CORVALLIS, Ore. – Prior to the inaugural OSU High Performance Meet hosted at the Whyte Track & Field Center in 2013, it was the stated goal of Head Coach Kelly Sullivan and his staff to create a mainstay on the late April and early May track and field schedule.
It was felt that a significant Division I meet in the Pacific Northwest was needed during a weekend in which many athletes travel to Stanford, Calif. for the Payton Jordan Invite or prestigious relays across the country. And in just two short years, it appears as if the Beavers’ meet has found a permanent home on a number of collegiate slates.
“As a staff and as a program we are absolutely thrilled to put on this meet and have the level interest we have received from those that are attending,” Sullivan said prior to last season’s initial event on April 26. “The quality of the meet surpasses, in this first year, what we could have ever dreamed and we are looking forward to putting on an amazing event. We see this developing into a traditional high-performance type of meet that will draw from all over the Northwest and possibly around the country in the future.”
However young, last Friday’s second-ever High Performance Meet continued the upward trajectory OSU had hoped for when it decided to put on an elite event even before the total completion of its facility. After welcoming over 240 entries and three Division I institutions last year, the 2014 iteration of the meet played host to upwards of 700 entries (500 athletes) from six Division I schools - Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Portland, Portland State and Seattle U.
“It’s twice the size this year as it was last year and that’s without inviting anybody,” Sullivan said on Friday. “For a lot of schools it wasn’t on their schedule even two months ago. Once we get the stadium built it can be as big as it needs to be. I’m not sure if we can handle much more next year, but we will take quality over quantity that’s for sure.”
In the local collegiate ranks, Portland State used the meet to pick up five Big Sky qualifying marks and improve six others. For Portland, Kaylie Van Loo won the javelin (152’) by eight feet, setting the school record in the event. The Pilots’ Nathan DeVaughn also helped in making it a banner day with his performance in the long jump. His leap of 23’ 2.75” won his flight and was the best from a Pilot since 1968.
The day’s best action, however, may have come in the women’s discus, as Oregon senior Laura Bobek won the event with a throw of 177’ 10” and was followed by OSU freshman Melissa Ausman’s 168’. Bobek moved into third all-time at UO while Ausman set the Beavers’ school record. Her mark is fifth in the nation among freshmen, second among U20 collegians and meets the qualifying standard for IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this summer.
That quality didn’t only include elite undergraduates, but also post-collegians and Olympians, including Oregon State’s own assistant coach Geena Lara, who won the 400m in 56.16. Former Washington State All-American Joe Abbott won the men’s 800m in 1:49.22 and Bowerman Athletic Club’s Julia Webb took home the women’s steeple in 10:18.37.
All-in-all, 33 meet records fell on Friday – 18 men and 15 women – as a significant uptick in the size and scope of the event was reflected in a nearly across-the-board improvement in times and marks.
Here’s a look at how Friday’s results stack up to last season’s OSU High Performance bests.