Track Town

USATF Makes Bid for 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships to Portland

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TrackTown USA
TrackTown USA

USA Track & Field will make a bid to bring the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships to Portland with TrackTown USA of Eugene presenting the bid in Monaco on Nov. 15 of this year.

“We’re confident that the state of Oregon is a great place for the sport of track and field,” TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna said in an article by the Register Guard. “I think the heart and soul of the sport is located in Eugene and Hayward Field, and track and field has been prominent in our community for a long, long time.”

The state of Oregon has been center stage for many of the world’s most important track and field events over the past decade including the past two US Olympic Trials and another to come in 2016. Also upcoming will be the IAAF Junior World Championships.

“USATF considers it an honor as well as a duty to try to bring a world championship event back to U.S. soil,” CEO Max Siegel said. “Having hosted two very successful Olympic Trials in 2008 and 2012, TrackTown USA has shown itself to be the premier host of world-class track events in this country.

“We look forward to presenting the bid and continuing to elevate the off-track profile of the United States in the international sports world.”

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Ashton Eaton Brings Home Gold at IAAF World Championships

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Ashton Eaton
Ashton Eaton
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

MOSCOW – Ashton Eaton is one ridiculous athlete. The Bend, Oregon, native and former University of Oregon star kept his honor as world’s greatest athlete with a gold medal finish the decathlon at the IAAF World Championships.

“It feels good. It was the last thing I had left on my list to do,” Eaton said. “Now I’ve done everything there is to do in multi-events.”

And also competing is fellow Oregon alum, and Eaton’s wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton of team Canada. She is competing in the heptathlon and is a favorite in the event.

“I’m way more proud of her than myself and she vice versa for me,” Eaton said. “It’s cool to be in the same event and be successful at the same time and be able to travel around the world together.

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Oregon Athletes Excel at IAAF World Championships

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Nick Symmonds
Nick Symmonds

A pair of Oregon athletes, Zoe Buckman and Nick Symmonds, will continue on to semifinal competition at the IAAF World Championships after winning their heats Sunday.

Buckman, running for Australia, completed the women’s 1,500 meters in 4:06.99 to win her heat of the preliminary event. She beat out the United States’ Jessica Simpson by less than a full second, with Simpson running a 4:07.16 time. Buckman’s was the third-highest time of the day and qualifies her to compete in Tuesday’s semifinal, though she said she’s ready to compete for Thursday’s final.

“I think I’m in a real striking position,” she said to The Oregonian.

She will be joined by Mary Cain of the U.S., who is being trained by former Duck distance runner Alberto Salazar.

Symmonds, who competes with Oregon Track Club Elite, says his strategy was to jump out — not wanting to have to fight for a spot late. He and the other two Americans competing in the men’s 800 all qualified, with Symmonds’ 1:46.90 being the slowest of the bunch. He won his heat though and will run Tuesday as well.

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Craig Leon and Lauren Johnson win Butte to Butte 10K

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eventIt wasn’t a long journey for Eugene native Craig Leon, a world-travelled runner who made it back-to-back wins in the Butte to Butte, one of just 15 ever multi-champions in the race.

“It’s always nice to wake up in your bed, roll out of your house and jog up to the start line. It’s a much nicer routine than traveling somewhere, I will say that,” Leon said to the Register Guard.

Leon crossed the finish line with a winning time of 31 minutes and 45 seconds, though 26 seconds slower than last year’s time was good enough to get him a win over second place finisher Matthew Bailey.

Lauren Johnson was the top female finisher in the event, coming in with a final time of 35:56. The Oregon Track Club runner just edged past Morgan Haws by four seconds to claim the top spot while running her first ever 10K road race.

“I was really nervous because I was like ‘I’ve never done this before,’ I didn’t know what to expect, and of course the first mile is uphill,” said Johnson.

Top Results From the Butte to Butte

10k Men   10k Women
Craig Leon 31:45 Lauren Johnson 35:56
Matthew Bailey 32:23 Morgan Haws 36:00
Brian Eimstad 32:46 Brett Ely 37:08
Robert McLauchlan 33:16 Renee Gordon 37:19
Levi Thomet 33:16 Maggie Schmaedick 38:17
5k Men   5k Women
Michael Donawa 16:38 Jenna Anderson 19:57
Jacob Truitt 17:19 Jennifer Federov 20:59
Jared Storts 18:25 Kelly Kvaal 21:22
Angel Goemaere 19:20 Kylee O’Connor 21:25
German Rosas 20:09 Lynn Swanson 21:48
 

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OTC Elite: Bridget Franek Announces Leave of Absence

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Bridget Franek (ESPN)
Bridget Franek
(ESPN)

Oregon Track Club Elite (OTC) star Bridget Franek has announced on her personal blog that she is tacking a leave of absence from the sport effective immediately.

Franek is a middle distance runner and is particularly skilled in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, an event she qualified for and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She finished 14th overall in the Olympic final.

The 25-year-old graduated from Penn State in 2010 and has been involved in professional track with OTC elite ever since.

Here is Franek’s Blog Post

[gn_quote style=”1″]Immediately after Nationals I was gung-ho to go to Europe and chase a P.R.

Since then, plans have changed.

I’ve decided to hang up the spikes temporarily and take an extended break from the sport.

I am headed back to Oregon for the summer. My soul, my spirit, and my passion need to be recharged.

I am scared, I am nervous, but I am also excited. I did not achieve my running goals this year but I have decided to take this as a new opportunity, a wake up call. I never wanted my personal identity to be defined solely by who I am on the track but in my dedication and intense focus throughout the past 8 years, I realize I have been blocking out a huge portion of myself and life. Its time for me to be reminded again of who I am outside the oval. I love running and competing and I am not ready for this phase of my life to be over, I just want to learn how to incorporate and express my true self through it better. That is my new summer mission.[/gn_quote]

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Nick Symmonds: Beer Sales, Track Betting and More

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Nick Symmonds
Nick Symmonds

Former Oregon Track and Field star Nick Symmonds has some interesting ideas for the future of track and field. Here are some changes Symmonds would like to see:

[gn_quote style=”1″]“This holy, virgin image of track and field as this pure, untainted sport vanished a long time ago,” said Symmonds. “Today’s culture doesn’t appreciate the subtle nuances of the men’s 1,500 meters.

“I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish everyone appreciated what (U.S. 5,000- and 10,000-meter runner) Galen Rupp was doing and what I’m doing, but that’s not necessarily the case.

“Pop culture has a short attention span and likes booze and gambling. Why don’t we give ‘em an abbreviated meet — like this meet is perfect. It’s two-and-a-half hours with something always going on.

“I’m about as diehard a track fan as you’re going to find and I don’t want to sit out under the sun for eight hours to watch a really slow, poorly run track meet.

“I certainly don’t want to do it on a Saturday afternoon without a beer in my hand.”

Symmonds continued…

“As for the gambling,” Symmonds said. “I understand that’s a lot more aggressive.

“But look at Zurich (the Weltklasse meet on the IAAF’s major-league Diamond League circuit). I would argue that it’s the greatest non-championship meeting in the world. You walk in, you get a booklet with all the stats and odds for all the athletes. You go to (a betting kiosk) and put down (on an athlete) and you’ve got a horse in the race.

“Maybe you pick an underdog, and you’re cheering as hard for that underdog as you’d be cheering for (Jamaican superstar Usain) Bolt out there.

“Because, if you’ve got a little bit invested in there, it’s a lot more fun, carefree attitude. Let’s not make track and field this serious thing where you feel intimidated by the athletes, you’re out there haveing fun with them.”[/gn_quote]

Symmonds is not the first track star to try and incorporate gambling into the sport. It’s been long-discussed for years and seems like it is nearly a reality. It could certainly spark more hype/talk for events and is a reality.

[yop_poll id=”28″]

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Jordan Hasay: Track Academic All-American of the Year

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Jordan Hasay
Jordan Hasay

Let’s make it a double! Former Oregon Ducks track and field superstar Jordan Hasay closes out her glorious collegiate career by earning her second Capital One Academic All-American of the Year honor for Division I Women’s track and field and cross country, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Hasay finished her academic career with a 3.87 GPA. majoring in business administration from the University of Oregon Charles H. Lundquist College of Business. Hasay won the honor back in 2011 when he became the first student athlete to win the honor as a sophomore. She finishes her career with 18 combined All-America awards.

But Hasay was not alone in the honors. Track stars Anne Kesselring and Ben DeJarnette both earned First-Team All-American honors.

Kesselring is a repeat honoree. She boasts a perfect 4.00 GPA in business administration as well and completed her collegiate career this spring. She holds the school record in the indoor mile (4:32.61) and is a 12-time All-American.

DeJarnette, a journalism major with political science and economics minors and a 4.00 GPA, is a first-time honoree. He earned first team all-Pac-12 academic honors this year as well and has one more season of collegiate eligibility remaining.

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Photos: NCAA Track and Field National Championships (Day 4)

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The NCAA Track and Field National Championships came to a close Sunday in Eugene with the Ducks finishing in fourth place on both the men’s and women’s side. Photographer Gary Breedlove highlights the final day of action.

Oregon’s English Gardner, Elijah Greer Post Wins for Track

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Oregon track stars embrace in a hug (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Oregon track stars embrace in a hug
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Oregon’s English Gardner ran through pain to a first place finish in the women’s 100 meters at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, edging out UCF sophomore Octavious Freeman. Gardner won in a blazing 10.96 to withstand a late charge from Freeman and LSU standout Kimberly Duncan.

“I heard the crowd (in the last 20 meters),” Gardner said. “I had a little ‘go get em’ at the end from the crowd.”

In the men’s 100 meters TCU’s Charles Silmon managed to improve on the 9.92 he ran in qualifying, finishing in a slightly wind aided 9.89 to win the national championship. Flordia State’s Dentarius Locke and Isaiah Young of Ole Miss each turned in sub-10 performances as well.

Stanford’s Kori Canter turned in another fast time in the women’s 400 meter hurdles, finishing in a collegiate record 53.21, one of many quick times clocked at Hayward on Friday.

“It’s that Hayward Field magic,” Garnder said. “If you run in it you believe it.”

On the field side, LSU’s Damar Forbes finally got that elusive first place finish at the NCAA championships after a string of runner up showings. The Jamaican Olympian sailed 27-04.75 on his second jump of the day and nobody else was within 12 inches.

“I wanted to be a winner,” said Forbes “I was tired of being second. It was hurting me. A lot of people looked at me and said, ‘You’re always second, that’s got to be a good feeling.’ No it’s not. It’s not.”

Another streak was broken in the men’s high jump with Kansas State’s Erik Kynard missing out on what would have been his third straight title. Instead it was Derek Dourin of Indiana who nearly matched a collegiate record, clearing the bar at 2.31 meters and just missing at 2.34.

Oregon's English Gardner holds up her championship trophy (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)
Oregon’s English Gardner holds up her championship trophy
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

In the men’s 800 Penn State had two athletes in the top three, but both finished behind Oregon’s Elijah Greer who finished his last two laps as a Duck in 1:46.58.

In the evening’s final event Oregon legend Jordan Hasay ran her last 5,000 meter race at Hayward Field–as a Duck, that is. Hasay was within striking distance of the lead until the last lap and made her move with about 300 meters to go, but Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino made a power move on the back stretch and would leave Hasay — and everybody else — in her dust, winning in 15:43.68, nearly seven seconds ahead of 10,000 meter champion Betsey Saina of Iowa State. Hasay would finish third.

Kansas continues to lead in the women’s team race with Oregon in second. The Ducks are within striking distance but will need a virtually perfect final day to take the team title and complete the Triple Crown.

In the men’s race, USC and Texas are tied for the lead with Arkansas just a point and a half behind. The Ducks sit a distant sixth in the men’s team race, tied with UCLA.

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Leading Mark Lasers Make Debut at NCAA Championships

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The NCAA Outdoor track and field championships were the first live athletic event to feature an in-stadium laser. (Photo courtesy Thought Development, Inc)
The NCAA Outdoor track and field championships were the first live athletic event to feature an in-stadium laser.
(Photo courtesy Thought Development, Inc)

Spectators and athletes at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships were among the first to see Thought Development, Inc laser-line system that displayed leading marks in field events.

Actually, Wednesday’s women’s javelin competition was the first time an in-stadium laser system was used globally in a live sporting event.

“Since the days of Bill Bowerman,” Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna said in a press release, “TrackTownUSA has been committed to enhancing the experience of the athletes and spectators. The technology developed by Thought Development, Inc represents the next step in a long traddition of innovation in TrackTown.”

How it works is actually relatively simple.

A three-man crew — one on the field with radio, one on the roof of Hayward Field’s west grandstand, and one on press row working with a laptop — operate a state-of-the art laser system that displays the current leading mark in field events on the field.

At field level the laser’s inventor, Alan Amron, radios the leading mark to an operator on press row who plugs the numbers into a laptop. A third operator monitors the laser itself on the roof who can shut off the laser if anything goes wrong.

Even if it were to be left on throughout the event, there’s no safety issue with the laser.

“It’s safer than a laser pointer you would use in a powerpoint presentation,” said Larry Weisman, the company’s public relation’s director.

Unlike the first-down lines seen on NFL and college football games however, this line is just as visible on the field and in the stands as it is on television.

“It helps build excitement,” said Greg Litchy, a freelancer assisting Thought Development, Inc with in-stadium operations. “If we had it our way, we’d be leaving it in there when the people jump.”

The NCAA Outdoor track and field championships were the first live athletic event to feature an in-stadium laser. (Photo courtesy Thought Development, Inc)
Here the laser is used for the long jump events
(Photo courtesy Thought Development, Inc)

For the last several months, Litchy has worked with Amron helping to develop the technology, but things have really picked up in the last few weeks. Amron and Litchy did several demos for the NCAA at Hayward in early May and got the green light from Lananna and TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly to set up for nationals.

The laser itself is mounted on a customized rig on the Hayward Field grandstand so it can switch easily from one event to another.

For now, the laser is showing just the leading mark, but Litchy says that’s just a baby step. In the future, the lasers could show world records and personal bests in addition to leading marks.

The possibilities go well beyond track, as well.

“I don’t think there is a limit,” Amron said. “I think you could use it in all different sports, it can be used in any delineation of in any markings you need in an area on the floor…Lasers are always being used at night, we’re the first people to really take a laser and start using them during the day for different visual thing. ”

Instrumental in rolling out this new technology were Mark James, a USA Track & Field Foundation Board Member, and Mr. Vin Lananna – also a board member. Mark James vision created the John W. James Endowment in July 2010 (http://usatffoundation.org/News/Archives/2010/2010-07-16.aspx).  To date, more than $160,000 in grants have been issued to track & field athletes in the throwing events.

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