Lane track & field alum Kara Hallock has sights on NCAA Championships

05/05/2015 09:49

OSU track and field: Hallock's improvement puts NCAAs within reach

Oregon State junior Kara Hallock, a Lebanon high graduate, is preparing for the Pac-12 meet at UCLA, but she has visions of making the national meet in the heptathlon. Photo: Andy Cripe, Gazette-Times

May 02, 2015 11:27 pm  •  JESSE SOWA Corvallis Gazette-Times

Kara Hallock didn’t start the season with hopes of reaching the NCAA Division I track and field championship meet.

But her performances this spring, building off two strong seasons at Lane Community College, have made it a possibility.

Now a junior at Oregon State, the Lebanon High alum sits in 25th place in the national heptathlon rankings entering this week’s Pac-12 championship meet in Los Angeles. The top 24 in the national rankings at the end of the regular season qualify for nationals, held in Eugene in mid June.

“It would be awesome. That’s a huge goal,” said Hallock, whose personal-best 5,087 points in the heptathlon at the Oregon Relays last month was a personal best by 302 points in the two-day, seven-event competition. “I don’t know … it would mean so much.”

Hallock first heard about the heptathlon four years ago as a high school junior. She was a two-time NWAC runner-up at Lane. She continued her strong showing in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, events in which she won Oregon 5A state titles as a Lebanon senior in 2012.

Hallock has made steady progress this spring,

“To take the fundamentals and foundation they’ve built for her (at Lane) and carry it through here, it’s been really fun to see her progress and build off what she’s done before,” said OSU multi-events coach Collin Cram.

Cram, like Hallock, was coached by Grady O’Connor at Lane. Cram was a two-time NWAC decathlon champion with the Titans.

“He’s a great coach and I think it helps that he knows how I feel,” Hallock said of Cram, in his third year with the program.

OSU head coach Kelly Sullivan said the coach-athlete relationship that’s helped push Hallock to higher scores “has just been really, really impressive.”

In just a short time, Hallock has climbed up the school’s all-time outdoor lists. She’s third in the long jump (19-5¼), fifth in the 100 hurdles (14.29), 10th in the 400 hurdles (1:02.46). Her heptathlon PR is third.

Hallock has reached two of the goals she started the season with — breaking the 19-foot barrier in the long jump and scoring more than 5,000 points. Both came within a week’s time last month.

Still on the to-do list is going under 14 seconds in the 100 hurdles. She’s consistently run under 14.4 and has a season best of 14.29.

Hallock has worked hard to learn the technique of the javelin throw, an event that’s still new to her. She had never competed in any throwing event before entering her first heptathlon in 2011.

Hallock says she competes best when she has good competition, and she’ll find that in the conference meet at UCLA. She has six Pac-12 athletes ahead of her in the season heptathlon standings.

“I want to place and get a PR, which would be awesome,” she said. “But I want to have fun and compete hard.”

Cram expects Hallock to need a sizeable improvement in her points total to get to the top 24 and the national meet. In most years it takes 5,400 or more to get there, he said.

Though, Cram and Hallock agree, there are more points to be had, especially in the hurdles, 200 and 800.

“It’s really cool this year to be knocking on the door without even having a perfect meet yet,” Cram said.