One weekend ends in four broken school records for OSU Track Team

Oregon+State+redshirt-juniors+Kaylee+Mitchell+%28left%29+and+Grace+Fetherstonhaugh+%28far+right%29+line+up+to+compete+in+the+NCAA+Championships+on+March+11+in+Detroit%2C+Mich.+Fetherstonhaugh+finished+ninth+and+Mitchell+finished+twetlth+in+the+3000+meters+event%2C+and+earned+Second-Team+All-America+honors

Courtesy of Beaver Athletics

Oregon State redshirt-juniors Kaylee Mitchell (left) and Grace Fetherstonhaugh (far right) line up to compete in the NCAA Championships on March 11 in Detroit, Mich. Fetherstonhaugh finished ninth and Mitchell finished twetlth in the 3000 meters event, and earned Second-Team All-America honors

Sam Misa, Sports Contributor

On Feb. 26, at the PAC-12 Invitational in Seattle, Wash., three Oregon State University records were broken by the OSU Track and Field Team.

The three records that were broken include records in the 800-meters, 3000-meters and the 4×400 relay, with some times being qualifying times for the NCAA nationals, which will be held in Eugene, Ore. at the University of Oregon. An additional record was broken for the Distance Medley Relay one day prior.

Senior Mari Friedman’s time in the 800-meter event was clocked at 2:07.56, which helped her beat her previous time for the 800—2:08.43—and set a new school record.

Junior Kaylee Mitchell took first in the 3000-meters event, setting a time of 8:58.39 for a new Oregon State record. Redshirt-junior Grace Fetherstonhaugh followed close behind, finish- ing third overall in the event, posting a time of 9:00.87. Both

Mitchell and Fetherstonhaugh both surpassed the previous record of 9:01.74, which was set by Fetherstonhaugh on Feb. 12.

In the 4×400 meters event, Friedman, sophomore Adael Scatena, redshirt-sophomore Paige Sefried and freshman Jada Hurley posted a time of 3:47.08, surpassing the previous record of 3:49.88, which was set back in 2019.

Head Track and Field Coach Louie Quintana was pleased with the teams performance at the invitational, and saw what his team was capable of ahead of the national tournament.

“We’re now starting to see their talent come to fruition,” Quintana said. “[Such] great character, phenomenal team players, really good energy and chemistry within this team. So that’s kind of why I think we’re starting to see some national level performances within this group.”

Alongside the new records set in late February by the team, the DMR team finished fourth in the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11 in Birmingham, Ala. The team was composed of Fethersonhaugh, Friedman, Mitchell and Scatena.

The time the DMR team posted in Birmingham was just one second short of breaking the school record the group set in Seattle, as they clocked a time of 10:58.76.

Friedman was part of the record-breaking DMR at the PAC-12 Invitational for the 800-meters leg of the relay as well as the athlete who broke the 800-meters record the following day. According to Friedman, she knew she could break the record, having done so during the DMR, but because it was only one leg in a relay, she would have to prove it again during the 800-meter

the next day. The only difference was that she would have to do it on tired legs.
“I got to watch Mari,” said junior Kaylee Mitchell. “She broke her 800-meters record, which was fun. And then our 4×4 broke the school record.”

Mitchell herself was part of the relay team for the DMR as well as the runner who broke

OSU’s 3000-meters record, breaking the record she had previously set in late January. Mitchell is a transfer from Seattle Pacific University.

“When I first transferred here, I was injured.” Mitchell said. “So I redshirted indoor track and then COVID-19 happened… I have four cross seasons, four indoor seasons and four outdoor seasons, and I’ve only used two of each so far.”

According to Quintana, the distance runners including Mitchell actually got better during COVID-19 rather than worse.

“In that period of time, they were just able to run a little bit more, able to recover better, able to take care of themselves a little bit better,” Quintana said. “Because they just had nothing else to do, but kind of trained like a professional runner.”

Other parts of the track team didn’t fare so well according to Quintana—currently in his fifth year as head coach of OSU’s track and field—but they are doing better now with about 18 months of active training and competing.

“It’s not like you can go to the park and throw the javelin,” Quintana said. “You have to have facilities to do that. So those kids’ development got a little bit stunted.”

This month will see seven meets for the women’s track team, with most of the meets taking place in the State of Oregon. The only meet that the Beavers will travel to is outside of the state of Oregon is from April 13-16, when they will travel to Walnut, CA to compete in the Mt. Sac relays. There will be two meets in Eugene at the University of Oregon campus, taking place from April 21-23 and May 6-7, and one meet at home on April 29 and April 30.

“I think our team needs to keep believing in ourselves, each other and what hard work can accomplish,” Fetherstonhaugh said. “Oregon State hasn’t been seen as a strong track and field program until recently, so having the confidence that we belong amongst the best in the NCAA is very important.”