Sports, Leisure & Lifestyle

Karen Richards

The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship is halfway done. The last two days feature nothing but finals. Both the University of Oregon’s men and women finished their first day in the lead.

The Duck men are looking to repeat last year’s title win. They performed well, as they were expected to, on Wednesday. Senior Sam Crouser won the javelin for the second year in a row and has high hopes for the team:

University of Oregon

The NCAA track and field championships take place this week at Hayward Field. For the first time ever, the men's and women's teams will compete on different days.

The coaches and administrators decided early this year to separate the competitions. Shortly after, ESPN announced plans to expand its TV coverage of the event, including airing Friday's men's championship on ESPN and Saturday's women's championship on ESPN 2. Some athletes are less than enthusiastic.

Alan Sylvestre / OPB

More than 13,000 fans were at Hayward Field this weekend for the Prefontaine Classic.

Millions of people around the world will be watching Eugene this weekend. This year’s Prefontaine Classic track and field meet takes place Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.

Friday night’s free program includes the men’s 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. Local favorite Galen Rupp will run the 5K and Olympic champion Mo Farah is entered in the 10K. Prefontaine spokesman Jeff Oliver says the entire meet will be outstanding:

Track Town USA is hosting a big party in Portland Wednesday afternoon. Here are some details about the countdown to the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Vin Lananna is used to working with stakeholders in Eugene and Springfield on big track and field events. Speaking from Portland, the TrackTown USA President says there’s been plenty of enthusiasm for track in the Rose City:

Lananna: “The city the mayor, the commissioners here, in this community, the local people, the businesses, have been just fantastic.”

Karen Richards

Soccer has been growing in the United States for years, and the number of professional teams is exploding. Fans in Eugene and Springfield are beneficiaries of the expansion. The Lane United Football Club begins its second season Friday.

Lane United is a semi-professional team. Most of the athletes are current top-tier college players. This year, there’s also a group of club players from Spain. Spokesman Chris Burke says the mix makes for a quality game:

Jes Burns

Monday the final closing on Civic Stadium and the surrounding property was completed. The nonprofit group Eugene Civic Alliance and more than 120 private donors, raised 4 million dollars to purchase the site from the city.

Eugene, Oregon has been awarded the 2021 World Track and Field Championships after many weeks of quiet negotiations.

Eugene earned a close second in last fall’s bid for the 2019 World Championships. In February, organizers appealed to IAAF president Lamine Diack, and were encouraged to campaign for the 2021 event. Track Town USA President Vin Lananna says he wasn’t feeling confident until this week. He spoke from Beijing after the council meeting:

The University of Oregon Men's Basketball team stays alive in the NCAA tournament. The 8th seeded Ducks defeated 9th seeded Oklahoma State 79-73 Friday night. Dillon Brooks had 17 points for the Ducks. Head Coach Dana Altman got the win in his return to Omaha in the same building where he once coached Creighton. Oregon Guard Joseph Young was asked about playing Wisconsin next, the team that ousted the Ducks in the tournament last year.

U of O Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh has been in the news recently for his controversial acquisition of internal administrative U of O communications.  Tuesday he chimed in on football coach Mark Helfrich's new five-year, $17 million contract.

Harbaugh says the U of O's success in football comes at the expense of the University as a whole:

Harbaugh: "It's probably a mistake for the University to be so invested in big-time sports, particularly college football.  The University as a whole would be better off with a team that won half the games and had half the budget."