Oregon high school athletes watching at Nike Outdoor Nationals Eugene
Another summer weekend, another top track meet at Hayward Field.
It started in May with the Pac-12 Championships, followed a week later by the OSAA State Championships, the Prefontaine Classic and then the NCAA Championships last weekend. Looking ahead, the USATF Outdoor Championships are scheduled for next weekend, and then, of course, the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships will be held in Eugene in July.
That’s a lot of track dating, even for a town that proudly calls itself “Track Town USA.”
This weekend is the Nike Outdoor National Championships at Hayward Field, showcasing elite high school talent from across the country, plus an 800-meter race on Friday night where Olympic middle-distance runners will chase the World Championship “A” standard and a berth at the world meeting in July.
The meet kicked off Thursday with middle school and freshman events, as well as decathlon events, and those younger age groups will wrap up Friday with some events in the “Emerging Elite” category. Friday’s competition ends with the Boys’ and Girls’ Championship Medley Relays at 5:15 p.m.
Then, the elite men’s 800 meters The Road to OR22 will be run at 6:30 p.m.
The field for this event will feature Charlie Hunter, an Oregon alum, who is looking to hit the World Championship qualifying standard of 1 minute, 45.20 seconds to compete for his native Australia. He will be joined by former Duck teammates Cooper Teare and Cole Hocker, who are vying to represent the United States in the 1,500m and 5,000m at the world meet.
Championship-level events begin Saturday morning with track preliminaries and finals in select field events, and competition wraps up Sunday with a full slate of events, capped by the boys’ and girls’ 4×400 relays at 5:30 p.m.
Oregon girls watching
While the meet attracts top talent from across the country, there will also be some local stories to watch.
Portland-area sprinters Mia Brahe-Pedersen and Lily Jones put on quite a show at the Class 6A state championships in May, and they’ll renew their friendly rivalry in the 100 and 200 this weekend.
Brahe-Pedersen, a Lake Oswego sophomore, ran the fastest all-conditions time in the country this season clocking a wind-assisted 11.09 seconds to win the 100. Jones, a Roosevelt senior who committed to racing at Oregon next year, ran 11.30 to finish second. This time, Brahe-Pedersen tied for fourth all-time in prep and matched it with Jasmine Montgomery, who won the 100 at last year’s Nike Outdoor Nationals and recently wrapped up a first All-American season. for the Ducks.
No high school sprinter from Oregon has ever won a national title in the 100, and this duo will be challenged by Autumn Wilson of St. Dominic Savio (Texas), a Georgia signee who presented Brahe-Pedersen with her only sprint loss of the season at the Arcadia Invitational in April. Wilson’s season best is a legal wind of 11.19 in March.
Brahe-Pederson’s best time in the 200m this season is 23.23 at the Oregon relays, while Jones ran 23.75 at the State 6A meet. Wilson is not entered in the 200 this weekend, but local sprinters will be challenged by Lauren Lewis of Prosper (Texas), who ran a legal wind of 23.15 in April, and Adaejah Hodge of Alexander (Ga. ), which ran 23.25 in March.
Another Oregon athlete with high expectations is Oregon City senior Sophia Beckmon, who won the long jump title at last year’s Nike Outdoor Championships and set a state ranking record. with his jump of 20 feet, 1½ inches at the State 6A meet in May.
One of the youngest competitors in a championship event this weekend will be rising rookie Addison Kleinke of Willamette Connections Academy, who is considered one of the top rising pole vaulters in the nation.
South Eugene freshman Ansley Johnston is entered in the elite emerging girls 800 and 2-mile freshman race. She set a PR of 2:16.22 while finishing fourth in the 800m at the 6A State meet and she also did a PR in the 3000m with a 12th place finish in 10:06.32.
The 14-year-old, who will be a freshman at Churchill next year, set a national age group record by erasing 13-6 at the Florence Street Vault in March, and she will face a field that includes five outfielders who cleared 14 feet this season.
Hannah Moll of Capital (Washington) won the pole vault title at last year’s Nike Outdoor Nationals by eliminating 14-4 at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in March, and her twin sister, Amanda, is the holder of the national record with a rating of 14-9½. Skyler Schuller of Coppell (Texas), Jathiyah Muhammad of Dublin (California) and Lexi Evans of Scripps Ranch (California) also broke the 14-foot mark this year.
Oregon Boys to Watch
On the boys’ side, Churchill eldest Nathan Fields will compete in the men’s championship triple jump and emerging elite long jump. Fields swept the jumping titles at last month’s State 5A meet, setting personal bests in both events with scores of 47-1 in the triple jump and 22-5½ in the long jump.
The champs will face fierce competition, with three competitors topping 25 feet in the long jump and four jumpers topping 49 feet in the triple jump.
Aaron Davis of Humble Summer Creek (Texas) and Ashton Torns of Austin Westlake (Texas) both jumped 25-3¾ at the Texas State Championships in May, and Christian Barker of Shiloh (Georgia) knocked out 25-3 in March. Jaylen Lloyd of Omaha Central (Nebraska), Miles Jones of Mansfield Lake Ridge (Texas) and Dash Sirmon of Walla Walla (Washington) all exceeded 24 feet.
In the triple jump, Lloyd posted a wind-assisted 50-3½ in the Nebraska State meet in May, while national leader Damilare Olukosi of Fort Bend Travis (Texas) won a state title on last month with a jump of 51-8¾. Karson Gordon of Fort Bend Ridge Point, Texas has a season best 49-11½ and Eli Lawrence of Meridian, Indiana has a legal wind of 49-9¼.
Another local athlete competing this weekend is Sheldon senior Ben Collins, who will race in both the men’s championship and 2-mile races. Collins has set PRs in the 800 (1:56.61), 1,500 (3:57.12) and 3,000 (8:27.48) this season.
Sheldon’s teammate Jacob Nash will compete in the men’s championship javelin throw on Saturday. Nash won a Southwest Conference title and finished seventh in the 6A State Meet last month, and he has a lifetime best shot of 187-6.