TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University track & field teams head to Eugene, Oregon and historic Hayward Field on Friday afternoon to compete at the Oregon Twilight Meet. The six Lutes competing will face a strong field, including college competitors from all three divisions, national champions, and professional athletes with part of the meet televised on the Pac-12 Network from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
The meet takes place on the University of Oregon's home facility: the same track that Olympians competed on during the Olympic trials this past summer. With such a competitive field, only six student-athletes from PLU will be making the trip south to compete.
Machaela Graddy will be competing in the javelin and is looking forward to returning to Hayward Field, this time as a competitor.
"I'm excited to compete at the University of Oregon. I worked the Olympic trials there over the summer and there is so much history on the track."
Graddy is currently ranked 14th nationally in the javelin after placing runner-up at the Northwest Conference Championships with a personal best throw of 135 feet, four inches. The junior is hoping to improve her mark before the end of the season.
"Compared to last year, I'm in a much better position. I still have a lot of work to do because nothing is guaranteed but I'm ready to compete the last few weeks and I want to make it to Nationals with my teammates."
Hatton will be the only Lute competing in multiple events at the meet as he prepares for both the hammer throw and show put. The senior ranks 31st nationally in the shot put after throwing 51' 2 ¾" at the NWC Championships, securing titles in both the shot and hammer throw.
"I competed at the Oregon Twilight meet last season in the hammer and a goal of mine this season was to compete there in both the hammer and shot put this year."
With this meet being televised, there is an added level of competition and an elevated experience.
"There are a bunch of cameras at the meet and a much wider variety of skill levels at the meet. At the meet are athletes that I have competed against all season and professional athletes."
In addition to Graddy and Hatton, Kyle Rapacz will run the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Brad Hodkinson in the 1,500-meters, Michael Hatlen will throw the javelin, and Garrett Hittner will run the 200-meter dash. The Lutes will additionally be sending select athletes to Seattle on Saturday for the Ken Shannon Invitational, hosted by the University of Washington.