|Jordan Hasay - University of Oregon
EUGENE - The University of Oregon women appeared to have clinched their second consecutive NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship in the first running event of the day on Saturday.
The Ducks, already leading with 26 points from Friday, went 1st, 3rd and 4th in the Mile Run, with Jordan Hasay claiming the victory over Duke's Kate Van Buskirk in 4:33.01. Hasay's teammates Zoe Buckman and Anne Kesselring nearly made it an Oregon sweep reminiscent of the UO men's 1-2-3 finish at last year's NCAA Outdoor meet. The 21 points from the mile pushed Oregon's total to 47 and made it unlikely that anyone could catch the Ducks, especially given they still had Amber Purvis in the 60, Melissa Gergel in the pole vault, and their 4 x 400 team yet to perform.
They also had Hasay entered in the 3000, but it seemed, at least to this observer, almost a foregone conclusion that she would withdraw from the event and save the wear and tear on her body. That turned out to be a false assumption, even though she had already run a mile prelim on Friday, and a very fast (4:30) mile leg on the distance medley relay, also on Friday night, in addition to Saturday's mile final.
It seems Hasay had some unfinished business at the meet in College Station, Texas. Running the anchor leg of the distance medley, Hasay had been locked in a tight battle with Villanova's Sheila Reid. Reid jumped Hasay at the bell and held on for a narrow .4 second victory. Reid ran a 4:29.91 to Hasay's 4:30.47. It was the second time that Reid had edged Hasay at the end of a race - the first was the NCAA Cross Country Championships last November - and it obviously didn't sit well with Hasay. She was visibly upset immediately after the race, and felt like she let her teammates down. She was composed and calm talking to reporters a short time later, but she clearly didn't like losing in the same manner a second time to Reid, who is, obviously, an NCAA champion and a major talent herself.
Reid was the odds-on favorite in the 3000.
As sweet and innocent as she looks and seems, Hasay has the instincts and the heart of a great competitor. Think Michael Jordan in his prime, or Kobe Bryant at his best and you'll get the picture.
Hasay is used to winning a lot. She was a seven-time national champion in high school and set a bundle of age-group records. But she has competed internationally and against elite runners enough to have a clear perspective on it. She knows she is not going to win every race, and she is extremely gracious when she loses. But that doesn't mean she accepts defeat. She clearly doesn't.
So there she was, racing in the 3000 meters after Oregon had locked up the team title. Sheila Reid had not run the mile, so she had just run one race prior to Saturday's 3000. Hasay had run three races, giving Reid a clear advantage as the fresher runner.
It was another epic battle between the two, who were joined by Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen, as the three pulled away from the rest of the field. Hasay led by a stride at the start of the last lap and held off two strong challenges by Reid on the last lap, winning by a mere .15 seconds.
Going into the weekend, Hasay was known as a very good runner, who lacked a strong finishing kick. Coming out of the weekend, she was a two-time NCAA champion who held up amazingly well at the end of her races, winning two out of three finals. Not a bad weekend for a college sophomore now being called a legend!