The following articles were authored by bridget

“Preparing for the Best” with Lucais MacKay

Courtesy of tracktownphoto.smugmug.com

Lucais MacKay grew up in the sport of Track and Field. He was raised by a track coach in the town of Modesto, CA, home of the one of the premier meets in the 1980′s and 90′s, the S&W Relays. He participated in football, basketball, swimming, volleyball and track through his youth and graduated high school as the #1 ranked discus thrower in the US.  He was also an All-American in the Shot put and Hammer. He attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship, transferred to Moorpark Community College to play football, basketball and track, and then went on to the University of Georgia to continue with track alone.  He won a NCAA title in 2003 in the hammer throw and ended his career as a six-time All-American.

Since 2005, he has competed as a professional hammer thrower and has been ranked in the Top 10 in the U.S. for six years. He now lives and trains in Eugene.  The 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials will be his third attempt at making the Olympic Team and he is excited and vocal about his goals and expectations…

What initially drew you to Eugene to train? Are you part of a group? Who is coaching you now?

Eugene, OR has held a mystique for me since I was a kid. My father, a track and field coach, had photos of great athletes on his office wall. One of those images was Mac Wilkins throwing the discus. I immediately fell in love! Mac attended the University of Oregon; therefore I had to see what it was all about. I first set foot on Hayward Field when I was 15 years old & HAD to live here.

After 7 seasons bouncing around as a professional thrower, I decided, enough is enough, packed up my car and drove from Ventura County, CA to Eugene, OR.

I joined the Oregon Track Club upon my arrival in Eugene to pay homage to my heroes that have done the same. I am currently being coached by Stuart Togher, the Scottish/American curmudgeon genius, who coached Lance Deal to an Olympic silver medal in Atlanta (1996).

Were you training in Eugene in 2008 last time the Trials were here? Did you compete in them?

I had not yet moved to Eugene in 2008, but had rented a 1-bedroom apartment for the month of June to become more entrenched in the town, hoping for inspiration and a PR. I cherished my time in Eugene during the Olympic Trials, taking in the weather, floating the Willamette River, renting a bike, and finding local coffee shops and eateries to enjoy. I failed to make the final, and was devastated but knew there was untapped potential below that result.

Tell us a little about how your attitudes and expectations now, after the past four years, might be different coming into this meet than they were going into that one.

After 2004, I became increasingly bitter towards the sport of Track & Field, feeling that I deserved some support for my efforts. After winning a NCAA title for Georgia in 2003 and becoming the first American to win a hammer title since 1973, I realized I was a man on an island. Over the past 8 years I have realized that there are a number of athletes that also live on this island. Although I feel wronged by my sport, I have come to grips with it. My attitude has become increasingly independent from USATF and my expectations are based solely on the body of work that I have produced up this point. When I lay my head down at night, I know I am living my dream of competing as a professional Track and Field athlete and that drives me daily. It takes a lot of guts to do what we do. I am disappointed in the lack of support the USATF shows for developing athletes and collegiate champions, and am working to bridge the gap between College – National – International athletic success. I have worked as hard as any other athlete and am very proud of my journey to the 2012 Olympic Trials.

How do you feel about the Hammer being up in Beaverton?

I am excited about the opportunity to compete with the best the U.S. has to offer in a pristine setting and a large number of fans in attendance. The day of the competition should make for a lifelong memory and hopefully an opportunity to make the final and the medal stand.  As far as being forced to compete in the Olympic Trials in Beaverton, with a fan base made up primarily of Nike employees that aren’t necessarily Track & Field fans? I’m strongly opposed! … As frustrated as I am about the event, it will most likely be the best event I have competed in.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

Being a spectator for nine days of some of the best track and field action in the world. Being a townie has so many advantages this time around, my home is two miles from the Hayward field and I can bike to & from the Trials. I have made so many friends in the sport over the last eight years, and being able to cheer for them means a lot to me. I also plan on hosting one heck of an after party, look for your invitation!

What do you foresee being the biggest hassle/challenge in the experience here in Eugene?

The influx of people creating massive crowds, traffic, long lines & basic chaos. Living in Eugene for two years, one gets used to the pace of the town & for the two weeks of the Trials, that pace will be drastically changed. Athlete seating as a spectator is a topic I hope will not be an issue with the expected sell out crowds in attendance.

Do you have anything/anywhere specific in Eugene that you would recommend other athletes and spectators check out when they visit this summer?

Alton Baker park: walk/jog Pre’s trail. Get to the top of Spencer’s Butte for a great view. Visit Pre’s rock. If the weather permits, rent tubes and life vests from the UO Outdoor program and float the Willamette/McKenzie river on one of the off days. Rent a bike from the Center for Appropriate Transportation (catoregon.org) and see the town without traffic or take a ride along the McKenzie River. Make sure to visit eugenecascadescoast.org for all of the local information, the staff is very helpful and provide insider information as well as local maps and opinions on where, what and when to get the best value for your buck.

Follow Lucais as he prepares and competes this week!

@ Lucfrom209 on Twitter

or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lucais.mackay.

Extra word from him: Keep your ears to the ground for my website promoting the hammer throw and accompanying non-profit organization in the coming months.

Courtesy of ImageofSport.com

“Preparing for the Best” with Stephanie Rothstein

courtesy of Flotrack.com

Many, many elite distance runners migrate to Flagstaff, Arizona for high altitude training throughout the off season.  One group, however, claims this town as its permanent residence.  For several years now, McMillan Elite has been building prestige and gaining recognition as one of the top distance training groups in the country.  Athletes from the 5k to the marathon enjoy a positive training environment coached Greg McMillan and supported by adidas and the community of Flagstaff.

After bouncing around to several different training locations, including a few years in Eugene, Stephanie Rothstein has found success and happiness within the group.  After a slightly discouraging go-around at the marathon Olympic Trials this winter, she is ready for a second chance on the track.  Not only is she a dedicated runner, she is also the second half of the duo that developed the increasingly popular natural energy bar, PickyBars.  Her fiancé, Ben Bruce is also excited to make it back to Eugene to compete in the 3k Steeplechase after having left the OTC Elite last year in order to be closer to Steph. We steal a moment of her precious time to ask her opinions and advice on the upcoming Trials…

Can you tell us a little more about McMillan Elite and some of the benefits it offers to its members?

McMillan Elite was started by coach Greg McMillan with the support and funding from adidas. It is intended to help post collegiate athletes pursue a professional running career by offering housing, adidas gear and travel for races.

Many athletes on the team train primarily for longer distances and road races, about how many athletes from the team will be coming to Eugene to compete in the Trials this summer?

There will be 4 athletes competing at the trials- Ben Bruce (steeplechase), Aaron Braun (10,000/5,000m), Stephanie Rothstein (10,000/5,000), and Kellyn Johnson (10,000/5,000m).

Were you training in Eugene in 2008 last time the Trials were here? Did you run in them?

I was training in Eugene under Brad Hudson and ran the 10,000m placing 12th.

What do you remember most about the general experience, aside from competition, back then?

The festival along Agate and on campus was full of energy as well as the post race celebrations at a popular pub on Villard Street.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

I’m looking forward to being back in a town where track and field is so revered and loved that you feel everyone cares about what you are trying to achieve.

What do you foresee being the biggest hassle/challenge in the experience?

I don’t foresee many hassles in Eugene.

Do you think you have any advantages, having lived and trained in Eugene?  How so?

I think my knowledge of the town will help us with where to run for training, knowing several people there and being comfortable in a high pressured competition. Knowing the best coffee shops and restaurants also helps.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit when you come back into town? Do you have anything/anywhere specific that you would recommend other runners and spectators check out when they visit this summer?

My favorite eating places are Wandering Goat coffee, Off the Waffle, Hideaway Bakery, Sweet Life and Pizza Research Institute. As for entertainment heading to some of the local wineries is always a must when in Eugene- Sweet Cheeks and King Estate.

Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc being planned for the meet?

I haven’t heard of the London Pub but have heard of the SuperBlock and I’m sure it will be amazing.

Follow Steph and her teammates and friends leading up to their events in Olympic Trials.

Twitter: @stephazona, @mcmillanelite, @mcmillanrunning, @pickybars,

Websites: McMillanElite, McMillanRunning, Pickybars,

courtesy of teamrunflag.blogspot.com

Courtesy of PickyBars.com  

Courtesy of McMillanElite.com

 

“Preparing for the Best” with Monzavous Rae Edwards

 

Courtesy of photorun.net

This week, we caught up with sprinter, Monzavous Rae Edwards.  He is a veteran on the USA track and field scene and will be coming to Eugene for his third career Olympic Trials!  Since 2000, when he was a JUCO and USA Junior National Champion in the 100 and 200, he has steadily cut time off of both event PR’s.  His current bests are 10.00 in the 100m (NY, 2010) and 20.17 in the 200m (Belem, 2009). He has suited up as a member of Team USA for the 2007 NACAC team, the 2007 and 2011 Pan American Games, and the 2009 World Championships.  From the sounds of it, Edwards is primed and ready for another chance to qualify for the coveted Olympic Games!

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene and your highest finish here?

My best track memories are how in-touch and loving the fans are. They really love the athletes. My highest finish was third in 2009 to make the World team in the 100m dash.

What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?

How organized and prompt everything was.

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?

(laughing) Unless you can promise the weather will be nice, there isn’t much you can do.

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?

Out-competing and out-doing my opponents.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

Just the experience all over again. Its my third time and every time I have gotten closer to making a team!

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?

I plan on doing both.

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets?

Not really.

Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc being planned for the meet?

Haven’t heard about any of them but it should be extremely fun!

 

Get to know Rae better before the Trials by following him on

Facebook (Monzavous Rae Edwards)

or- Twitter @superphantom30

 

courtesy of allathletics.com

courtesy of Facebook

 

“Preparing for the Best” with Brigetta Barrett

Courtesy of USATF.org

Singer, Song-writer, Actress, Blogger, and finally, WORLD CLASS HIGH JUMPER!  Unlike many other competitors vying for a spot on this year’s U.S. Olympic Team, Brigetta Barrett will be approaching the Trials with a perspective beyond the high jump mat.  Many of her teammates from last summer’s World Championships in Daegu remember her more because of her stunning performance at athlete skit night than her spectacular 10th place finish at the meet.  With a summer like this, it was easy to forget that she would be coming home to finish a Theater Arts degree and another collegiate season at the University of Arizona (you may have seen her valiant attempt at the Collegiate Record two weeks ago at the PAC-12 Championships).

This year, while continuing with all these demands on her time, she has also managed to start up a blog about her fellow athletes. Their camaraderie and friendship are what fuel her and keep her excited about discovering her own potential.  You will quickly find that the answers she gave for the questions we have been asking many of the other athletes are quite different- a testament to her unique and special approach to the sport.

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene?

My best memory from past meets at Hayward Field was not necessarily competition related. It was the time I sang the national anthem for our PAC -12 conference meet. After I finished singing I went into the stands to watch the rest of the meet because I was not competing on that day. As I stepped into the stadium everyone in the stands stood up and gave me the most heartfelt round of applause I have ever received. It meant so much to me because I know that Hayward track fans are huge fans of the sport. But I had not competed yet and they gave me so much love just for singing. My second best memory was when I became a U.S. National Champion for the first time in my life. It was my biggest platform of my life at the time and to receive that much love even though I was not a Oregon Duck was unbelievable.

Did you come to the Trials in 2008?

I did not come to the trials in 2008. I was a junior in high school and although I qualified to jump at the Trials I did not go. I strained my neck and felt it was smarter to rest than to possibly hurt myself more. So I rested and remained determined that I would go to the Trials four years later, fully prepared to make the team.

After doing so well here in 2011, how will this year be different?

The only difference that I hope this year will bring is an even greater performance than last year. This year I will be defending the national championship and I know that many girls have been training with the intent of trying to take it away from me. But I know that God has a plan for my life and for my sport. So this year I will be jumping on faith and believing in the talent and abilities that I know God has given me. It is not about me this year; it is about everyone that has been supporting me, all of the people that look to me and my life for inspiration, and it is for the chance to wear that USA uniform at the Olympic Games.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

I have started a blog (born2bgr8.tumblr.com) where I interview other track athletes about their sport and their outlook on life because of their sport. So at the Trials I will have a lot of chances to speak with my fellow friends and track athletes and get a lot of material for my blog.

Will you be coming to the meet this summer with your college team?

Yes. We have a lot of athletes who have a great chance to make this year’s Olympic team. I am honored to have such inspiring and talented teammates. They push me to be better.

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?

I know that we will be getting there early but I am unsure of how long we will be staying afterwards.

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets (favorite restaurants/bars, etc you always eat at, places you like to stay, the Saturday Market…..etc??)

I like to experience the restaurants that are close to the track. There is also this ice cream place that makes their own ice cream. I would like to give it a try. But I really look forward to being reunited with my fellow track athletes, who I would not get the chance to see if it weren’t for Olympic Trials. They also inspire me and track athletes are so nice and down to earth — I just like being around people that share the same passion that I have.

Want to know more about bubbly Brigetta (better known as Bebe), show her your support by checking out some of these other websites and CHEER HER ON!

ASU Profile: Brigetta Barrett

USATF Profile: Brigetta Barrett

Twitter: @bebe3114

Blog: http://born2bgr8.tumblr.com/

 

Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

“Preparing for the Best” with Britney Henry

Courtesy of Kevin Clark/ The Register Guard

Hammer Time is a special event being planned to kick off the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. Instead of Eugene, Beaverton, Oregon will be the site of the competition. The Nike World Headquarters will be transformed to showcase these special athletes and lead everyone toward the later festivities down south. With Hayward Field being the historical and iconic site that it is, we wondered what the athletes really thought about this unique separation. Britney Henry filled us in.

Even being a two-time All-American, a PAC-10 champ and a University of Oregon school record holder, Britney has still improved by leaps and bounds since graduating from college.  She has since been ranked 2nd in the US and 14th in the World and thrown a personal best of 71.27 meters (233 feet, 9 1/2 inches).  Currently she spends most of her time in San Diego, training at the Olympic Training Center, where she is close to family and friends, but moves up to Eugene for one week every month to get one-on-one instruction from her throwing coach Lance Deal.  She is an active voice in the female athlete world, keeping a regular blog and doing all she can to raise awareness about sports and the importance of following dreams.

Were you training in Eugene in 2008 last time the Trials were here? Did you compete in them?

Yes I was living and training here and did compete in them.

Tell us a little about how your attitude and expectations might be different now coming into this meet than in 2008.

I had just graduated from college and was new to the career.  I am coming into this one with a much more stable mindset- more prepared to compete as a professional. I’ve learned how to think, train my mind, to calm my nerves, what I need to do physically and mentally to be ready on the day of competition. I see myself as a contender for this team.

How do you feel about Hammer Time and it being separated from the rest of the festivities in Eugene?

I’m really excited! I think any opportunity to get exposure for the hammer is great! This will showcase the event in a new crowd (Portland). It’s always fun for us to be able to show people what we do.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?

(Laughs)…the Beer Garden! It will be fun to come down to Eugene after our competition is over and just chill out watching the races.

What do you foresee being the biggest hassle/challenge in the overall Trials experience?

I have it nice; when I come down to Eugene, I stay with my coach (kind of off the grid) which keeps me out of the crowds.  I would definitely encourage people to do that, check out restaurants outside of the main areas. Personally, the worst thing for me is the POLLEN!  It hits me pretty hard.

Do you think you have any advantages, being based and training in Eugene?

Yeah, people may still recognize my name from when I competed at the University of Oregon, but I think events here are fun for everyone because the track fan base really understands the sport.  They know what a good mark is and when to cheer and get excited!

Do you have anything/anywhere specific in Eugene that you would recommend other athletes and spectators check out when they visit this summer?

Cornucopia is definitely one of my favorites- the one on 17th, they have a good menu and good beer! I also like Roaring Rapids Pizza in Springfield.

Stay in the ‘ring’ with Brittany from now until the Trials by following her on

Twitter- @hammerlover

Facebook- Britney Henry

and her personal blog- http://britneyhenry.blogspot.com/

or her Project- http://thebritneyhenryproject.blogspot.com/

Courtesy of TheBrittanyHenryProject.blogspot.com

“Preparing for the Best” with Jordan Scott

Picture Courtesy of KU Athletics

As if watching pole vault is not entertaining enough, Jordan Scott has been making it even more interesting the past few years by adding a unique and individual flare…..hair designs! Extravagant color and style pulled him out of a small personal slump, helping him bring home a NCAA title his senior year for Kansas University, and he has been nurturing his creative side ever since! (Source: statesman.com) His personal record for the pole vault is 18 feet, 8 3/4 inches, which was set in 2010. The 2012 season has been healthy and productive so far, and Jordan is ready for more. His hair is a way to keep things light and remember how much fun he is having doing what he loves.

Check out some of his recent favorites on his website (here). But better yet, come out to the Trials and watch him compete in the Men’s Pole Vault Prelims on June 25th at 5:30, and in the Finals on June 28th at 5:05 (complete Trials Schedule here). Not only will the competition be tight, but you can rest assure that at the Best Meet Ever, Jordan just might have the Best Hair Ever!

Courtesy of jscottpolevault.com!

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene?
I would have to say my best track memory from Hayward Field was when I won the NCAA Championships in 2010, but also qualifying for the finals in the 2008 Olympic Trials was pretty memorable as well! I’ve had several unbelievable experiences at Hayward Field. It’s easily one of my favorite places to compete!

Was this your highest finish here?
Again, I think my 2010 NCAA Championship was my highest finish at Hayward Field. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate, just being in that stadium, with its unbelievable fans, and family in the stands, it is one of my best memories ever to win that challenging meet.

What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?
The professionalism and “high-class” feel that Hayward Field offered during that event was unmatched. The security was phenomenal, the fans were incredible, and the energy was indescribable.

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?
I can’t think of anything I would change about any experience I’ve ever had at a Hayward Field competition. They really know how to run a meet!

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?
Parking is the only hassle around Hayward Field. It is always a challenge to park remotely close to the facility.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
The vibe of positive energy I always get in Eugene. The city has so many great track and field fans and I’m always excited to get to compete there.

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?
Yes, I will be arriving several days before my qualifying and staying a few days after the final round in hopes that I have a lot of Team Sign-up and paperwork to do!

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets?
I love using the public bus transportation system to get around. You just can’t beat it! I can get wherever I want to get in a timely manner for only a couple bucks. I usually check out the mall and see a movie while I’m there.

Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc being planned for the meet?
I haven’t heard of any special events going on at the Trials this year yet, but if it’s anything like 2008, a good time is on its way!

Get to know Jordan better and follow him through to the Trials…..

Twitter: @jscottpolevault

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jscottpolevault

Personal Website: http://www.jscottpolevault.com/

Blog: http://www.jscottpolevault.com/blog/

Picture courtesy of KU Athletics

“Preparing for the Best” with Team Run Eugene

Athletes from across the country in all different events have been hard at work training for the Olympic Trials this summer.  Meanwhile, here in the community of Eugene, Oregon, a.k.a. TrackTown USA, we also have been preparing for the event we claim will be the “BEST MEET EVER”.   For the past few weeks we have been catching up with some of these competitors to ask them how they are “Preparing for the Best” and what they are anticipating this summers experience to be like.

Throughout the country, post collegiate training groups have been popping up all over.  These groups vary in the level of support they are able to offer members as well as the event disciplines they specialize in.  Last week we took a look at Team USA Minnesota through athlete Heather Dorniden-Kampf. This week, we would like to introduce two members of a local professional training group, Team Run Eugene.  1500m specialists, Ian Cronin and Jordyn Smith are here to tell us a little about their team and what its like for them to train in Eugene.

Check out these other links for more info!

Twitter:  @teamruneugene | @ian_cronin

http://teamruneugene.org/

Tomorrow is the last day to purchase your All-Session Pass. Single day tickets are still available to the U.S. Olympic Trials – Track and Field. Get them today and be part of TrackTown12! Order yours now

“Preparing for the Best”- with Heather Kampf

 

While competing for University of Minnesota she was better known as Heather Dorniden.Picture courtesy of myathleticlife.com

 

Eugene, Oregon is not the only city in the United States that is proud of the professional track athletes that train there.  Groups of endurance athletes have popped up all over the country throughout the last few years and, with help from the community, are making it work. Local sports aficionados ban together to offer their services, funding, and flexible side-job opportunities to allow runners to continue chasing dreams after college and to explore how far they can go.

Team USA Minnesota, based in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, is one of those places. Since it was officially named a ‘USA Distance Training Center’ in 2001, this team has produced an Olympian and 17 National Champions under the direction of Coach Dennis Barker. A Board of Directors, made up of dedicated community members, help with the small details of the club, including much of their fundraisers. In return, athletes are expected to attend various activities throughout the community and, of course, prepare to be competitive at the highest level in their event. Heather Kampf has been a member of the team since she graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2009.  As a Gopher, she was a nine-time All-American and set nine school records. She has been a semi-finalist in the ultra-competitive 800-meter distance at the USA Championships for three of the past four years.  In recent years she has also run and done well at the USA Indoor Championships, as well as the USA 1-Mile Road Championships.  We caught up with her to talk about the team and her excitement for the Olympic Trials this summer.

It sounds like you have it pretty nice, being able to train and compete with the group.  How does it compare to a college team?
HK: Team USA Minnesota is an awesome training group to be with, though it is VERY different from a college team. We’re a smaller group, and the training that we do is more individualized to each athletes’ specific needs. I am one of the few middle distance runners on the team (most everyone else does longer stuff), but we compliment each other well, and benefit from each other’s strengths at practices.

As I understand, several athletes on the team train primarily for road races, about how many athletes from the team will be coming to Eugene to compete in the Trials this summer?
HK: It is true that my teammates do well on the roads, but I am thinking anywhere from 6-8 of us might take a shot at London this summer. A lot of it depends on how things go earlier this spring, but in my eyes, the more the merrier!

How supportive is the local community to your team?
HK:
The local community is not only incredibly supportive to our team, they are quite knowledgeable and active in the sport as well. Having fans and supporters who “get it” is so cool, and it makes it much more fun for us to give back to our running community as well.

What types of activities throughout the year are you guys expected to do to give back?
HK:
We get to work at a lot of kids’ running events, helping them warm up, cheering and handing out medals to finishers- that is probably my favorite activity to be involved in. We also have opportunities to speak at big events like the Twin Cities Marathon, and High School State Meets. Another highlight is participating in big community races. It doesn’t seem like much effort for us to come and run with people, but I have been told often enough how meaningful it is, so we’re glad to make appearances.

Personally, what is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene?

HK: My favorite memory isn’t necessarily anything about my own performance. Rather, the thing I remember most fondly is the fans at Hayward Field. They are the best and most involved fans you can find, no matter where an athlete is from, you get the star treatment in Eugene.

You were a semi-finalist in the Trials in 2008.  What most impressed you about the town/meet- competition wise and also outside of your competition (the festival, the crowds, the trails in town, etc.)
HK:
I was still in college in 2008, and honestly felt like I was just there for the ride. Therefore, I was impressed with EVERYTHING! The athletic medical staff were incredible, the hospitality they had set up for the athletes was more than I could have ever asked for, and as I mentioned earlier, the fans make the meet.

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?
HK:
Yep! I hope to make the podium this time ;)

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer? OR Is there anything aside from your competition that you are worried about (call rooms running smooth, transportation through Eugene with all the people, restaurants being crowded, rain….etc.)
HK:
Nerves will be the biggest challenge for me. I will need to remind myself that I am not an inexperienced college athlete there anymore, and to take to the track with pride and confidence in how far I’ve come, ready to compete with the best we have to offer in the US of A!

Will your team travel and stay together when you come? Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?
HK:
I believe a lot of us are staying in a house together that our coach rented out. It will be nice to be able to cook meals for ourselves rather than going out all the time. I am planning to come in just a couple days before the start of the 800 competition, and if I were to miss out on a chance to compete in London there, I will stay to make a shot in the 1,500 in the second half of the Trials.

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets (favorite restaurants/bars, etc.?)
HK:
Cafe Yumm was introduced to me the last time I was in Eugene. We don’t have those in Minneapolis, and I’ve been craving one of those bowls of goodness ever since!

Have you heard anything about the London Pub, the SuperBlock exhibits/vendors, the live performances, etc. being planned for the meet?
HK:
Nope, but sounds exciting!

To find out more about Heather and to follow her up through the Trials, check out these other links:

Personal Profile on Asics.com
Personal Profile on Team USA Minn
Personal Blog: This is where I am-This is where I’m meant to be
Twitter: @HeatherRaeKampf

 

Picture courtesy of asics.com (http://216.139.245.131/sports/team/trackfield/athletes_tf.aspx)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Preparing for the Best” with Ian Dobson

Growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Ian Dobson’s decision to land in Eugene as a member of the Oregon Track Club was an easy one.  He was first drawn out of the state for college, where he had an amazing career for Stanford.  He was an All-American nine times and made his first US National team his senior year in the 5k.  He continued running and made the 2008 Olympic Team while a member of the Mammoth Track Club.  It was here that he met his future wife, NC State Alum, Julia Lucas. Together they made the decision to leave California and head north. Their journey brought them to Eugene where they have become not only distinguished members of the Oregon Track Club, but also valued members of the community.  They coach a running group open to the public every Thursday night and actively participate in club and neighborhood events whenever their schedule allows.

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field? And what was your highest finish here?
ID:
Finishing 3rd at the 2008 Olympic Trials.  It was fun in part because it was somewhat unexpected success.  People like Bobby Curtis, Chris Solinsky, Bolota Asmerom, and Jonathon Riley were all in the race and running really well at the time. It was fun having a lot of local supporters, having grown up in Oregon.  I had run at Hayward Field several times through high school but it never seemed to go well there.  I was happy to finally break through that streak.

What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?
ID: How much the entire town changes for Track and Field- all the billboards, the festival…Eugene is unique in that it is the perfect size to be completely transformed for a few weeks by the energy of the meet.  I don’t think any other town could pull it off like that.

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?
ID: I worry about people (friends and family) coming into town at the last minute and asking to stay with us because everything is booked or too expensive. I don’t like not being able to help them out but I want them to know that this is business for me.

I also hope that local restaurants and businesses will respond to the crowds and schedule.  I remember in 2008 after the meet, everyone would want to hang out and socialize when they were finished competing and there were a few places that stayed open (Villard Pub, no longer there) and had special hours so that people could do that.  It was a lot of fun!

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
ID: The weight off.  So much energy and focus over the course of the last few years has gone into this one event.  There are so many different ways it could go, when it is done, no matter the outcome, we will know and be able to plan the next step.

Do you think you will have an advantage living and training in Eugene with OTC? In what way?
ID: It will be nice to not have to rely on coaches and staff for transportation around town, to the race, etc.  We will be able to warmup like a regular workout.  There will just be more ‘controls’ for us than if we had to go away.  And having the Oregon support and the community connections there cheering us on will be great.

Do you have anything/anywhere specific in Eugene that you would recommend others runners and spectators check out when they visit this summer? (restaurants, entertainment venues, parks, etc?)
ID: You should definitely go to Hideaway Bakery in town near Amazon Rexius.  If you don’t mind exploring outside of town a little, check out the McKenzie River Trail.  We also love the restaurant PRI (Pizza Research Institute).

 

Picture courtesy of Shamrockshuffle.com

Picture courtesy of Shamrockshuffle.com

Julia Lucas, as she crosses the finish line after her most recent victory at the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago.

 

‘Preparing for the Best’ with Leonel Manzano

 

Photo Courtesy of Phil Johnson

The marquee event at many track meets has traditionally been the infamous men’s mile. Within this domain, Leonel Manzano has become a household name. Known for his tenacity and fight despite his small stature, he exploded onto the national scene as a freshman for the University of Texas by winning the 1500 NCAA Outdoor title in 2005.  Since then, his accolades have continued to rack up, with numerous records and titles in individual as well as relay events. He finished his collegiate experience as a nine-time All-American and four time NCAA Champion. His international experience started while still a college junior, when he made the USA National team and traveled to Osaka, Japan to compete in the IAAF World Championships. This would give him valuable experience for the following year in which he represented his country at the 2008 Olympic Games. He has placed in the top three at USA National Championships the past five years.

What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field and Eugene?
LM: My first track memory in Eugene was when I was a freshman at the University of Texas. I had never really been out of the state and when I came to compete in Eugene I was blown away on how great the fans were!

Highest finish here?
LM: I won my race as a freshman, I believe it was one of the Oregon invites.

What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?
LM: What impressed me the most about the Trials in 2008 was the amount of participation from the Fans and the International TV coverage.

Are there any changes from previous meets at Hayward that you hope to see for the Trials?
LM: I think it would be great if they could have live music while we ran. Other than that I think it would be hard to make the meet better.

As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?
LM: I think the biggest hassle would be the travel. Eugene is great but sometimes the flights into and out of Eugene are very limited.

Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
LM: The one thing I really look forward to is the excitement of the fans inside Hayward Field. There is a lot of energy and the fans are very knowledgeable.

Are you planning on getting here early or staying after your event?
LM: I am arriving about two days before my event. I am trying to be as focused as possible. At the end of the day it is a job and I have to do it to the best of my ability. Hopefully no distractions for me this time around. But maybe things will change afterward.

Do you have anything specific you like to do when you come to Eugene for meets (favorite restaurants/bars, etc you always eat at, places you like to stay)
LM: I like to go to Dutch Brothers Coffee in the morning and there is an organic burrito place I really love. The name escapes me.

To find out more about Leo and to follow his racing schedule this spring, go to his links on the web:

Website:  http://runleo.com/

Twitter: @leomanzano

Facebook: Leo Manzano Fan Page