EUGENE, Ore. – After a solid start to the indoor track and field season at the UW Preview, the Ducks are looking ahead to the Razorback Invitational on Friday and Saturday, in Fayetteville, Ark. Oregon head coach Robert Johnson is bringing a full team to Arkansas for their second meet of the year.
“It’s a step up in competition for us,” Johnson said. “We’re taking a full contingent…all of our cards and everyone we have will be competing.”
Johnson discussed the shortness of the indoor season and what it means for the Ducks to improve every meet.
“Season starts in January and ends in March,” he said. “It’s one of those things that hurries by. You have a few opportunities to see where you are and couple other opportunities to etch your name before you have the conference meet.”
Senior Jessica Hull, the reigning NCAA outdoor 1,500-meter champion, will run in her first meet of the season along with 12 other Ducks making their indoor debuts. She is entered in the distance medley relay on Friday and the mile on Saturday. Hull says this will feel like ripping off a band-aid, but is ready to start.
“It’s a shock to the system,” Hull said. “I put a few weeks of training here now. Coming off a really big cross season. I’m expecting it to be really hard, but I’m ready to embrace that and hopefully it feels a bit better each time.”
UO junior Tristian James competed in the long jump, triple jump and 60 meters at the UW Preview. James highlighted the scale of the Razorback Invitational and what it means for the rest of the season.
“Going to be a big meet,” he said. “Big name schools are coming. We are going to have a lot of (NCAA) qualifiers not only at the meet, but for the Ducks.”
After the Razorback Invitational, the Ducks will travel to Albuquerque, N.M. for the Don Kirby Invitational on Feb. 8-9.
The Ducks won’t be the only local track and field athletes in action this weekend.
Oregon Track Club Elite will be represented by four athletes at the UW Invitational in Seattle on Saturday.
Hanna Green is entered in the women’s mile, while Harun Abda is expected to compete in the 400 meters. In addition, Drew Piazza and Neil Gourley will be making their OTC Elite debuts in the men’s mile.
Abda said he would be using the race as preparation for the USATF Indoor Championships, Feb. 22-24, at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. Abda hopes to compete in the 600m at the national indoor meet.
“I’ll be using starting blocks for the first time so I’m hoping that goes OK,” Abda jokingly said.