Inside Track

Akron's Shawn Barber: Scaling new heights

These are heady times for junior Shawn Barber, Akron’s NCAA Indoor champion in the pole vault.

Over the past six weeks, Barber established a Canadian indoor record (he’s a dual citizen), flew to California for the Mt. SAC Relays, returned to Akron briefly before catching a flight to New York City for the Sullivan Award ceremonies and then headed to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, where one of his competitors was Renaud Lavillenie of France, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder in the pole vault.


“It is a very exciting time,’’ …


Big aspirations for Texas A&M's Little

STANFORD, Calif. – When asked what she planned for an encore in 2015, Shamier Little thought for a moment and said, “I just keep going out there and running my butt off.”

In the spirit of keeping things simple, well done, Shamier.

For someone who accomplished so much in so short a time, Little seems remarkably unaffected by her success. Now a Texas A&M sophomore, Little in 2014 had a freshman season for the ages. Over a span of six weeks she won an NCAA championship in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in a …


Alysia Montano: Olympian inspired by motherhood

When she is old enough to understand such things, Linnea Montano will probably listen to what her mother did a month or so before she was born and then fix the image in her mind. She might blink a few times while looking at her mom and say, “You did what?’’

On June 26, 2014, while eight months pregnant with Linnea, Alysia Montano lined up for the first round of the women’s 800 meters at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. One veteran sportswriter in attendance said it was the most shocking sight he had seen in nearly 40 …


TrackTown USA awarded 2021 IAAF World Championships

BEIJING – The IAAF’s crown jewel of track and field, the World Championships, will be held in the United States for the first time in 2021.

In a special vote at its meetings in Beijing, the 27-member IAAF Council awarded the 2021 World Championships to the United States and the state of Oregon. USA Track & Field, the national governing body for the sport in this country, the City of Eugene and local organizing committee TrackTown USA will host the meet at the University of Oregon’s historic Hayward Field.

It marks the first time in the 33-year …


Finding his sweet spot

STANFORD, Calif. – While it’s true that Michael Lihrman likes to throw his weight around, and at 260 pounds he’s well equipped to do so, he’s actually a big Boy Scout in disguise.

After a recent competition at the Stanford Invitational, the Wisconsin hammer thrower sought out every official, shook hands and thanked them for their service and then spent a good half-hour helping a competitor from UC Santa Barbara with his technique.

“When we were competing, he was asking for a little help,’’ Lihrman said. “He didn’t understand what it’s supposed to feel …


Alexi Pappas: Trust your race plan

The two most common feelings I feel before a race are enthusiasm and nerves. My enthusiasm stems from the hope that the race will go as planned. My nerves stem from the anxiety that it might not. The only thing I know for sure before a race is when the starting gun will go off.

In a lucky world, the race will go exactly as planned. I will be able to carry out the exact race plan I meticulously crafted with my coach or in my head. The sun or shade will be agreeable too, and shine or not shine …


Ducks ready for Pepsi Team Invitational

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon track and field head coach Robert Johnson, along with UO athletes Nikolaus Franzmair and Jasmine Todd, said the entire team is ready for action at their 2015 Hayward Field debut on Saturday.

The Ducks will play host to Kentucky and Washington in a scored three-way meet at the Pepsi Team Invitational.

“There will definitely be some good head-to-head events,” Johnson said. “Both Kentucky and Washington are highly ranked.”

One of the best events will be a match-up between UO senior Sam Crouser, the reigning NCAA …


Sun Devils eye repeat of NCAA titles

TEMPE, Ariz. – As defending NCAA champions and seniors at Arizona State, Shelby Houlihan and Bryan McBride want nothing more than to end their college careers at Hayward Field standing on the top step of the podium, arms raised in triumph.

“That’s pretty much my main goal right now,’’ said McBride, who cleared 7-feet, 5 ¾ inches to win the NCAA high jump title as an ASU junior in 2014. “There’s no better feeling than to leave your last college meet on top. There’s a lot of good jumpers. It’s not going to be easy. …


Duck track fans flock to Fan Fest

EUGENE, Ore. – The spring break trip to the Pacific Northwest was already planned for Justin Gipson and his family when a TrackTown USA “tweet” caught his attention.

Gipson, who hails from Kaysville, Utah, a town of about 28,000 people, just 22 miles north of Salt Lake City, was intrigued by a story on the Community Mile, which was part of the Oregon track and field program’s inaugural “Fan Fest” celebration at historic Hayward Field last Saturday.

As a runner, he was used to going the extra mile, so why not go a few hundred extra miles to fulfill a …