This weekend, the NCAA’s top runners, jumpers and throwers will descend on Eugene, Oregon at the infamous Hayward Field for the 2021 D1 Track and Field Championships. Over a span of four days, June 9 through 12, 1000+ athletes will be competing to bring home the gold. In the mix are a handful of talented Athletics Ontario athletes.
With competition set to begin today, the athletes are aiming to live up to their billing on the heels of highly successful conference championships and regular seasons.
London, Ontario’s Charlotte Prouse, a senior at the University of New Mexico, enters the weekend as the highest seeded Ontario athlete, being the 3-seed in the 3000 metre Steeplechase. In the NCAA West Prelims, Prouse ran a time of 9:44.99, finishing second in the event. She has a personal best of 9:39.78 which isn’t far off the Olympic Standard of 9:30.00.
Another AO standout and University of Toronto Track Club alumna, sophomore Aurora Rynda at the University of Michigan enters this weekend as the 4-seed in the 800 metre. At the NCAA East Prelims, in the quarterfinals, Rynda ran the U23 Canadian record, and a personal best with a time of 2:01.35., sitting just two seconds off the Olympic Standard of 1:59:00.
Joining Prouse and Rynda in Eugene is Natassha McDonald, a 400 metre runner at the University of Alabama. McDonald enters the National championship as the most experienced runner out of Ontario. She ran as a member of the 4×400 relay team at the 2017 World Championships and took home a silver medal in the same event at the 2019 Pan-Am Games in Lima, Peru. McDonald enters the weekend in terrific form. At the NCAA East Prelims, she posted the second-fastest time of her career, a 51.03, to break the facility record at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
Rounding out the women’s side of athletes is University of Southern California runner Kyra Constantine. A teammate of McDonald’s at the 2019 Pan-Am Games, Constantine enters the National Championships as the eight-seed in the 400 metre. At the NCAA West Prelims, she ran a 51.33, but a couple weeks prior, ran a personal best of 51.16 to take home the gold at the Pac-12 championship.
Over on the Men’s side, Ontario is represented by two standout athletes. First up is Abdullahi Hassan, a freshman runner at the University of Wisconsin. He will be representing the Badgers in Eugene as the 11th-seed in the 800 metres. Hassan enters the weekend in top form having just recorded a personal best with a time 1:47.90 at the NCAA West Prelims.
Toronto, Ontario’s Malik Metivier, a senior at Auburn University, is another runner to watch as he enters the weekend as the 11th-seed in the 400m hurdles. At the NCAA East Prelims, Metivier won his heat with a time of 49.86, while recording the third fastest time at the event. He holds a personal best of 49.58 which he recorded earlier this year when he took home the bronze medal at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Given the current climate that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, the Governor’s Office of the State of Oregon has given the green light to Hayward Field. They will be allowing a capacity of 4,400 fans per day, approximately 35% of the total capacity of the stadium.
All attendees will be required to wear a face mask during the events. There will be sections available to fully vaccinated fans, who will need to show medical proof upon entry. Alternatively, socially distanced sections will be set up for unvaccinated attendees.
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