• Curtis Anderson

USAs provide confidence boost for OTC Elite’s Mead, Green

EUGENE, Ore. – For Hassan Mead and Hanna Green, the 2018 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships proved to be an ideal springboard into the European racing circuit.

The four-day meet, which recently concluded at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, provided both Oregon Track Club Elite athletes with a much-needed boost of confidence. Mead, who had to drop out of his past two races, came on strong in the 5,000 meters to earn his fourth consecutive podium finish at the U.S. championships with a third-place performance in 13 minutes, 30.12 seconds. He also represented Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 5,000, and the 2015 and 2017 World Championships in the 10,000.

“Overall, I was pleased with it,” Mead said. “It’s tough to get top three at USAs these days. I tried to put myself in the best position to come home with a strong finish, and I just kept fighting.”

Green was excited just to be at the U.S. championships after a foot injury forced her to withdraw from the 44th annual Pre Classic in May and put the rest of her season in jeopardy. Fortunately, she was able to brush aside those worries with impressive back-to-back PRs in the 800 meters – 2:00.69 in the semis and 2:00.09 in the final. Green placed seventh overall in an outstanding field which saw three U.S. runners break 1:59 for the first time ever in the same race. Five of the eight finalists set personal bests.

“Even though I just barely missed out on breaking 2 (minutes), and was pretty disappointed about that, I think these races set me up really well for the rest of the season,” Green said. “They helped me regain a lot of the fitness I had lost during my injury and helped me regain confidence … it also made the goal of breaking 2 a lot more real to me.”

OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland echoed those sentiments.

“A double PR at any stage is rewarding,” he said. “Hanna is still short of race fitness, so we’ll do a few more workouts before two to three races in Europe to learn about the international circuit.”

Harun Abda was the third OTC Elite athlete to compete at the U.S. meet. He looked strong in the opening round of the 800m, placing second in his heat at 1:48.83, but was unable to advance to the final with a time of 1:48.43 in the semis.

“After being measured and controlled in his heat, (Harun) was a bit too impatient in his semi,” Rowland said.

Mead also competed in the 1,500m at USAs. He placed fifth in his heat at 3:43.65 and didn’t earn a spot in the final.

“For Hassan, our aim this season has always been to enter shorter distances to better hone his racing skills,” Rowland said. “It’s a shame he wasn’t able to make the final, but we’re happy he came away without any problems, and he can now move forward into the European races in July.”