DES MOINES, Iowa — Jordan Hasay passed the test Thursday. Both of them.
Hasay, an Oregon junior and Mission Prep alumna, finished third in her heat and fifth overall in the semifinals of the women’s 1,500-meter run. Her time of 4:12.68 was a season best and more than good enough to advance her into Saturday’s final at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Hasay, a 2008 Olympic trials finalist while in high school, was a true student-athlete Thursday, taking a management class final exam at the team hotel. It was a welcome distraction.
“For me, it takes my mind off it because I overthink things way too much,” Hasay said. “Right when I was done I was like, ‘Oh man, now I have a race.’ ”
In that race she moved into the lead of her heat with about 200 meters to go but was passed in the final meters by Oklahoma State’s Natalja Piliusina and Des Moines native Katie Flood of Washington. Oregon teammate Becca Friday finished 0.38 seconds behind Hasay and also moved onto the final.
The exam kept Hasay from stewing about last year’s national championships, also held at Drake Stadium. She’s still angry about taking eighth in the 1,500 and fourth in the 5,000.
In a tearful post-race interview last year, Hasay doubted the decision to run two distance races in the same meet. A schedule change, perhaps a disguised blessing, this year made the decision for her; the finals of each event are Saturday.
“I remember Becca making the final and I was really excited for her but I was a little jealous that I had to run the 5K the next day and she was just hanging out at the hotel,” Hasay said.
Hasay led the 1,500 a year ago — her third distance race in as many days — with about 300 meters left, but faded to eight. She mentally re-ran that race Thursday while stretching out at Drake University’s nearby basketball arena.
“In the warm-up area and I’m like, ‘oh, this Knapp Center, I hate this place,’ ” Hasay said.
Oregon associate head women’s coach, Robert Johnson, called last year’s meet a learning experience that caused the coaching staff to keep her miles down.
“We tried to manage her as best possible; not let her run a lot of races early in the year,” Johnson said Tuesday during a pre-meet press conference. “I don’t necessarily think it was a bad thing that she doubled last year. Looking at the meet, that was the best opportunity to win a (team) championship.”Not only will Hasay be able to concentrate on one race Saturday, she also won’t have to be concerned with defending national champion Sheila Reid of Villanova. Reid, who became the first woman to win the 1,500 and 5,000 in the same season a year ago, is competing only in the 5,000.