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All Grown Up: Jordan Hasay Still Not Slowing Down

University of Oregon freshmen will attempt 1,500 and 3,000-meter double at World Junior Championships.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Like the soul hit by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, “She Ain’t a Child No More,” former California prep star Jordan Hasay has grown up.  The outgoing University of Oregon freshman, who as a 16 year-old captured the fond attention of fans and the media when she finished tenth in the 1,500 meters at the 2008 USA Olympic Trials, is now 18.

But the 2007 IAAF World Youth Championships silver medallist at 1,500 meters is still a junior –she does not turn 20 until 2011– and plans to make her final IAAF World Junior Championships next month in Moncton, Canada, a productive one, doubling in the 1,500 and the 3,000 meters.  Last week in Des Moines, Iowa, Hasay won the national junior title at 1,500 meters (her fourth) and placed second in the 3,000, locking in her national team berths in both events.  She told reporters after her 1,500 victory last Saturday that despite racing 17 times so far this year she can still be fresh for next month’s championships.

“That’s been the goal all season,” said Hasay, who has clearly grown several inches taller in the past two years.  “It’s a big year.  It’s my last year as a junior.  We’re trying to peak for July, so we’ll see how that goes.  I mean, I’m tired, but we’ve consciously kind of held back and tried not to overtrain and still save something.”

In her first year as an NCAA athlete, Hasay has been a solid contributor to her Oregon Duck squad which won the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships team title in Fayetteville, Ark., last March, and finished second at the recent NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships on her home track of Hayward Field in Eugene.  At the indoor championships, Hasay took fourth in the mile, scoring 5 points, and anchored the second-place Oregon distance medley relay team, good for 8 points.  In the outdoor championships she finished third in the 1,500m, scoring 6 points.  She’s also set personal best times at the indoor mile (4:35.01), indoor 3,000 (9:12.25), outdoor 3,000 (9:18.92) and 5,000 (16:16.02).

In Des Moines, Hasay was upset by high schooler Emily Sisson in the 3,000, losing by only 19/100ths of a second.  That defeat made her win in the 1,500 all the more important.  It was only her second 1,500 victory this year.

“It’s actually really nice because I haven’t won a race since, I think, my season opener outdoors, the Stanford Invite (March 26),” Hasay explained.  “I mean, I’ve run well –I wouldn’t consider my other races bad– it’s just a different level.  So, it’s nice to win again, and experience that.”

At the last IAAF World Junior Championships in 2008, Hasay finished fourth in the 1,500 (Britain’s Stephanie Twell took the title), and she was a full two seconds from making the medal stand. But at the junior level, two years of additional training and development can be significant, and Hasay feels that she’ll be a medal contender in Moncton.

“I think I have a good shot, especially in the 1,500,” she said.  “I think my speed is really coming along, and that’s what it takes at the international level.  I finished NCAA’s in 63 (seconds) for the (final) 400, so I was really pleased with that.  It’s definitely coming around.  For the 3K, I think it will be a good opportunity for a PR against some of the African runners who like to take it out hard.  It’s going to be exciting.”

Hasay thinks those championships may provide an opportunity for her to break the 23 year-old U.S. junior 1,500-meter record set by Suzy Hamilton in 1987.

“I’d really like a shot at the American junior record — it’s 4:09.1,” she said.  “So, I think I have a real shot at that if it goes fast.  That would be really exciting.”

Adjusting to college life can be difficult for any student, but has special challenges for a young woman who already enjoyed a measure of fame as a young girl.  But Hasay has enjoyed her first year at Oregon, made new friends, and said that her favorite subject was chemistry.

“It’s definitely difficult,” Hasay said of the pressure she’s felt as a young star.  “But I just try to enjoy it.  I love the sport.  I love the people.  I love the atmosphere, so that definitely helps.  I love the quote (by Michael Johnson) that ‘pressure is nothing more than the shadow of a great opportunity,’ so I just try to take my opportunities and just have fun out there.”