XO Invite brings hordes to Hayward.
Ross Krempley knows there will be a few thousand track enthusiasts looking for something to do today and he thinks an 11-hour prep track meet might fill their time.
Thirty-two teams and more than 1,000 competitors are expected for the fourth-annual XO Invite from 11 a.m until about 10 p.m. at Hayward Field.
"I think with the Eugene Marathon on Sunday and with there being 4,000 people in town bored on Saturday, what could be better to do than experience Hayward Field if they have not been there before?" said Krempley, the president of the Team XO running club that hosts the meet. "We really want to make sure they know this is going on."
The day begins with the boys discus, javelin and 3,000 meters at 11 a.m. and culminates with the girls 1,600-meter relay at 9:40 p.m. The high-performance portion of the meet begins at 4 p.m. when the opening ceremonies are held.
"We totally revamped the schedule this year, and 4 o'clock is when the action really starts," Krempley said. "We just really wanted to have a compact, exciting time, so that is when we will hand out the thundersticks, we will have a live band and it will get crazy at that time. If you are coming for the first time, you want to be there at 4."
Team XO, a group of post-collegiate track and field athletes with Oregon connections, has tried to make the meet unique with the bands and booths set up for track organizations to go along with an entire day of track and field.
"We want it to be a carnival, like going to the fair, except it is for track nerds," Krempley said.
The headliner on the track is Lincoln's Bianca Mathabane, a senior who ranks among the best hurdlers in the nation. Mathabane, who has swept the girls 100 and 300 hurdles at state in each of the past two seasons, shattered the state record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.57 seconds last year.
She is the face on the promotional posters for the meet and she is expected to compete in both hurdle races as well as two relays. Her brother, Nathan, will run the 1,500.
Crater is expected to bring a strong distance crew including Jake Keyser, who placed fourth in the 3,000 at state, to push the pace in that event. Krempley has scheduled a band to play during that race to try to help the runners.
"They will play acoustically, no singing, during that race to get the energy up, so they can roll through the 3,000," he said.
The boys 3,000 is scheduled to start at 6:40 p.m. and the band will continue playing through the girls 3,000, which follows the boys race. Sheldon senior Casey Masterson, who signed a letter of intent with Oregon State earlier this week, will run the 3,000 along with Lincoln's Marsha Lampi, who placed fifth at state in the 3,000 and sixth in the 1,500 last year.
Schools are allowed a total of 40 entries during the day as they compete for the team title. At least 32 full teams, including South Eugene, Springfield, Siuslaw and Elmira, are expected and another dozen may send individuals.