One-on-one, head-up, for all the marbles. As a fan, that’s what everyone wants to see.
On Sunday in Drake Stadium, that’s what everyone got, as the No. 23 UCLA and No. 11 Oregon track and field teams squared off in a dual meet, and the result rested on the shoulders of the 4×400-meter relay squads from each team.
But one thing nobody wants to see is a tie. And as Oregon freshman Mike Berry crossed the finish line as the anchor leg of the 4×400m, winning the event for the Ducks, everybody knew the final score: 81.50 UCLA, 81.50 Oregon.
“It is exactly what they say it is. It’s like kissing your sister,” assistant coach LaMonte Vaughn said.
UCLA came into the meet as an underdog, so a tie might be considered a moral victory. However, for a team that has performed increasingly well in scored meets, the result felt like a bit of a letdown.
“Well, I really didn’t figure a tie. It’s almost impossible to tie in a dual meet,” coach Mike Maynard said.
Points are awarded to the first, second and third place finishers ““ five, three and one, respectively. Because of a tie for third in the pole vault, however, in which each competitor received half a point each, the equal score was possible.
This is the first time in the history of the UCLA-Oregon track and field rivalry that a meet has ended in a tie, ending a streak of Oregon wins dating back to the meet’s revival in 2008.
Several standout performances allowed the Bruins to tie the higher-ranked Ducks, starting with freshman Alec Faldermeyer’s upset of Oregon All-American senior Jordan Stray in the hammer throw.
Bruin brothers, redshirt senior Greg and freshman Mike Woepse, took first and second in the pole vault, respectively. Greg Woepse continued to improve, posting a lifetime best of 17 feet, 6.50 inches.
Sophomore Randall Carroll, both a wide receiver for UCLA football and a sprinter for track, partook in both Sunday’s scrimmage and the 100 meters and 200 meters. The Bruins swept the 100m, with Carroll placing in second.
“I was dead tired,” Carroll said. “I made it through, you know, trying to help and get my team some points, because I knew it was a big match for us.”