The Oregon Ducks have scored another prodigy for their track and field program, this time with Jackson Mestler of Sheldon High School. Anyone who payed attention to the high school races during the recent Oregon Relays at Historic Hayward Field has seen the name before.
Mestler is no stranger to the greatness of Oregon running, after all, he grew up in Eugene. His father, Rick, was a great steeplechase runner for Oregon, earning 4 all-American awards, according to GoDucks.com, and his mother was on the cross country team, as well.
When asked by Preston Hiefield of KVAL 13 on what it meant to run for Oregon, Mestler said, “I’d call it a dream. There’s so much significance that happens when you put on that jersey.” However, Mestler seems remarkably unfazed by the pressure that comes with being a high commodity athlete. “I’ve already met some of my future teammates, and it seems straight forward. I don’t expect there to be a bunch of hiccups,” Mestler went on to say.
As for his personality, he claims he is “laid back (before a race), but in the race, I’m on.” Seems pretty straightforward. Most long distance runners are laid back, if not just plain quirky. But come race time, Mestler is just like everyone else, just inching to go.
— MileSplit US (@milesplit) November 11, 2015
Just looking at Mestler’s times alone on Athletic.net will tell you an incredible story. At first glance, the numbers do not jump out at you. His cross country times don’t shock people, the way a D1 recruit typically would, but it’s his track and field improvement that really stand out. In his first year, Mestler’s 800m and 1500m times were average, with times of 2:20 and 4:53, respectively. [Author’s Note: For those who don’t run competitively, improving your 800m time is one of the hardest things you can do.]
When Mestler really puts in the work, you can really see the results. Some of his biggest improvements were in the 1500m, starting 4:22 in 2013, to 4:03 in 2014. His 3K also improved dramatically, particularly of last few years, going from 8:48 in 2015 to 8:34 in 2015. When you look at the numbers, his improvement really is remarkable. Mestler’s work ethic lead to a 6A State title in both the 1500m and 3000m in 2015 at Hayward Field.
If you haven’t seen this particular race yet, it’s definitely worth a look, the final lap of which can be viewed here, courtesy OregonLive.com.
Spoiler alert: his kick is really good. Keep in mind, this was a day AFTER he had already won the 3K! His drive, especially toward the end long, fast races is incredible. Seeing as Mestler is going to be running with some of the best track and field athletes in the nation, his ceiling is very much on the rise. With Drew Hunter coming along next year, this should be an incredible one-two punch.
Photo by Jake Willard