Jeremy Taiwo jumped into second place by the end of day on of the decathlon finals at U.S. Olympic track and field trials

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EUGENE, Ore. – Reigning Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton showed Saturday at U.S. Olympic track and field trials that he’s still the man to beat at Hayward Field this weekend, Renton native Jeremy Taiwo is at least trying to make Eaton look over his shoulder.

Thanks to monster performances in the long jump and high jump, Taiwo, a UW alum, found himself in the lead going into the fifth and final event of the first day of the decathlon.

After clocking 10.94 in the 100m, Taiwo set a new decathlon personal best of 7 feet, 3 inches in the high jump and recorded a long jump of 25 feet, 7 inches that came within an inch of his personal best.

He led Eaton by 38 points going into the 400m, but couldn’t quite keep pace with the former Oregon star down the home stretch.

“I just tried to get out in the first 120 meters and hold on and give it everything I had in the last 150 meters,” said Taiwo, who entered the trials with the 10th-best decathlon points total in the world this year.

Taiwo is hoping to make his first Olympic team. He’s aided by the fact that 2012 Olympics silver medalist Trey Hardee is dealing with a hamstring injury he sustained in practice 10 days ago.

Hardee held his own in the 100m, long jump, shot put and high jump, but struggling through the 400m, which he finished in 1:12.49 – more than 20 seconds slower than his closest competitor.

The jump events are Taiwo’s strength. Now, he’s hoping to just maintain his position and perhaps hit a couple other personal bests in day two.

Renton native Jeremy Taiwo sits in second place after the first day of decathlon competition at US Olympic Track and field trials

— Seattle Pacific alum Mckayla Fricker finished sixth in her heat and placed 14th overall in the women’s 800 meter semifinal, but did not make it to the finals.

Casimir Loxsom finished fifth overall (1:45.93) in the men’s 800m semifinals and was the only Brooks Beasts runner to advance to the finals. Shaquille Walker, Brannon Kidder and Drew Windle were all eliminated from contention.

— In the men’s 400m semifinals, Rainier Beach alum Mike Berry qualified for the finals with a time of 45.63. Tacoma native Marcus Chambers placed 15th overall.

— Seattle native and UW alum Norris Frederick jumped 8.02-meters in the long jump to place eighth in the qualifying round and advance to the final on Sunday.

— UW’s Carson Fuller was a late addition to the men’s javelin field, and did not even make the automatic qualifying standard going into Saturday’s qualifying round. But Fuller placed 11th with a throw of 232-5 and will compete in the finals on Monday.

— Former UW runner Lindsay Flanagan clocked 34:17.25 to place 18th in the women’s 10,000m finals.