The leap from high school to NCAA Division I sports is a big adjustment for nearly every athlete in every sport, but sometimes there is more to the adjustment than just the level of the competition.
Quite simply, anyone who thinks track and field is not a spectator sport has never been to a meet at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
After growing up with little more than the competing teams and a few scattered parents attending meets, competitors at Oregon step out in front of thousands. The fans know the sport, and they know who the Ducks are.
One longstanding tradition at Hayward Field is rhythmic clapping during the approach for field competitors — which can be disconcerting.
“It freaked me out at first,” said high jumper Jasmine Kelly, an Oregon senior out of Skyview High School. “Having people clap for you is kind of intimidating.
“I think now (as a UO veteran) you know that they’re out there supporting you, no matter what. It’s kind of cool that I’ll have some people recognize me on the street. They’ll be like, ‘Oh, I saw you compete and I told my daughter to look out for you when she’s at the meet.’ That’s exciting, and makes it all worth it.”
Kelly, a two-time Class 4A state champion and two-time Columbian girls track and field athlete of the year, has steadily improved as a Duck.
She was 14th at the Pacific-10 Conference championships as a freshman — 11 spots ahead of her pre-meet seeding. She was ninth as a sophomore, and fourth as a junior. She was an NCAA West Regional qualifier last year, placing ninth.
The top 48 marks in each NCAA region — West and East — advance to regionals, with 12 from each region advancing to the NCAA championships. Kelly is ranked about 13th in the West and 28th nationally, making her a likely regional qualifier again.
“That would be super exciting,” Kelly said of competing at Hayward Field for nationals. “It’s home turf. That would be really exciting, because I have a lot of family close to here.”
Kelly’s top mark this year is a collegiate and personal best of 5-foot-10 that was the winning height at the Oregon Preview meet on March 20.
That mark puts her in a sixth-place tie on UO’s all-time list, which is topped by Camille Jampolsky’s 6-2¾ set in 1988.
“Senior year is about time to make it happen,” Kelly said. “I’m doing really good. . . . I had all my family there cheering for me and really supportive teammates, and I think that helps a lot. But also, the training has been different and I didn’t have any injuries or anything. We took off our training a little bit so I could peak during that meet.”
The biggest difference between high school and collegiate competition, Kelly said, is that her coach — Harry Marra, who also coaches the UO decathletes and heptathletes — is able to work with her individually. Kelly said Marra trusts her input into her training and they work together to put her in the best position to compete well.
A business marketing major with a minor in art, Kelly is also a two-time All-Pac-10 academic honoree.
“It’s nice to be recognized for something other than athletics, because I’ve worked really, really hard since I’ve been in college,” she said. “I wanted to prove to myself. I’m doing this because I really care about it. I’m going into business because it’s something I’m interested in, and also doing art. Hopefully, I can make a difference.”
Porter notches third NCAA-II qualifier
Western Washington junior Sarah Porter achieved her third national qualifying time of the season at WWU’s Viking Twilight meet Friday.
The Hockinson High School graduate won the 5,000 meters in 17 minutes, 0.69 seconds for an NCAA Division II provisional qualifier. She already has an automatic qualifier in the 10,000 and another provisional mark in the 1,500.
GFU’s Turner wins NWC hurdles crown
George Fox University freshman Alyssa Turner won the 400-meter hurdles at the Northwest Conference championship meet in Spokane.
The Hudson’s Bay High School graduate’s winning time was 1 minute, 6.19 seconds. She also was part of the Bruins’ runner-up 1,600 relay team. GFU finished second to Willamette in the team race.
Hadenfeld claims fourth NWC honor
Central Washington junior pitcher Lauren Hadenfeld has been named Northwest Conference softball pitcher of the week for the fourth time this season. The Evergreen High School graduate won three games of a five-game set against Northwest Nazarene.
In 20 innings of work, Hadenfeld (17-4) posted a 1.05 ERA and struck out 24 batters. The Crusaders batted .153 against her.
Academic honor for Northwest’s Wessa
Northwest University sophomore pole vaulter Lindsey Wessa garnered All-Cascade Conference academic honors.Recognition requires a minumum GPA of 3.2. The Battle Ground High School graduate was in a seven-way tie for first place at Western Washington’s Twilight Meet in Bellingham.
SPU signs Dorman
Prairie High School graduate Jeff Dorman signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Seattle Pacific University after two years at Clackamas Community College.
The 6-foot-2 guard was named to the all-tournament team of the NWAACC championships and the Southern Division all-star team.
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