Rogers No. 1 in NCAA history, No. 3 at UO

EUGENE — According to the NCAA, there has never been a faster women’s 800-meter runner in the collegiate ranks than Raevyn Rogers.

According to Oregon, Rogers is just the third-fastest in school history. That’s where Rogers stands in the eyes of the Pac-12 as well.

Welcome to the quirkiness of track and field record keeping.

Rogers, a four-time NCAA indoor/outdoor champion in the 800, broke Suzy Hamilton’s collegiate record by one-hundredth of a second Saturday when the Oregon junior ran 1:59.10 during the Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, Calif.

Hamilton’s mark of 1:59.11 had stood for 27 years and was the third-oldest NCAA record on the track after Dawn Sowell’s records in the 100 and 200 set in 1989.

The Ducks, however, still consider Claudette Groenendaal as the school record-holder with her 1:58.33 from 1985. Laura Roesler, who finished second to Rogers on Saturday, is second overall at 1:59.04 with her time from the U.S. championship meet in 2014.

The difference is the NCAA stops keeping track of times and marks once the collegiate season ends following the NCAA championship meet. The Ducks take a different approach. As long as an athlete is competing in an Oregon uniform, they can set school records deep into the summer.

“That’s kind of the philosophy that was here before I got here and that’s one of the ones that we continue,” said Oregon coach Robert Johnson, who prefers counting times through the summer when some of his athletes get to compete in races that are rabbited or have a higher level of competition.

Both Groenendaal and Roesler ran their times during the summer following their senior seasons.

The Pac-12 uses the same philosophy as Oregon, but because the conference didn’t begin tracking records until 1987, it has a different top three, with Rogers third, Roesler second and USC’s Brigita Langerholc the record-holder with a time of 1:58.51 set in 2000.

Still, Saturday’s mark was a PR for Rogers, who broke the 2-minute barrier for the just the second time in her career. Her previous best came in the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championship final when she won in 1:59.71, then the fourth-fastest time in NCAA history.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named Rogers the women’s athlete of the week. Wednesday she maintained her spot on the The Bowerman Award watchlist along with teammates Deajah Stevens, Hannah Cunliffe and Ariana Washington.

“It’s been one of those things long in the making,” Johnson said. “A lot of people just assumed that because she broke 2 minutes as a freshman that it should just continue to happen like that, and it’s not always the case. To see her still progressing and to see her still getting better every year is huge for her development and I think she’s just scratching the surface on what she’s gonna do.”

It’s been quite a year for the Oregon track team, which has set a combined six NCAA records through the indoor and outdoor seasons.

The women have five alone, with Cunliffe’s record in the indoor 60, the indoor distance medley relay, and outdoor records in the 4x100 — which they’ve reset twice already — the 4x200 and now the 800.

Edward Cheserek also set the indoor record in the men’s mile.

“It seems like for some reason this year there’s been a rash of records set,” Johnson said. “We happen to have a lion’s share of those, which is just a true testament to the coaching staff and how hard they’ve been working, but more so how the athletes have been taking the guidance and direction from the staff and applying in these races.”

The Ducks are off this week they prepare for the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 27-29.

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