EUGENE — Kara Hallock needed to regroup after a disappointing day on June 9.
She gave herself a few minutes that evening to “sulk and be mad” about not performing how she expected on the first day of the heptathlon at the NCAA Division I outdoor track and field championships at Hayward Field.
But her focus quickly turned to June 10, knowing that she couldn’t change how the day before turned out.
That renewed effort produced solid results in all three events on day two, and the Oregon State senior and Lebanon High grad stepped away from her collegiate athletic career with a 10th-place finish and second team All-American honors.
As Hallock took the track for the final event, the 800 meters, she let the moment sink in, looking around at the 12,000-plus in attendance.
“I was like, ‘wow, I’m going to remember this moment for the rest of my life,’” she said. “Hearing that crowd. Just being down there, it was incredible.”
Hallock then finished the 800 in a personal-best 2 minutes, 20.77 seconds for a two-day total of 5,440 points. There were few point total PRs among the field, which began with 24 entrants. That included Hallock, who was 107 points off the personal best she set in May.
Hallock came into the meet tied for the 22nd-best point total of the season but improved on that spot despite a slight foot injury that kept her out of practice for three days earlier in the week and put her in a walking boot during that stretch.
She said she was nervous about how her foot would respond and had to overcome a mental hurdle when considering whether she could compete well after not practicing.
But it worked out. Hallock, who will graduate later this week, said the foot problem only slightly affected her performance.
“She’s tough mentally, and I think that’s why she’s done what she’s done in her career,” said Oregon State multi-events coach Eric Schueffner. “With that kind of work ethic and mentality, she’s done tremendous things.”
Hallock started the day with a solid result in the long jump.
Her best mark (19 feet, 4¼ inches) was her last of three attempts and a 78-point improvement over her first jump (18-6). It was also one-quarter inch better than her top mark at last Pac-12 multi-event championships, where she was second overall. Her PR in the event is 19-10¾.
Saturday’s long jump mark helped Hallock move from 17th to 13th overall. A competitor who entered the long jump ahead of her fouled on all three attempts.
Compared to the field, Hallock’s best event was the javelin, the third of four Saturday events.
Her best throw was her first at 136-10, just off her 139-1 PR from the Pac-12 meet. She was sixth in the event, and her 700 points put her in 12th with only the 800 left.
Hallock was fortunate to have competed in the first flight of the javelin. A tremendous downpour that included both rain and hail resulted in a delay during the second flight.
Oregon State assistant Dave Dumble helped Hallock turn around her struggles in the shot put and javelin, the heptathlon’s two throwing events.
She set a new PR in the shot put by nearly 11 inches Friday at 39-3¾.
“Her training had been going really well the last month or so,” Dumble said of the shot put, while also noting Hallock’s second-best mark ever in the javelin Saturday despite the foot injury.
Dumble provided the pointers and Hallock put in the time to improve.
“To improve in those by such a large margin, it just shows all my hard work this last nine months to get better at those,” she said. “It definitely paid off.”
Hallock was second in last month’s Pac-12 multi-event championships at OSU’s Whyte Track & Field Center with a personal-best 5,551 points, just enough to get her into the national meet.
Hallock sat in 17th place with 3,112 points after Friday’s four events. She was 15th in the 100-meter hurdles, 16th in the high jump, seventh in the shot put and 19th in the 200.
Her results in the other three events were below those from the Pac-12 meet and left her 128 points behind the pace she set on the way to her heptathlon PR in Corvallis.