Linfield runner competes against olympic medalist at Oregon meet

Kaelia Neal, Staff Writer

Linfield thunderbolt Jake Mihelich, a sophomore from Surprise, Ariz., tore up the track at the Oregon Twilight meet Friday.

Mihelich competed in the 200 and 400-meter dashes in Eugene, where he ran against some of the top runners in the country.

He earned second place in his heat of the 200 in a time of 21.66 seconds. First place was 21.43 and third place was 21.69.

Mihelich ran to an impressive third place finish overall in the 400 (48.01 seconds) behind American sprinter Bryshon Nellum (46.26 seconds) and Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton (46.27 seconds).

“The conditions and wind led to a slower time than I expected,” Mihelich said. “I’m happy with the placement; I just wish I had better times.”

His goals this season were to break 48 seconds in the 400 and 22 seconds in the 200, which he accomplished in his first outdoor meet. “I started off better than I expected,” Mihelich said.

Mihelich’s personal record 400 time of 47.24 seconds is the second fastest in the nation among all Division III runners. Darren Centi, a senior from the University of Redlands, has the top time of 47.16 seconds.

Mihelich’s personal record time (21.54 seconds) in the 200 seeds him as fifteenth in the nation among Division III runners.

The top 20 men and top 22 women in each event in Division III are invited to the NCAA Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 21-23 at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

Mihelich continues to train for the meet, hoping for an invitation in both the 200 and 400.

“I’m starting to taper and cut the hard workouts out,” he said. “I’m making sure my body is rested.”

At nationals, Mihelich hopes to break 47 seconds to win the 400 and have at least a top-five finish in the 200.