Jordan Hasay is going into the NCAA Championships with an eye on making history.
That would be the team variety — though the Oregon sophomore and former Mission Prep superstar has the opportunity to cash in on a pretty significant distinction herself.
Entered in the women’s 1,500- and 5,000-meter races at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Hasay could become the first to win both legs of a grueling double.
“I could understand why no one has,” said Hasay, who will compete in the 1,500 semis today at 6 p.m. and the 5K final on Friday, with the 1,500 final scheduled for Saturday. “I’m not even going into the meet expecting to win one or win both. It would be an honor if I could just at least win one of the two, just to do well for the team. I’m just going to be thinking about those points.
“Running the 1,500 final after the 5K will be a bit of a challenge. I could have nothing left, and I could get lucky and be feeling good.”
Hasay is more focused on helping the Ducks win their first outdoor team title since 1985.
She took first in both the mile and the 3,000 on the same day to help the Oregon women take their second straight national indoor title in March. And Oregon coach Vin Lananna required her to compete in both the 1,500 and 5K races at the Pac-10 Championships in order for her to run both at the NCAA West Regional.
A longtime legend at the youth, prep and junior levels, Hasay burst onto the senior scene when she finished 10th in the 1,500 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
With the Ducks among the top three hopefuls for the women’s team title, Hasay said it was her idea to keep both events on her schedule, even though she expects to concentrate more on the 5K as her career progresses.
“This year we definitely have been focusing on more mileage and more longer stuff to try to move up to the 5K,” Hasay said. “The original plan was just to run the 5K at the outdoor championships, but it kind of changed.
“When I ran the 5K earlier this year at Mt. SAC, I got a 39-second P.R. That was a big jump for me, and I still think there’s a lot of improvement there.
“It’s going to be my better event in the future, so, I have to learn to embrace it.”
Hasay is still the fastest 1,500-meter collegiate runner in the nation.
Her 4-minute, 10.28-second season-best time is more than a second faster than her closest competitor and ranks 10th all-time.
Hasay has the second-fastest time in the 5,000, but goes into the meet with best mark after national leader Jessica Pixler bowed out of the regionals with an injury.
Hasay has embraced her success this season.
After a prep career where she was largely victorious in dominating fashion, Hasay won the Pac-10 cross country title as a freshman but little else as she adjusted to the jump in competition level.
“Freshman year wasn’t like I had a bad year,” Hasay said, “but it was just kind of a little bit of a higher level, and it took some transitioning. It was just hard getting used to the training and the conditioning.
“This year, I have a little bit more confidence in the coach and the training and my ability to compete on this level. It’s kind of nice to see the results paying off, especially when I was used to winning so much in high school.”