men's track and field team already has six individuals and a distance medley relay with automatic berths in the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 13-14, in College Station, Texas.

The Ducks will try to add to those numbers, or at least move up the provisional qualifying lists, at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships today and Saturday at Dempsey Indoor Facility in Seattle.

Today's competition runs from 12:30 p.m. to 6:55 p.m.

Saturday's action opens at 11 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m.

The MPSF is made up of teams from Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, California, UCLA, Washington, Washington State and Oregon out of the Pac-10, plus Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge from the Big West.

While all of Oregon's NCAA participants are entered in the meet, only junior Andrew Wheating is listed in the event in which he qualified: the 800. The others will use the two-day meet as a tune-up for the national championships.

It has already been a record-setting year indoors for the UO men. Every school record between 800 meters and 5,000 meters has fallen in 2009.

Oregon senior Galen Rupp heads the list with an American indoor record of 13 minutes, 18.12 seconds in the 5,000 and a U.S. collegiate mark of 7:44.69 in the 3,000. Rupp is expected to compete in the 800 on Saturday.

Other UO men's records have been set by Wheating in the 800 (1:47.03), sophomore Matt Centrowitz in the mile (3:57.92), junior Ashton Eaton in the heptathlon (6,174 points) and the distance medley relay (9:29.39).

Centrowitz and Eaton are entered in the 3,000 and high jump, respectively, on Saturday. Eaton is also available for duty on the 4x400 relay.

The Ducks did not enter a distance medley relay.

Oregon's other two NCAA automatic qualifiers are freshman Luke Puskedra and senior Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott in the 5,000. Puskedra is expected to run the 3,000 on Saturday, while Kiptoo-Biwott is entered in the mile.

On the women's side, freshman Brianne Theisen (pentathlon), sophomore Melissa Gergel (pole vault), senior Lindsey Scherf (5,000), and the DMR have all punched their tickets to the NCAA indoor meet for the third-ranked Ducks. …