U.S. Olympians excited to return to Hayward Field for TrackTown Summer Series

Former University of Oregon alum Matthew Centrowitz celebrates his victory in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field on July 10. Also earning a spot on Team USA were Robby Andrews (middle) followed by Oregon Track Club Elite's Ben Blankenship (left). All three will be appearing in the TrackTown Summer Series on July 29.

EUGENE, Ore. – Seventeen American athletes who punched their ticket to the Rio Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials plan to return to Hayward Field next week to compete in the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series.

The TrackTown Summer Series, presented by Beynon Sports Surfaces, is designed to provide top American track and field athletes with a unique opportunity to compete on U.S. soil during the summer months.

The meet will be held at Hayward Field on Friday, July 29 at 7 p.m. It will be televised live on ESPN.

The scored competition features four teams of 36 athletes each, split evenly between men and women, representing the cities of Portland, New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Competitors will battle for prize money and additional benefits in excess of a half-million dollars.

“We’re excited that Hayward Field will be the stage for many of these athletes before they embark on their Olympic journey to Rio,” said TrackTown USA CEO Michael Reilly. “We believe the team-scoring aspect will provide a tremendous opportunity for both fans and athletes to engage in a great competition.”

Several Olympic athletes scheduled to compete in the TrackTown Summer Series were chosen in an historic eight-round draft on June 25. The four teams are in the process of finalizing rosters this week with the addition of 20 athletes per squad.

One of the U.S. athletes who will compete in both the TrackTown Summer Series and Rio Olympics is University of Oregon alum Matthew Centrowitz, a 2012 Olympian and reigning World Indoor champion in the 1,500 meters. Centrowitz won the 1,500m at the Trials with a meet record of 3 minutes, 34.09 seconds. He plans to run the 800m at the TrackTown Summer Series against a stacked field.

“First of all, I’m thrilled, obviously to make the Olympic team,” said Centrowitz, who competes for Portland-based Nike Oregon Project. “As a former Duck, I noticed a huge boost in special ovations at the Trials, and I’m expecting that same support when I return to Hayward for the TrackTown Summer Series.”

Centrowitz and Brittney Reese, the reigning 2012 Olympic gold medalist and six-time World Champion in the long jump, were the top overall picks of the athlete draft by Team New York City.

“That was really cool,” Centrowitz said. “I got a text from a friend even before I noticed it on Twitter. To be the first pick in the first draft ever, and to go to a team representing one of my favorite cities, it couldn’t have gone down any better.”

2016 Olympians entered in the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series are: 

  • PHILADELPHIA – Phyllis Francis (400m), Brenda Martinez (800m), Ben Blankenship (1,500m), Michelle Lee Ahye (100m, Trinidad & Tobago.)
  • PORTLAND – Kate Grace (1,500m), Ricky Robertson (high jump), Will Claye (triple jump).
  • SAN FRANCISCO – Erik Kynard (high jump), Shannon Rowbury (1,500m), Robby Andrews (1,500m), Melissa Bishop (800m, Canada).
  • NEW YORK CITY – Matthew Centrowitz (800m), Brittney Reese (long jump), Donn Cabral (3,000m steeplechase), Emma Coburn (1,500m), Jeff Porter (110m hurdles), Felisha Johnson (shot put.)

For more information, go to TrackTownSummerSeries.com