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Athletes descend on Hayward Field.

Byline: Paula Lincoln The Register-Guard

Athletes from as far away as Canada, New Mexico, Montana and Guam are expected to join local track club members at the 26th Annual Track City International Classic at Hayward Field this weekend.

More than 1,000 athletes ranging in age from 7 to 18 will be competing in seven age divisions during the three-day meet, which opens with the 200-meter hurdles at 3 p.m. today and concludes with the 4x400-meter relay scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Sunday.

Meet registrar Erin Regali said the number of participants has grown from last year, partly because Hayward Field will be the site of the 2004 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.

"A lot (of athletes) are coming just because they want to compete on the track due to the fact that nationals are here next year," said Regali of the July 27-Aug. 1, 2004 meet, which is expected to draw 5,000 athletes.

This year's classic is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and at 9 a.m. Sunday. Saturday's first event is the 3,000, and the meet's premier event - the Race of Champions - is scheduled for noon on Sunday and includes all of the 100-meter winners for each age division in a staggered start with boys and girls in separate races.

A pair of local track clubs - the host Track City Track Club and the offshoot Emerald Valley Track Club - will each have around 20 athletes competing at the meet. They include recent Churchill High School graduates Caleb and Sol Rexius, South Eugene's Erin Gray and Springfield's Audrey Squires and Caleb Durbin.

Squires was one of seven Track City athletes to place in the top five at the Regional Junior Olympics, held July 12-13 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth. She won the 1,500 and took fourth in the 800 and is scheduled to compete in both events at the Classic.

Sol Rexius is scheduled for the 110 high hurdles semifinals on Saturday and twin brother Caleb will run the 100 on Friday. Sol Rexius ran a 14.56 to finish second in the 110 hurdles last year, and Caleb ran 11.23 to place third in the 100 a year ago.

This weekend's classic will be the second since Track City Track Club's board of directors split down the middle over friction concerning the club's priorities. In April of 2002, 11 board members left to form Emerald Valley Track Club, which initially took over training the athletes while the remaining board members focused on staging last year's meet. Now, both clubs are up and running as fully functioning youth track clubs.
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Title Annotation:The annual Track City International Classic begins today; Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 18, 2003
Words:442
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