track town USA

I’ll run… But Only If I Am Being Chased.


I have lived all over the country, but nowhere has running and jogging been so popular as here in “Track Town USA.” Even before the physical limitations I now have, my favorite way to express my feeling about running was to say “The only way you will see me run is if I am being chased by someone with a gun.” Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those who jog or run It’s just not for me. In previous columns I have explained my back surgery, neuropathy in my legs and the implanted neurostimulator that relieves the numbness pain in my legs.

My Spinal X-Ray With Neurostimulator Wires | OMG Radiology Department
My Spinal X-Ray With Neurostimulator Wires
| OMG Radiology Department

I also have proprioception which means that my brain doesn’t know exactly where my feet are at any given time. The doctors have told me that I shouldn’t run or jog and that I shouldn’t walk on uneven surfaces like the Amazon jogging path or even uneven sidewalks. (I can still mow my lawn, but I have to watch every step that I take. If I walk where it isn’t flat and even I can easily lose my balance and fall flat on my face. I was clumsy enough all of my life anyway, but this makes it even easier for me to fall down. I can’t ride a bicycle outside for similar reasons and only a recumbent bicycle would keep my back properly supported. To me that also rules out a stationary bicycle for exercise. Even an elliptical machine would require the sense of balance to stand and keep my feet on it. I wouldn’t be able to do that safely.

Me On Treadmill
Me Walking On My Treadmill | Photo by Tim Chuey

Well, what does that leave for me to do to get the leg exercise that I need? The answer is simple, a treadmill solves the problem. I purchased one years ago because there were too many times when work would interfere with my getting to the gym to walk on one of their treadmills. Having one at home meant I could walk whenever I had the free time without having to take the time to drive to and from the gym. I now walk on my treadmill twice a day for 30 minutes or more each time, besides doing other exercises. While walking one day this past week a thought came to me. Where did treadmills come from and who came up with the idea to use them for exercise? That’s what I will answer for you now.

According to “the term treadmill was once used interchangeably with treadwheel. You might have heard of a treadwheel before.” “..these were used as power sources.” The way it worked was like walking up stairs which made the wheel spin producing energy, lifting water and many other ingenious tasks. Some treadmills were made like what we call a hamster wheel” where someone walked inside the wheel to make it turn.

Horse Batteuse
Horse Batteuse (French Thresher) 1881| Image by

Other treadmill type machines used a horizontal bar that was pushed by people or pulled by animals to grind wheat and perform different tasks.

Roman Treadmill Crane Reconstruction In Bonn, Germany | Photo by
Roman Treadwheel Crane Reconstruction In Bonn, Germany | Photo by

The ancient Romans used their heads and developed a treadwheel crane that was used to construct buildings. Something akin to today’s treadmills was also developed. It was a sloped platform with people walking on it.

William Cubitt
Sir William Cubitt; National Portrait Gallery, London; | Image by

According to “In 1818 an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts. Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain (Hence the eventual name treadmill. In grueling eight-hour shifts, prisoners would climb the equivalent of 7,200 feet.”

Prisoner Treadmill
William Cubitt’s Torturous Tread-Mill | Image by

New York prison guard James Hardie, back in 1824, credited the  treadmill with taming New York’s worst inmates. Hardie said “It was the treadmill’s monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror.”

William Staub
William Staub Inventor Modern Treadmill | Image NY

William Staub is considered to be the inventor of the modern treadmill to be used for exercise. Staub was influenced by a health guru named Kenneth Cooper who coined the term aerobics and espoused the theory that running a mile in eight minutes four or five times a week would result in “good fitness.”

Staub's Treadmill
William Staub’s Early Treadmill For Personal Use | Image by

Now there are many companies making a variety of technically advanced treadmills that have computer chips in them and can be programmed for all sorts of runs or jogs that can change elevation, tension and the speed of the treadmill. I’ll stick with just walking with mine. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Treadmill Console
Treadmill Console | Photo by Tim Chuey

If you have an idea for a future topic let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Being a Ducks Fan From the Eyes of a Duck

When looking for colleges to apply to, students might consider their future aspirations, field of study interests, or location of campus. At the University of Oregon, there is one common trend seen among all who apply and ultimately attend: SPORTS! In...

Ariana Washington places seventh in women’s 100 meter final despite toothaches

Three days before reaching the women’s 100 meter final at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, Ariana Washington dealt with pain from her wisdom teeth to the point where she was thinking about going to the emergency room. Washington even went as far as saying she hadn’t eaten in three days.

“I’ve had a hard week with toothaches and other things, so I was just trying to push through and try to be a champion,” Washington said. “My wisdom teeth are coming in, so I haven’t eaten in like three days. I almost had to go to the ER about three nights ago, so just trying to hang in there.”

On her final day of competition though, she fought through and placed seventh overall in the women’s 100 meter final with a 11.64 time. Her personal best heading into competition was 11.22.

In the semifinals, Washington placed second in her group with a qualifying time of 11.73. Holding the third best personal best time in the final group, Washington was an intriguing possibility at making the podium.

She eventually lost out to her high-level competitors in the final; something she was prepared for.

“It was a little bit lower,” Washington said about her adjusted expectations. “I knew I wasn’t my best. I don’t eat like a regular athlete. My goal was to make the finals and I did.”

Making the podium were Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (11.23), Ecuador’s Ángela Tenorio (11.39) and Washington’s teammate Kaylin Whitney (11.45).

Even under the circumstances, Washington wasn’t pleased with her results. With her nagging mouth pain and the pressure of finishing out her career at the junior level, Washington simply looked tired and ready to be done.

She now has her career at Oregon to look forward to.

“It’s a work in progress,” Washington said. “I have four more years to work on it and succeed there (Oregon), so we’re (Washington and her coach) going for it.”

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

Ashlee Moore jumps up the leaderboards after winning heptathlon long jump

Ashlee Moore didn’t finish out day one in strong fashion. Ranking 11th heading into the heptathlon long jump, Moore faced an uphill battle to get back into the mix.

She conquered that challenge however, in her first event on day two.

Moore not only won the heptathlon long jump against strong head winds, but she also recorded a new personal best distance of 5.86 meters, up 0.06 meters from her previous record. Since placing second in the women’s 100 meter hurdles to begin the competition, Moore has revived her medal hopes after struggling in the shot put and 200 meters.

With 4138 points through four events, Moore now ranks in sixth place. Currently atop of the rankings are Great Britain’s Morgan Lake (4640), Netherlands’ Nadine Vesser (4498) and Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodríguez (4469).

Moore will continue this afternoon with Group B in the javelin throw heptathlon at 2:50 p.m. PST. The heptathlon will conclude with the 800 meters at 7:10 p.m. PST.

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

Christian Brennan qualifies for women’s 400 meter semi-finals

Representing Canada in a downpour morning at Historic Hayward Field, incoming freshman Christian Brennan placed third in the women’s 400 meter qualifier.

“It was really raining, but I’m used to it because I train here,” Brennan said. “It didn’t phase me that much.”

UO ambassadors guide global athletes around Eugene for World Junior Track and Field Championships

There’s a maroon flag hanging from a third-story window at the Walton-Clark residence hall. The slinking fabric is the only indication Nagina Pirzad needs to locate her assignment: the Moroccan junior national track and field team. She, alongside two other women are one of 116 ambassadors from the University of Oregon who will guide the far-flung athletes around the campus and the city in the days leading up to the World Junior track and field championships.

The athletes began descending on the Pacific Northwest last week. One look around campus over the weekend harkens somewhat to Copacabana Beach in Brazil last month, with flags, representing the 176 countries participating that are draped over Oregon Hall or waving next to the Hayward Field track. Campus has been covered in camera-equipped people speaking a variety of languages while posing in front of Hayward’s gates and athletes wheeling luggage from team buses to the residence halls.

Pirzad, a junior in journalism and international studies, finally catches the attention of Rhizlane Siba, an 18-year-old high jumper and the first to arrive from the Moroccan squad. Locked out of the residence hall, Pirzad beckons in French for her to come downstairs and get introduced to the ambassadors.

“It’s our job to know when our team athletes are competing and stuff. We’re supposed to be there for the team whenever they need anything,” Pirzad said later. “Not really an errand boy, not entirely an interpreter. We’re the middle men between them and TrackTown [USA] or them and the university.”

Pirzad and her partners, Judy Alrasheed, who just graduated with an economics degree, and Megan Kupres, a human physiology and chemistry major, offer themselves as what they call “attachés.” There will be more than 1,700 athletes making their way into town, all under the age of 20. The three of them have charge over athletes from Morocco, Tunisia and Djibouti.

Though the athlete-to-ambassador ratio can seem overwhelming, the women talk excitedly about the upcoming meet.

“I feel like this is a learning experience for everyone. For TrackTown, for the U of O, for everyone,” Pirzad said. “Even the global ambassador program was kind of made up through the Office of International Affairs because they said ‘Wait, we have a lot of students with international experience and speak a bunch of languages we should get them to work closely with these athletes.’”

The students are part of the first ambassador program for the World Juniors. Eugene is the first city in the United States to host the six-day meet, something TrackTown USA has been working toward for two years. For both the international athletes and the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federation, Eugene needs to be a great experience.

“The idea was to develop the global ambassador program as the first of its kind to help bridge the linguistic and cultural barriers,” said Sheila Bong, program director of the global studies institute in the office of international affairs.

Eugene’s track pedigree has made it an ideal destination for the IAAF’s foray into the United States. Hayward Field, the birthplace of Nike and host to a couple Olympic track trials.

The city could complement the event itself as a prestigious showcase of up-and-coming talent. One example, Usain Bolt, before he became the face of track and field, blew up on the scene when he became the youngest person to win gold at the meet back in 2002.

Though the climate around the track remains, the World Juniors could be an audition for the city and the region. Eventually, they could host the World Outdoor Championships, according to TrackTown officials. The ambassadors themselves are a major component of that — to help ensure everything goes smoothly.

The ambassadors will essentially be the eyes and ears for both the university and TrackTown USA, though there’s not a perfect job description for them yet.

“They’re already fielding questions and providing answers to random types of questions,” Bong said. “They’ll be acting as guides and cross-cultural interpreters. They can provide logistical aid and support throughout the university.”

In order to get a better grasp on the countries they will be working with the ambassadors who were in class for the spring and for one week in the summer. They’re volunteers, though they did receive class credit, Pirzad said the skills that the ambassadors learn is payment enough.

“I think there’s skills not just for sporting events. There’s conflict-resolution, you always need conflict-resolution,” she said. “And neutral observing so you don’t start fights with people and not assuming things about people. Especially if you’re involved in international affairs they’re good skills to have.”

Being around world-class athletes appeals to the women, but they said the chance to experience another country first-hand and watch the athletes do the same with the United States, is the best part.

“I’ll get to interact and experience something new with them,” says Alrasheed. “We’re from the same continent but a different environment, like [states] here in America.”

Oregon Football — What’s the ‘BIG’ Deal?


A great man is always willing to be little. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Zach Okun isn’t the future of Oregon football — he’s the now. All 6’4″, 315 pounds of him. The Newbury Park, California, high school junior decided to end his recruitment process almost a year in advance of national signing day for the Class of 2015. In the time it took him to reach the Eugene airport, once he’d made the announcement on Twitter that he was going to Oregon, more than 40 college coaches lit up his smartphone, trying to change his mind. Schools that include USC, Notre Dame, Miami, Arizona, and Mississippi State are apparently out of luck.

Zach Okun is big. Very big. And he's a Duck.

Zach Okun is big. Very big. And he’s a Duck.

Young Okun’s commitment to the Ducks is a sign of what is quietly happening at the moment in Eugene, as well as a harbinger of things to come. The inescapable fact seen is that the Ducks’ brain-trust is not, as some critical fans would have it, brain-dead. They understand that to get over that final hump, to take those last few steps onto the lofty summit that is a national championship, they need to stay faster and stronger than the college competition — and get a little bigger.

I give you Zach Okun.

Scary-good defensive end, Rivals No. 1 player in the Class of 2015, Byron Cowart

Scary-good defensive end, Rivals No. 1 player in the Class of 2015, Byron Cowart.

Or, maybe, just maybe, the player Rivals rank as the No. 1 kid in the nation’s 2015 class, defensive end Byron Cowart, said to also be leaning toward becoming a Duck. As a junior, the Armwood, Florida, product racked up 72 tackles and 13 sacks, either blowing past or bowling over opposing linemen with frightening ease.

If Cowart does become a Duck (keep your eyes peeled on Nike’s “The Opening” this week, where Cowart will be strutting his stuff and checking out what it feels like to play in something less than 100% humidity), he’ll have left the Alabamas, Floridas, and Clemsons of the collegiate football world at the altar.

“OK, whatever,” you may be thinking. Fact is the Ducks are, in the end, all about fast and slick. When push comes to shove — or in games against the likes of big, beefy teams like ‘Bama, Stanford, or Michigan State, when push comes to stuff — the smaller Ducks are inevitably worn down to a frazzle, analogous to the seemingly uncatchable roadrunner finally beaned by a bulky boulder.

Well, that was, for the sake of argument, then. So back to now. For the sheer fun of it, I decided to do a bit of highly unscientific data collecting. I zeroed in on the official 2014 rosters of the Ducks, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Michigan State Spartans. I specifically looked at each team’s respective offensive and defensive lines. I made no attempt to separate first- from third-stringers. Nor did I include defensive ends, tight ends, linebackers or defensive backs. Just guards, tackles, and centers on offense and interior DLs.

What I found is fascinating. On the offensive line, Michigan State lists 10 players, the largest of whom, Benny McGowan, tips the scales at 319 pounds. As a group, the Spartans weigh in at 3,852 pounds. Alabama’s roster features 13 offensive linemen, led (at least at the dinner table) by the gargantuan Brandon Hill — all 385 pounds of him. Collectively, the Crimson Tide total 4,081 pounds, roughly the weight of a stripped down Ford F-150 pickup.

They admittedly make 'em big in the SEC...

They admittedly make ‘em big in the SEC …

Then we have the Ducks. As you know, the Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich/Scott Frost approach to offensive football makes perfect sense, given that they’re coaching in a town officially branded as Track Town USA. One of their freshmen wide receivers, Devon Allen, just won the national championship in the 110-meter hurdles. The guy who won the 2013 world championship finished third. Remember, Allen’s a freshman.

Obviously an offense that features players such as Allen, fleet-footed Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota, and hyper-speed running backs such as Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner had better have some linemen that can get up and run a bit themselves. So goodbye enormous, SEC-style paunches, and hello relatively lean muscle mass. Just to be safe, it’s probably a good idea to have enough bodies on hand so they can be platooned during a game, coming at the opposition in fresh waves. Ever been to the Oregon coast? Who’s winning, the sand dunes or the Pacific Ocean?

Which is why the Ducks list 20 (that’s twenty) offensive linemen on their 2014 roster, with Everett Benyard the biggest, at 305 pounds. As a group, they total a whopping 5,981 pounds. That’s 1,900 pounds more than Alabama, and a jaw-dropping 2,129 pounds more than Sparty. By the way, the Ducks also have recent signees Haniteli Louisi (OG, 295), Tyrell Crosby (OT, 290), Davis Miyashiro-Saipaia (OT, 285), and Braden Eggert (OT, 305) joining the fray this season. Add to that current 2015 verbal commitments from Brady Aiello (OT, 270), Calvin Throckmorton (OL, 270), Jake Hanson (OL, 285), and the aforementioned Okun (think these youngsters are going to shrink over the next year or two?), and the cavalry isn’t coming, folks, it has arrived.

So what about defense? Here, the Ducks are far more balanced. Having said that, because of their propensity to score quickly — and often — it would be logical to err on the side of down linemen who are above all, fit. And back them up with tough, aggressive defensive ends, linebackers and defensive backs, which the Ducks have done, and continue to do.

At 300 lbs.+, Ricky Heimuli is no "West Coast lightweight"

At 320+ lbs., Ducks lineman Ricky Heimuli is no “West Coast lightweight.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Alabama sports nine linemen, with Darren Lake tipping the scales at 324 pounds. As a group, the Crimson Tide’s defensive linemen come in at 2,609 pounds. Michigan State also lists nine defensive linemen, topped by 308-pound Devyn Salmon. Together, the biggest of the Spartan defensive corps total 2,548 pounds. Back in Eugene, Oregon’s heaviest defensive lineman is Ricky Heimuli, at 321 pounds (that’s right, bigger than the heftiest defensive player in Tuscaloosa). Joined by seven teammates, the Ducks’ middle defensive unit totals 2,187 pounds. That’s 381 pounds lighter than their counterparts at Michigan State, and 422 pounds lighter than the ‘Bama boys. Gaps, yes, but certainly not as glaring as the ones that exist between the Oregon offensive unit, en masse, and their fellow elite gridiron adversaries.

So there you go. One man’s perhaps slightly provocative perspective on the perceived size gap between Oregon and the types of big, bad, smashmouth teams that have occasionally proved the Ducks’ undoing in the recent past. I suspect Coach Helfrich and his staff recite that Emerson quote with tongues firmly in cheek these days. When it comes to size, in a general sense at least, Oregon appears to be walking softly, while carrying an awfully big stick — one that’s getting bigger all the time.

Featured image courtesy of Zach Okun

Track and Field 2014-15: Ducks on Track to a Dynasty

The 2014 NCAA track and field season was one of the best in recent years — if not ever — for the Oregon Ducks men’s and women’s teams.  After both teams won NCAA indoor championships and completed a strong regular outdoor season, the Ducks excelled in the regional qualifiers, sending a total of 37 men and women athletes to the NCAA Championships at Historic Hayward Field.  The men’s team won its first national outdoor title since 1984 while the women’s team took third. The meet was highlighted by outstanding individual performances from many Duck athletes, and the Ducks will look to repeat, or possibly even exceed, the success of this year in the indoor and outdoor 2014-2015 seasons. Here are five reasons why you should be there to watch them next year.

  1. 2014 National Championship Performances
Laura Roesler

Laura Roesler

The Ducks lit up the track all four days of the 2014 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships.  The title-winning men’s team was led by individual championship performances from Mac Fleet, Sam Crouser and sensational freshmen Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  These four scored a total of 48 of the men’s 88 team points.  The women’s team was led by title-winning performances from Laura Roesler in the 800 meter run and Jenna Prandini in the long jump.  Prandini also finished second in the women’s 200 meter dash and third in the women’s 100 meter dash.  Phyllis Francis added second place points in the 400 meters and Laura Bobek, Brittany Mann and Jillian Weir stepped up to give the women’s team unexpected points in the weight events. With unheard of team balance, between the men’s and women’s teams, the Ducks placed individuals in the top eight in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5K, 10K, steeplechase, multi-events, sprint hurdles, hammer, javelin, discus, shot put, long jump and 4 X 400 relay. By comparison, the only events where the Ducks failed to score at least one man or woman were the 4 X 100 relay (only due to a failed exchange), the pole vault, high jump, triple jump and 400 hurdles.  This well-rounded balance as a team not only makes them more exciting to watch, but also increases their chances of meet victories. Plus, even at a championship meet you don’t have to wait long for the next Duck up.

  1. The 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be held at Historic Hayward Field.
Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, OR.)

Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)

With Hayward Field being the most respected and recognized track and field stadium in the nation, the NCAA has decided that Track Town USA will play host again next year for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. Actually, the NCAA is so impressed by what happens at Hayward that it awarded Oregon the meet for the next seven years.  This will give the Ducks a chance to defend their 2014 national title in front of their home crowd at Hayward Field, where they won the men’s title this year.

3. Oregon coaches receive 2014 men’s outdoor coach(es) of the year.

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

After coaching his team to its first national title since 1984, Oregon coach Robert Johnson was named the men’s outdoor coach of the year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).  Also, Johnson’s assistant Andy Powell was named the USTFCCCA men’s outdoor assistant coach of the year. While Johnson has only been the head coach since the summer of 2009, his impact on the program has been immediate.  He has led the women’s team to four consecutive indoor NCAA team titles, and has been named the women’s indoor coach of the year four times as well.  Powell has made his impact by being the distance coach.  He coached NCAA champions Cheserek and Fleet this year, as well as the other competitors in the distance races.  Johnson’s and Powell’s coaching has benefited the team by leading them to victories as well as by attracting young talent in the recruiting wars.

4.  Returning women’s athletes

Jenna Prandini

Jenna Prandini

The women’s team will have many returning competitors in the 2014-2015 indoor and outdoor seasons.  The most notable of the returners is Jenna Prandini, who will be a junior next school year.  She was a fan favorite at the 2014 NCAA championships where she won the long jump, finished third in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash.  Prandini will look to continue her dominance in the Pac-12 Conference as well as nationally next season.  Although Liz Brenner struggled at the NCAA championships in the javelin, she is also a notable returner for the women’s team after her impressive 2014 season.

  1. Returning men’s athletes

For the men’s team, the two returners everyone will have their eyes on are this year’s freshmen sensations Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  Cheserek and Allen arguably had the two most exciting final races of the 2014 NCAA championships, which both of them won.  Cheserek won the 10,000 meter run in truly amazing fashion, bursting ferociously through the last 200 meters to win and holding up the Oregon “O” with his hands as he passed through the finish line.  Cheserek also placed a close second in the 5000 meter run, one of the few exciting races that didn’t go the Ducks’ way.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men's 110 hurdles.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men’s 110 hurdles.

Allen, who improved his time in the 110 meter hurdles every meet this season, ended his season on a spectacular note by winning the men’s 110 meter hurdles, running a life-time best 13.16 seconds and shocking both the field and the ESPN announcers, who barely mentioned his name before the race.  Allen merely broke the NCAA Championship Meet record and ran the second-fastest 110 hurdle time in collegiate history.  Allen has proven himself to be a star worth watching for the Ducks and will look to break more records and defend his national title in the 2014-2015 season. Other notable returning athletes for the men’s team include 2014 NCAA javelin champion Sam Crouser, fourth-place finisher in the hammer-throw Greg Skipper and fourth place finisher in the 5000 meters, Erik Jenkins.

Oregon track doesn’t get much more exciting that this.

So there it is …

This is an incredible time for Oregon athletics, truly a golden age. Teams have made runs at national titles in football, volleyball, softball, track & field and cross country. Teams have made it to post season NCAA championship tournaments in basketball, baseball, golf and tennis. Excellence in athletics at the University of Oregon isn’t the exception. It’s the norm. What is happening in track & field, though, is exceptional even by Oregon standards. Chosen to host the NCAA Championships for the next seven years, Oregon is possibly on the brink of establishing a dynasty for the ages. The devotion of the fans and the ambiance of Historic Hayward Field are not lost on the athletes who earn their way to compete at what is without argument the best running venue in North America. The athletes who attend the World Junior Championships at Hayward this summer are in for a special treat, and if even just a few of them choose to call Eugene “home” for the next four years — and why wouldn’t they? — the love affair between athletes and fans will only grow stronger.

Top photo by Gary Breedlove

English Gardner Posts 10.94 in 100-Meters

English Gardner
English Gardner
(Associated Press)

MOSCOW – Former Oregon Ducks track and field star English Gardner posted a time of 10.94 in the 100m dash at the IAAF World Championships. Her time was tops of the event, as she was the only woman to put in a time under 11 seconds.

“Today just gave me a little bit more confidence,” Gardner said in an article by the Oregonian. “It woke me up a little bit, let me know I’m still in the hunt, I’m still in the game, and I’m ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Garner will have more opportunities to shine for the Americans with semifinal action on Monday. The American and Jamaican sprinters are the early favorites.

“I just want to have fun, enjoy the moment,” Gardner said. “I have nothing to lose and all to gain, and so I’m just going to sneak in there and maybe steal a couple of spots or maybe a medal. I’m just going to go out there and have fun.”

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Alec Smith Chooses Ducks Despite No Scholarship Offer

Alec Smith (Miles Vance/Beaverton Leader)
Alec Smith
(Miles Vance/Beaverton Leader)

As reported by Oregon Live, Westview track star Alec Smith, who received approximately scholarship offers from 35 Division I track and programs, has chosen to enroll at the University  of Oregon despite not receiving a scholarship from the Ducks.

“I didn’t get the attention of Oregon,” Smith said. “I had to get their attention.”

And it wasn’t middle of the pac programs offering Smith. He had offers from Notre Dame, Iowa State amongst others but ultimately chose to stay close to home. With in-state tuition, academic scholarships competing with the Ducks is still in the price range.

The Ducks have used up all of their available scholarships, but Smith will have the ability to come in and compete for one in the following years.

“I’m thinking long term here,” Smith said. “I know they’re going to give me an opportunity and it’s going to be the best fit for me.”

Essentially, Smith will be a greyshirt in the Oregon program. Unlike a redshirt where the athlete has a scholarship, a greyshirt athlete doesn’t receive a scholarship typically due to the team already using all of their available money.

Smith is an excellent runner with plenty of upside. His specialty is in the 800 meter where he ran a time of 1:50.43 in the 2013 USA Miler’s Club Meet on May 29th. He also ran a time of a time of 1:51.54 at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa on June 20th.

“He never takes anything for granted,” Smith’s coach at Westview, Aaron Johnson, said. “He’s always pushing himself to get better and to reach the goals he sets for himself. That’s going help him with his adjustment to Oregon.”

Smith says he expects to be their No. 2 800 runner next season for the Ducks, lofty goals but nowhere out of the range of possibility.

“If you’re going to be a mid-distance runner in the Northwest,” Johnson said, “where else would you go than Oregon?”

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