Prep star Matthew Maton delights the Oregon Twilight crowd with a sub-four mile – OregonLive.com
Jenkins took control of the race on the back straight and held off Geoghegan to win in 3 minutes, 57.09 seconds.
Geoghegan, pushing hard to the finish, was second in 3:57.53.
But the attention of most of the 5,717 fans was riveted on Maton, a senior at Summit High School, who was trying to make history and closing hard.
“I put it all into the last lap,” said Maton, who finished and looked – along with most of the crowd – to the video board on the south end of the track.
Maton’s time went up as 3:59.38, and the crowd erupted. Maton covered his face with his hands and fell on the track.
“I was really nervous it was going pop up, and it was going to be 4:00,” he said. “I mean, that’s fast, but you don’t get anything for it.”
This was faster. The only U.S. high school athletes who have run faster are national prep record-holder Alan Webb (3:53.43) and Jim Ryun (3:55.3).
The action in this meet was fast and furious once the one-hour window for the Pac-12 Networks telecast began.
— Matthew Centrowitz fought off one of Andrew Wheating’s patented, out-of-the-back kicks to win a tactical 800 meters in 1:48.46. Wheating crossed in 1:48.70.
— Decathlon world record-holder Ashton Eaton got nosed out at the finish line in the 100 meters by Portland-based pro Joe Morris, and in the 400 by Olympic silver medalist Bryshon Nellum.
The 400 was so close it took a photo to determine the winner.
— Oregon Track Club Elite’s Mac Fleet had just enough oomph on the home straight to win a wild 1,000, with teammate Jordan McNamara attempting to squeeze past him on the rail and Oregon’s Johnny Gregorek kicking like crazy on the outside.
— Oregon’s Edward Cheserek conserved his energy and extended himself only enough to stay in front of Eugene-based, Nike pro Trevor Dunbar and win the 3,000 in 7:57.97.
— UO senior Johnathan Cabral won the 110 hurdles in a swift, wind-legal 13.75 seconds. But UO fans won’t like the way Cabral grabbed his right hamstring as he finished. The Pac-12 Championships are next weekend at UCLA.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Cabral said. “I’m just going to go get treatment and continue working on it.”
— World championships heptathlon silver medalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton took only two attempts in the long jump and was experimenting with a new approach. She won anyway, leaping a lifetime best 21 feet, 8 ¼.
But the best was last, a men’s mile that lived up to the hype.
Jenkins, who has been distance training, dropped down to run it, and was fighting the wind on the last lap’s back straight.
“It’s easy to say the splits,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to go run them..”
Especially when you’re being stalked by Geoghegan, who set himself for an attempt to win coming off the Bowerman Curve.
“Will has a real habit of being right on my ass on that last straightaway,” Jenkins said. “I knew he was there. He’s strong. He’s incredible. “
Jenkins glanced at the replay screen as he headed to the finish line, and sure enough, there was Geoghegan.
“I thought I had a shot,” Geoghegan said. “I think we were both saving a little something for the last straight. He had a little more than me.”
And then, there was Maton, who felt he was all but out of contention for the four-minute barrier when he heard his split at the start of the bell lap.
That is when he threw caution to the wind and dug into his soul for the final 400. He began making up ground.
“With 150 to go I saw I was closing on Eric and Geoghegan,” he said. “I knew if I could get somewhat close to them, I’d do it.”
The 800 had an entertaining finish between ex-Oregon stars Centrowitz and Wheating, both Olympians.
Centrowitz was third at the bell, and shifted into gear going into the wind with about 250 left. He seemingly had control on the home straight.
“I glanced at the board once with about 40-50 meters to go,” Centrowitz said. “I was still a little ways from the finish, but I felt I had a comfortable win.”
Wheating’s kick is legendary, and the crowd in the west grandstand came alive as he made a late bid.
“I probably would have had him if there was another five or six more meters,” Wheating said.
The finish in the 1,000 was just as fun. Fleet had the lead coming off the Bowerman Curve and onto the straight. But McNamara saw an opening inside and went for it. Gregorek was challenging on the outside.
Fleet cut off McNamara to win in 2:21.25. Gregorek couldn’t quite overhaul Fleet, and took second in 2:21.32. McNamara third in 2:21.40.
“That final straight was fun,” Fleet said. “Jordan should know better, coming on the inside. I definitely closed down on him. That’s fun. That’s racing. The rail belongs to the guy in the lead.”
Eaton didn’t win either of his races, although he made a game bid in both. Morris took the 100 in a wind-aided 10.11. Eaton crossed in 10.20.
The 400 was closer. Nellum’s winning time was 46.26, and Eaton’s 46.27.
“Ashton Eaton is one heck of an athlete,” Nellum said. “For him to run the quarter that well and still have nine other events is amazing.”
Here are complete results from the Oregon Twilight.
— Ken Goe
503-221-8040 | @KenGoe