The fireworks in Eugene started over a week before Independence Day when on June 23-26 a record attendance of 40,351 at Hayward Field watched record-breaking performances at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Track Town USA and legendary Hayward Field hosted the event for a 7th time since 1986 and with all the fanfare and fantastic athletes; it would be easy to argue that 2011 was the best one yet.

The event got off to a fast start, as two women athletes set new event records on the first day. Shalane Flanagan of Oregon Track Club Elite in Portland clocked in at 30:59.97 in the 10,000 meters, breaking the previous mark of 31:22.69 set by Amy Yoder Begley in 2008 at Hayward Field. Michelle Carter broke the record for women’s shot put when her 62-foot 2-inch throw edged out Jill Camarena-Williams’ 62-foot 1 and ½ inch effort.

Current and former Ducks represented their school and the host city well as several captured event titles. Former University of Oregon star and Olympian, Galen Rupp, returned to Hayward field and won his third consecutive title in the men’s 10,000 on day one. Other winners with UO ties included Ashton Eaton, a UO alumnus who won the decathlon, and Oregon Junior Matthew Centrowitz, who won the 1,500 meter event. In the process, Centrowitz also became the first UO undergraduate to win a U.S. title since Steve Prefontaine in 1971.

On the final day of the event Trevor Barron broke four USA Junior records in the 20 km race walk and became the youngest winner (18 years old) in the event’s history. He will be the youngest member of the USA team headed to Daegu, South Korea to compete in the IAAF World Championships, which will run Aug.27-Sept.4.