The Oregon track and field team hosted the Oregon Relays over the weekend, featuring two days of events. The meet also welcomed the USATF Grand Prix as part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold, marking its first meet of 2021.
With notable pros such as Oregon’s own Raevyn Rogers coming back to Hayward Field, this was the first professional event hosted in Eugene since the 2018 Prefontaine Classic almost three years ago, and the first in the newly-renovated stadium.
Day one was historic for the Ducks as they opened up the Oregon Relays with five wins.
Kiana Phelps took the first event of the opening day of the relays with a season-best toss of 54.53m to win the women’s discus for Oregon. Jaida Ross finished second for Oregon with a personal best of 48.66m.
Oregon’s Will Mundy claimed the second victory of the day for the Ducks, setting a personal best time of 52.30, to win the 400-meter hurdles.
Phelps and Ross continued to dominate in the field events finishing 1-2 in the shot-put event. Ross moved up to No. 5 all time on the UO top-10 list with a personal best of 15.91m. Her victory secured Oregon’s third win of the day. Phelps was right behind with a 14.73m put.
Finally it was Oregon’s Carmela Cardama Baez and Cole Hocker that capped off the first day with wins in the men and women’s 5000-meter. Cardama Baez finished with a personal best time of 15:36.41.
Hocker and Cooper Teare dominated finishing 1-2 in the last event of day one. Hocker ran an Oregon Relays meet record time of 13:19.98. His record moved him up to No. 4 on the Oregon all-time 5000-meter list passing Alberto Salazar and the legendary Steve Prefontaine.
Teare secured the second spot with a personal best of 13:20.24, moving him to No. 5, right behind his teammate.
The 5000-meter invitational ended the first day of the Oregon Relays. Day two brought in the rest of the running and field events and also welcomed the USATF Grand Prix, where a dozen former Ducks made their return to Hayward Field, this time as pros.
Day two kicked off with another Oregon win, this time, in the men’s high jump. Ben Milligan cleared 2.14 meters for the victory.
Oregon gained another victory in the men’s 100-meter as Maxwell Shannon took the top spot with a time of 10:88.
Three of Oregon’s own competed with the pros.
Junior Kemba Nelson ran her season best with a time of 11.08 to win heat two of the Women’s 100-meter prelims.
"Today was crazy because a few months ago I didn't see myself here," Nelson said. "So the experience was a lot to take in. At first, I was, 'I don't think I can do it.' But then I put all that aside because I had nothing to lose, so I gained a lot to see how this feels going into the Olympic Trials back home. It was a very good experience."
Junior Charlie Hunter competed in the men’s 800-meter for USATF with a chance to qualify for the Australian Olympic team. He finished with a time of 1:47.21, good for third place. He is also the seventh UO man this season to finish under 1:50. During the Grand Prix, Oregon’s Luis Peralta and Matt Wisner finished 1-2 in the men’s 800-meter college invitational with times of 1:49.25 and 1:49.44.
Lastly, junior Emily Sloan competed in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, finishing seventh with a time of 13.22.
Pro and former Duck, Demarcus Simpson put up a season-best in the men’s long jump, landing at 7.71 meters. Sam Prakel, another pro Duck, finished fourth in the men’s 1500-meter race.
Raevyn Rogers also made her return back to Hayward Field for the first time since it was renovated to compete in the women’s 800-meter race. She finished third in Saturday’s event with a time of 2:03.89.
"It was great," Rogers said. "The track is definitely great quality, of course. Even doing some practice runs for our pre-meet, I could just feel how bouncy it was."
Historic moments happened throughout the weekend in Hayward. One was Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s performance in the women’s 400-meter which earned her the world record with a time of 49.08.
The relays ended with the men’s 400-meter run and the women’s shot put to conclude the weekend.
Although the only people in attendance were teams, media, family and friends, the energy was noticeable throughout the weekend, with volleys of cheers coming from the stands. The relays offered a sneak peek of what is to come once Hayward is open to the public in the future.
Hayward Field will host again on Friday, May 7 as part of the Oregon Twilight event.