Pac-12 Track and Field Championships
Women: 10 Beavers compete, LaValley, London, Nowlin set personal bests
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
EUGENE — Freshmen Emily LaValley and Lacey London train together and room together.
So one is left to wonder how many times one of the two has said something along the lines of: “Hey, you know what would be cool? If we both set personal records at Pac-12s.”
Because that’s exactly what happened Saturday at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
LaValley and London, as well as sophomore Taylor Nowlin (10:46.47 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase), all set personal bests over the weekend.
LaValley ran the 800-meter race in 2:10.71 (10th place) and London ran the 800-meter race in 2:13.10, which was good for 22nd place.
The key reason all three were able to perform their best on the season’s biggest stage?
They were able to deal with their nerves.
Oh, and the adrenaline that comes with racing in front of 5,000-plus fans helped, too.
“When we pulled up, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at all the people in the stands,’” Nowlin said. “It made me pretty excited.”
“To be honest, I felt really relaxed,” LaValley said. “I had adrenaline, but I was able to keep my body relaxed.”
London said she was “surprisingly calm” when she stepped onto the track.
Head coach Kelly Sullivan was impressed with how the trio handled themselves.
“They handled the pressure of running with the best,” Sullivan said. “That women’s steeplechase, that’s going to be the national finals in a lot of ways. Lacey, she was a freshman in a sorority [at the University of Oregon] last year, and 12 months later she’s running a personal best at a Pac-12 meet. And Emily is a pretty calm personality.”
LaValley finished just shy of qualifying for Sunday’s seven-person final, coming in three spots — the difference of a second and a half — too late.
There’s a possibility that Nowlin’s time in the steeplechase was good enough to land her in next week’s NCAA West Regional in Austin, Texas.
“I felt pretty good,” Nowlin said. “It hurt a lot, but it was so nice to have people to run with. My last two races I’ve been alone for a lot of it, and that definitely makes it hard. And it was fun jumping over the water barriers, since we don’t have that at OSU.”
If Nowlin does qualify for regionals, she’ll join teammates Laura Carlyle (1,500-meter qualifier) and Obum Gwacham (likely to qualify for high jump).
Seven other members of the OSU women’s track team — including Carlyle — competed over the weekend.
Taylor Hunt joined LaValley and London in the 800-meter field. The junior ran a 2:20.82.
Sophomore Erin Jones, who will be leaving OSU at the end of the academic year because she was recruited by a professional triathlon club, competed in the 10,000-meter run, finishing 18th with a time of 37:23.16.
Three Beavers — freshman Kinsey Gomez, sophomore Sandra Martinez and junior Audrey Botti — competed in the 5,000-meter race Sunday afternoon. Gomez finished first among the trio and 23rd overall with a time of 17:41.80. Martinez was the next person to cross the finish line, coming in at 17:55.77. Botti finished in 18:05.80, good for 26th overall.
Sophomore Kristin Oenning competed in the high jump, but did not record a height.
Considering Carlyle is the only senior of the bunch, and considering Oregon State is in the process of putting in a track, the future looks bright for the program.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent, and that’s what’s exciting,” Sullivan said.
Grady Garrett, sports editor