A number of local track and field athletes will be competing in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships beginning today at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and running through Sunday.
The local field is highlighted by Atascadero’s Chelsea Johnson, former Cal Poly starts Maggie Vessey, Sharon Day, Stephanie Brown Trafton and Ben Bruce, and former Mission Prep and current University of Oregon runner Jordan Hasay.
Johnson, who tied for second at last year’s world championships in the women’s pole vault, will be competing Sunday. Brown Trafton, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s discus, also will be competing Sunday, while Day, will be competing in the heptathlon Saturday and Sunday.
Day has chosen not to compete in the women’s high jump.
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Brown Trafton is the defending champ in the women’s discus. Last year’s win was her first U.S. national title.
Vessey, like Johnson, will be seeking her first national title. She’ll be in the women’s 800 first round Thursday with the semifinals Friday and the final Sunday.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Bruce will be competing in Friday’s first round with the men’s final scheduled for Sunday. In the women’s steeplechase, San Luis Obispo’s Kara June will be in the first round Thursday with that final also scheduled for Sunday.
One of the busiest athletes in the meet will be Hasay.
On Thursday, Hasay will be going for her second national title in the 3,000 meters in the juniors meet, which is open for all athletes 19 and under. She also won that race in 2006.
The meet record in the junior 3,000 is 9:19.52 set by Molly Huddle in 2003.
Later Thursday, Hasay is scheduled to compete in the first round of the senior 1,500. On Friday, Hasay is scheduled to compete in the first round of the junior 1,500, where she is the three-time defending champ.
The women’s senior 1,500 final is scheduled for 10:26 a.m. PDT Saturday, with the junior’s women’s 1,500 final scheduled for 3:25.
Hasay holds the junior meet record of 4 minutes, 16.98 seconds set in 2007. She and Suzy Favor (1984-86) are the only three-time junior USA 1,500 champs.
If Hasay finishes in the top two in either junior race, she will automatically qualify for the Junior World Championships in Moncton, Canada, later this summer.
Former San Luis Obispo High star Brian Medigovich will be competing in the men’s 10,000-meter final Thursday, and former Cal Poly star Aris Borjas will be in the men’s javelin finals Sunday.