Jordan Hasay picks Oregon

Jordan Hasay will soon become one of the newest residents of "Track Town USA."

She's been enamored for months with the city otherwise known as Eugene, Ore., which is home to the University of Oregon and some of the most passionate track and field fans in the nation.

The senior at Mission Prep is one of the country's top prep girls middle-distance runners and she's had the attention of Oregon fans since last summer. On Tuesday, Hasay ended the curiosity and speculation about her college decision.

She walked into one of the school's conference rooms for a news conference wearing a long-sleeved green T-shirt with a large yellow "O," which said everything. The shirt signified her public announcement that she will attend the University of Oregon on a full-ride scholarship to run track and cross country.

"It was just really amazing and when they were recruiting me, they were saying Eugene is a track town, but you can't really understand that until you actually run there," Hasay said. "Just to go out into the stadium, it's just kind of a runner's dream because there are so many people supporting track and field. You never get that many people at meets."

The 1,500-meter and 3,000- meter specialist will be joining a program that has developed 112 women's outdoor track and field all-Americans. In the 1,500 and 3,000 alone, Oregon has 10 and 13 all-Americans, respectively.

Hasay, who is an Olympic hopeful for the 2012 Games, is also eyeing becoming Oregon's 12th women's track and field Olympian.

"That was definitely one of the things I was looking for was someone that isn't just going to focus on collegiate racing," she said, "but somebody that was going to focus on getting me to the (Olympic) Trials in 2012 and running well there.

"I didn't want to just go to a school where I was going to get sucked into this collegiate program where I was just running for points. I think that all the coaches I talked to wouldn't take advantage of that, but in the end I really trust coach (Vin) Lananna because he has done this in the past. I think it's going to work out really well."

Hasay already has her own successful history at Hayward Field, the Ducks' famous track and field stadium.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 21,000 people last summer at the U. S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Hasay endeared herself to Ducks fans, who yelled chants of "Come to Oregon, Come to Oregon" following a record-setting performance.

The crowd erupted after a semifinal heat in the women's 1,500 when Hasay set a national girls high school record, finishing fifth in her qualifying heat in 4 minutes, 14.5 seconds.

Two days later, she went on to finish 10th in the final.

But that wasn't her first time at Hayward Field.

She raced there in 2004 as a seventh-grader competing in her first national championship event, the USATF Junior Olympics. She said she was in awe of Hayward Field then.

"I remember looking at the huge stadium and telling my mom that there is no way I can run in front of all those people," Hasay said.

In the years since, Hasay raced and found success on state, national and international stages.

Hasay is a three-time girls 3,200-meter winner at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, joining Alemany High's Vicki Cook as the only runner to accomplish that feat. Winning this year would place Hasay alone in the record books.

In November, she became just the second four-time winner at the CIF state cross country meet. Then, she became the first runner to win four Foot Locker West Regional titles.

In December, she became the sixth two-time champion at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. Her first national Foot Locker title was as a freshman in 2005.

Hasay's success made her a recruiting prize and she was sought out by a handful of Pac-10 schools.

She took official recruiting visits to Oregon, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State and Washington. But her visit to Oregon in November nearly sealed the deal.

Hasay, who plans to study human physiology and has a 4.53 high school grade-point average, said she knew then she wanted to be a Duck. Because of that, she almost didn't take her final two visits.

"Overall, there are many factors that I can't go into because it would take all day, but the main thing is solid academics and also their athletic program is unparalleled as far as distance running," she said.