CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Kelly Sullivan's revival of Oregon State's track program took a big leap on Saturday when the school hosted its first meet in 25 years.
It was quite the birthday present for the coach.
Katie Kalugin's first-ever javelin throw for Willamette opened the meet and teammate Jameka Townsend went on to win the event with a throw of 129 feet and 4¼ inches.
Oregon State President Ed Ray was among those in attendance at the meet between the Beavers, Willamette and the University of Portland under sunny skies but chilly temperatures in the 40s.
Sullivan was hired by Oregon State to reinstate the track program eight years ago. The opening of the Whyte Track & Field Center last fall paved the way for Saturday's meet.
"It starts here," Ray said. "It's going to keep getting better."
The meet included the NCAA-required 10 events necessary for it to count on the season. It was scored as a dual meet between Oregon State and Portland for the women, and between Portland and Willamette for the men.
Willamette hosted the hammer event at its facility on Friday and brought its timing system to Corvallis for the meet on Saturday. Volunteers from the Oregon Track Club served as officials.
The last collegiate track event on the Oregon State campus was the Beaver Twilight in May 1988. The last meet was the Oregon Senior TAC Championships in June 1988. The event was a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic trials that year.
One of those who took part was Olympian Lance Deal, now an assistant coach at neighboring Oregon, who won the hammer. Deal competed in four Olympics, winning the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
When Oregon State dropped track in 1988 for financial reasons, it was a sad ending to a program that had its first Olympian in Forrest Smithson, who set a then-world record in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1908 London Games. Probably the most famous Oregon State track alum is Dick Fosbury, inventor of the back-first Fosbury Flop, who won gold in the high jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
When Sullivan came to Oregon State in 2004, he had a half-dozen athletes and one scholarship.
On Saturday, he buzzed around Whyte Center shaking hands and thanking boosters. He personally thanked many of the volunteer officials.
"What a birthday, right?" he said with a smile.
Among the winners was Portland freshman Hannah Souders, first in the women's 100 meters in 13.02 seconds, while Willamette's Dylan Jones won on the men's side in 11.26. Oregon State sophomore Kinsey Gomez won the women's 1,500 meters in a personal-best 4 minutes, 30.45 seconds, while Pilots freshman Izaic Yorks ran 3:49.46 to win among the men.
Oregon State freshman Michele Turney broke the school record in the triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, ¼ inch.
Beavers wide receiver Obum Gwacham, participating unattached, won the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 10¾ inches. Gwacham is redshirting in track this season as he prepares to open spring football practice on April 1.
Oregon State senior high jumper Kristin Oenning said she was thankful to be able to compete on the new track.
"Originally they didn't think they'd be able to hold a meet here this year," she said. "But Kelly said 'Let's go for it.' I'm glad he did."