Brian Fay of Raheny Shamrocks, representing the University of Washington, leads the line-up of American based Irish athletes set to take part in this year’s NCAA Championships at the iconic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The championships are set to get underway late on Wednesday night Irish time with the full programme of events concluding on Saturday.
Fay, who is in fantastic form this season in his first year in Washington, is the top seed in the men’s 5000m final which will take place on Friday evening. In 2022 alone, Fay has set four new personal bests over various distances under the tutelage of UW coach Andy Powell. Arguably his most of impressive of these came in the 5000m at the Bryan Clay invitational back in April, a race in which Fay closed a seemingly unsurmountable gap between himself and Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb in the last 400m to win the race in a time of 13:16.52. Fay and Beadlescomb will toe the line once again this week in a hotly anticipated encounter that features a field stacked with quality that includes Waterford’s Michael Power.
Power, representing Tulsa, is another who has been thriving since his move stateside and has this season already ran a massive personal best of 13:29.57 for 5000m. The Waterford man ended 2021 with a European Cross Country Championships team gold medal after the heroics of the men’s U23 team in Abbotstown last December.
First up of the Irish on Wednesday night on the track will be Cathal Doyle of Clonliffe Harriers, representing University of Portland in the 1500m semi-final. Doyle is another who is in top form this year stateside after setting a personal best of 3:38.05 in California in April. The top 5 from each of the semi-finals will advance alongside two fastest losers. In the hammer throw, Sean Mockler of Moycarkey Coolcroo A.C will wear the colours of Indiana University Bloomington. Mockler qualified for the event by throwing 67.56m two weeks ago. Also on Wednesday, Sean Roth will compete in the pole vault for the University of Louisville.
Fearghal Curtin (Youghal A.C) and Barry Keane (Waterford A.C) will both take to the track for the men’s 10,000m in the early hours of Thursday morning, the pair representing Charleston Southern and Butler universities respectively. Curtin made his 10,000m debut in March, running an impressive 28:25.43 with Keane coming home just 10 seconds ahead on that particular occasion in North Carolina. Keane is no stranger to this event having ran at the 2021 NCAA Championships, finishing in 15th position. His personal best of 28:15.6 which he set in March, is the 12th quickest in the field.
A notable addition to the start-list of the 10,000m is Stanford’s Charles Hicks. Hicks, who has the 2nd quickest time in the field, is the current European U23 cross country champion after he narrowly got the better of Ireland’s Darragh McElhinney in a titanic battle in Abbotstown last year.
The star of Irish athletics so far this year, Rhasidat Adeleke will take to the blocks on Thursday for the women’s 200m semi-final. The top 2 in each of the three semi-finals will go through alongside the 3 fastest losers. Adeleke will wear the Orange of the University of Texas as she looks to continue on her blistering form which has saw her set new Irish records for 60m (7.17), 200m (22.59), 300m (36.87) and 400m (50.70) this season. Adeleke is also set to join the Texas 4x100m and the 4x400m relay quartets on Thursday. Longford sprinter Adeyemi Talabi will also lineout as part of the UT Arlington 4x100m relay team.
Live results of the weeks action from Hayward Field can be found here.