EUGENE, Ore. - It’s 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning, four hours before the start of the NCAA West Preliminary Round competition.
Four men are putting the finishing touches on an already near perfect Hayward Field.
These are the people behind the scenes.
While the track team shines and takes the deserved glory, these men quietly make the athletes shine even brighter.
Joe Motta, Robert McCoy, Ron Perkins are joined by Bill Centrella, who manages Howe field. Extra hands were needed to make Hayward Field perfect for the competition, and Centrella was more than willing to help out.
What will greet the spectators and the athletes is a meticulously manicured deep green grass that surrounds the various events within the track and freshly cleaned red runways for the long jump, triple jump and pole vault. Every line is smooth, the grass is perfectly level and the pavement is clean and dry, even if the weather is damp and wet.
Ron Perkins, now manager of Hayward Field, has worked there for last 27 years. He says he enjoys the job because he used to do track and field at the university. His goal is perfection.
“We try and reach that goal," he says. "We don’t always make it, but we get close.”
Perkins says during events like the NCAA West competition, crews are working day and night to prepare the field.
The duties include leveling out the dirt, weeding, setting up equipment for the athletes and other responsibilities.
Since different events occur on specific days, there is a lot of preparation to be done. After the first day’s events are over, often as late as 9 p.m., groundwork for the next day begins and can run late through the night.