EUGENE – Baylee Mires is a charming young women, but the Washington Huskies track star shamelessly admitted to being a little selfish in her final college meet.
Mires, a three-time All-America in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, finally made it to the NCAA Outdoor meet’s awards stand in an individual event Saturday afternoon at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
“Usually I’m up there on that podium with three other girls, because I’ve been up there three times in the DMR,” Mires said. “So it’s nice to kind of have my own space up there. Not trying to be mean!”
Relax, Baylee. All great athletes have to be a bit selfish at times. Mires waited until her third and final Outdoor Championships to earn first-team All-America honors (top eight). She finished last among eight runners in the 800-meter finals, but her time of 2 minutes, 3.92 seconds was just a tick behind the school record she set when taking third at the Pac-12 Conference Championships.
“It’s been a dream of mine to be an All-American in the 800,” Mires said.
Mires gladly missed Washington’s graduation ceremonies Saturday in order to compete.
“This is way better than graduation,” she said. “This is more individualized, and this is something I’ve worked so hard for.”
Mires, an early childhood education major, said she hopes to run professionally before entering the “real world.”
“I definitely feel like I’m at the point where I’m just now tapping into what I could do in the future,” she said.
Mires starred at Spokane’s Mead High School, where her father, John, is the boys track coach. Mires said her long-term goal is to become a college men’s and/or women’s head track coach.
“I’ve had the best examples at Washington,” Mires said.
No doubt those coaches were expecting more out of their women’s team this week. Mires was the only one of Washington’s seven female entrants to medal (top eight) and earn a point.
“We had quite a few kids,” Mires said. “I think a lot of them kind of left disappointed.
“We have quite a young crew, which is awesome . . . I think next year they’ll come back and score way better as a team.”
Mires had to love the attitude of teammate Charlotte Prouse. Most freshmen like Prouse would be rather pleased to finish ninth in the 3,000 steeplechase, but Prouse said “it kind of sucks” to finish one spot out of the money for scoring and first-team All-America status.
Prouse and Washington’s other Saturday participant, Amy-Eloise Neale, settled for second-team All-America honors. Prouse, from London, Ontario, blamed an overly conservative start for her 10:00.92 time. Neale, who attended Glacier Peak High in Snohomish, came in 10th in the 1,500 in 4:16.19.
It’s of little consolation to the Huskies, but they scored the only point at the women’s meet, watched by 12,497 among the state’s four Division I schools.
Washington State’s lone qualifier, junior Liz Harper, no-heighted in the high jump but earned the last second-team All-America spot in the heptathlon by taking 16th with 5,446 points. Eastern Washington did not qualify anyone for the meet, and for the second straight year, the only national qualifier in Gonzaga history – Shelby Mills, a junior out of Snohomish High – failed to crack the top 16.
USC’s Tera Novy, a senior from little Montesano High, came in seventh in the discus with a throw of 189 feet, 4 inches. She holds the USC record of 200-5 and has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, held July 1-10 in Eugene.