Oregon Ducks women suffer setback on day one of NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

The Oregon Ducks’ hopes of winning a women’s team trophy at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships took a hit Friday when the UO distance medley relay ended in a void at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The Ducks arrived in New Mexico with the third best time of the season in the event, which consisted of 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meter stages.

But the Oregon quartet of Izzy Thornton-Bott, Ella Clayton, Ella Nelson and Klaudia Kazimierska faded to a scoreless 11th at altitude nearly a mile from Albuquerque.

Oregon crossed the finish line in 11 minutes, 26.40 seconds, ahead of only Washington. The first eight places in each event score on a basis of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.

The day was not a total loss. The Ducks pushed most of their other potential scorers through Friday’s qualifier and Saturday’s playoffs.

Alysah Hickey finished sixth in Friday’s long jump final with a best mark of 21 feet, 3 ¼ inches to give Team Oregon three points on Day 1.

Hickey had the second-best jump at the NCAA level this season heading into the competition. She finished fourth in the NCAA Indoor Meet last year.

Jasmine Moore of Florida won the long jump by a leap of 23-0¾, breaking the indoor collegiate record of 22-9 set by Tara Davis of Texas in 2021.

Kazimierska and Thornton-Bott both qualified in the mile preliminaries through to Saturday’s final. Ditto for Jadyn Mays in the 60s and 200s.

Mays posted the fourth-fastest overall time in the 60s, a personal best 7.07. Julien Alfred of Texas clocked the best time of the day at 6.96, beating his own indoor collegiate record of 6.97 set earlier this year.

Mays qualified fifth overall in the 200m in 22.58, also a PR. A number of sprinters bettered former OU star Hannah Cunliffe’s set-up record of 22.60 set in 2017. LSU’s Favor Ofili, who clocked 22.11 to win her heat, has a shaky hold on the record before going into action on Saturday.

OU rookie Aaliyah McCormick qualified for the 60 hurdles final with the sixth fastest time of the day at 8.01.

Ackera Nugent of Arkansas clocked a college record 7.72 while winning her preliminary round. The record had been 7.75, set by Kentucky’s Masai Russell earlier this season. Russell will also compete in Saturday’s final.

The Ducks could still be in contention for one of the four team trophies awarded with a big second day.

They’re sitting on potential big spots in the shot put. OU senior Jorinde Van Klinken is the defending champion, having won the indoor title last year for Arizona State.

Van Klinken set the collegiate record of 64-2½ earlier this season. Her teammate Jaida Ross is No. 6 on this year’s best list in shooting with a mark of 59-9¾.

The OU men, represented in the competition only by miler Elliott Cook, are not a factor in the team’s image. Cook qualified for Saturday’s final.

Star sprinter Micah Williams, the 2021 NCAA indoor champion in the ’60s, is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Here are the results from the NCAA Indoor Championships.

— Ken Goe for The Oregonian/Oregon Live

KenGoe1020@gmail.com | Twitter: @KenGoe

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