The theatre for track…is real.
— oregontf (@OregonTF) April 1, 2021
Before the meet, Oregon coach Robert Johnson calmly walked into the coaches’ only section of the new Hayward Field, sat down and watched some of his team warm up, in the finest track stadium that this writer has ever seen.
Let me make this clear. I loved the old Hayward Field. I sat in the old east stands and watched Mike Roche lead Doug Brown, then Henry Marsh in the ill fated 1980 Olympic Trials steeplechase. I sat with the Aggie track club in those hallowed stands for several Olympic Trials and many Pre Meets.
This was my first reaction to the new #haywardfield! A true sanctuary to the sport! @OregonTF @nike @WCHoregon22 @2022Eugene @GoTrackTownUSA #runblogrun #theshoeaddicts #runningnetwork #larryeder pic.twitter.com/lFrmKz2wQz
— RunBlogRun (@RunBlogRun) May 8, 2021
I roared in the press area, year after year, at Pre Classics when almost each event gave us a world leader.
That stadium is gone.
This modern stadium, at a cost of nearly $300 million dollars, much donated by Nike co founder Phil Knight and his wife, gives the University of Oregon one of the finest, if not the finest, athletic stadium in the world. It is a sanctuary of sport, a Notre Dame cathedral built in honor of Duck heroes. The three (at least) pictures of Rudy Chapa, the stunning modern street art of Steve Prefontaine creates icons of the athletes, much like stained glass celebrates saints in an old cathedral. And many Oregon track & field heroes are celebrated in what will become a legacy to American track & field.
I enjoyed my first meet in the new Hayward Field. I also missed some of the old stadium as well.
But, that is to be expected. A lifetime of memories were created for many in the old stadium. I hope fans will keep an open mind about the new Hayward Field.
It did not replace the old Hayward Field, nothing can do that. The new Hayward Field builds on the firm foundation of the old athletic field.
And now on to an epic Twilight meet!
— oregontf (@OregonTF) May 8, 2021
The Oregon Twilight meet is a tradition at the University of Oregon. It allows the team to celebrate its seniors.
The meet built to its cresendo, the Men’s 1500m. The field had a wide cast of collegiate stars, from Charlie Hunter, Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare, the Duck trio, to NCAA champ Yared Nuguse, to pros Charles Philibert Thibouto, and Rob Napolitano, to BYU’s Talem Franco.
Luis Peralta, Matt Wisner and Travis Thompson took the field through splits that were honest: 56.5 at 400m, 1:55.5 at 800m and 2:25 at 1000m.
Cooper Teare found himself battling ND’s Yared Nuguse, who could not get a step on Teare, with Charlie Hunter, Charles Philibert Thibouto, and Ryan Adams in hot pursuit and Cole Hocker in a box that he could not leave.
The bell was reached in 2:39.9, and Nuguse and Teare were inseparable.
With 200 to go, reached in 3:10, the battle for first was still to be worked out, but Hocker had extracted himself from the hellacious box and came charging, like a bat on espresso, off the turn.
A friend behind me was noting: “and Hocker is moving up, ” and that he did, into third from 8th, but no further.
Yared Nuguse seemed to assess his situation from thirty meters out and pulled a move done best by German Klaus Peter Hilldebrand, in the 1976 Montreal Olympic 5000m final, where he lunged into the bronze medal position, relegating Rod Dixon to 4th. Nuguse was leaning forward and looked like he might hit the ground.
Nugusse did just that, and began to lean so far forward that Yared should have fallen.
It was obvious that it would be a tight-photo-finish.
The 55.62 last 400m was telling.
Yared Nugusse was named winner in 3:35.96, a PB and NCAA Leader.Cooper Teare was second in 3:35.97 PB, Cole Hocker, 3:36.47 PB, in #3, and Charles Philibert Thibouto was 4th in 3:37.08!
Cooper Teare told UO’s Zack Larsen about the epic final stretch like this:
(PR – No. 3 in UO history)
“Looking at Pac-12s, the goal there is to win, win, win. This was kind of that last fun race where you just get to go from the gun. I’m grateful for the opportunity and grateful to have awesome competition. Now, we switch the mindset a little bit and we go out there to win every race. It’s definitely a different strategy but I think that will play into our hands pretty well.”
“I was hoping to have someone to sit on until the last 200 (meters) but that’s not how it goes. It’s been pretty consistent for me to hammer it and try to win from the front but that’s hard to do especially with this caliber of field. The fields have just been next level and guys are really stepping up. I can’t really complain. I, honestly, thought I had it for a second when my name popped up first and then they revised it and I get beat by .01. I’m happy with the way I ran it and got a new PR out of it. Obviously, you come here to win and run fast times. That’s where you have to get just a little bit better.”
Three guys under 3:39 at the Oregon Twilight…ðŸ”¥
— oregontf (@OregonTF) May 8, 2021
Deep thoughts on meet:
Eilish Flanagan of Adams State won the steeplechase in 9:40.68, a PB, and NCAA 2 season lead. Her sister Roisin, was 4th in 4:21.87.
Kudos to BYU’s steeple duo, Garrett Marsing who won in 8:34.40, and Clayson Shumway, second in 8:40.11.
They were just shy of meet record set by Olympian Danny Lopez, back in 1992 of 8:30.07h!
Sun Sets on regular-season after Twilight, by Rob Moseley,
Complete results from 2021 Oregon Twilight meet: Meet Results – Oregon Twilight.pdf