Posts tagged University of Oregon

“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 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

Monday Matters | Oregon sweeps the 2012 Pac-12 Championships

(Phil Johnson / TrackTownPhoto.com)

There may not have been a better two days in TrackTown USA than what we just had for the 2012 Pac-12 Championships this past weekend, especially in mid May. During a month that could have just as easily brought 50s and rain, this weekend instead saw lots of sun, 80-degree temperatures, and  a nice tailwind for the sprints and jumps. Combine that with the great crowd and amazing performances, and Hayward Field showed why it is like no other track and field venue in the country.

The Men and Women of Oregon proved their dominance in 2012  with a stellar day of finals to capture a history-making sixth and fourth straight titles respectively.  The men had to go against the form charts for their victory, highlighted by wins from Elijah Greer (800), Johnathan Cabral (110 hurdles), Sam Crouser (Javelin) and Dakota Keys decathlon victory from last weekend.  The rest of their 140 points came from a great depth of athletes who scored in 18 of the 21 events.

The Duck Women made history with 200 1/2 points scored, over 70 points ahead of second place Stanford. UO claimed the 4×100 relay, 100 and 200 (English Gardner), 400 (Phyllis Francis), 800 (Laura Roesler), 1500 (Jordan Hasay), 10k (Alex Kosinski), Triple Jump (Lauryn Newson) and last week’s heptathlon by Brianne Theisen.  In the 200 and the 800, not only did Oregon claim the victory, the Ducks’ swept the top 3.  In the 200, Gardner led Francis (2nd) and Newson (3rd), while the 800 was won by Roesler, followed by Becca Friday (2nd) and Claudia Francis (3rd). Newson won the Triple Jump in only her second time competing in that event. Combining that with her 100 and 200 finishes, and a leg of the 4×100 relay, Newson was the highest individual scorer of the event with 26.5 points.

Other notable highlights from the weekend were Arizona’s Brigetta Barrett’s victory and near misses at the collegiate record in the High Jump; Stanford’s Chris Derrick gutsy race in the men’s 5k and Arizona State’s Jordan Clarke, who dominated the throws and was the men’s high-point scorer.

Full Results of the 2012 Pac-12 Championships PDF | HTML

Pac-12 Championships Links:

UO Women with their fourth straight title  – Register Guard

Duck Men use a never quit mentality to achieve their sixth straight crown – Register Guard

Ducks trampled the form charts and competition to sweep the meet – Oregonian

Photos:

The Oregonian Photo Essay Day 1 | Day 2

The Register Guard Slideshow Day 1 | Day 2

Phil Johnson & TrackTownPhoto.com

Rick Russel Photography Day 1 | Day 2

The Daily Emerald Day 1 | Day 2

Pac-12 Conference Slideshow

Videos:

Runnerspace.com Interviews

The Oregonian Interviews

You can catch Fox Sports Networks coverage of the Pac-12 Championships this week on your local station. Click here for a detailed listing of all the times it will air.

 

‘Behind the Scenes (Mic)’ with the Voice of Hayward Field, Paul Swangard.

In order to create the Best Time Ever at TrackTown12, a lot of time and coordination is being spent on the run of show for each day inside Hayward Field.  Everything besides the results is carefully planned, including, among many things, the opening ceremonies, award ceremonies, and TrackVision video content. One other key elements for the run of show during the U.S. Olympic Trials  – Track and Field lies with the individuals behind the public address microphone.  Luckily for TrackTown USA, we have one of the best around. Paul Swangard, a long-time track and field announcer at Hayward Field, has a growing reputation as one of the premiere announcers in the sport, and for the first time will be one of the lead announcers for the Olympic Trials during TrackTown12.

Photo from Lundquist College of Business

 

Swangard grew up in Eugene as a track and field fan. He attended South Eugene High and holds both his Bachelors and MBA degrees from the University of Oregon.  When Swangard isn’t behind the mic, he is serving as the the Managing Director of the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business.  We recently caught up with Paul to give us some ‘behind the mic’ insights as he prepares for the Olympic Trials.

A little Swangard History…When was your first Hayward experience and when was your first time behind the mic?
PS: I was born in Eugene in the late 60s and grew up a track fan in TrackTown USA. My parents viewed spring meets at Oregon like a daycare center. We’d be dropped off before the first event and spend the entire day at Hayward Field. I still have a shoebox of autographs from the 1980 Trials and a lot of great childhood memories. After some success sprinting at South Eugene, I was lucky enough to be asked to walk on at Oregon in the mid 80’s but lasted only a season. Later, I transitioned into a career in sports broadcasting and was asked to audition for the Hayward PA job in the early 90’s after Wendy Ray stepped down. It’s hard to believe I’m approaching 20 years in the role but it’s been a great run so far!

What is the Hayward Field experience like from the booth?
PS: It’s controlled chaos in the booth. I’ve always said it is like being a ring master at a circus doing our best to keep the crowd in tune with what is going on and providing perspective on how well the athletes are performing. The sight-lines are good though the television platforms can make announcing the jumps a bit of a challenge. What is great about being in the booth is we are all fans of the sport and are all focused on delivering a great experience for the fans and for the athletes regardless of affiliation.

Looking back to Eugene08, in your opinion, what made it so special?
PS: I think Eugene08 was both a great track and field meet and a great event. That was the difference as the organizers sought to elevate the Trials into a broader entertainment experience. People came to be a part of it with or without a ticket. I think they’ll elevate it again in 2012.

You have announced meets all over the country, how do the other experiences and venues compare to Hayward Field?
PS: Each venue has its own distinct personality.  I’m biased to Eugene only because its home and the spectators always seem to be the most educated and understand the role they play in supporting the athletes. The magic of Hayward Field is as much the fans as it is the venue. Still, I’ve enjoyed the chance to announce in other venues and look forward to doing more in the future.

Do you prepare for the Trials differently than any other meet you announce?
PS:
I’ll be teaming up with Garry Hill (editor of Track and Field News) to announce the Trials. We’ve now worked several meets together (Pre, USATF Championships, Pac-12 Championships) so I think we have a good chemistry. With two “voices” it allows us to do a lot more homework and we’ll be able to give each event full coverage. In some meets there is almost too much going on to keep track of, but at the Trials all of the athletes deserve to be on stage.

What are you most excited about this year during TrackTown12?
PS: This is actually my first Trials as one of the lead announcers. In 2008, the late Scott Davis (longtime Pre Classic and Mt. Sac Relays announcer) and Garry Hill shared the microphone. I did the opening ceremonies, some interviews on the Festival stage and the hammer events outside the stadium. Turned out I was announcing the men’s hammer at the same time as that legendary Men’s 800m finish. Never heard Hayward Field louder but didn’t actually see the race! This time I get the best of both worlds. I will be in Portland to announce Hammer Time at the Nike campus and then join Garry in calling all the events in the venue. I’m just excited to be able to have a role in staging a great event and being one ingredient to the atmosphere of TrackTown USA.

You may have seen this video before, this time close your eyes and listen to the passion and excitement from Paul Swangard!

‘Behind the Scenes’ | Making TrackTown12 a Sustainable Event

Eugene/Springfield, greater Lane Country and the University of Oregon prides itself in its commitment to sustainable practices.  In 2008, our Local Organizing Committee (LOC) earned the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) first award for Sport and the Environment for its environmental and sustainability efforts during the 2008 Olympic Trials – Track and Field and Eugene08. Through a collaboration of City of Eugene staff, Lane County, Lane Transit, EWEB and others throughout the community, the event achieved a 72% recycling rate and many other accomplishments.  We want to build upon the success of 2008 and make TrackTown12 even better and more sustainable.

We caught up with the LOC’s Sustainability Committee chair Ethan Nelson to update us on what the committee is doing to create an even more sustainable event in 2012.  Nelson’s day job is as the Waste Prevention and Green Building Manager for the City of Eugene.

Looking back to Eugene08, the event was given the Sport and the Environment Award by the IOC, what was so special in terms of sustainability about Eugene08?
EN:
The 2008 experience garnered the attention of the IOC because of one thing…..TrackTown USA being green.  This event didn’t just do a green piece or focus on one or two aspects, it was about the entire performance of the event, the integration with the local community, and showing off to the world what being in TrackTown USA is about.  The team that came together to support the event was wide spread and dedicated to the vision of sustainability.  This was the aspect that pulled in the IOC, and what made up their minds was the performance elements.  Eugene08 provided over 400 free bike valet parking each day, had over 50,000 people shuttled via public transportation, reduced the need for on-site diesel generators by upgrading the power infrastructure at Hayward Field, was 100% renewable energy supported, had over a 60% recovery rate for waste generation, had over 40% of all food provided from a local source within 150 miles, provided free tickets to youth and families, and supported the All-Comers meet during one of the dark days.  Eugene08 didn’t just do a track and field meet, it was an experience for all involved.  And it was done with a mind to reducing our impact on the earth and increasing the positive impact to the community.

How are the preparations in making TrackTown12 sustainable coming along?
EN: Excellent.  The Sustainability Committee has been meeting for over 18 months and working on a wide variety of approaches. We are getting down to the wire here and finalizing all of the sustainability related activities in collaboration with the rest of the LOC.

Are there any new sustainable practices being implemented into TrackTown12?
EN: Yes. In addition to all of the activities identified above, which we are focusing on improving our performance in 2012, the new key items include: adoption of a sustainable procurement policy and tracking the sustainable elements of the top ten purchases for the event, BP is calculating the carbon footprint of event transportation and providing offsets in conjunction with their Target Neutral campaign, local food vendors will be tracking local foods and using all compostable materials to integrate with the City’s Love Food Not Waste program, there will be nutritional labeling for vendors foods to help fans/athletes make informed choices. There is also an increased focus on providing support services to alter-abled attendees with the intent of creating as inclusive an environment as possible; Nike has provided $100,000 to run youth and track development activities throughout the event, and we are working with the Council for Responsible Sport to attain the first ever sustainability certification of a multi-day event in North America.

What will it take to reach the levels that were attained in 2008?
EN: Focus, teamwork, and clarity of purpose.  But what is really cool about some of the sustainability aspects of the program is the fact that fans get to drive the success.  Without their involvement in our waste diversion efforts, we won’t make our goals.  So look out for a variety of new fan engagement elements that will be highlighting the event’s efforts and how fans can make a difference.

What you excites you most about what your committee is doing for TrackTown12?
EN: We have been working on creating a system where sustainable events can become the norm and not the exception.  There is a lot of momentum for this right now with collegiate athletics, professional teams, and hallmark events.  We are supporting efforts with US Olympic Committee and our local Lane County Sports Commission.  It is a legacy element, to use a track analogy, we are working hard to hand the baton to the next leg of the race, while making sure they are well set up for a win.

Monday Matters | Big week on tap for TrackTown

The beginning of April means a couple things here in TrackTown USA, the Willamette River is still high and the rain will continue to come down.  However, today for this first Monday in April, the sun in shining and it’s a warm 65 degrees as we are gear up for an action-packed week.

TrackTown Tuesday

The third “‘TrackTown Tuesday” event of 2012 kicks off the week at the downtown Eugene Hilton tomorrow night from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Eugene Hilton. Refreshments and appetizers will be provided beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Scheduled to speak are Oregon Track Club Elite’s Jesse Williams and Russell Brown and University of Oregon athletes Johnathan Cabral and Becca Friday.

Sponsored by Deschutes Brewery, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Dari Mart stores and Lochmead Dairy, “TrackTown Tuesday” is free and open to the public. Those who come will get to hear the athletes speak on their hopes for the outdoor season, and will have the opportunity to ask them questions.

Come on out and bring a friend.

Single day tickets on sale Friday

For those unable to attend all eight days of the U.S. Olympic Trials, and have been waiting for individual day tickets to go on sale, good news, the on-sale day is just about here. Friday, April 6 at 9am PT is the first chance for the public to buy single-day tickets.  Buy tickets online or you can call the ticket office at 1-800-932-3668.

Don’t know what day you would like to attend? Take a look at the schedule and click around each day to see what events will take place each day.  Everyday will provide great track and field action, so if you’re looking at the schedule and you realize you’d like to attend everyday, all-session passes are still available!

There is nothing like the experience you will get from being inside Historic Hayward Field, so get your tickets before they are gone.

Pepsi Invitational

On tap this Saturday is the Pepsi Invitational featuring the men’s and women’s teams of Oregon, Texas A&M, UCLA and Washington at Hayward Field.  It will be a fun day of track and field and the competition will be something you won’t want to miss. Texas A&M’s men and women have won the last three outdoor championships — with the women’s title coming over the Ducks each of those three years.  Events will begin at 10:15 am.

We will have more details and a full schedule of the Pepsi Invite as this week unfolds.

TrackTown April Fools

Lastly, our friends at Track Focus created a video worth watching about Russian long jumper Darya Klishina and her decision to end her jumping career and train for competitive long distance running in TrackTown USA.  Enjoy!

Monday Matters | Happy Birthday Geoff Hollister!

**Update Tuesday 2/7/12 10:45am** The University of Oregon released a statement about the passing of Geoff Hollister, who was part of the “Men of Oregon” starting in 1965 and lettered as a steeplechaser in 1966 and 1968.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a great friend not only of the University of Oregon, but of the entire running community,” said Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna. “Geoff was not only a visionary, but also one of the indelible spirits in our profession.

To read the rest of the statement, click over to goducks.com

**Update 4:15pm** Since posting this blog Monday morning, the sad news came about Geoff Hollister passing away after a long fight with cancer.  Our condolences go out to his wife Wendy and the rest his family. His influence on our sport and the track and field community goes unparalleled.  TrackTown USA is what it is today, largely, because of the him. Thank You Geoff. Rest in Peace.

Geoff Hollister, Man of Nike & University of Oregon, RIP – by Larry Eder of RunBlogRun

Geoff Hollister, an original Nike employee and former University of Oregon track runner, dies – by Allan Brettman, The Oregonian

Happy Birthday Geoff!

This past Friday (February 3rd), the University of Oregon track team and Oregon Track Club Elite members stopped to dedicate their workouts to the very influential and esteemed U of O Alumnus Geoff Hollister.  Mr. Hollister played a pivotal role in the success and growth of Nike with his business expertise and a true understanding of the core goals Bill Bowerman wished to build the company on.  Their objective was to encourage America to get excited about running by helping athletes chase their athletic dreams.  The company provided material and financial assistance by producing and selling state-of-the-art equipment and Hollister was their first salesman.  During the first few years, he could be found at track meets and road races throughout Oregon selling running shoes from the back of his car. The other way Nike planned to help athletes was through the support of the community and team environment.  Mr. Hollister, along with Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight were the ‘Founding Fathers’ of the American running team, Athletics West which has evolved into what is now the Oregon Track Club Elite.   Though currently fighting a long, hard battle with cancer, he has continued to be an advocate for Bill Bowerman, Nike, and all things running.  To learn more about his life and journey, check out his personal account in the video interview below.

Buy his autobiography, Out of Nowhere!

The beautiful weather on Feb 3rd drew many runners to Hayward Field and many of them took a moment away from training to participate in a video ‘Birthday card’ for Mr. Hollister!

Happy Birthday Geoff from TrackTown USA!

Weekend Recap

This weekend saw another crop of Indoor Meets and stellar performances.  Most notably, Oregon runners Matthew Centrowitz, Russell Brown, Mo Farah, Galen Rupp and former OTCElite member Ben Bruce laced up for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Centrowitz and Bruce raced a tough field in the Mens 3k placing 7th (7:46.19) and 9th (7:59.10), respectively.  Brown, Farah, and Rupp appeared in the Mens Mile.  Rupp ran 3:57.10 for third place immediately followed by Farah and Brown who crossed the line in 3:57.92 and 4:00.79.

Oregon Track Club Annual Dinner

Tuesday night will be the annual Oregon Track Club Dinner and Annual Meeting.  It is set to take place at 5pm in Autzen Stadium and will feature a small program including TrackTown USA updates and Prefontaine Classic meet information. There will also be representatives from the University of Oregon Track Team and the OTC Elite  to summarize how preparation is going for upcoming events.  OTC Elite Runner Lauren Fleshman will be the events keynote speaker.