Jordan Hasay picks up another big national track award
By Joshua D. Scroggin
FILE PHOTO BY COURTNEY HERGESHEIMER

Jordan Hasay, left, is seen with her mother Teresa, after Hasay won the 1,500 at the U. S. Junior National Championships in June in Columbus, Ohio.

Jordan Hasay might not be tired of postseason accolades, but she’s had it with airports.

The Mission Prep running phenom was delighted after being named DyeStat.com’s 2007-08 girls track and field athlete of the year, a distinction that follows her garnering the same honor from USA Today last month.

But the 18 airplanes she’s been on since June-yes, she’s kept count-have her disenchanted with air travel for the time being.

“I can’t even look at the airport,” Hasay said. “When I drive by, I put my hand up.”

The constant flight might be the only downside to a magical summer, one where Hasay captured the hearts of fans at the U. S. Olympic Trials in addition to several other high points.

There was the gutsy performance at the CIF State Championships, where she edged rival Laurynne Chetelat by 0.18 seconds for her third straight 3,200-meter state title.

Later, Hasay scored a come-from-behind win in the 1,500 at the U. S. Junior Championships for her second straight title there. She was fourth in the 1,500 at the World Junior Championships, where the international competition was fierce.

But the most compelling drama of all came at the trials.

After a year of hoping she’d make the cut, it appeared Hasay was going to be left out of the field altogether - the 31st runner qualified in a field of 30.

But a couple of 11th-hour withdrawals and a couple rounds of competition later, Hasay stood 10th in the country in the 1,500 with a national high school record added to her collection.

Although she was still a ways from advancing to the Olympics, it’s no surprise the high marks continue to roll in after a saga like that.

“It’s just a great honor to receive all these dif ferent awards,” Hasay said. “Since the trials, it just opened up a new stage of media attention as well as supporters. I’m more nationally known now. It’s just a bit of an honor that people are taking notice.”

The banner summer begs the question: What can she possibly do for an encore?

Entering her senior year, it’ll be tough for Hasay to top the past few months, but she has a checklist.

The first order of business upon returning home from Poland, site of the World Junior Championships, was to sit down and enjoy a home-baked pizza and pass out in bed.

Check.

Next, she’s got her sights set on reclaiming the Foot Locker National Cross Country title, which she won as a freshman but could only watch as two first-time winners claimed the titles the past two seasons.

Beyond that, Hasay will have to choose a college, which she said she likely would not do until February’s signing date. She has a handful of leading candidates and has already spoken with representatives, in no particular order, from Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and Harvard.

Next spring, Hasay will try to become the first girl in California history to become a four-time winner in the 3,200 at the state meet.

Never has she publicized such bold aspirations, but Hasay, it seems, has returned from the trials emboldened.

“Now that I’m a senior this year, I can’t say ‘I want to do my best,’ ” Hasay said. “I definitely want to win again and come out on top because it would really make a good end to my senior year.

“I have a lot more confidence now in all of my running… Just kind of running in the Olympic Trials, that’s kind of like a confidence booster in itself.”

And as the countdown to her final day as a San Luis Obispo County prep superstar begins, so it does to her final few appearances on local soil.

There could be as few as two or three more times the Arroyo Grande resident will compete on local soil. Those interested might be wise to catch Hasay - more confident than ever after a summer of spoils - while they can.