Here's the 350 word piece I sent to the Statesman Journal tonight.
BEST ATHLETE – The UO’s Ashton Eaton, with no one else even close. In a sport where events are usually decided by hundredths of seconds and fractions of inches, Eaton’s dominance sets him apart. In the 110 high hurdles on Friday Eaton ran 13.68. No one else ran under 14 seconds and only two ran under 14.50. And the hurdles aren’t even his best event. That would be long jump, where he won by more than a foot. Eaton can lay claim to being the best collegiate decathlete ever, and now can set his sights on being best in the world.
BEST EFFORT – Any decathlon can start to feel like a death march, as injuries and fatigue mount up. Today felt like that. Jeremy Taiwo of Washington fell hard in the hurdles and went to the hospital. Marshall Ackley, UO senior from Nyssa, felt his hamstring pop as he was vaulting, but decided to finish the last two events, javelin and 1500. He said the hamstring “hurt on every step” of the 1500, and he fell far behind. In appreciation of his effort, the entire crowd stayed on their feet for his last two laps, cheering and clapping him all the way to the finish line.
Ackley later said, “It gives me chills just to think about it.”
BEST MOMENT FOR THE DUCKS – Andrew Wheating ran a perfect race from start to finish in the 800, beating rival Robby Andrews – and everyone else – convincingly. His performance further solidifies his status as Hayward Field’s rock star.
LOOKING AHEAD – Oregon’s Jordan Hasay goes into today’s 1500 as a decided underdog, despite her notoriety as a former prep standout. As the only freshman to make the finals, Hasay’s relative inexperience at the collegiate level, as well as her questionable closing speed, could make it a tough task. But the Ducks desperately need big points from her and teammate Alex Kosinski, and Hasay has responded well to being on the big stage in the past.