For the First Time Since 1988, OSU Men to Appear in a Track Event
Feb. 10, 2010
Corvallis, Ore. -
For the first time in nearly 22 years, male student-athletes will compete in an intercollegiate track event representing Oregon State University, when six football players travel to the Husky Indoor Classic at the University of Washington this weekend in Seattle.
“This is an opportunity for several individuals to participate as part of offseason conditioning,” Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis said. “This should not be considered a sign that a men’s track program at OSU is imminent; it merely is an opportunity for several of our current student-athletes to maximize their experiences as a student-athlete.”
Women’s track/cross country coach Kelly Sullivan has been organizing the workouts for the football student-athletes competing this weekend. The entrees include wide receivers Jordan Bishop and Obum Gwacham in the high jump, and James Rodgers, Markus Wheaton, Keynan Parker and Rashaad Reynolds in the 60 meters.
“Coach (Mike) Riley and I have discussed this possibility for a couple of years now, but it really has materialized this winter,” Sullivan said. “It is amazing just how gifted these athletes are and it’s going to be a special moment to see OSU men back in action representing the sport of track.”
Bishop was a premier track athlete at West Salem High School, and as a senior in 2008 was the state’s long jump champion and placed second in the high jump and 400 meters. Gwacham was among California’s best in the high jump, triple jump and long jump in 2009.
“I can’t wait to compete in a meet again,” Bishop, who just completed his redshirt-freshman season, said. “I’m truly excited about the opportunity; it’s been too long away from the sport.”
Rodgers was Texas’ highest scoring athlete at the 2007 state meet, Wheaton was part of the Arizona state 4x100 record relay team at Chandler High School, Parker holds several Canadian records in sprints, and Reynolds was a three-sport athlete at San Fernando High School in Los Angeles.
Saturday will mark the first time a male student-athlete has represented Oregon State University in a men’s track event since Karl Van Calcar (steeplechase) and John Thomas (hammer) earned All-America status at the 1988 NCAA Championships. Oregon State has fielded a women’s cross country and track team since 2004, after both programs were discontinued following the ’88 spring season.
Sullivan expects to have the same group, with possible additions, to compete in future indoor events. The football team returns to the field for spring practice on March 29.
“These guys like the competition, it’s good training and I wholeheartedly support it,” head football coach Mike Riley said. “This will not interfere in any way on how they participate in spring practice; in fact it will help them be in better shape when we start next month.”
On the women’s side, Laura Carlyle and Abby Chesimet will compete in the mile.
If you have interest in supporting the revival of track and field at OSU, please follow this link to learn more about how you can help fund the program.
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