The first NCAA championship Stanford ever won was in track and field -- 90 years ago. Stanford has maintained a strength in the sport ever since and begins competition at the venerable meet on Wednesday at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
The meet continues for four days before not only concluding the Stanford track season, but closes out all Cardinal athletics for the 2014-15 academic year.
Fourteen Cardinal athletes -- four men and 10 women -- are set to compete. Six are in their first seasons of eligibility and 11 are underclassmen. However, there is a definite veteran presence, with fifth-year senior distance runners Jessica Tonn and Erik Olson.
Tonn is Stanford's highest-rated athlete, coming into the meet as the national leader in the 5,000. Also, two Cardinal middle-distance runners have proven themselves nationally and are seeking their first national titles. Junior Claudia Saunders was the NCAA outdoor runner-up in the 800 last season and freshman Elise Cranny, who will run the 1,500, was the NCAA indoor 3,000 runner-up.
Freshman Harrison Williams, who broke the 63-year-old school record in the decathlon while finishing second in the Pac-12 Championships, will try again, this time with much higher stakes.
Stanford men entered include sophomore Sean McGorty (13:48.13) and Olson (13:36.77) in the 5,000; sophomore Dylan Duvio in the pole vault (18-1 3/4) and Williams in the decathlon (7,679).
For McGorty and Williams, this could be the first of a long run to the NCAA Championships. Williams, a true freshman, is on the verge of his first All-America honor. McGorty is ready to take the figurative baton from Olson, in his final collegiate 5,000 race, as the face of Stanford men's distance running. The 5,000 has been one of the Cardinal's most successful in recent years, with 15 top-five finishes since 1998. Duvio, meanwhile, is the No. 2 vaulter in school history and on the verge of breaking into the national elite.
For the Cardinal women, freshman Olivia Baker (2:04.00) and Saunders (2:01.79) go in the 800; Cranny in the 1,500 (4:14.05); sophomore Vanessa Fraser (15:54.12) and Tonn (15:18.85) in the 5,000; the 1,600 relay team of junior Kristyn Williams, Baker, freshman Gaby Gayles and Saunders (3:35.15); sophomore Valarie Allman in the discus (188-7) and sophomore Victoria Smith in the javelin (156-5). Stanford has seven freshmen or sophomores among its 10 women qualifiers, giving a strong indication of the Cardinal's future.
STANFORD SCHEDULE AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
11:30 a.m. -- Men's decathlon 100 (Harrison Williams)
12:15 p.m. -- Men's decathlon long jump (Harrison Williams)
1:30 p.m. -- Men's decathlon shot put (Harrison Williams)
2:45 p.m. -- Men's decathlon high jump (Harrison Williams)
4 p.m. -- Men's pole vault final (Dylan Duvio)
5:44 p.m. -- Men's decathlon 400 (Harrison Williams)
10 a.m. -- Men's decathlon 110 hurdles (Harrison Williams)
11 a.m. -- Men's decathlon discus (Harrison Williams)
1 p.m. -- Men's decathlon pole vault (Harrison Williams)
3:15 p.m. -- Men's decathlon javelin (Harrison Williams)
4:14 p.m. -- Women's 1,500 semifinals (Elise Cranny)
5:30 p.m. -- Women's javelin final (Victoria Smith)
5:44 p.m. -- Women's 800 semifinals (Olivia Baker, Claudia Saunders)
6:28 p.m. -- Men's decathlon 1,500 (Harrison Williams)
7:18 p.m. -- Women's 4x400 relay (Pool: Olivia Baker, Gaby Gayles, Michaela Crunkleton Wilson, Claudia Saunders, Kristyn Williams).
6:30 p.m. -- Men's 5,000 final (Sean McGorty, Erik Olson)
1:35 p.m. -- Women's discus final (Valarie Allman)
2:15 p.m. -- Women's 1,500 final (Elise Cranny)
3:20 p.m. -- Women's 800 final (Olivia Baker, Claudia Saunders)
4 p.m. -- Women's 5,000 final (Vanessa Fraser, Jessica Tonn)
4:20 p.m. -- Women's 4x400 relay final (Pool: Olivia Baker, Gaby Gayles, Michaela Crunkleton Wilson, Claudia Saunders, Kristyn Williams).
Wednesday -- ESPN3: 11 a.m.-7:45 p.m.; ESPNU: 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Thursday -- ESPN3: 10 a.m.-7:45 p.m.; ESPNU: 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; ESPN: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Friday -- ESPN3: 4 p.m.-7:15 p.m.; ESPN: 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday -- ESPN3: 1:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m.; ESPN2: 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m.