Ashton Eaton has been a world record holder, Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion. This fall he’ll enter the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame.
Eaton will be enshrined along with several familiar faces, as the Ducks track and field program is well-represented in the 2020 Hall of Fame class.
Andrew Wheating, Keshia Baker and the 2010 women’s NCAA Indoor national championship team are also getting enshrined, as is former Oregon football standout Nick Reed, the Ducks’ record-holder for sacks.
But the transcendent Eaton is the headliner.
His Oregon career lasted from 2006-10 and was followed by a historic professional career that ended in 2016 soon after he won his second Olympic gold in the decathlon during the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Among the highlights for the eight-time all-American:
• Twice set the world record in the decathlon. The first came at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field when he scored 9,039 points. He extended his world record to 9,045 points at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, when he won his second world title.
• Won Olympic gold in 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio)..
• Won four U.S. titles in the decathlon
• Won five straight NCAA titles in the combined events (three in the decathlon and two in the heptathlon) and the 2010 Bowerman Award
• Set the world record in the heptathlon with a 6,499-point performance at the 2010 NCAA indoor meet. He reset it in 2012 with a 6,645-point performance at the World Indoor Championships.
• At the 2010 Pac-10 championships, Eaton accounted for 39.25 points when he won his third straight decathlon title, then followed with individual victories in the 110-meter hurdles and the long jump, a second-place finish in the 100 and a fourth-place finish in the 4x100 relay.
• Set the NCAA meet, Pac-12 and school records in the decathlon with his 8,457 points scored at the 2010 national championships.
Joining Eaton during his time at Oregon was Wheating, a five-time NCAA champion and eight-time all-American who provided some of the most memorable moments in Hayward Field history.
The middle-distance phenom from Vermont became a Track Town legend in 2008 when he finished second in the 800 at the Olympic Trials to earn a spot on the U.S. team in Beijing. Just a sophomore, he became Oregon’s first undergraduate to compete in the Olympics since Matt Centrowitz in 1976.
Two years later he became just the fifth man to sweep the NCAA 800 and 1,500 titles. In the 2010 1,500 final, Wheating, with his long stride and signature kick, surged past the field down the homestretch and finished ahead of teammates A.J. Acosta and Matthew Centrowitz as Oregon became the first school ever to go 1-2-3 in the 1,500 final. Earlier in the meet, he repeated as the national champion in the 800.
He ended his career with school records in the mile, indoor 800 and distance medley relay. In his final race as an amateur, he broke the 26-year-old school record in the mile, running 3:51.74 at the 2010 Prefontaine Classic.
He also made the 2012 Olympic team in the 1,500.
Baker was a seven-time all-American 400-meter specialist with a knack for delivering victories in the 4x400 relay.
As a senior in 2010 she became the Pac-12’s first women to win three straight 400 titles when she set what was then the school record of 50.76, a time that still ranks third all-time at Oregon.
In her final race as a Duck, she ran the anchor leg on the 4x400 and held off Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard to seal Oregon’s first national championship in that event with a then-school-record finish in 3:28.54.
Baker left school with the school records in the outdoor and indoor 400, the outdoor and indoor 4x400, the outdoor 4x100 and the indoor 300.
As a professional, Baker won a gold medal as a member of the United States’ 4x400 team at the 2012 London Olympics.
Baker will also join her 2010 indoor teammates in the Hall of Fame, in honor of a squad that won the Ducks first NCAA Indoor title with a 61-point performance in Fayetteville, Ark. It was first national championship performance by the Oregon women since the 1987 cross country title. It also ignited a stretch of five straight indoor titles and seven of the next eight.
The Ducks had wins that weekend from Brianne Theisen-Eaton in the pentathlon with a school-record 4,396 points, and the 4x400 team of Baker, Jamesha Youngblood, Michele Williams and Amber Purvis in a school-record 3:32.97. They also had second-place finishes by Baker in the 400, Melissa Gergel in the pole vault, and the distance medley relay team of Anne Kesselring, Williams, Zoe Buckman and Jordan Hasay.
Reed’s standout career on the defensive line included a memorable senior season in 2008 when he tied the Oregon single-season record with 13 sacks and led the nation with five fumble recoveries.
For his career, he holds the school record with 29.5 sacks and his 51.5 tackles for loss is second all-time, though he did set the single-season record with 22.5 TFLs as a junior in 2007.
Reed was also an academic all-American as a junior and senior. He was a finalist for both the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end and the Campbell Trophy, known as the "Academic Heisman" in 2008.
He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2009 NFL draft. He went on to play for Seattle, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Minnesota. After his NFL career, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2013.
Now a captain, Reed piloted a B-2 bomber over the 2020 Rose Bowl before the Ducks played Wisconsin.
The Class of 2020 will officially enter the Hall of Fame at a banquet, the date of which will be determined later this year.
Follow Chris Hansen on Twitter @chansen_RG or email at email@example.com. For more sports coverage, visit registerguard.com. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.