Track season may be over collegiately, but that doesn’t mean college students (including some Ducks) are done with it yet.
This past weekend the USATF U20 championships were held at Hayward Field in Eugene, and some web-footed performers did not disappoint.
Oregon freshman Benjamin Balazs collected a national title in the steeplechase, and senior Cole Hocker posted a top three finish in the regular championships to qualify for the World Championships.
Balazs posted a time of 8:49.64, and though he was trailing with 300 meters left, his strong finish allowed him to not only collect the title but smash his previous record of 9:07.56 from June.
Hocker, who gathered three national titles in 2021, finished with a time of 3:35.46 to secure his spot on Team USA in Budapest in August. Hocker finished sixth at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
On the women’s side, Aaliyah McCormick collected the 100 meter hurdles title in the U20 division, and Jaida Ross placed sixth in the shot put. McCormick finished with a time of 12.46 for the U20 first place finish. Ross produced her best toss at 17.82 meters to vault herself from 11th to sixth in the overall standings.
Sunday saw some post-4th of July fireworks as well, with Oregon freshman Rheinhardt Harrison finishing with the win in the U20 1500 meters and Raevyn Rogers finishing as the runner-up in the regular 800 meters, earning her spot on Team USA in the process.
Like Balazs, the final 300 meters was what made the difference for Harrison as he separated himself during that final stretch for a time of 3:48.30.
Rogers will be appearing in her third World Championships, taking home a silver medal in 2019. She posted a time of 1:59.83 to punch her ticket to Budapest.