Inside Track


Quality depth marks women's high hurdles

EUGENE, Ore. – Of the 40 men’s and women’s events up for grabs at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field, the most difficult one in which to secure a podium finish has to be the women’s 100-meter hurdles.

No event in the U.S. is as deep and top-heavy in talent, or as ever changing.

Jasmin Stowers is currently the flavor of the month for the brilliant start to her 2015 season as a first-year professional with a world-leading personal best of 12.35.

Brianna Rollins dominated the world in 2013 and brought the American record down to …

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Alexi Pappas: Running as a team sport

One of my clearest memories from childhood was cheering for my dad’s first (and only) marathon. I was eight years old, and – like most little kids – as far as I was concerned, the entire world revolved around me. Anything that made me happy or sad was tied exclusively to my immediate surroundings and myself.

On this particular day I stood by the finish line and waited for what felt like forever. When I first caught a glimpse of my dad, it looked like he was in pain! My very strong pillar-of-a-dad was in pain, and that pained me. …

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Sustainability one of TrackTown USA's pillars

EUGENE, Ore. – The concept of sustainability is deeply rooted in the DNA of TrackTown USA. In the past two years, four events at Hayward Field were “green” enough to be certified by the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS).

The 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials both received a “gold medal” from CRS, which means each event earned 75 percent of the total available credits in meeting specific social and environmental criteria for official certification.

In addition, the 2013 University of Oregon outdoor track and field season earned silver certification (60 percent) and the 2013 …

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Humble roots propel Kovacs in shot put

The man who leads the world in the shot put this year started out so humbly his high school did not have a throwing circle, so his mother took a 3 ½-foot length of string, attached one end to a piece of chalk and drew a circle on the school’s parking lot that adjoined a grass field.

Voila! Instant practice facility.

Joe Kovacs, you’ve come a long way, baby.

How far? His resourceful mother, Joanna Kovacs, was his first throws coach at Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem, Pa. He’s now coached at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, …

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Hunger drives Rodgers on and off track

There’s a hunger that drives Mike Rodgers to be the best he can be in the 100 meters. As a fledgling businessman, he’s also counting on hunger to drive people to check out his new food truck in Austin, Texas, called “The Best Yet.”

The truck will be fully operational the week of June 22, serving up Cajun, Creole and “American’’ fare as prepared by a Cordon Bleu graduate and master chef.

“I am the boss,’’ Rodgers said. “I do the hiring and firing and ideas for the menu. I’ve been doing research. It’s a great, golden age of food …

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2015 NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships draws record viewership on ESPN

EUGENE, Ore. – Fast times, astonishing throws and lofty heights weren’t the only records being broken at the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Hayward Field in TrackTown USA last week.

According to ESPN, the four-day championships (June 10-13) – which featured the first year of a new competition format – drew record numbers of viewers to the ESPN network. With 12 hours of live television broadcast across the ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU channels, the meet averaged 367,000 viewers, making it the most-watched NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in history.

“This is outstanding …

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The Natural: Jager hopes to lower U.S. record in steeplechase

STANFORD, Calif. – Talk about a fast learner. Former 1,500-meter runner Evan Jager didn’t try his first 3,000-meter steeplechase race until 2012, and by 2014, he was ranked No. 2 in the world.

So much for years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Even so, his introduction to the barriers-and-water jumps event was not without its mishaps.

He can laugh about it now but he surely wasn’t chuckling much on that spring day in 2012 at the Oxy High Performance meet at Occidental College in Los Angeles in one of his first steeplechase races.

“I completely missed the barrier on …

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Felix lays groundwork for Olympic year

EUGENE, Ore. – Despite her status as the most decorated female sprinter in U.S. history, Allyson Felix is still fine-tuning as she rounds the turn heading toward her 30th birthday later this year.

She recently embraced a “clean eating’’ diet and commissioned Chris Talley of Precision Food Works

in Los Angeles to deliver meals prepared specifically for her athletic needs. That meant she had to say goodbye to such guilty pleasures as Cheetos and powdered sugar donuts.

“Those are not in the plan,’’ she said, a little wistfully. “I love to snack. I’ll have ice cream, in moderation. This is …

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Duck men claim back-to-back NCAA titles

EUGENE, Ore. – For the second straight season, TrackTown turned into TitleTown.

Before a packed house of 11,168 at historic Hayward Field on Friday, the Oregon men put the finishing touches on a dominant performance to claim back-to-back team titles at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The Ducks clinched the seventh men’s national outdoor crown in school history with a thrilling 1-2-4 finish in the 5,000 meters from Edward Cheserek, Eric Jenkins and Will Geoghegan.

Oregon’s winning total of 85 points was the second-best ever under the current scoring system, trailing only last year’s 88 points. Florida placed …

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2015 NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

DUCK WOMEN MAKE IT AN NCAA SWEEP

FINAL RESULTS   2015 PHOTO FEED

EUGENE, Ore. – After a disqualification in the 4×100-meter relay, and zero points in the high jump and 1,500 meters, the Oregon women’s track and field team was in desperate need of a spark.

Enter Jenna Prandini.

And, for the second year in a row, the dynamic UO junior was up to the task.

The native of Clovis, Calif., overcame a poor start with a strong close to win the 100 meters in a photo-finish over Texas junior Morolake Akinosun in a wind-aided time of 10.96 seconds. Akinosun hit the tape in 10.97.

That’s …

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Taking Care of Hallowed Ground

EUGENE, Ore. – By his own count, Ron Perkins figures he has mowed the infield grass at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus more than 1,300 times.

Out of season, it’s a two-hour job.

But when the Ducks get down to the business of running, jumping and throwing for real during the outdoor track and field season each spring, his special “competition cut” takes nearly four hours to complete.

And that doesn’t account for the subsequent edging, blowing, aeration, fertilization and watering, all of which combine to keep the infield grass at the fabled venue in pristine condition …

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In the year of the vault, Morris has lofty goals

EUGENE, Ore. – While many events at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field are wide open, the women’s pole vault can be reduced to a two-horse race between Sandi Morris of Arkansas and Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin.

It’s unfortunate that one of them will have a long face at the conclusion of today’s competition.

“I really just think it’s going to depend on who has the best day,’’ Morris said. “Both of us are very capable of jumping in the high 15’s. We could go down in history if we both jump high. It’d …

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Five things to watch: Day One

2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH:

Day One

Men’s 10,000 meters (Final: 6:43 p.m.) – Oregon’s dynamic duo of Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins will try to duplicate the dominance they showed with a 1-2 finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last November.

Men’s Javelin/Shot Put (Final: 5 p.m./5:30 p.m.) – It’s a family affair as Oregon senior Sam Crouser seeks to defend his NCAA title in the javelin, while his cousin, Texas senior Ryan Crouser, aims for a three-peat in the shot put after finishing second indoors.

Men’s pole vault (Final: 4 p.m.)

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USC sprinters on a mission

LOS ANGELES – The Trojans of USC have this 1-2 thing down pat when it comes to their top sprinters, Andre De Grasse and Beejay Lee.

At the recent Pac-12 Track & Field Championships at UCLA, De Grasse finished first in the 100 meters (9.97 seconds) and first in the 200 meters (20.05), while Lee was right behind him in both events with times of 10.16 and 20.46. USC won the 4×100 relay in 39.17 with another 1-2 punch as Lee ran the lead leg and handed off to De Grasse, with the wondrously-named Just’N Thymes and Bryan Mercado finishing …

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TrackTown USA embraces sustainability efforts

EUGENE, Ore. – The concept of sustainability is deeply rooted in the DNA of TrackTown USA. In the past two years, four events at Hayward Field were “green” enough to be certified by the Council for Responsible Sport (CRS).

The 2014 IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials both received a gold medal from CRS, which means each event earned 75 percent of the total available credits in meeting specific social and environmental criteria for official certification.

In addition, the 2013 University of Oregon outdoor track and field season earned silver …

READ MORE


USC sprinters on a mission

LOS ANGELES – The Trojans of USC have this 1-2 thing down pat when it comes to their top sprinters, Andre De Grasse and Beejay Lee.

At the recent Pac-12 Track & Field Championships at UCLA, De Grasse finished first in the 100 meters (9.97 seconds) and first in the 200 meters (20.05), while Lee was right behind him in both events with times of 10.16 and 20.46. USC won the 4×100 relay in 39.17 with another 1-2 punch as Lee ran the lead leg and handed off to De Grasse, with the wondrously-named Just’N Thymes and Bryan Mercado finishing …

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Alexi Pappas: Sometimes, race decisions can be invisible

A race is a series of decisions. Decision making during a race requires energy and commitment: mental energy to assess your situation and then commitment to execute your decision strongly and confidently.

Sometimes, these decisions are big and theatrical. Three weeks ago, I ran a 1,500 meter race on Hayward field at the Oregon Relays.  I made the decision to surge with 450m to go, playing to my strength as a distance runner by kicking early. It was evident to all of Hayward Field that I was taking off, and bold moves like these are just as exciting to the …

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This Kangaroo hops into steeplechase elite

STANFORD, Calif. – It’s one thing to call oneself a Kangaroo, with a capital “K.” It’s another to actually have the hops to prove it.

Consider Courtney Frerichs, proud to call herself a Kangaroo from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The redshirt junior bounded over the barriers and water jumps in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Payton Jordan Invitational in an NCAA Division I-leading 9 minutes, 32.12 seconds on May 2. She needed almost all of her whopping 11-second personal best to hold off Florida State’s Colleen Quigley, who came across second in 9:33.63.

Frerichs’s time still stands as the …

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