PORTLAND – Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project had more on her mind than simply shaking off the rust in her 2016 indoor track debut on Friday.
The two-time Olympian and U.S. record-holder in the 1,500 meters had some work to do.
When she stepped onto the green 200-meter banked oval track before a crowd of 600 enthusiastic fans at the House of Track – a previously vacant warehouse in northwest Portland – Rowbury was seeking a qualifying standard in the 3,000 meters for the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
She was taking advantage of the first of four High Performance meets scheduled on the same track which will eventually be taken apart and reassembled for use at the USATF Indoor Championships (March 11-12) and IAAF World Indoor Championships (March 17-20) at the Oregon Convention Center.
On Friday night, with a little help from her friends – NOP teammate Jordan Hasay and Nozomi Takamatsu, who both served as pacers after doubling back from the mile – Rowbury easily eclipsed the World Indoor standard of 9 minutes with a winning time of 8 minutes, 53.52 seconds.
“I needed to get under 9 minutes and the girls were nice enough to come back after the mile to help me,” Rowbury said. “It was good to get that out of the way.”
Rowbury, a Duke University graduate, who was part of Team USA’s distance medley relay which broke the world record at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas last May, can now target either the 1,500 or 3,000 at the USATF Indoor Championships.
So, what did she think of the track which she circled 15 times?
“I love it,” Rowbury said. “I’m so grateful to have this track here. The lap counter is a bit daunting at the start (twice as many laps as an outdoor 400-meter track) but I love the energy of the crowd indoors and the fan base in Oregon is so incredible. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited for Worlds to be here in Portland.”
Hasay, the former University of Oregon standout, looked solid in her indoor opener in the mile. She briefly traded the lead with Takamatsu before pulling away to win the race at 4:49.88. Takamatsu was second at 4:53.26.
Matthew Centrowitz, who is also a UO alum and fellow Nike Oregon Project athlete, made his debut at the House of Track by grinding out an easy victory in the 3,000 meters at 7:55.25.
“Today was about giving a good, hard effort,” said Centrowitz, who is qualified for Worlds in both the 1,500 and 3,000. “My goal is to qualify for World Indoors and have a good showing there. I’ll run whatever gives me the best chance of medaling.”
The next High Performance meet will be held on Friday, January 22nd at the House of Track. A full schedule can be seen by clicking the links below.