Oregon Twilight Meet

Moline dominates women’s 400 hurdles; Collins is star struck

By Becky Hoag

Oregon State’s Devin Collins couldn’t wait to race in the women’s 400-meter hurdles against one of her inspirations, Georganne Moline, at Friday’s Twilight Meet. So when she saw Moline in the bathroom before the race, she had to say hi.

“I was like, ‘Georganne!’ She’s like super sweet,” Collins said. “I’m like, ‘You don’t know me but I grew up watching you on TV’ because I always looked up to her. Always. I watched her all through high school.”

It’s no wonder why Collins is such a fan. Moline placed fifth during the 2012 Olympics in London and she has come back strong recently after major injury. Moline won the Twilight race easily, finishing in 56.09 seconds. Collins was second in 1:00.73.

But Moline was honored that Collins has looked up to her.

“I’m just going out doing the same things that she’s doing,” said Moline, who is sponsored by Nike. “It’s crazy because she was nervous, I bet, and I was freakin’ nervous. I mean, we’re so much alike; I don’t think she realizes, but yeah, that meant a lot to me.”

Collins knew to stay focused and run her own race rather than try to keep up with Moline. She recognized that Moline was on another level and that she has more time in her career to improve her skills. Collins, a senior, plans to continue after college, while engaging in either law or music; she’s not sure yet.

“I’m getting there; I’m working on it, but I’ve got a bit more time,” Collins said.

Even though Moline finished with a large lead, she was dissatisfied with her race.

“I think I overshot my first three steps, and I was so close to the hurdle, and instead of going over I kind of went up,” Moline said. “So then I was really close to my second hurdle, and I was like, ‘Crap!’ so I stuttered. It was a mess from hurdle one and it was not good.”

She wasn’t sure why she was feeling off Friday, especially since her run last week was under much worse weather conditions. Last week at the Drake Relays, she ran 54.56 in the wind, rain and 38 degrees. Moline says that she has been faster after her recovery from her disk herniation in her lower back a week before the Olympic trials last year.

“It’s so easy to forget where I came from, like right now I’m mad, but literally a few months ago I couldn’t even walk,” Moline said.

Immediately after her injury, she was devastated. She was on top after finishing fifth at the 2012 Olympics, and then she was bed-ridden. After her injury, Moline started working with a motion specialist and trusting in her coach to help her recover. She quickly changed her attitude to focus on the positives.

“I always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I always want to grow from the situation,” Moline said. “So when that happened to me I was like, ‘No, this is happening for a reason. I can either feel bad for myself, or I can take it and actually learn from it.’”

Moline started focusing on recovering, making sure her diet, sleep and body were optimal. She wasn’t able to run much for the first three months and didn’t start working out again until November.

Besides her coach, she said, one of her biggest supports has been her mom. Moline said that before she even made the 2012 Olympics, her mom made her a Sweeties box that said “future Olympian” with pictures of Moline all over it. Moline’s improvement now is no different; her mom was not surprised that she is so fast now.

“My mom has believed in me before I even believed in myself,” Moline said.

Moline hopes to bring her mom to one of the up-and-coming meets overseas. Her next three meets are in Guadalupe, California; Marseilles, France; and Prague. Then it’s time to train for the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Sacramento.

Prandini Wins 100 meters in Return to Hayward Field

By Maverick Pallack

One of many former Ducks who returned to Hayward Field on Friday night, Jenna Prandini won the Oregon Twilight Meet 100-meter race with a time of 11.29 seconds, even though she did not come to Eugene to win.

In her post-Olympic training, Prandini has not been happy with her starts. After participating in the Mt. Sac relays, she returned to Eugene looking to improve on that aspect of her race rather than try for a personal best, like other runners.

“It’s never perfect, there is always things to fix, so that’s the good thing,” Prandini said.

Despite her start being off, she created a sizeable gap between herself and the rest of the runners. “If I get my start down and get that under control,” she said, “I am never worried about the end of my race.”

Prandini, representing Puma, edged Ashton Purvis, Whitney Rowe and former Duck Mandy White in front of the Oregon crowd, which was experiencing its first taste of top competition since the Olympic trials last summer.

This was Prandini’s first race at Hayward since her Olympic qualifying 200 meters, and she was happy to return. “I love running here,” she said. “It’s my favorite place to compete in the world. They obviously love their Ducks. Anytime I step on the track, I feel that home field advantage and Hayward Magic.”

This race had flavors of Oregon track past and present as White returned to Hayward Field with a fourth-place finish and a time of 11.94. Back in 2010, White, now representing Jordan Brand, became the first women’s 100-meter All-American in school history.

Prandini announced her excitement for the upcoming season of her alma mater: “Who doesn’t follow them? They’re definitely a talented team. They have a lot of really really talented and special runners. I think they are gonna shock a lot of people this year, and NCAA better watch out cause they are gonna run some pretty fast times.”

Coming off an NCAA indoor championship, the Ducks look to complete the sweep with the outdoors.

Prandini will race in the Guadalupe International Meeting on May 17, before she returns for the Prefontaine Classic, May 27 at Hayward Field.

Jock wins first 400 since college at Twilight

By Linden Moore

Charles Jock hadn’t run the 400-meter dash since his college. The last time the San Diego native ran the 400 was when he ran for UC Irvine in 2010 and became the fifth-fastest runner in school history with a personal record. He ran it again Friday night at the Oregon Twilight Meet, using the race to practice faster speeds after a few off weeks.

“I haven’t gotten much speed work in the past few weeks, so it’s getting the legs started and ready for the 800s,” Jock said.

Jock maintained a steady pace from the start, and the OTC Elite runner finished in 47.58 finish time, coming short of his PR of 46.9. Second place went to Jake Mihelich of Linfield College in 47.80.

“I could’ve executed better but I’m not mad,” Jock said. “The 400 is all about speed, so we’ll take it from there.”

Jock’s victory marks a turning point for his upcoming season, to get back on a healthy streak after suffering from recent injuries.

“The problem for the last three years was my hamstring and abdominal strains,” Jock said. “It was trying to keep myself healthy, which was hard for me to do the last few years.”

Jock took it upon himself to change his lifestyle, starting with his diet and proper hydration.

“This whole fall and winter has been about making sure I stay healthy,” he said. “I’ve renovated my diet by eating a lot healthier and staying properly hydrated for workouts. I’m legitimately addicted to Oreos.”

Jock got a chance to implement his new strategy during OTC’s annual trip to train at altitude in Albuquerque. Each day consisted of a hard workout, forcing the athletes to focus on adjusting their bodies to extreme conditions.

“Albuquerque’s higher so we did some quality stuff. It was train, come back, shower, eat and nap. There’s nothing to do there,” he said.

At the end of the day, Jock saw his performance as an outlet to fine-tune his skills for later in the season while steadily improving his times.

“It was about crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s, and all these things add up to good performances,” he said.

Mihelich, however, was disappointed with his performance.

“I felt that I should’ve won to be honest, I can run faster,” Mihelich said. “If I started my kicker a little sooner, I could’ve caught him. But all respect to him; he had a great race.”

 

Andrade, Rosenau go 1-2 in men’s 400 hurdles

By Kim Holm

Coming off his win Friday night at the Oregon Twilight Meet in the 400-meter hurdles with a time 50.88 seconds, Jordin Andrade is working on his pacing for this season. Finishing in second place in 52.49, Ryan Rosenau is working on recovering from a minor calf injury.

Both athletes have a lot in common they finished their first Twilight meet at Hayward Field: Both want to improve their performances, and both have to work twice as hard off the track to stay in the game.

Originally from Seattle, Andrade coaches track at West Seattle High School while training for his own track meets as well. Rosenau helps coach the hurdlers at Southern Oregon University while training for his own track meets.

They are among many athletes who have to struggle with supporting themselves financially while training full time.

Andrade doesn’t stop with the coaching, Recently, he got his real-estate license–one of the many things he has to do in order to support his track career.

Andrade won a silver medal in the 2015 NCAA outdoor championships. “Being a silver medalist is for the rest of my life—I knew I was always more than just a walk-on,” said Andrade, who also represented Cape Verde at the 2016 Olympics.

“I wanted to represent my family first—I’m an American and I’ll always be an American, but I wanted to be able to represent them, while being a part of an Olympic team.”

This season Andrade has a goal of sub-49 in the 400 hurdles. “It just kills me that I can’t break through that barrier yet,” he said.

To get there, he’s working on changing the number of steps between hurdles.

Just behind him in the 400 hurdles, Rosenau walked off the track with a crumpled up bib and talked about his first track experience, and compared it to his first one.

“I had my first track meet when I was 9 years old, and my sisters took my bib and crumpled it up—it’s become a tradition since then,” said Rosenau, who has been running the 400 hurdles since his senior year at Southern Oregon University.

This is Rosenau’s first meet in three weeks, and his first time racing at Hayward Field. Rosenau was suffering from a hip-flexor problem, but it didn’t bother him when he almost beat his PR by half a second.

“I love the hurdles because they distract me—it’s not as painful—it’s a race to get to the next hurdle,” said Rosenau.

Both Andrade and Rosenau are looking forward to the Twilight meet next week in Portland, where they can work on their personal goals for this upcoming season.

Freshmen dominate women’s 3,000 at Twilight

By Sierra Webster

Freshmen Perrin Xthona of Oregon and Maci Jokumsen of George Fox broke from the field early in the women’s 3,000 meters Friday night at the Oregon Twilight Meet at Hayward Field, keeping pace with one another for the majority of the race.

Xthona, a native of Grants Pass, Oregon, won the 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter races in the 2016 4A high school outdoor state championship meet in Hayward Field.

Jokumsen, primarily a soccer player, is competing in her first track season after being recruited by the George Fox track coach earlier this academic year.

In the final 600 meters, veteran Xthona took the lead to win the 3,000 meters for the first time as a Duck in Hayward Field in 10 minutes, 8.73 seconds.

“It’s really emotional, actually,” she said. “It’s the race I know how to do and it’s the place I know how to do it, and that’s really exciting.”

For Xthona, transitioning to collegiate-level racing has been an adjustment, training with and racing for a team that is all-around very strong.

“Everyone who’s here was amazing in high school,” she said. “I see a lot of other freshmen dealing with it, where you’re not the fastest on the field.”

Going into the race, Xthona decided to sit on the pace and let her competitors lead. Second-place finisher Jokumsen took the lead early in the race and maintained it until Xthona’s kick in the last 600.

“Soccer was always my main focus, and it was like, ‘Oh, you can run long distances for a long time, like run in a circle,’” said Jokumsen.

Her strategy for the race was to go for it and hold it as long as she could, but when Xthona took the lead, Jokumsen knew she didn’t have the leg speed to hold on.

After the race, Jokumsen reflected that she should have kicked harder in the final couple laps instead of holding back, but that she is still learning race logistics and strategy.

She is excited about her future in track, saying, “I think with experience will come hopefully some faster times.”

When asked about the upcoming soccer season, Jokumsen said her participation is to be determined.

“I’m really liking this whole running thing,” she said. “So we’ll see if cross country happens in the fall but definitely track.”

 

Hurt feels less pressure, gets PR in steeplechase

By Maggie Vanoni

After competing side-by-side in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Team Run Eugene’s Tripp Hurt outkicked teammate Isaac Updike in the final meters of the homestretch to win with a personal best of 8 minutes, 39.39 seconds.

Updike finished second with a time of 8:40.05.

“Our plan was to get him under 8:40,” said Updike. “I went into the mindset of getting him under, and he worked his butt off the entire time. I tried to race him down the homestretch, but he earned that.”

The time qualified Tripp for the U.S. outdoor nationals, one of his goals. Now he’s working for the chance to make the final in the event. And he’s doing this by working for a living both on and off the track. He works shifts ranging from five hours to nine hours at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Hurt said he is more confident and feeling less pressure of this year after one year of being on Team Run Eugene during 2016. He admits that coming straight out of college the year prior was hard on him, but this year is he ready to put this new mentality into achieving his season goals.

“I’m a little bit more mature,” said Hurt. “And now it’s like let’s have some fun with it and let’s go get a PR. I have to make sure I get everything right in early June, and I think that will get me to the USA final.”

This upcoming summer will mark Hurt’s second year with the Eugene team, and he calls the experience with his teammates a blessing.

“We have a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, and everybody really wants it,” said Hurt. “Everybody is out here because they really want to do it. And that brings in an entirely different mindset. I really enjoy it day in and day out.”

Hurt will continue to pursue his goal of making the U.S. nationals steeplechase final by taking a break from the event and focusing instead on his 1,500-meter race.

“I ran a lot of steeples last year trying to get the Olympic qualifier, and I burned a little too much, so maybe one or two more,” said Hurt. “I want to PR in the (1,500) this year. I would like to run 3:43, and I really feel like I can do it.”

Hurt will run in next week’s Portland Twilight Meet, and he said his next steeplechase race will take place in early June at Portland’s Track Festival.

 

 

Wheating runs first 800 in two years, finishes second to Garn

By Morgan Sudduth

As Olympian and former Oregon runner Andrew Wheating came around the Bowerman curve Friday night, the Hayward crowd of 4,284 burst into cheers and loud applause. Wheating was holding on to a lead in the men’s 800 meters at the Oregon Twilight Meet, and it looked like it might be his race.

But in the homestretch, Wheating lost his gap to Jesse Garn of the New York/New Jersey Track Club. Garn swooped by Wheating just before the finish to win in 1 minute, 49.31 seconds, just ahead of Wheating, who finished second in 1:49.37. The two hugged it out and both left the track smiling.

It had been two years since Wheating last ran the 800 due to his string of injuries. Wheating’s career has been plagued with injury since 2012, and he has struggled to get back to the height of his career.

Now healthy for the first time in five years, he had decided to make Friday event a true race and go out after it.

With a strong start, Wheating tucked in behind the pacer, but as the pacer stepped off at 400 meters, he caught some wind.

“I was like OK, got some wind and I’m gigantic, so I’m gonna go ahead and jog for a little bit,” Wheating said. “When Jesse came up on me, I was like, ‘Wake back up’ and started going again. I had to reteach myself how to run that race.”

Friday’s race is just the beginning to Wheating’s return to the 800. Now training without a coach and figuring out what he’s good at, Wheating feels he can use the 800 to get the speed going again and eventually cross back over into doing the 1,500.

Garn, who is in his first year running for his new club and just recently signed a contract with Hoka, was competing in his first Oregon Twilight Meet.

Things have been going well for Garn this year. He has only lost one race, and in that he finished second.

On his fifth appearance at Hayward tonight, Garn got the chance to compete against one of his long-time idols, Wheating, and beat him.

“This was really sweet,” Garn said. “This was the first time I ever got to toe the line with him.”

Garn and his new coach plan to put him through more consistent and healthy training in hopes to get Garn to his ultimate goal.

“We’re gonna try to ride this out, so hopefully you know, (Olympic” trials in 2020,” said Garn. “That’s gonna be the long-term goal for now.”

 

 

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Jordin Andrade’s hard work pays off in 400 hurdles victory

By Ariel Sax

Jordin Andrade, a 2016 Olympian for Cape Verde, won the men’s 400-meter hurdles Friday at the Oregon Twilight Meet with a time of 50.88 seconds, slower than his personal 400-meter hurdle record of 49.24 – a time that motivated and frustrated him at the same time.

“It’s just killing me that I can’t break that barrier,” said Andrade, who runs for Seattle Speed. “Because it’s so fast but just not fast enough.”

Andrade’s biggest goal of the season is to run a sub-49. But his time isn’t fully focused on breaking this personal record – his time is divided. Keeping himself financially stable is his main focus. “Including track, I got five jobs that I do every day,” he said. “I’ve got a very busy schedule. ”

Some of Andrade’s jobs include coaching, running swim meets, working in a family owned business and, on top of that, he just recently received his real estate license. Focusing on his training to improve his race model is a challenge, to say the least.

After hitting one hurdle in his last race at the Mt. Sac meet, he said, his race pattern and time was compromised. However, in comparison to the Mt. Sac meet and this race, he improved.

“I came out today and executed that perfectly,” he said. “I had the perfect race model that I want. Now I just have to put some speed behind it, and I’m good.”

On top of Andrade’s jam-packed life outside of the track, he still remains motivated and grateful for all who have stood by his side and continue to support him.

“I don’t just go through the motions with anything – I whip my tail off,” said Andrade. “I’m very thankful for all these people allowing me to continue my dream of running track and field.”

Finishing second was Ryan Rosenau with a time of 52.49, a half a second off his personal record. Rosenau was pleased with his time, partly because an injury had kept him from racing for the last three weeks.

“It was a minor setback,” he said.

This was not only his first race back, but it was his first time racing at Hayward Field. Both Rosenau and Andrade will be heading off to the Portland Twilight next week for the next meet of their season.

 

 

Neale and Rainsberger finish strongPac-12 1,500 preview

By Gus Morris

Sheila Reid of Nike OTC Elite won the women’s 1,500 meters with a 4-minute, 10.40-second run at the Oregon Twilight on Friday night at Hayward Field.

But a key story from the race was actually who followed Reid.

In her first meet at Hayward as a Duck, Oregon freshman phenom Katie Rainsberger finished in a personal best of 4:11.53 for third place behind Washington junior Amy-Eloise Neale, who finished second in a personal best of 4:11.02. The two times rank third and first, respectively, in college this outdoor season.

“I think we both wanted to come out and run a hard 1,500 from the gun,” Rainsberger said. “It was an honest pace, so that was great.”

While neither actually won the event, both said they accomplished what they set out to do in the race: improve for the upcoming Pac-12 and NCAA championships.

“It was a great opportunity to go out at a fast pace and see where my training is at right now,” Rainsberger said. “It also is exciting because I know how much I still have left to do. If I’m able to run a two-second, three-second PR, then what can I do in four or five weeks?”

Neale echoed that sentiment and said that her performance served as a “confidence booster” going into the most important part of the season.

Friday’s 1,500 also marked the eighth time that Rainsberger and Neale competed against each other this year. They’ve faced each other in cross country, indoor and now outdoor, and they seem to bring the best out of each other. The two have recorded top-10 finishes every time they’ve competed in the same field.

Neale said that she “loves” racing against Rainsberger.

“It’s awesome to know when you’re next to someone in a race that they’re so good and if you hang with them you’re going to have a great time because she is so reliable,” Neale said.

Their battles began in fall, when the two dueled for dominance in cross country. Neale won the Pac-12 title, with Rainsberger finishing fifth, and then Rainsberger bested Neale at the NCAA championships, finishing fourth to Neale’s eighth.They continued to go after each other during the indoor season, where Rainsberger won the NCAA title in the 1,500, 0.80 ahead of Neale.

Friday was the third time the two have met in the outdoor season and the second time that Neale has beaten Rainsberger.

Rainsberger held a lead for three laps on Friday, but on the second lap, Neale upped her pace and pulled into second behind Rainsberger. As the two rounded the Bowerman Curve, Reid unleashed her kick and pulled ahead of the pack. Neale used her kick late and jumped in front of Rainsberger with less than 50 yards to go.

“She has a wicked kick,” Rainsberger said.

Both feel as though Friday’s race helped them improve on certain areas as they prepare for the Pac-12 championships May 13-14. . Rainsberger was happy with her performance on Friday but still feels like there’s room to improve.

“I mean, it’s a PR at this point in the season, and I don’t think I’m in peak race shape,” Rainsberger said. “I’m working on speed. But I’m also trying to keep different aspects, so to come out and run 4:11 is great. But I’m definitely not satisfied.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whyte wins hurdles, but isn’t thrilled with performance

By Emma Childs

Canadian Olympian Angela Whyte was not happy with her win in the women’s 100-meter hurdles Friday at the Oregon Twilight Meet.

“They aren’t working right now,” she said. She sighed, shook her head and placed her hands in frustration onto her hips.

Whyte won the event in 13.73 seconds, ahead of Oregon State University’s record holder, Devin Collins, who was .32 behind.

The 36-year-old blames a lot of her frustration on leaving the coach she had been training under the past 15 years and having recently just quit her job as an assistant track coach at Washington State University.

“It’s been a struggle, and so it’s starting to show on the track,” she said.

As co-captain of the Canadian Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro, she is no newcomer to the 100-meter hurdles. She is a three-time Olympian. Whyte competed in 2004, 2008 and 2016.Her highest place finish was in 2004 in Athens with a sixth-place finish in a time of 12.81, .92 seconds faster than she ran Friday. She is decorated with two medals from the Pan American Games and three at the Commonwealth Games.

But racing down the straightaway of Hayward Field is always a great experience for Whyte, no matter how well she races. “Even if I run, just absolute … just terrible, this is to me the home of track and field. I’ve been to a lot of stadiums across the world and there’s something about Hayward. It’s just magic.”

Whyte emphasized that even if the field of competition isn’t close for her, she still will race because it is an opportunity.

As Whyte was raving about the great community that track and field at the professional level has, she stopped talking to cheer for her Canadian teammate last year, Johnathan Cabral as he beat American Devon Allen in the 110-meter hurdles.

Collins exemplified this as well when she said that she met Whyte at this meet last year and that she is always nice to her.

She enjoys competing against Whyte. “I feel like it’s like what every track athlete would dream of,” Collins said. “At some point if you’re not going to be an Olympian, I guess the best you can get is to compete next to one.”

Both Whyte and Collins competed in this race against each other last year, and neither was satisfied with her race Friday. Collins had run the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the meet.

While Whyte may not have a lot left in her professional track career, she is excited for athletes like Collins to follow in her footsteps.

Whyte is skeptical about her future even as she prepares to compete at the Canadian nationals. She doesn’t know how long her career has, but she does know what she wants: “I’d like to see how far and long I can go, because I’ve had a pretty long career.”

 

 

 

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