Maurica Powell is entering her 12th season overall as an assistant coach on the Oregon track and field and cross country staff, and sixth since returning to the program in September 2012. She has established herself as one of the most well-respected distance coaches in the nation, and her knowledge and commitment to the Duck runners ensures that all student-athletes receive extensive individual attention over the course of the track and cross country seasons.
That commitment has paid off with a pair of thrilling cross country national championships (2012, 16) for Powell and the Women of Oregon, as well as seven NCAA Indoor titles (2010-14, 16-17) in an eight-year stretch, two outdoor NCAA titles (2015, 17) and nine straight Pac-12 titles. While with the Ducks, Powell has guided UO athletes to four individual NCAA titles, 10 individual Pac-12 championships and 90 all-American selections.
Most recently in 2016-17, Powell helped lead the Women of Oregon to a historic accomplishment, as the program completed the first-ever Triple Crown in women’s NCAA Division I history with national titles in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field in the same academic season.
Led by Powell, the cross country squad secured the first jewel in the eventual Triple Crown with a thrilling victory at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Not expected to contend for the title, the Ducks put together a tremendous race and edged out Michigan by a single point to take home the championship, with freshman Katie Rainsberger placing fourth overall and senior Maggie Schmaedick providing the winning kick to narrowly beat a Wolverine runner at the finish line. Powell’s distance runners went on to contribute points at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships to help secure the historic accomplishment for the Women of Oregon, including a meet-record 84 points to run away with the indoor championship.
In 2012, Powell led the Women of Oregon to their first cross country NCAA title since 1987, and third overall, as well as Pac-12 and NCAA West Regional titles. Led by all-Americans Alexi Pappas, Katie Conlon and Jordan Hasay, who won the West Region individual crown for the third year in a row, the Ducks finished 69 points better than second-place Providence to lock down the national title.
On the track, Powell has played a major part of the Ducks’ indoor dominance and recent rise to the nation’s elite outdoors. In 2014, Powell helped head coach Robert Johnson guide middle-distance runner Laura Roesler to The Bowerman award, the most prestigious individual honor in collegiate track and field. Roesler won all 800-meter races she finished as a senior, and swept the event at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. The four individual NCAA titles that Powell directly coached came from Hasay (mile, 3,000m), Anne Kesselring (800) and Rebekah Noble (800).
Powell helped the Women of Oregon return to prominence on the national stage during the 2008-09 season, as the Ducks came away with a second straight second-place showing at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships, a tie for ninth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and their highest finish in a quarter century at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where they captured second place. The women also won their first Pac-10 track title in 17 years were named the USTFCCCA’s Division I women’s national program of the year.
The 2009-10 season saw Powell and the Women of Oregon build on the previous season’s success, as Oregon won its first-ever NCAA Indoor title and began the Ducks’ dominating stretch indoors. Powell’s crew was instrumental in that national championship, as the distance corps tallied points in the distance medley relay (second), mile (Jordan Hasay, fourth; Anne Kesselring, sixth) and 3,000 meters (Nicole Blood, fifth). That success continued outdoors with a dominating Pac-10 championship that saw Oregon win every race from 100 to 10,000 meters, plus the steeplechase. Earlier in the year, Blood won the Ducks’ first Pac-10 cross country individual title in 17 years.
The 2010-11 season was also a memorable one for Powell and the Ducks, as Hasay led the team to the indoor national title with her wins in the mile and 3,000 meters. Hasay was also the Pac-10 individual cross country and 1,500 meter champion during the 2010-11 year. The 2011 outdoor season produced another Pac-10 title, including a pair of wins from Hasay in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, and concluded with another NCAA Outdoor runner-up finish.
In addition to helping the Ducks to the cross country title in the fall of 2012, Hasay went on to set school and Pac-12 records in the 10,000 meters, and then placed second at the 2013 U.S. Track and Field Championships following graduation.
Before her arrival at Oregon, Powell made an impact as a graduate assistant coach at Columbia University for the 2004-05 season. The Lions’ touted women’s distance program enjoyed a breakthrough season with its 13th-place finish in the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships, led by Caroline Bierbaum who took third individually in the collegiate harrier finale, and second outdoors in 2005 in the NCAA 10,000 meters (33:03.37). During the outdoor regular season, Bierbaum ranked first nationally in the 10,000 meters (32:44.51) and Delilah DeCrescenzo stood second nationally in the steeplechase (10:06.88) before she claimed ninth in the NCAA finale.
While she coached the Lions, Powell studied as a social work graduate student and worked with disadvantaged Harlem junior high and high school youth.
A middle distance star for Stanford University from 1998-2002, Powell still ranks in the top 10 all-time for Stanford in the indoor 800 meters (third, 2:07.51) and outdoor 800 meters (ninth, 2:06.63) and 1,500 meters (eighth, 4:16.51), and was an All-American in 2002 in the 1,500 meters (fifth, 4:16.51) and indoor distance medley relay (1,200 meter leadoff leg, third overall, 11:09.23). In the Pac-10 Championships, she was a three-time scorer in the 800 meters and also placed in the 1,500 meters as a junior and senior. She took seventh in the 800 meters as a freshman in the 1999 U.S. Junior Championships.
In high school, the Boston-area native was a six-time state track champion for Franklin High School in Franklin, Mass. Powell and her husband, UO associate head coach Andy Powell, have two sons.