There was something altogether refreshing about watching the Women of Oregon State track stick around to the end of the High Performance Meet on Friday to take down flags, put away all the cones and makers, and pick up trash.
The first wave of athletes to compete on Oregon State’s new track is sincerely thankful for what they have. They made a presentation to Jim Whyte and his wife at Friday’s meet in a heartfelt gesture of gratitude.
Kinsey Gomez is one of those athletes. The sophomore gave the meet its highlight by running a PR of 4:26.89 while freshman Emily Weber ran 4:29.46.
Gomez’s time moves her to No. 3 all-time at Oregon State.
“It’s such an incredible feeling racing on your own track,” she said. “It’s been such a journey to get where we are.”
Where the Beavers are is only about half way from where they intend to go. Phase II of the construction project will bring the bleachers and other amenities that are truly needed to host quality meets. Fortunately, administrators’ feet are being held to the fire. In order for Oregon State to host the 2015 Pac-12 Championships, there can be no more foot-dragging.
The words of Gomez, and her teammates, ought to keep the wheels turning.
“I feel like even the aura of the team is different (than last year),” she said. “Everyone is more focused. It’s like we have an eyes-on-the-prize mentality. We have the track and we are looking for that championship that is down the road.”
In the meantime, there are a group of women who have witnessed Laura Carlyle have success at Oregon State and want to emulate her. (Carlyle advanced to the NCAA Championships last year in the 1,500 and set school records at 1,500 and 5,000 meters). Carlyle is still at OSU as a volunteer assistant and attempting to launch a pro track career.
“Laura has been such a pioneer for this program and set the bar so high,” Gomez said. “We all want to be the next Laura Carlyle.”