EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon State’s Melissa Ausman concluded her record-setting freshman campaign in the discus at the 2014 USATF Junior Outdoor Championships in Eugene on Sunday afternoon and was joined by incoming OSU freshman McKenzie Byrd, who wrapped up her standout prep career in the javelin at the prestigious meet.
Ausman, who set OSU’s school record in the discus in early May, finished 12th in her signature event at Hayward Field with a throw of 139’ 8” on her second attempt. Byrd, a two-time Oregon 5A javelin champion, came in 14th on Sunday, also tallying a best on her second attempt (130’ 8”).
The pair earned entries into the meet as two of the best US athletes under the age of 20 and were attempting to secure top-two finishes, which would have qualified them for the American team that will compete in the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field from July 22-27.
Ausman’s discus performance wrapped up one of the better debuts for an Oregon State freshman. She qualified for the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships thanks to a school-record discus mark of 168’ from the OSU High Performance Meet on May 2, which was nearly 13 feet better than Beth Nygren’s 155’ 2” set in Corvallis on May 7, 1988 – the previous Oregon State record. That throw was 42nd in the west in 2014, eighth in the nation among freshmen and sixth among U20 collegians.
It also earned Ausman a berth at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. in late May, where she became Oregon State’s first female thrower at an NCAA meet since 1987. Ausman finished fifth among the 16 in her flight and 30th in the competition overall with a mark of 158’ 6”.
McKenzie Byrd, from Hermiston HS in Eastern Oregon, signed with the Beavers in early February. She owns a javelin PR of 143’ and won back-to-back 5A javelin titles in 2013 and 2014. At this year’s state championships, she also came in second in the high jump and fifth in the shot put after finishing second in both in 2013. Byrd will be one of OSU’s first heptathletes since the re-establishment of the program and sports personal bests of 41’ 10.75” in the shot put, 119’ 6” in the discus and 5’ 5” in the high jump.
The Beavers’ involvement in the upcoming IAAF World Junior Championships doesn’t end, however, as a trio of countries will be in Corvallis for a week of training in advance of the meet. Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will use OSU’s Whyte Track and Field Center to prepare in the days leading up to the World Junior Championships, which are being held in the United States for the first time.