• Curtis Anderson

OTC Elite athletes set for UO Twilight

With no Olympics or World Championships on the outdoor track and field calendar this season, many athletes take advantage of the so-called "off-year" by competing in a variety of different events.

Oregon Track Club Elite is no exception.

Five OTC Elite athletes are scheduled to be in action at the Oregon Twilight Meet at Hayward Field on Friday, but none will be entered in their usual race distance.

Francine Niyonsaba, the reigning Olympic and World Championship silver medalist in the 800 meters will drop down to the 400m to make her outdoor season debut. The native of Burundi has never competed in the quarter-mile during her professional career.

"This will be a good chance for Francine to get in some speed work which she would usually not do at this stage of the year," OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland said. "It will be fun to watch because she has never raced over the shorter distance before."

Three other OTC Elite runners will be running "off events" at the UO Twilight.

Tom Farrell and Harun Abda are both entered in the 1,500m with Farrell stepping down from the 5,000 and Abda moving up from the 800m. Similarly, Hanna Green, a 3-time NCAA 800m runner-up, is scheduled to run the women's 1,500m, while Shea Collinsworth will pace the women's 800m.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to race in front of a home crowd," Rowland said. "It will be an intense workout day for us and I don't have any expectations going into the meet."​