EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon freshman pole vaulter Cole Walsh had a career day, Saturday, leading him to a national junior title at the USATF Junior Track and Field Championships, and was one of two competitors with Oregon ties to qualify for the IAAF World Junior Championships later this month.
Walsh set a big personal best of 8.5 inches with a height of 17-6.5 (5.35m) which he cleared on his first attempt. Walsh, who redshirted the 2014 outdoor season, was able to compete in an Oregon uniform at Hayward Field for the first time, a prideful moment for the young Duck.
“I was given a big opportunity to jump for Oregon and I’m just trying show them that they made the right choice by picking me,” Walsh said. “It felt good because I finally got to produce for them.”
Walsh will compete at the World Junior Championships, July 22-27 at Hayward Field in front of his family, friends and supporters. Those in the stands will be hoping he can repeat his exceptional performance, which adds a welcomed pressure for the Phoenix, Ariz., native.
“I think (competing at home) adds a little bit of pressure but I think that pressure helps me out a lot,” he said. “I’ll look up in the stands and see my parents and I’ll know I’m doing this for them, I’m doing this for Oregon.”
Ariana Washington will also represent the United States at the World Junior Championships before representing Oregon next season. Washington won her semifinal heat early in the day and finished second in the finals with a time of 11.30.
“I’m so excited to represent USA but also here at my home track” said Washington. “It’s kind of like the home country and kind of on the home team; it’s a really good thing.”
Oregon was well-represented in the javelin with signees John Nizich and Jhet Janis taking second and fifth, respectively. Nizich threw 211-7 (64.51m), Saturday, but since he has not reached the World Qualifying, he will not advance to the IAAF World Junior Championships.
After qualifying in the heptathlon last weekend in Sacramento, incoming freshman Ashlee Moore was looking to add some individual events to her schedule in two weeks. Moore finished third in the women’s high jump, clearing 5-8.75 (1.75m), and advanced to the finals of the 100 hurdles in fifth (13.69).
Men’s signee Nate Moore took fourth in the long jump, moving up three places on his final attempt of 24-8.5 (7.53m). Moore finished at the top of his flight after the first three jumps with a best attempt of 24-7, before returning for the finals and finishing strong.
“I had jumps I left out there,” Moore said. “I had jumps that really I should have finished better.”
While the incoming freshman was hoping for more from his performance, his soon-to-be home track surpassed his expectations.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a great track, a great runway. I’ve never heard a clap that loud in my life. It was great.”
Raevyn Rogers won her heat of the women’s 800 in 2:07.67 to advance to Sunday’s final.
Also competing in national championship competition, Christian Brennan qualified for the World Junior Championships by finishing second at the Canadian Junior Championships today in a time of 53.47.
Competition at the USATF Junior Championships will resume, Sunday at 2:15 p.m. Signees Ashlee Moore, Nate Moore, Raevyn Rogers and Ariana Washington will be in action while current Ducks Chris Mulverhill, Cullen Prena and Maggie Schmaedick will also compete.