EUGENE, Ore. — When the 2023 USA Track and Field (USATF) Outdoor trials get underway on Thursday at Heyward Stadium, Howard University will be well represented. The trio of hurdlers, Jessica Wright, Darci Khan, and Dylan Beard, will be competing to make the prestigious USA Team in their respective events.
Wright has followed the legacy of her mentor, former Olympic Bronze medalist and Howard University Director of Track & Field David Oliver. The 400-meter hurdler has helped put the women’s program on the map, becoming a three-time All-American during her time at The Mecca. Wright holds the distinction of winning back-to-back titles in the 400-meter hurdles at the Penn Relays, a rare feat.
“The Penn Relays really got my season off to a good start,” Wright said. “All of the championship and high-level meets have helped prepare me to compete on this large stage.”
Wright, who competed in the USATF last season, adds that she is especially motivated for this meet.
“I fell short of my goals at the (NCAA) Nationals this year. I will be competing against some of the top performers in the nation to get a spot on the team. It is my goal to make the team.”
Khan, a transfer from the University of Kentucky, turned heads at the Penn Relays by winning the loaded field in the 100-meter hurdles. Like her teammate, she advanced to the NCAA Finals; however, this will be her first experience at the USATF.
“This is a big deal, being on this large stage for the first time,” Khan said. “But I am super confident and ready to make the team. The competition we have faced this season has really prepared me for this moment.”
Beard will be competing in the 110-meter hurdles and he is no stranger to the USATF; however, it was back in 2017.
“I have learned that you have to be prepared,” he said. “It all starts with the first trials because you set the tone as you advance. I am here to make the team and this is my last time here so I plan on making the best of it.”
Oliver has established the Bison as a developing ground for hurdlers since returning to his alma mater in September 2017.