By Gary Smith, Track and Field Contributor
EUGENE, Ore. — Defending champions Oregon are the early leaders on the men’s side at the 2015 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championship here at Hayward Field, in Eugene, Ore.
After six scored events on the opening day on Wednesday, the Ducks have 34 points, which is 18 more points than second place Florida. The top five is completed by USC (15pts) and Akron and Buffalo (10pts).
Edward Cheserek, who repeated as champion, and Eric Jenkins finished 1-2 for Oregon in the men’s 10,000m final to help open up a nice advantage heading into the second day.
Cheserek, who ran relaxed during the opening section of the event before racing home to victory in a time of 28:58.92, was collecting his seventh NCAA individual title as a sophomore.
“I was just waiting for someone to come push it, and then sit back,” said Cheserek on the school’s official website. “I wasn’t worried about leading the race.
“Just waiting for somebody to take it.”
Jenkins took second in 28:59.13, with BYU’s senior Jason Witt finishing third in 29:04.58.
“It’s tough to do — even though it’s predicted and you’re expected, it’s still pressure,” Jenkins said. “We need these points. It’s a big relief.”
Also scoring maximum points for Oregon on day one was Sam Crouser, who threw 79.19m (259-9) to secure the gold medal in the men’s Javelin Throw, with second place going to John Ampomah of Mid. Tenn. State, in 77.13m (253-0) and third going to Curtis Thompson of Miss State, with 75.42m (247-5).
The Ducks also grabbed valuable points in the Hammer Throw through Greg Skipper, who took the bronze medal with a mark of 71.25m (233-9).
USC redshirt senior Conor McCullough, the 2010 World Junior champion, dominated the event after he produced a stunning 76.91m (252-4 ) to land the gold medal, while Matthias Tayala from Kent State took the second with a standard of 71.56m (234-9 ).
In other finals on the opening day, Jonathan Jones from Buffalo captured the men’s Shot Put with a throw of 20.78m (68-2¼). He defeated Penn State’s Darrell Hill, who threw 20.78m (68-2¼) and Florida’s Stipe Zunic SR Florida (20.30m, 66-7¼).
Marquis Dendy of Florida leaped 8.43m (27-8) in a +2.3 wind to bagged the gold medal, as Jarrion Lawson (Arkansas, 8.34m) and Roelf Pienaar (Arkansas State, 8.01m) also jumped over the eight-meter mark for second and third respectively.
Shawn Barber from Akron took gold in the men’s Pole Vault with a clearance of 5.60m (18-4½ ). He finished ahead of Memphis senior Pauls Pujats (5.55m) and Stanford’s Dylan Duvio (5.50m).
Place Men’s Team Score
1 Oregon 34.0
2 Florida 16.0
3 USC 15.0
4 Akron 10.0
4 Buffalo 10.0
6 Texas 9.0
6 Memphis 9.0
6 Texas A&M 9.0
9 Kent State 8.0
9 Mid. Tenn. State 8.0
9 Penn State 8.0
9 Arkansas 8.0