Titan track standout navigates running path to Tracktown, USA

Phillip Brents

Fri March 28, 2014 11:04am

Eastlake High School graduate Trent Warren is following in the footsteps of a legion of famed University of Oregon Ducks track and field athletes — Steve Prefontaine and Alberto Salazar foremost among them.
The 2011 EHS graduate readily admits to experiencing the awe-factor when stepping onto the hallowed lanes at Hayward Field, affectionately dubbed Tracktown, USA.
“It’s the most decorated track and field venue in the nation, if not the world,” he said of the celebrated venue in Eugene, Ore. “It’s called historic Hayward Field for a reason and to be running on it, I feel very blessed and grateful. My first race on it was the Oregon Preview and I knew it was going to be the biggest stage I’d ever been on.”
He added with a determined voice: “Just like this past season, I’m going to train to go as far as I’m capable of going.” That could be far.
A mid-distance runner, Warren competed in seven events during the 2013 season while running both the 800- and 1,500-meter distances. He set bests of 1:51.50 in the 800 at the Titans Classic and 3:52.13 in the 1,500 in the West Coast Invitational.
Prior to that, he competed on the UO Running Club during his freshman year in Eugene. His 1:52.39 in the 800 at the Titan Classic was a season best and also the fastest in club history. He also timed 3:56.27 in the 1,500 meters at the West Coast Invitational.
Warren, who also competed in cross-country as a Titan, was a finalist in both the 800 and 1,600 running events at the San Diego Section track championships. His high school best in the 800 was 1:57.82, set his senior year.
It’s taken a lot of commitment, sacrifice and pavement-pounding training for Warren to make the jump from high school to the university’s running club, and then from the club level to the school’s Division I track team.
Warren likens running on the Division I Ducks squad to “a job.” Once he finishes his classes, he’s off to practice, which usually entails a couple of hours.
“Club running was more laid-back and on your own in regard to training,” he explained. “At the beginning of last summer, I was training for the Oregon track and field team. I ran every day, sometimes two times a day, and then lifted two times a day for the entire year.”
While Warren, a journalism major, has focused mainly on the 800-meter distance thus far in college, he said he’d like to run more 1,500 races in the future.
“To me, the 800 is almost like an all-out sprint from the starting gun for us distance guys,” the former EHS runner said. “You’re almost bound to positive split your laps — meaning your first 400 is bound to be faster than your second 400. The 1,500 is faster than the 1,600 and it’s more strategic than the 800. With the 800, you’re usually given one chance to make a move.”
In one of his 800 races (Oregon Relays), Warren had a chance to compete against two-time Olympian Andrew Wheating.
“The competition humbles you immensely,” Warren noted. “Most of these guys are state and national champions from high school and you’re just a walk-on and that brings out the best in you. Every day at practice, you want to bring your ‘A’ game and represent the ‘O’ on your jersey with pride.”
Others may soon be playing catch-up to Warren.
“I’ve learned that everyone has a ‘kick’ at this level of running, so unlike high school you can’t save everything for the last 100 meters,” he said. “The most important things I’ve learned while running at the collegiate level is hitting your splits on time because your workouts dictate what kind of splits you’re capable of hitting. My last race of the season (West Coast Invitational), I was caught on the back of the pack and, with 600 meters to go, I found an opening and I went for it after conserving my energy for most of the race.”
Warren said running on state-of-the-art all-weather surfaces provides “more pop and explosion in your stride” than running on a dirt track. But there are more factors that go into winning a race than just the track surface, he explained.
“While running for the Oregon track and field team I’ve learned how important it is to prepare for not only the races but before every practice,” he said. “That means going to bed early, eating healthy and taking care of your body after workouts. In my opinion, running is the most self-disciplined sport if you want to bring out the best in yourself.”
Warren has three more years of collegiate eligibility and has set some future goals.
“I would want to be a Pac-12 scorer and, just like everyone else’s goal, to make NCAAs,” he said. “Helping our team become national champions would be another goal too.”
But just being a resident of Tracktown, USA, has instilled the former Titan standout with an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction. “I just feel very blessed to be part of this team,” Warren said. “None of it would be possible without my friends and family and (coaches) Joe Stubbs (Eastlake High School) and Ed Winczoski (Eastlake Middle School) for getting me into the sport of track and field. I am thankful for all of them.”