ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It's a task Robert Johnson said he doesn't typically participate in.
But a couple of weeks ago, the Oregon track and field coach had everyone from assistant coaches to support staff go event by event and dope out the women's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship meet.
With the second-ranked Ducks going for their fifth straight title today and Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Johnson wanted to get everyone's predictions.
He took the results, stuck them in an envelope and put it away to be reviewed after the competition.
Not before he took a quick peek, however.
"I will say out of all the people that participated, I was the lowest number," Johnson said. "I think it's going to be an absolute dogfight."
One the Ducks are ready for.
Oregon has 10 individual qualifiers and both relay teams this weekend as it attempts to tie LSU's NCAA record for consecutive women's indoor titles.
That includes Laura Roesler, ranked No. 1 in the 800 meters, Phyllis Francis in the 400, Jasmine Todd, who is ranked No. 2 in both the long jump and 60, and a pair of top-three relay teams.
The Ducks hope they have enough to jump No. 1 Florida and fend off No. 3 Texas A&M, in what is expected to be a hotly contested three-team chase for the championship.
"Our team right now looks really strong, and everyone's healthy and competing well and our practices have been going great," said sophomore sprinter Jenna Prandini, who is ranked third in the 60. "If we get out there and execute what we do in practice and all of us do what we know we can do, then I think we should be fine."
Oregon has had plenty of time to prepare. The NCAA Indoor meet uses a descending order list to pit the top-16 athletes in each event and the Ducks were able to get all of their qualifying marks at meets early in the season.
"We were really able to work on technical and tweaking little things here and there throughout the rest of the season to get ready for (this) weekend," said Roesler, who clocked a 2:01.32 at the Rod McCravy Invitational in Kentucky on January 24 for the second-fastest indoor 800 ever by a collegian.
Roesler, a 13-time all-American, will also run the 4x400 and is in the Ducks' distance medley relay pool.
Oregon's other qualifiers are Megan Patrignelli in the 3,000, Molly Grabill in the 5,000, Sasha Wallace in the 60 hurdles, and Chancey Summers and Lauren Crockett in the high jump.
Last year, the Ducks' only victory came in the 4x400, but it was needed to lock up the title with 56 points. Kansas was second with 44.
That was as close as Oregon has come to getting beaten at the national meet since its reign began in 2010.
That the streak might continue this season has been a pleasant surprise for Johnson, who assumed taht with so many significant pieces from last year's champion team gone -- think Jordan Hasay, English Gardner, Alexi Pappas -- this would be more of a transitional season.
"Believe it or not, if you would've told me that we would've been in this position this year, I would have laughed and probably thought you were smoking something, being so close to Seattle," he said. "It is no easy task for us to be in contention, and to have a shot to defend our title is definitely special."
Along with seniors like Roesler, Francis and Patrignelli, the Ducks also have freshmen in Todd and Wallace, and sophomores in Prandini and Grabill.
Oregon will be relying on that youth to score significant points, and they haven't disappointed.
Wallace is ranked seventh in the 60 hurdles and set the American junior indoor record in that event with a time of 8.10 at a meet in mid-February. She also set the school record in the triple jump at 42 feet, 5Â 1/2 inches. Todd's top mark in the long jump of 21-4 led the nation until last weekend.
"Sometimes you can't underestimate those freshmen," Johnson said. "They may be just naive enough to go in there and not know the stage that they're on and surprise not only us, but themselves."
That's the plan, anyway.
"We're going to have to nickel and dime and scrap a little more than in the past," Roesler said. "We're not huge favorites in every event for us, but this is what we've been working on all year."