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IAAF World Junior Championships Coming to Eugene in 2014 (VIDEO)

IAAF World Junior Championships
IAAF World Junior Championships

Things just are better in TrackTown USA. We’re less than a year away from the IAAF World Junior Championships, which will take place at Hayward Field beginning July 22, 2014.

“With exactly one year to go, we are extremely delighted that an IAAF World Championship is returning to the USA next year for the first time since 1992,” said IAAF President Lamine Diack. “This is a major step forward in the promotion of our sport in the country as it is only the third time in history that an IAAF World Athletics Series competition has been staged in the USA, following the 1987 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Boston five years later.”

The 15th Annual IAAF World Junior Championships will play host to the greatest track and field athletes in the world under the age of 20. This event has never been done in the United States and it has been an whopping 22 years since any IAAF has taken place on US soil. So of course they chose Eugene.

“In just one year, the best young athletes in the world will be representing their countries in an electrifying competition at Hayward Field,” said president of TrackTown USA Vin Lananna. “We are excited about this fantastic opportunity to host an international meet that will be unlike any other event we’ve ever held in TrackTown USA.”

It will be a six-day event covering the biggest events in track and field. While it might not be the Olympic Trials, it’s pretty incredible to have another event of this magnitude here locally.

Let the countdown begin!

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Tara Erdmann Misses IAAF Qualifying Time

Tara Erdmann
Tara Erdmann
(Runners Space)

Tara Erdmann, a Nike Oregon Project long-distance runner, failed to meet the “A” qualifying standard time in the 10,000 meters on Friday night. She competed in front of 100+ fans at Jesuit High School’s track in Portland, Oregon.

Erdmann’s time of 34:19.41 was over the targeted mark of 31:45 needed to compete in the 10,000 meters for Team USA at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships next month in Moscow. Nike Oregon Project teammate Jordan Hasay has already reached the qualifying time and will be eligible to compete in the event.

Hasay will be joined by Shalane Flanagan and former Arizona State Sun Devils runner Amy Hastings for Team USA.

Erdmann competed at Loyola Marymount where she had an incredible collegiate career including multiple All-American honors in cross country and track and field. She was particularly successful in the the 6k and 5k in college, but is doing longer distances for the Nike Oregon Project.

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Steve Prefontaine’s Mother, Elfriede Prefontaine, Has Died at Age 88

Elfriede Prefontaine
Elfriede Prefontaine

Elfriede Prefontaine, mother of legendary track and field star Steve Prefontaine, has passed away. She was 88 years old.

“Anyone who knew Elfriede knew how strong-willed she was — and stubborn,” Prefontaine Classic director Tom Jordan said. “Even though she was always soft-spoken and very self-effacing, she had a toughness that Steve had also.”

Elfriede Prefontaine was a passionate track and field fan, particularly her son who may be one of the greatest Oregon athletes ever. Even after his death she continued to support the local athletes and teams.

“Anybody who loses a son, there’s nothing worse than that,” Pat Tyson, one of Pre’s teammates said in an article by the Register Guard. “But Elfriede continued to live Steve’s life.”

“She loved to be there to honor (Pre’s) spirit.”

Elfriede Prefontaine is survived by her daughter Linda, stepdaughter Neta Prefontaine, sister Irma Button, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. There will be a memorial service in Coos Bay. Elfriede Prefontaine will be placed in the family’s plot at Sunset Memorial Park in Coos Bay where she will be be next to her mother, husband and Steve.

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Oregon’s Trevor Dunbar Wants to Run Sub-Four-Minute Mile

Trevor Dunbar (GoDucks)
Trevor Dunbar

According to a report by Ken Goe of the Oregonian, University of Oregon track and field star Trevor Dunbar will be attempting to run a sub-four-minute mile on Monday July 15th at Roosevelt High School (Portland) in the Roughrider Twilight.

The Roughrider Twilight will play host to Nike Oregon Project runners Jordan Hasay and Tara Erdmann who are both trying to hit qualifying standard time for the IAAF World Championships in the 10,000 meter. The “A” standard is 31:45, and the “B” is 32:05.

Dunbar, before his career with the Ducks, competed at the University of Portland not too far away from Roosevelt High School.

Dunbar ran a 3:38.38 time in the 1,500 meters at the Victoria International Track Classic this past holiday weekend meaning he would be on pace to hit the time. He missed his opportunity this spring after an injury that cost him the 2013 college outdoor track and field season.

Should Dunbar be successful he’d be the first Alaskan to break the four minute mile barrier.

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Craig Leon and Lauren Johnson win Butte to Butte 10K


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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Ducks Add Six More to Track and Field Recruiting Class

UO Men's and Women's Track Teams (GoDucks)
UO Men’s and Women’s Track Teams

University of Oregon Track and Field Head Coach Robert Johnson has announced the signing of six additional recruits for the 2013 class, and it’s quite an impressive haul for the program joining an already stellar list.

The list is headlined by the 2013 U.S. Junior champion in the men’s 400 meters and the rest aren’t that far behind him.

Another notable includes one star who received 35 Division-1 scholarship offers but chose to sign with the Ducks who didn’t offer one.

The Oregon men’s team finished the season in fourth place and the women in third, both pictured above, at the Outdoor Track and Field National Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene a month ago.

Here’s Oregon Six Additional Recruits:

Marcus Chambers

Chambers, of Tacoma, Washington, is the crown jewel of the list. As mentioned above, Chambers won the national 400 meter title at the U.S. Outdoor Junior Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa where he posted a time of 46.55. Chambers also represented Foss High School during his senior season with consecutive Washington State titles in the 400 and 200 meters. His 400 at the Washington State Championships was a blazing 46.36 (second fastest time nationally among prep runners in 2013) and his 200 an incredible 21.30. He was honored as the 2012-13 Gatorade Washington Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

Maria Elbon

The Ducks’ next prospect on the list is a transfer from Belmont University where she was he 2012 Ohio Valley Conference cross country individual champion and 23rd place finisher at the NCAA South Region Championships with a time of 20:43.4, a PR. As a sophomore she had four top 10 finishes in six races. On the track side, she finished in seventh place in the 10k at the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championships as a freshman with a PR in 37:57.81. She will be a junior in cross country (two seasons of eligibility) and a redshirt sophomore in both indoor and outdoor track and field (three seasons of eligibility).

Ted Foster

Next on the list is Foster, an incoming freshman, from Lincroft, New Jersey. He was the 400 meter state champion with the fourth-fastest indoor time in the nation this winter at 47.85. Foster transferred his senior season, but prior to that was the 2012 New Jersey state Group A/Non-Public Schools 400 meter champion at Christian Brothers Academy in addition to anchoring the school’s winning 4×400 meter relay.

Mel Newberry

Newberry, another incoming freshman, is the only foreign athlete on the list and comes from London, England. She was a two-time NCAA East Preliminary Rounds qualifier in the 3,000 meter steeplechase while at Princeton and also a two-time Ivy-League scorer. She boasts a PR of 10:18.66. She will have one season of eligibility next Spring with the Ducks.

Kelly O’Neill

O’Neil, a prospect from just up north in Lake Oswego, Oregon, stared for OSAA 6A Lakeridge High School. O’Neill placed in both the 800 (5th) and 1,500 (8th) meter events at the OSAA Championships and ran a PR of 4:37.09 at the 2013 Three Rivers League Championships.

Alec Smith

Smith of Westview High School might be the most interesting prospect on this list. The Oregon prep star won back-to-back OSAA 6A State titles in the 800 meter his junior and senior years. He set a PR in a win at the USA Miler’s Club meet in Portland, Oregon, with a time of 1:50.43. He also won a semifinal heat in the 800 meter event at this year’s U.S. Track and Field Junior Championships with a final time of 1:51.54. He had 35 Division-1 programs offer scholarships, but ultimately decided to walk-on at the University of Oregon where no scholarship was offered. You can read more about his story HERE.

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Oregon’s Alexi Pappas Joins Oregon Track Club Elite

Alexi Pappas
Alexi Pappas

Former Oregon Ducks track and field star Alexi Pappas, after a short hiatus from running, is back and competing in a green singlet once again. However, this time it’s with Oregon Track Club Elite.

Pappas competed in this year’s Harry Jerome International Track Classic for OTC Elite and has chosen to remain in Eugene to train as part of the post-collegiate team. She finished the 1,500m race with a sixth place finish in what will be one of many races to come.

Before joining the Ducks, Pappas was a star at Bishop O’Dowd High School where she lettered in cross country, track and soccer. From there she went on to compete at Dartmouth earning all-American honors and a third place finish in the steeplechase at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She left Dartmouth a two-time NCAA all-American.

Pappas joined the Ducks for one final season of collegiate eligibility and had an immediate impact on the cross country team and even won the Dellinger Invitational with a time of 16:23, a 5k race. She stayed with the Ducks through the spring, remaining in school and aiding as a volunteer assistant for the track team.

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OTC Elite: Bridget Franek Announces Leave of Absence

Bridget Franek (ESPN)
Bridget Franek

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

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

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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